It’s 10am and the canal towpath is already busy with the fleeting scent of jogger and cyclist’s body sprays as they pass by. Occasionally I catch a whiff of what seems like a scent I know – but then it’s gone again and once more the canal falls silent apart from a distant sound of occasional traffic.
I’m currently sipping my coffee and re-applying the sun tan cream that seems to have already worn off whilst under the cool of a bridge near Warwick Parkway. It’s nice in the shade. The day is really heating up. At the moment I’m on my way to the Hatton Locks Cafe – around four miles away from my house along the canal.
I’m not complaining about this good weather mind you – it’s great – but you just know that my already pink (and slightly balding) head is going to suffer when the weather app on Apple Watch looks like this.
I’ve walked there before, but never there and back (in this post here from last October – and boy do I look different! I was 27st 9lbs – five and a half stone heavier than I am now).
Oddly it’s still something that I think will be hard to do in my mind – but I suddenly realised while lying in bed this morning that this lingering assumption of difficulty is based upon what I could do the last time I tried. On that occasion my friend and I parked a car at both ends and we walked to the Hatton Arms from a mile or so further up the canal in Leamington.
I decided this morning that (despite burning a bit yesterday) I was just going to liberally cover myself in suntan cream and get right back out there to give it a go.
Both ways this time.
When I set out everything ached. My back ached, my bum ached, my feet ached and even my chest (thats new!) ached. I’ve been pushing myself quite a bit recently and clearly things need time to recover.
I’d also woken up cursing my bed. I need a new one. I realised recently that I’m now sleeping in the ever present impression of a man that was 34 and a half stone, and it’s becoming uncomfortable. I’ve been putting it off for a while but I may just have to bite the bullet and replace it in the very near future.
However it wasn’t too far down the canal before I found something to instantly take my mind off stiff muscles and new mattresses. Quite near my house are signs that there will soon be swanlings everywhere. A newly created nest was quite literally being feathered before my eyes as mommy and daddy swans prepared for either the laying or incubation of new offspring.
I couldn’t see any eggs here though – so I’m guessing this Mr & Mrs have some hanky panky planned in their not too distant future…
I haven’t been in a rush today. At least until next Saturday my objectives are less about speed and more about distance, and enjoyment. Sometimes I find that I get so focused on the physical act of trying to walk faster or further that I completely forget to just sit for a moment and appreciate the scenery.
I guess it’s because I used to get annoyed with needing to stop and sit all the time. It took so long before I could walk the entire distance to Leamington (on the shortest route) without sitting on a garden wall or two that I keep trying to walk further and further without stopping to see what my limits are (currently around 5 miles I think) before I need to rest. That’s great – but when I do that and I’m looking at the fitness stats on my watch I don’t want to pause and interrupt its calculations.
I think that’s why my little flower picture challenge last week was so much fun. It forced me out of one mentality and into another, and that was really really nice.
So today I stopped to take pictures and watch the world (slowly) pass by.
When I finally reached the Hatton Locks Cafe though it wasn’t a moment too soon.
In an effort to alleviate the (ahem, cough, cough) ‘backed up’ sensation of the last few days I’ve been hammering down the water both yesterday and today, on top of my usual coffee.
My aim is a minimum of two litres a day.
This means however that stops at the little boy’s room are an absolute necessity! To be honest I’ve ignored this more than I should have for a while. Drinking more means eating less and that can only be a good thing!
As I was exiting the lavatory and looking at the cafe menu I heard my name being called. I turned to see the chirpy young daughter of one of the lovely Slimming World ladies saying hello. She invited me to come over and sit with them while they enjoyed the sunshine over coffee and breakfast.
It would have been lovely enough to see some friendly faces and have a natter, but these guys were packing Davey Kryptonite. They had Molly with them – who I’d last seen as an itty bitty pup when she was brought along to Slimming World around eight months ago.
Now she’s all grown up and an absolute bundle of energy!
After they’d finished breakfast we strolled together back along the canal (they kindly let me walk Molly!) and nattered about what the rest of the day held for us as well as what we were planning to eat during the week.
Their outdoor eating and barbecue agenda made me wonder if I too should do a bit of al-fresco dining soon. If I do however I’ll need to sort out my (quite shocking) rear garden first.
If you ever hear me using the phrase ‘jungle is massive!’ trust me when I say that I’m not referring to a genre of music…
Soon we parted company – and after a little while longer (and several re-applications of cream) I arrived back home. It seems that I have once again caught the sun and am pink and lumpy instead of a pleasing auburn colour – but I’ve enjoyed every moment of my walk. My total for the day so far is a tad under 10 miles and it’s been a great use of my Sunday!
Aside from the fact that walking along the canal is just a lovely relaxing thing to do, I’ve also been able to re-visit a day out from six months ago and see just what a difference the time and weight loss has made.
The answer internet is ‘a flipping lot.’
Yay for moving my ass!
Now, if you’ll excuse me I need a tinkle.