Blue skies in Ilmington

I’m currently sitting in my (increasingly ridiculous and baggy) jogging bottoms. I only wear these indoors lately as I feel they ‘billow’ a bit too much, and make me look like MC Hammer…


This is annoying on several levels because I was planning to go for another walk today and I’m not sure that I will now. My impulse to do ten miles a day every day is pretty strong – and I get very twitchy if I don’t.

It’s totally my own fault. I forgot to turn on the washing machine yesterday and now all of my pairs of jeans are splattered with dirt from the week’s various walks. In my view they’re all currently far from socially acceptable and have to be washed before I go out again.

Thankfully I’ve already done enough this week to hit an average of ten miles and 20,000 steps a day, so I might just relax at bit, not stress, and enjoy the rest of the afternoon with the sunlight streaming through my windows.

The washing machine’s spin cycle is beginning in the background and while it completes I’m also taking the time to enjoy a hot Lemsip under a duvet in my armchair. Although my cold isn’t a bad one, my nose is still streaming and I have an irritating cough developing.

It’s not slowed me down though thankfully.

This morning I’ve been getting muddy with a friend in Ilmington (which I last visited in June) – and despite it being a bit colder this time around overall today’s Autumnal weather was actually a lot better!

The Downs looked fabulous with the light blue sky and little fluffy clouds above them, and it was a good feeling to be clambering over hills and stiles with a cooling breeze.


For one thing (although it was a bit soggy underfoot in places) there were no knee length patches of grass or crops to give us wet legs – which was a real bonus. Last time my (different) friend ended up with absolutely soaked feet, and given that it was raining last night I’d actually expected more of the same today.

However – right from the word go everything in and immediately around the village just seemed to feel ‘fresh’ rather than sodden. It was like nature had just taken a little sip from the cup of life and now was stretching out to enjoy the day.

As nice as the village looked however, the surrounding countryside looked a million times better.

When the sun shone through occasional clouds the surrounding hedgerows and fields seemed to suddenly fill up with lots of (surprisingly large) Red Admiral butterflies. They were all taking full advantage of the warmth and spreading their wings out like wonderfully colourful little solar panels.


A friend told me recently that these have been in decline for a while, and almost without warning there seems to be a sudden population surge. I’ve noticed lots of them in the last few weeks – and now that I think about it I don’t remember seeing any at all last year.

I looked the subject up after he mentioned it and found this article in the Guardian if you want more info in the subject of butterfly populations and breed rarities.


There also seem to be quite a few of the Speckled Wood variety in Warwickshire this year as well thankfully (the one above is from a walk along the Oxford canal a few weeks ago where they were legion) although I think that they’re nowhere near as pretty as Red Admirals.

As I’ve walked (thanks to the minor miracle of Apple Watch) I’ve been able to compare my fitness stats from today to the last time I was in Ilmington, when I was attempting to get ready for Snowden.

I remember particularly being pretty out of breath and sweaty when I reached the top of the country lanes in the middle of the route back in late June. This probably because at the time I was carrying an extra two and a half stone (approx) – so it’s nice to see how things have subtly changed.

Although the average pace was quicker today (and we weren’t rushing) my average heart rate has gone down by 6bpm in three months!


Today you’ll notice that the route is a little shorter – and that’s because at the end of the walk my companion and I stopped a little early at the (absolutely lovely) Howard Arms pub in the centre of the village for a warming coffee near the fireplace.


Here we both caught up on what we’d been doing and discussed my recent obsession with calorie counts.

It seems like my blogs on this subject are promoting awareness with friends and casual readers alike – with quite a few people saying to me that they’ve found themselves paying attention to the values on packs of food they’d otherwise have eaten without thinking.

This has (really encouragingly) meant in many cases that they either completely re-evaluate what they are about to consume – or began measuring quantities to make sure.

I still find it pretty insane that it’s ME encouraging positive behaviour in other people rather than the absolute opposite. It’s a good feeling to know I’m influencing friends and readers by example rather than just rhetoric – and it really spurs me on to keep my eye on the ball.

As well as weighing and measuring things I’m being pretty diligent about food labels this week and have found myself pausing to read them for long periods in shops whilst I double check things in the Slimming World app on my phone.

In Aldi on Sunday I found what appeared to be their take on frozen Slimming World meals (normally available from Iceland at a higher price) and although they don’t yet show up in the official app with ‘Syn’ values (20 kcal of processed food is considered to be 1 syn) I can’t for the life of me see how this would be anything other than free/speed food.

The whole 500g (of really tasty and pleasantly filling) Spicy Moroccan Vegetable Stew comes in at a wonderful 155kcal!

They’re also only £1.99 each, which seems to be a real winner from a time/wallet/health perspective.


I don’t normally eat things I’m not 100% sure about – but I’ve taken a punt on a few of these meals because none seem to contain anything but the ingredients that I’d use myself and have no oil, sugar or naughties that I would consider to be a ‘syn’.

So how did yesterday go? Well – my food and activity broke down as follows:

  • 6 small tomatoes 60
  • 190g (half jar) pickled gherkins 57
  • 15 pitted green olives 60
  • Half a cucumber 17
  • Tub of cottage cheese with onion and chive 176
  • 300g baking potato 231
  • 6x large apples 420
  • 500g grated carrot 210
  • Yellow pepper 30
  • 3 small tomatoes 30
  • Romaine lettuce 25
  • spoonful of mint sauce 5
  • Spoonful whole grain mustard 10
  • 15 pitted green olives 60
  • Can of tuna in spring water 120
  • Can of mackerel in tomato sauce. 190
  • 250g frozen Aldi summer fruits 84
  • 250g natural yogurt 154

Total Calories consumed – 1919 kcal

Active/Total calories burned 1463/4140 kcal, 111 minutes of cardio exercise, 22893 steps & 11.69 miles walked.

So – hopefully I’m on track for a loss on Saturday internet!

#onplanoctober continues!!!




  1. Whoot! Go Davey. And perhaps it is a good thing that you are giving your body some time to recover from the cold :).

    Also: I am going to join you for #onplanoctober. Because I have been so tired my eating pattern has been all over the freaking place and I need to get a grip XD. So back to MyFitnessPal I go ;).

    Liked by 1 person

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