Five Hundred Miles or so!

Walks have always been an integral part of my life; since my youngest days I recall clambering over the rocks out on the islands in Sweden, scampering through the forests.

Moving to Yorkshire as a young girl the stunning beauty of the moors became the background to my days out. I revelled in trips out into the wilderness, losing myself in bracken taller than my young self, walking along the ridge of the moors where the heather meets the sky, gazing down upon the miniature stone buildings of the villages below. They seemed inconsequential compared to the might of nature.

A younger me out on the moors

This strangest of years has seen walks featuring more than ever in my life – this time though restricted to those from my doorstep. As soon as the stay-at-home order was issued in March, the U.K. experienced weeks of warm sunny weather and it was a blessing to head out for an hour a day then perfect to sit and enjoy the beauty of the garden.

In the last five months, I have covered (according to my phone app pedometer) over five hundred miles, discovering new routes, creating new ones. At times it felt like ground-hog day; wasn’t I only by this gate yesterday, this oak tree surely is wondering why it’s suddenly become so popular? Yet the walks and their vistas proved a tonic each and every time, always something refreshing to sparkle the heart and mind, particularly as the times of the outings varied from day to day.

A painted stones left along pathways

In March the days were chilly, a bite of winter in the wind, the fields barren and mud-ladened. I realised for the first time I would come to know in detail the surrounding landscape, the fields planted, harvested, the lakes full of clear water, then green with algae as summer arrived.

As August comes to an end a carpet of leaves forms a soft bed for my feet as I wander through the nature reserve; Autumn seems to have arrived earlier than ever. Already the fields are busy with their winter crop, the flowers almost all over and instead we spend the walks idling by the hedgerows, filling tubs with the juiciest of blackberries.

A spot of exotic blackberry picking!

When restrictions were slightly eased we headed out with excited anticipation to Marks Hall Arboretum and Gardens and as only members were allowed we relished having the place mostly to ourselves. (You may recall an earlier post about Marks Hall and its Sculpture Exhibition entitled Creative Energy )

I couldn’t stop smiling as we wandered through new landscape, new views, drinking up the sights with sheer joy. The lakes were lush with fish, geese gazed warily at us, standing like sentinels over their young.

Geese and their goslings at Marks Hall.

A Bug hotel caught my eye and I was only too happy and oblige by adding some leaves and sticks to the creation.

Bug Hotel at Marks Hall.

Peacocks never fail to enthral me and in spite of the lack of visitors over so many months, they were as still friendly and unbothered by us humans.

It was with childish joy I encountered ferns on a far-flung part of the estate. Reaching up I could barely touch the tops of them. Hooray! They were still taller than me!

Overjoyed at seeing ferns still taller than adult me!

Up ahead I glimpsed an ethereal sight, the wonder of the white trunks of eucalyptus trees beckoned me, like angel wings amongst the darkness of the other trees. Their bark was smooth and soft, I stroked it as if a pet, relishing in the unusual texture. I picked a leaf or two, inhaling the fresh exotic fragrance. I might not have physically travelled far but my imagination was halfway around the globe!

Eucalyptus trees in the distance

Bugs galore have graced us with their presence, and I’m sure they were always here. Was that a withered leaf on the bathroom floor? No, the most amazing of moths, which I think is called the Angle Shades. The shiniest of red in contrast to the black caught my attention with one bug, which I believe is the cinnabar moth. One lunchtime an admiral butterfly landed on my mother’s hat!

Our garden has been a solace and haven to me, more than ever! In the mornings I’ve had the time to greet the plants, stopped in my tracks in awe of the intricate details of the flowers and their petals.

Garden bluebells

I even say a quick shy hello to our resident troll tree … can you spot it in the acacia below.

Face of our Tree Troll!

It is invigorating to tend to the plants, bushes and trees, then afterwards enjoy relaxation and rest surrounded by the beauty of nature.

Finally, I often have a song ‘playing’ in a loop in my mind as I stride out across the countryside and since writing this review one particularly has stayed in my mind – it’s especially relevant as I worked out the miles walked these months. I first heard it as the soundtrack to one of my favourite films ‘Benny & Joon’. Enjoy the snippets of the film as you listen to ‘I Would Walk 500 Miles’ by The Proclaimers!

140 thoughts on “Five Hundred Miles or so!

    1. Ju-Lyn, I hope that it is a good thing that 500 Miles is playing in a loop in your head all day!😀 There can be too much of a good thing!😀 Thank you so much for your lovely comment and it’s been a joy to share some of my walks here! As usual, it is a matter of whittling down the mass of photos to just a few!

