Today started well.
VERY well in fact.
A knock at the door early on revealed a smiling UPS courier and a small package. Inside was a (quite unexpected) presentation box wrapped in cellophane. When I opened it I could scarcely have been happier with the contents!
Instead of my old friend returning to my loving bosom I have a NEW AND IMPROVED FRIEND!
I’ve had my teeny companion since September 2015 – and it’s seen some revisions since it was originally launched. My ‘1st generation’ model was eventually superseded by a ‘2nd generation’ series 1 and series 2 devices in late 2016. Both of these were upgraded versions of the original. Series two had GPS and water proofing – but crucially the series 1 had a faster processor than my 1st gen version which was then removed from sale.
Clearly Apple didn’t think it was cost effective to replace my 1st gen sensor (the circular panel housing it on the underside had come loose, making it turn like a bezel) and have now upgraded my nearly two year old watch to a brand new series 1!
How’s about that for customer service?!
After quickly restoring my settings from an old backup my new Apple Watch was soon right where it belonged – on my wrist – and waiting for instructions.
It soon got (quite literally) it’s marching orders, as today I’d planned to go for a walk with a friend. He’d originally suggested that we go somewhere further afield – but knowing I’d have to wait in for a parcel we had instead agreed to go a little closer to home – and have a look at somewhere neither of us had ever been.
Draycote Water (link).
This is a Severn Trent reservoir – and according to wikipedia it can hold more than a few kettles worth of H2O…
‘The reservoir was created in the 1960s and was opened in January 1969 and is by far the largest expanse of water in Warwickshire. It covers more than 600 acres (240 hectares) and holds up to 5 billion gallons (23 million m³) of water.‘
As you might imagine it’s pretty big – and is expansive enough to have a five mile circular walk around the outskirts of it – meaning that there’s plenty of places to sit on the reservoir wall and have lunch.
We started out quite gingerly – mostly due to my ongoing war wounds from a week ago. I got some pretty epic blisters during my 17 mile walk to Solihull (link). I had convinced myself that they were fixed up and as good as new – until I embarked upon my energetic 8 mile march around Warwick and Leamington yesterday.
Unfortunately this resulted in (amongst other things) the angry looking 3cm wide red/black/purple one on my left foot flaring up again. Today it was once again covered in elastoplast to reduce friction and pressure – but there’s only so much you can do to something that ideally you should just leave alone and allow to recover.
I can’t help myself though. I need to walk – and it’s really annoying to have loads of energy in your legs but to have sore feet that slow you down or eventually stop you altogether.
Thankfully we soon stopped for a bite to eat after a mile and a half or so, sat on the wall, looked out across the water and rummaged through our respective carrier bags.
Whilst my friend had packed a cheese and onion sandwich I had a whole cucumber. This had been a present from him the previous day and was fresh from his allotment. It was small (like a chunky courgette) and crisp (like a gherkin) and before setting out I’d chopped it into some basmati rice along with a can of mackerel and some beetroot.
Paired with a flask of coffee this (maybe odd – but delicious) combination went down really nicely!
However – if there was EVER a time I was kicking myself for not bringing a proper camera with me then today was that time. It was quickly apparent that the whole place was teeming with wildlife – and there were quite a few birds I’d not seen before. The Draycote birding site has a link to a list of the species that have been seen in 2017 and it’s MASSIVE (see here).
Annoyingly my iPhone just couldn’t do any of this justice – and the only things I could capture that didn’t look like flies in the distance were the geese – which were legion, and slow moving.
I’m therefore going back again soon with my proper camera to see whether I can get some better shots!
Birds weren’t the only wildlife here though – and although we never saw anything today other than small whites there appears to be a cornucopia of butterfly life in this area – with Draycote having one of the most comprehensive lists of potentially viewable species that I’ve seen so far at a reserve.
Although we didn’t have time to explore today there are also a couple of marked woodland walks around the reservoir that branch off into small areas of trees. I’m not sure how far these go but the Severn Trent site suggests that there’s quite a bit to explore –
‘There is a flat five mile tarmac road all the way around the reservoir which is ideal for a leisurely stroll. The Hensbrough hill top provides spectacular views and is a great place for a picnic, whilst the 25 acre country park provides enough room for young and old to play games and enjoy the outdoors.‘
There were lots of cyclists and sailing enthusiasts – along with several pretty large areas set aside on the banks for anglers – and the reservoir is apparently well stocked! There’s also a visitor centre with a cafe and balcony overlooking the reservoir.
Overall it seems like a great place to take the family for an active day out and it definitely requires more investigation. If nothing else it’s a supremely quiet and relaxing place for a stroll.
Even if your feet hurt!
Now – if you’ll excuse me internet my slightly perkier and enthusiastic puppy dog of a watch is pressing me to stand up and do something – and who am I to ignore it’s well intentioned pleas for attention?!