There are times when I really am my own worst enemy. I worry and stress about such silly things.
My recent internal struggle with what weight I must or must not be sits squarely in this camp. It really shouldn’t be on my mind though because life at the moment is good.
Sure – there are things I still need to fix – such as my employment status – but even this seems to have an unexpected sense of impetus surrounding it all of a sudden.
Maybe it’s just the right time of year.
Sunshine is becoming more and more a feature of daily life as the seasons gradually change and winter cements itself into spring.
The now longer days seem to have had a subtly dappled light within the last week or so and the keenly awaited warmth they’ve brought has been reaching deep down inside me.
With this I have a sense that my soul is slowly being replenished.
On Thursday I was out and about with a friend who likes to occasionally go ‘off piste’ and capitalise on rare moments of good weather.
It was a good day to get outside.
She had suggested we try a new walk (found on the National Trust website here) that we’d not done before. This stared at Upton House and looped around Edgehill – somewhere I’d only previously seen in the distance before from another place that I’ve regularly visited – Burton Dassett (link) (another link) (yet another link).
We started our walk in the corner of the deserted car park of Upton House.
It’s a National Trust property, and (unlike many I’ve been to over the past few years) the parking is completely free. You just hop out of your vehicle, through a small gate and into a field to begin.
Initially the walk was anything but spectacular.
The field next to Upton House had recently been ploughed and although the light was nice the surroundings were flat, featureless and brown.
It wasn’t until we’d passed over a road, through another field and down a little dirt track that the glory of where we were slowly came into view.
This is the site of The Battle of Edgehill – fought on the 23rd of October 1642 – and it marks (at least from a military engagement perspective) the starting point of the English Civil war, where Royalist forces first engaged Parliamentarian troops.
According to the National Trust site the Malvern Hills could be seen in the distance to the left – but I couldn’t quite make them out with my naked eye.
I’m beginning to think that I need to get myself a little pair of trekking binoculars, because sights like this would provide an excellent justification for spending a few pounds.
Vistas like this make you both reflective and thoughtful – and as we stood pondering both the natural beauty and the significance of what had taken place all those years ago the conversation shifted to my feelings about the future and what it may hold.
At the moment all I see is potential and promise stretching out before me – and the marvel of this is that I’m in no hurry to do anything or make any decision about what my next steps should be.
I’m just trusting that everything will become apparent – and whatever is meant to happen will just naturally unfold over time.
The sky seemed to agree.
The clouds were lazily floating by on their way to somewhere else without a care in the world.
After marvelling at the view for a little while we continued along the top of the (soon to be tree covered) ridgeline.
Fortuitously it benefits from a deciduous canopy and is therefore (at least for the moment) completely defoliated – which means there are currently wonderful views to be found all the time as you walk.
All you have to do is stop and peer between the bare branches and tree trunks surrounding the well worn path.
After about three miles of walking our mid-way (ish) marker came into view.
It was the turret of the Castle Inn – and as pubs go it’s a pretty nice looking one.
According to the sign outside, the turret contains fully ensuite guest quarters.
Therefore if one should so wishes they can stay here overnight, get treated to some (apparently delightful) hospitality and then wake up to a glorious view in the morning – which would look a little something like this.
It’s a delightfully and very characterful little pub – and aside from the suit of armour on the wall, just inside the doorway is evidence that they like to think of things slightly differently.
On the wall to the right are the loveliest coat hooks I’ve seen for ages.
Where you might hang up your jacket isn’t the only thing of interest mind you.
The castle is dripping with history – and as we sat sipping coffee and ginger beer (you can probably guess which of the two belonged to me) I noticed a little piece of card by the drinks menu.
I love little touches like this – and as I read it I was reminded that this is why certain items are considered collectible antiques that become particularly valuable and others do not.
Without it a building would just be a pretty collection of bricks and none of them would be listed for preservation. With some knowledge of the past though we begin to look at inanimate items or localities differently and build an image in our minds that forms part of such an experience.
Ultimately nothing is valuable unless we choose to place importance upon it.
It’s all transient. Everything is either new or old, rare or abundant – and significance is completely subjective.
We can see beauty in many things and for some that may be a reason to ascribe importance – but the history of a place or object adds context.
It’s here the much of the value we ascribe to any object lies.
Just like my thoughts regarding the future – my happiness and satisfaction in life are completely based on my perspective and imagination.
I’ve decided that it’s bright because I have a narrative history in my mind about what preceeded it and what’s currently within it.
I see the present as better than the past and therefore I appreciate the present even more.
Together they give my life context and meaning and I choose to see that as positive.
To any casual observer nothing is different.
I still have the same head, the same brain sits within it and my body trails along behind it as it always has.
The positivity or negativity we experience when we consider the future are much like our imagination creating provenance in an object.
Sure – it might be truth – but it’s also the past. It’s gone forever and what remains is what we choose to see.
We continually construct our own reality and choose to live within it.
How many times have you told yourself you’re meant to be a certain way because you’ve always been like that – or that someone abused or treated you badly, and that this narrative still dictates your choices in later life?
Maybe this is why you’re unhealthy or feel unfulfilled?
What if your reality was different?
What if your own personal provenance was as easy to shift as writing a new history on the back of a piece of card and slipping it in between the menus of your life.
It’s totally possible.
The power of imagination and belief is within all of us – yet many choose to view it as dried cement rather than clay that they can still mould.
As we left the pub and continued on our way I couldn’t help but admire the little splashes of beauty everywhere.
Much of the walk took very little in the way of perspective and provenance to appreciate.
It was fabulous.
Sometimes all you need is a spot of sunshine, a handful of fruit and nut that your friend has given you – and a nice green field to stop and eat it in.
As we came close to the end of the walk and reached Uplands Farm it appeared that at some point either an overzealous landlord had covered up the right of way (or we took a wrong turn) because the path completely disappeared.
We were trying to figure out exactly how to correct our course when the yappiest (and cutest) little Jack Russell came out from the farm to ensure that we moved along.
It continued to ineffectually bark and growl at us for a good five minutes until we finally submitted to it’s surprisingly compelling argument and moved along – choosing instead to hop over a locked gate and head for the country lane we new we had to be on slightly further down.
All in all the walk came to around 6.4 miles and was absolutely delightful.
Although we didn’t go in I also believe that (as well as the Rose and Crown pub along the way) further refreshments can be found at Upton House, should anyone wish to pop in.
Either way – it was a lovely little trek, and it helped me re-set and re-centre my perspective.
I’ll be going back there soon.