  1. Lovely, joyful post Annika. Many of us have become more observant and more appreciative of our surroundings these last few months, haven’t we?

    The Proclaimers’ song takes me back to when I worked for a local light industrial firm. A few times a day the lads in the factory, mainly of Scottish descent, would down tools and bawl along as this came on the radio 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for your great comment, Roy! 😀 Nature has been a real tonic these months and from the beginning, I started to pay much more attention to my local surroundings as I realised I would be here for the duration of the year (no Sweden this year alas!). You must be enjoying the landscape of Jersey especially this year and imagine it’s quite free of tourists. Both a good and bad thing.

      Haha! I’m laughing at your co-workers downing tools to bawl along to this song … not surprised this has stayed with you! 😀

  2. Lovely to catch up with your lockdown walks and then the delight of different sights. Lucky you growing up by the Yorkshire moors. I think childhood places have a strong effect on us. I remember bracken towering over me as a child and my dog finding me hiding in it! It is amazing that you have walked 500 miles and bring out the joy of being in the natural world so well.

    1. Georgina, it’s lovely to see you here and glad you come tag along on the walks! 😀 It’s been wonderfully therapeutic during these months and I’ve witnessed the changing seasons of the surrounding area in unusual detail. Yet, my heart is always with the moors and I feel so lucky to have grown up there, my school on the top of the moors, the heather my lunch picnic place! It is amazing when the bracken towers over one — an incredible sensation! Hope you’ve had many chances to head out into the countryside on your own adventures. xx

      1. I enjoy our views of Kinder Scout here on the western side of the Pennines, I love to see them on our return! I always loved this area between Sheffield and Manchester but grew up by the Thames. I love hills and trees.

  3. You know I am a fan of walks, Annika, and I enjoyed yours. Five hundred miles on your ap deserve a special song 🙂
    You live in the beautiful land, and you have a Queen of Scandinavia rose in your garden. Life is good 🙂
    Enjoy the weekend X

    1. Inese, I thought of you and your walking posts as I wrote this!😀 Not a single bird to feature alas! It’s interesting to compare this countryside of rural East Anglia with that of the wilderness of the moors and the sheer beauty of the coastline of western Sweden. All very different and captivating in their own way! The rose bush is stunning and now very tall indeed ..l’m trying to work out to which height it should be pruned. Yes, life in spite of it all can be very good! Wishing you a wonderful weekend and hope you have a chance to enjoy some walks! Xx

  4. I got lost and had to find my way back here. There was so much fun on your walk that I was going in every direction after reading it and almost didn’t find my way back to comment. I’ve asked a neighbor to make a bat house and bug hotel for me after seeing these photos. Then I hunted down where I could see Benny and Joon again. The song is an ear worm. It will play all day in my head now. I found it on Amazon Prime so that will be watched sometime in the next week. 500 miles is something to be proud of accomplishing. I do 2 to 4 miles a day but always in the same neighborhood since nothing else is in walking distance. But I notice different things each time and sometimes walk the circuit backward to get a new perspective. I’ve talked to neighbors from a distance as they are eager for conversation with someone new as well. Thanks for sharing all this with us. I really enjoyed every bit of it.

    1. Marlene, bless you for your wonderful and engaging comment! It’s just lovely! 😀❤️ I’m so glad you found your way back to the comments and enjoyed digressing along the trails! Yeah! Great news you’re going to have a bug hotel and one for bats too! The latter scare me so! Enjoy the film, It’s romantic, quirky and Has superb music throughout … be warned, once you’ve seen the film there is no hope of 500 Mikes song leaving your head this year! 😀Enjoy your walks and chats along the way … we too met so many people we’ve never encountered before but once lockdown eased they have sadly given up on the daily hikes! Have a relaxing enjoyable and creative weekend, my friend! Xx

      1. Thank you for your kind words, Annika. Bats eat so many mosquitoes that I don’t get mosquito bites anymore. This little guy whizzed by my ear one night but all I felt was a breeze. They are looking for bugs, not people. He’s been living up in the eaves for the last 6 years. They don’t eat spiders because we need them too. Looking forward to watching the film again with fresh eyes. Take care and keep finding joy.

  5. Wow. First, I love your website and your Welcome. Like Jacqui, I was going to comment on the Welcome post but maybe it’s just meant to be a “Welcome” and quick explanation of what you offer in your new website. Congrats!
    I’m a walker like you. Ohhh, how I wish we could walk together sometime. This morning I walked with a friend who lives 45 minutes away. I drive 25 minutes and she drives 25 minutes and we meet almost halfway to walk beautiful trails and through an historic town. Just a 90-minute walk but it’s splendid. However, I don’t see all of the wonders you show here – GORGEOUS.
    And yes, when I walk by myself, sometimes I also hum the song: “I would walk 500 miles.” Great song. And I suppose in a year, we walk even more than 500 miles! xo

    1. Here’s to another 500 + miles for us, Pam! 😀 The song ringing in our ears! Oh, it would be amazing to head out for walks together and I imagine we would gibber away all the time! It’s lovely you and your friend drive to meet up for your long walk, catching up with each other whilst enjoying the harmony and tranquility of nature! I’m sure there must be many beautiful views along your away!

      Ahh … thank you for wanting to comment on my new welcome page but you are right, it is more of a gentle introduction to the new look website. I’m posting all about its creation tomorrow where I Explain that I hadn’t realised this was actually going to send out as a post! I’m so glad you like the revamp – that’s great! 😀

      Wishing you a very happy Weekend filled with joy … and walks! And not forgetting creativity! Much love & hugs xx ❤️

    1. No, Jacqui, it’s not you at all! In the process of a makeover for my blog I wanted a pinned welcome page and the only way to achieve this was by mkaing a post! I realised it was a bit mysterious but I’m posting a long and informative article about the process and changes on Sunday! As for nutty browser – that seems to be mine half of the time!😀

    1. Gill, thank you so much and it’s great you enjoyed the post! 😀 There are definitely some lovely local walks but it’s also been good to be able to go a bit further afield. On a less busy day I am looking forward to heading to the coast … and perhaps I’ll share about that here too! Hope you’re doing well and keeping busy. xx

    1. Debra, out and about we met so many other people (at a distance of course!) and we all felt almost embarrassed to admit how the walks were that silver lining that you mention, the enforced stillness ensuring we all had time to contemplate our lives, feel it truly and appreciate all that is in it -including the amazing nature! As human beings we need some positives to exist I feel and these walks were a saviour for me! 😀 Take care! xx

  6. Beautifully written post, Annika, as usual! I love the bug hotel and how each person may contribute a piece of the structure! A wonderful example of collaboration. I have found painted stones on my walks in recent months too. They are fun. I wonder how that started?
    A positive we can draw from the pandemic is that cleaner air and the stronger colours in nature – I am noticing that here too and so enjoying it. Even the night sky is more intense.
    It is so cute that they use the peacock’s tails as the benchmark by which you can gauge the appropriate social distance!

    1. Amanda, thank you so much for your lovely comment and it means a lot to me! 😀 It is incredible how nature has responded to the cleaner air and I must admit sometimes the large brightest of blue sky had me so confused I thought I was abroad – so unusual for here. How wonderful that you can enjoy the intense night sky … I hope the changes last but somehow doubt it! Oh, it’s great you are coming across the painted stones. I’m not sure either how they started but saw some on twitter and then started noticing them around our walks – a people of vibrant positive during the walks which always had me smiling. A house near my mother’s home has covered their whole front garden with beautifully decorated stones and it’s become quite a feature locally! I agree the peacock tails distancing sign was such a welcome relief from the normal boring ones and a joy to see creativity at work! 😀 I hope you’re keeping safe and well …take care. xx

      1. We are holding out down here in a bubble. There has been some cases sneak through on account of two people avoiding border control checks. We are essentially going about life as normal, with a few changes and less tables at cafes and restaurants. Hand sanitizer is everywhere, but this is a good thing as people are using it and so far this year, we have had very little if any cases of winter flu. Another positive of everyone socially distancing. I must find out more about how the painted stones started. I could leave messages of affirmation on them to inspire others in these strange times. Stay well, dear Annika.

  7. This is such an uplifting post, Annika! I love all of your photos and am amazed at how far you’ve walked during this strange time. I found being shielded difficult to cope with and I became ill (not with Covid-19!)and couldn’t do the walking or gardening that would have helped me. We have also had so many creatures visiting our garden and helping themselves to our fruit, flowers and vegetables!
    I had not heard of Benny and Joon before! Thank you for introducing it to me xx

    1. Clare, I’m so sorry that you’ve been ill. It’s hard enough under normal conditions but even tougher nowadays. I hope you’re much better now. Have you been able to get out and about a bit this month whilst still feeling safe? Although not shielding I am still very cautious and the walks and being out in nature has helped a lot. It has been such a difficult time for all shielders and know some who only recently are going out for walks during quiet moments of the day.

      Oh no, how annoying with your unwelcome visitors to the garden!

      Benny & Joon is a wonderful film, filled with positive vibes and well-worth seeing!

      Take very good care of yourself, hugs xx

      1. Thank you, Annika, I am much better. I stopped being shielded at the beginning of August and I immediately got back to doing my mother’s shopping and helping her to do what she needs to do.
        I am surprised at how badly affected I was by the pandemic and by having to be shielded. I have thought carefully about why this happened and have come to my conclusions. I had assumed that a woman of 61 would know how she would react to any kind of shock, surprise, upset etc. but it appears I was wrong! One of the things I hated was feeling so redundant and another was not having any time to myself; not being able to escape. I hadn’t thought that those feelings would produce a physical reaction and make me ill! Now that I am out and about again, though anxious, I am being as careful as possible and feeling I am in control of my life again. We, as a family have been out for walks together, have visited neighbours for socially-distanced afternoon tea in their garden, have driven to the coast to see the sea and also had a week-long visit from my elder daughter who lives in Sheffield. Yes, I definitely do feel better and happier.
        Love and hugs xx ❤

  8. We’ve spent much of our evenings watching British TV show, and a couple from Sweden. It’s lovely to see so much of these beautiful countries – Australia as well. No wonder you enjoy walking – it allows the leisure to enjoy the beauty you pass as you wander. You enjoy the sensory pleasures of scents and texture, and you see wildlife normally shy around people. Wonderful photos, Annika. Loved all of them. And it’s good to hear from you, as I’m surmising that you are well and healthy.

    1. Shari, it’s lovely to hear from you! 😀 How lovely that you can enjoy a bit of ‘travel’ through your TV viewing and must admit that we too enjoy shows from abroad! Anythings with sun and beaches has my vote! What Swedish shows have you seen? They often show off the amazing landscape to full dramatic effect! You are right that walks allow me to absorb the beauty and peace of nature and yes, I’ve seen lots of wildlife I would probably normally rush past. I feel the birds in the garden are now our pets! Out in the woods, there are so many deer and we saw many young ones. So far I am lucky enough to be well, thank you. Just had a big issue with one tooth and I’ve ended up in a lot of pain and visiting a dentist more in the past three months than I have in the past ten years! 😞

      I hope you’re keeping well and strong yourself … I read the news from your country and my heart aches for all the suffering. hugs xx ❤️

    1. Thank you so much, Jennie! 😀 I first heard about bug hotels when they made one at my son’s school when he was little. Nothing this flash though! Do you make anything similar with your students?

  9. Hi Annika, how wonderful you’ve walked more than 500 miles. Thank you for taking me along to some of your trips. I love the photos of the nature – trees, flowers, bug hotel, and more. Thank you for this beautiful post.

    1. Miriam, warmest thanks for your lovely message and I’m so glad you enjoyed all the aspects of the post so much – great to have you along on the walks!😀 ❤️ It’s strange how the miles each day have added up over the months and I’ve been imagining where I could have walked to within that distance! Hitting the sea South, West and East of me!😀

      1. It’s wonderful you have all the areas to stretch your walk. I only have three places for walks, go up and down the street, or walk up the hill in the residential area behind our house, or up the hill on the other side of the house to a lake and walk around the
        0.77 mile lake.

        I’m planting a butterfly 🦋 garden. It’s in the beginning stage of planting the milkweed seeds.😅

  10. HI Annika, I loved this post, and seeing the bug hotel and Australian Eucalypts. I adore travelling in the UK and thought Yorkshire was glorious – so delighted to hear that you spent so much time there. The perfect place to walk! Toni x

    1. Toni, thank you so much! 😀 The bug hotel does look grand and a good idea, I’m sure although I always thought bugs made their own homes! How wonderful that you got to see some of Yorkshire – it was an idyllic place to grow up, my school situated just on the moors and we often took lunchtime picnics there! Definitely the best place for walks and I do miss the moors and views very much – full of drama! Take care. xx

  11. Behind the Story

    What a beautiful essay, Annika! You have a wonderful appreciation for nature. And you certainly have some lovely places to walk. One would think that it would be easy to find good outdoor walks during the pandemic. I’ve found lots of good walks in town, but the area near me is mostly wooded with thick underbrush, which means you have to stick to the trails. And the trails have become very popular and often crowded. Because I have a respiratory condition, I’m being particularly careful. But I do miss being out in the woods.

    1. Nicki, thank you so much and I love how you feel this was an ‘essay’ – that is wonderful! 😀Indeed, there are many beautiful places to walk from my house and one of the reasons we moved to the area when my son was still a baby. Your forest trails sound lovely but I understand that it is a problem when busy. During the lockdown months we encountered so many people along the way, but luckily everyone was patiently waiting or moving into the field, now barely anyone else is still out on walks. Has it calmed down in your area so you can enjoy the trails again safely? Keep safe and well in these troubling times. xx PS. I’ve nearly finished your book ‘Tiger Tail Soup’ and LOVE it!! Wow – just brilliant! I’m hooked and can’t wait for a few minutes during the day and nighttime to read on!😀

      1. Behind the Story

        I live near the sound, so I do have many be beautiful places to walk. The trouble with trail is that they’re often only one lane wide. I’ll save them for a future time.

        I’m so glad you’re enjoying Tiger Tail Soup. Thanks for reading it.

    1. Absolutely, Carol – I always enjoyed the walks before but they’ve become a saviour these days – and once my mind stilled I appreciated it in ever more detail and nuances! I hope you and Bau have some lovely countryside to enjoy near to you. xx❤️

    1. Betsy, I’ve visited Haworth and the Bronte Parsonage so many times and wandered on the moors just outside the house! It is amazing and so true to the books – the drama, starkness, beauty! Yeah! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post so much and yes, the sign made me smile too – a new original way to convey the important message!😀

  12. How centering, Annika. These are sights you may not have seen if not for COVID. I’ll put that on the plus side (it’s very lonely over there; not many items).

    A bug hotel? Never heard of that!

    1. Jacqui, I must admit we started a tally of positives for the lockdown months and the walks were definitely on there, as was the reduced pollution! I could taste the freshness of the air and it was delicious! But yeah, not much else on that side … and the negatives keep mounting, alas.

      Haha! The first time I heard about bug hotels I thought it was a joke, but seemingly not! This was the fanciest I’ve ever seen – just wonder about the charge for each room?! 😀

      The walks are still keeping me sane and centred … and on the rainy days I hunker down in my cosy office all day!

    1. Andrea, we so often used the term groundhog day during the months … but I’ve tried to ensure each day is marked somehow and weekends remained just so! Some days it was difficult to get into the mood to head out but once there it was such a tonic! Take care. xx

    1. And thank you so much for joining me on the walks, Kamal! 😀❤️ It’s been a joy to share the photos and a bit about the walks here and I have particularly enjoyed ‘walking’ & ‘travel’ posts these months!

  13. Annika, thanks so much for taking us along on your beautiful walks. 500 miles, wow! Nature has been my therapy for decades, and now in the state we are in, it has been a lifesaver. Starting today, our province is making masks compulsory for indoor public areas. This, in spite of our number of cases presently at zero, but I suppose a second wave is expected.

    1. Zero?! That sounds life an impossible dream right now for the UK … hope we get there in the not too distant future but my hopes aren’t high. I’m glad Canada seems to be handling this well and as for masks indoors in public areas that is now a must here and not a problem. People have adapted easily enough to that.

      The landscape surroung you is astonishing in scope and beauty and no wonder it’s been a lifesaver for you! A wonder to live is such a place!

      Wishing you well and may it continue to go so good for your province. hugs xx

      1. Yes and only three deaths so far. I don’t mean to brag. The drawbacks of living on a semi-remote island have always included the higher cost of living—grocery supply, travel costs, etc.—but in this case our remoteness has paid off. Of course God only knows how it will all play out. I hope you and yours stay well and avoid anymore clusters of Covid 19. ❤️

  14. Hello Annika.

    This summer we went to a road trip spending our vacation by the lake and we drove only 487 miles to reach it. 🙂

    Great post and I admired very wonderful flowers, which you took.

    Happy new week.

    1. Hello Sartenda! Only 487 miles!! 😀 And I assume that was one way. Here in the UK that would be considered a long road trip. I took a quick look at your post and it looks amazing and the reindeer is super inquisitive!

      I’m so glad you enjoyed my post, very local … the flowers in the garden this year have been a wonderful blessing!

      Wishing you a lovely week ahead as well. 😀

  15. I remember the first time I heard The Proclaimers sing “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) I was on a Haggis Adventure tour across the Scottish Highlands with a group of young people from Australia and New Zealand. My husband and I are Canadians, the oldest members of the tour. That was when I was first called Clanmother. That was 2008 and the name seemed to stick especially as I grow older. Life is about claiming our time, doing the things that give joy to our souls. I LOVED this post Annika. Thank you

    1. Rebecca, your Haggis Adventure tour sounds fascinating and most intriguing! 😀 Have you ever written about it? I do love your name Clanmother and agree, it feels as if it is one you grow into. Your perspective on our time on this planet is always wonderfully life-affirmative, radiating with positivity and possibilities – an inspiration!

      1. We belong to an amazing blogging community that spreads compassion and joy. I am grateful for the friends that I have made across the world. Hugs coming to you from across the ocean.

  16. Thank you for this most gorgeous tour with both your images and deep description Annika. How blessed to be surrounded by such beauty. And I had to chuckle at the ‘bug hotel’. Love it. Glad to hear you’re keeping well. Hugs xx

    1. Debby, I’m too smitten with the idea of a ‘bug hotel’ … one can only start to imagine the tiny reception desks, door keys, restaraunts for them all! That’s before I even begin to make-up decorations for their rooms! 😀

      Thank you so much for your lovely comment and joining me on the virtual tour here. I’m so glad you enjoyed the pics and the descriptions – it’s always a matter of saying a bit but not too much and rambling on!

      Hope you are both keeping well and safe. I believe the situation in Canada seems better than many places in the world. Take care, hugs xx ❤️

      1. Thank you Annika. Yes, we’re doing very well in Canada. The beauty is everyone obeys, masks are becoming second nature everywhere. Masks save lives. Stay well my friend. ❤ xx

        1. Exactly! There is not too much problem with that in the UK, just that many then seem to forget the ‘social distancing’ advice! I’m forever dodging into the road to avoid people in town!

  17. Your descriptions of your area are marvelous. I enjoyed walking along with you in the beautiful countryside. It’s amazing you have racked up so many miles during this lock-down time. We have been walking most mornings, but our route is only 2.5 miles. I’m almost envious that you can take different ways and get new views. I’m going to be content with our routine, though, because it is steady. We know we’ll be back home in a little over an hour. Thanks for all the gorgeous photos.

    1. Anne, thank you so much and I wanted to capture the walk as best as possible both through my words and photos. Lovely to have you tagging along and hope you enjoyed the new views! 😀 I must admit in the beginning we stuck with a couple of ‘old’ favourite routes but then fellow walkers suggested new paths to explore for which we are thankful. Happy Trails and continue to enjoy your morning route – 2.5 miles sounds justs perfect! 😀

  18. Annika, I enjoyed reading this post and your beautiful photos. Good for you to walk over 500 miles. The bug hotel looks interesting. I walk 5 or 6 days per week and during the summer I add cycling. I look forward to my walk and bicycle ride every morning. Have a wonderful week!

    1. Natalie, how wonderful to start the day with a walk or bicyle ride. 😀 A bright and refreshing outing for the body, mind and soul! I imagine you have beautiful countryside where you life. Here biking is not so safe on the busy roads so walks it is for us! I hadn’t thought about the miles adding up so much until my husband worked it out! Wishing you a great week too! xx

  19. That’s a lot of miles. Good for you. I got tired of the scenery from our neighborhood, as we do not live where there is much scenery. We did drive to a few parks/preserves for some walks, which was much better.

    Those flowers are gorgeous and the photos magnificent. Thank you for sharing. So glad you’re taking the lockdown opportunity to enjoy the fresh air.

    1. Lori, it was amazing how many people started to go out for walks during the lockdown and we too ensured to try and go out for the permitted hour every day if possible! Since then it has become part of my being and I feel odd if I don’t head out for a walk once a day although many others seem to have stopped in this daily exercise!

      It’s good you’ve got some parks and other nature reserves to which you can drive and understand that it is a more enjoyable and relaxing than town surroundings. Happy Trails and keep safe. xx

    1. Charley, thank you so much and it means a lot to me that it’s had such a positive effect on you. 😀 The cherry tree in Spring is my favourite, absolutely divine and I love taking photos like this against the sky – trying to mimic one of Van Gogh’s paintings which I have a print of in the bedroom! Take care, my friend! xx

      1. We’re well and blessed to be able to enjoy the wonders even when we’re in self-quarantine, but how fabulous it will be when we can all get out and about again… Stay safe and well, dear Annika! ❤ xo

    1. Neil, thank you so much! 😀 Being a very bookish person I hadn’t quite considered myself as a nature lover as younger then realised it was there all the time! Yep, nature is a tonic and joy in all times and I’ve enjoyed sharing my walks with picture posts since I started blogging! I am blessed to live in such beautiful surroundings … now more than ever. Wishing you well. 😀

    1. Lynette, you could almost feel the planet taking deep breaths as the pollution levels fell during the last few months – a dreadful reason for it all though. Hopefully we will get there with other measures quickly! I’m so glad you enjoyed the photos and it’s a joy to share them here. Here’s to more walks! 😀

    1. Ahh … thank you so much, Lavinia! 😀 It was an incredible and magical childhood and one that set me up for life, I feel! Hope you had the chance to experience something similar as young. 😀

      1. I did. I grew up in a small, rural town on the edge of a swamp. There were a lot of wooded areas about, I had a pony, then a horse, so I did a lot of trail riding, too. And then there was the Mystic River, and the road along that. The river emptied out into Long Island Sound, and was brackish at that end. I have many fond memories. 🙂

  20. Wonderful to hear about your walks, Annika. I have also spent time in my garden over the past five months. I have watched it changing and it has been very interesting. I’m seeing so much I would normally miss. I’m tired of work and need a break, but we are planning a getaway to the mountains.

    1. Robbie, thank you and it’s been a delight to share about my walks here. How wonderful that you’ve had a chance to fully appreciate your garden … this is the first summer ever that I’ve not been abroad and it has been interesting to follow the garden throughout the seasons. Have a fabulous time up in the mountains – the phrase alone is evocative of adventure and peace! 😀

    1. Teagan, thank you so much for your wonderful comment and it’s great how you enjoyed all the various elements of the post and felt it was a perfect balance! 😀 This is a song that once it’s in my head takes weeks to leave – but I don’t mind at all! Keep well and safe, my friend! Hugs winging their way back to you. xx

  21. Ahhh…, Annika. Thank you for this wonderful and uplifting post. So much beauty.
    Can’t decide which picture is my favourite as they all seem to stand on no 1.
    Your words reach the same height, there is beauty and lightness, seriousness and happiness.
    All in a language that sings.
    I am so glad to hear how observant you are of all around you. It is a blessing for you and for us who share it. Yes, I did see the Troll 🙂 and the bughouse and the mystic forest with
    Eucalyptus trees ethereally shining.

    Shall I stop now and just say , it is great!

    miriam

    1. Miriam, bless you for your wonderful comment!! 😀😀 I’m blushing now … it is a joy to create these picture posts and I’m over the moon you enjoyed the combination of photos and descriptions! I’m hard-pressed myself too to nominate one photo as a favourite and it was difficult enough to whittle down to just these images from all pictures I’ve taken these past months! Having always loved being outdoors I was still surprised at how much more I’m noticing around me; a richness indeed! The eucalyptus trees struck me immediately and it was almost a spiritual sensation walking amongst them. I hope you have a chance to enjoy nature as well this year … your poems are inspirational for nature writing and for reaching into the heart of our lives! Happy Trails! hugs, xx ❤️

  22. A beautiful tribute to nature, Annika.
    I remember when young I loved wandering through the eucalyptus grove. It wasn’t near my house, but it was near a farm my father went to see clients and took me a long. I’ll never forget how the air smells over there – clear, clean and refreshing.

    1. Jina, thank you for sharing your wonderful memories of the eucalyptus grove- you write with such warmth, poignancy and tenderness! There is a certain ethereal aura wandering amongst the trees. Ahh, I love how you see my post as a tribute to nature … that means a lot to me, Jina! xx

  23. I absolutely love all these photos! Thank you for sharing them. And 500 miles is fantastic! Walking is SO good for the body, mind, and soul! Here’s to another 500!

    1. Jan, my mind and soul are cheering for the next 500 … my legs are groaning ever so slightly! 😀 😀 It’s been a wonder to partake in daily walks and yes, it was a saviour for my spirit and soul! I I’m so glad you loved the photos and it’s been fun trying to decide which ones to feature! Hope you’re keeping well and having a lovely Sunday. xx

  24. A beautiful post, Annika. I could feel the sunshine and the changing of the seasons. 500 miles is wonderful. That’s a lot of steps and fresh air. The garden and forests have been my refuge too. I can’t imagine this time without them. Stay well, my friend. ❤

    1. Thank you so much, Diana! 😀 It’s the first time ever that I’ve been a whole year at home (as you know I’m usually a few months or so in Sweden) so it’s been incredible to see the changing of the seasons. The walks were a life-line though I must admit there were days we ‘dragged’ ourselves out of the door!😀 I would immediately cheer up and feel my energy restored! I imagine your garden as a most mystical place and how wonderful that you have the forest on your doorstep – a saviour indeed! hugs xx ❤️ PS. Best of luck with your book launch of ‘Liars and Thieves’ this week – I’ve pre-ordered it and look forward to reading your latest book!

  25. I love Benny and Joon and the Proclaimers song is one of my all-time favorites! Perfect for your blog. You have made good use of your time. The pictures are wonderful. We have some nice parks close by where we can take our dog too for walks. She got a lot of walks during the lockdown! Take care. xo

    1. Yeah! Darlene, it’s lovely to meet another fan of Been & Joon and the Proclaimers – such a bundle of goodness and fun! 😀 I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and phots and as always it’s hard whittling down the masses of pictures to just a few. How wonderful that there are good parks nearby for you and your dog. During the months I’ve seen so many people and their dogs out walking – for some dogs it almost became too much and a couple of people resorted to putting them in a little buggy for walkies! Very cute!😀

    1. Thank you so much, Ashen – it’s been a joy to share some of my walks here and I consider myself very fortunate to live in such lovely surroundings. I hope you have a chance to build a Bug Hotel – this was the fanciest I’ve ever seen. My son’s school made one when he was little and that turned out to be just a hole in the ground filled with sticks and leaves – oh, he was so disappointed!

  26. Such a lovely walk, Annika. It’s so nice to see your beautiful smile. I’m happy you’ve been able to enjoy the outdoors. Your photographs are gorgeous! And that tree behind the blackberries is incredible! It looks like something you’d see in the tropics. Thanks so much for sharing with us. Stay well! xo

    1. Ahhh … Jill, thank you so much for your lovely comment and words – I’m now blushing! I was exuberant to be out of my immediate neighbourhood and hence the big smile! 😀 The exotic-looking tree is called a monkey puzzle tree (Araucaria araucana) and it is not an uncommon sight in some gardens. Originally from Chile and Argentina, it is an evergreen and grows to 30–40 m (100–130 ft) in height. Wishing you a wonderful Sunday and week ahead, my dear friend! ❤️ PS. Best of luck with the launch of your latest book ‘A Home for her Daughter’ this week – it’s my next book to read and I can’t wait! xx

      1. Thanks for the name of the tree, Anneli. Monkey puzzle! What a great name and two things I love! Thank you…it’s difficult to launch a book with the day job, but I’ll do my best after working hours. Have a terrific week! xo

  27. I so enjoyed this post, Annika. Before lockdown I often drove to places to walk but when that was no longer possible it was really good to find it only took a few minutes to walk out of town and be in the countryside.
    Love The Proclaimers! I don’t know the film Benny and Joon but will check it out after seeing the trailer.

    1. Mary, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post – it was a lot of fun to put together! It is fascinating what one learned about one’s immediate locality during this time and I feel so lucky we have this much nature on our doorstep; it really became a saviour for my spirits! Oh, your Scottish landscape must be stunning and such a balm for one’s soul!

      I first saw Benny & Joon at uni and it is a sweet quirky film; Johnny Dep is brilliant and I immediately bought the soundtrack album after seeing the film. Hope you have a chance to see it!

      1. I’ll try to find the film – sounds like my kind of film. Yes, I think the landscape and being able to get out definitely saved my sanity. I can’t imagine what it must have been like in a high rise flat in a city.

  28. Oh, I enjoyed this post tremendously, Annika. Lovely photos and precious memories.
    I have so fond memories of The North Yorkshire moors, they are really magic and I think it’s time to see more of Yorkshire when it’s safe to travel.
    What would you recommend for a visit in late November?
    We haven’t seen “Beeny and Joon” with a young Johnny Depp (who has been seen in North Norfolk again this summer) but it’s on my list now. I often have a song in loop in my mind when I go out on my own too and now I think ‘I Would Walk 500 Miles’ by The Proclaimers will stay with me for a while. I can’t switch it off! 😉
    Enjoy your Sunday, take care,
    love from the four of us in Cley next the sea. x

    1. Hanne, thank you for your wonderful comment and so lovely to hear from you. 😀 The song is a great one to walk whilst playing in one’s head (or headphones) and always makes me take longer and faster strides. Oh, so Johnny Depp found a place to stay in North Norfolk this summer!! 😀 We’ve been desperately looking for something there mid to end September but drawn a blank and probably heading to the south coast instead. Oh, there is so much to see in Yorkshire you’re spoilt for choice although obviously not the best of weather end November. The drama of the landscape never fails to hold one in awe though. I’m sure you’ve been to many of my favourite childhood places such as Bolton Abbey, Fountains Abbey, Cow & Calf on Ilkley Moor, Knaresborough, Hebden Bridge, York, Malham … it really is ‘God’s Own Country’! Have a fabulous time there and hope things are better up in the North of England by then. Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead … soak up the heavenly sight of the North Sea! hugs xx ❤️

    1. Thank you so much, Denzil! 😀 The outdoors has always meant a lot to me but even more these months. Cycling is wonderful too alas the roads here are dangerously busy so I gave away my bike last Autumn – much to my regret as it would have been perfect on the quiet roads this Spring! It was amazing how the air quality improved and I could ‘taste’ the difference whilst out on walks – reminding me of forest walks in Sweden!

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