Nothing. No planes, no cars, no machinery. I couldn’t remember the last time I had been surrounded by such peace, alone with my thoughts. Not quite alone though; there was the sweet song of the blackbird, the mooing of cows from a distant farm, the breeze through the apple blossom trees. I shared the quiet evening with a bird of prey, far overhead, surveying the resting valley. What a view she must have; a patchwork of fields of green and yellow, dotted with plump white sheep, cows and horses like daisies in a meadow. It was one thing to drive through this bucolic landscape, it must be incredible to see it from above.
The fields were full of poppies, blood-red against the wheat, slowly bronzing in the sun. Pale winged butterflies danced across the sky, full of puffy clouds, unthreatening, for now at least. Hardly anything stirred, a heaviness lay in the air, like everything was too much effort. A breeze rustled the reeds, a duck slipped into the water, the only action of the afternoon. Everywhere still, everywhere resting, summer slipping slowly away on that breeze, dying like the day was.
Its been almost a year since I first started doing yoga. I never thought I’d become a yoga-convert. I used to scoff at the thought of leggings and downward-dogs, painful stretches and pretentious instructors. I first tried yoga in the Bahamas, and fell in love. Sure, the yoga studio, where we met each morning, with ocean views and tropical sunlight filtering through might have helped, but there was something so relaxing about it, something spiritual. Since then, I’ve joined a weekly yoga class, and tried it alongside surfing in Portugal and even had a private instructor when I stayed in India.
I was helping out in the local primary school recently when a discussion came up about where countries were in the world. One boy exclaimed loudly that he’d “never left East Anglia” and there was lots of agreement; most kids seemed not to have either. It made me wish that I could give each one of them the chance to travel. To go somewhere new. Anywhere- it didn’t have to be far. It may be a cliche but I think being able to travel has made me who I am and has taught me more than I could have ever learned otherwise. It would be great if every kid could have the same opportunity; to explore, to roam, to learn.
I was thinking about our trip to Thailand recently. We had a great week- so many amazing memories. So I thought it would be fun to bring some of those tropical vibes to grey ‘ol Norfolk the next time I made a smoothie. I’m quite into my smoothies lately- I love their slurpableness (what a cool word). Instead of my usual strawberries or kiwi ingredients, here is a Thailand inspired smoothie recipe that tastes almost as good as being there.
There’s just something about daffodils. Seeing them stand proudly, being battered by the wind and frozen by the hail, born too soon. They normally start to bloom end January, early February but the cold spell this year lasted much longer than usual. So, they waited. Slowly, their yellow petals emerged, shining in the early Spring sun. Now, the whole drive-way is lined with them- golden daffodils, those optimistic flowers.
I have to start off by saying that I’m not the best photographer. I’m guilty of using my iPhone more than my DSLR camera, or just letting Maya do all the hard work and ending up IN the photos instead. So when I got a GoPro HERO last Christmas, it was a bit of a revelation. Once the domain of thrill seekers and extreme sports junkies, these days everyone and anyone uses GoPros on their travels. Although I’m still scratching the surface in terms of using mine, I thought I’d share why I love my GoPro and why its the perfect little camera for lazy travellers.
Rice. It was the only thing on my mind as I pushed through the crowds, past the many markets stalls, past the vendors selling spicy noodle broth and skewered meat, as great vats of hot oil bubbled next to them. Lunchtime, and everyone except me seemed to be stuffing their face with something good. “Rice”. I demanded of a stall owner, “plain, white rice, do you have any?” She glared at me and shook her head. I moved on, trying one vendor after the other. No one would oblige, I was shooed away by everyone, it was as if I’d said a bad word. Hungry and confused, I marched on, a woman possessed. I knew what I had to do.
You know when people talk about 1980 something, the year of the heatwave and you think, that’s great, but those don’t exist anymore, especially not in England. Summer 2016. Finally, I can refer to 2016 in 10 years time as the year of the heatwave too. Not one, but a succession of them, sparking BBC articles covering how best to get sleep in a heatwave, causing runways to melt and delay Easyjet flights and train tracks to be deemed too hot to handle- just another one of Abelio Greater Anglia’s feeble excuses. For me, it meant being able to spend the whole day under the sun umbrella, sapphire blue skies with cotton candy clouds, and frying my phone if I accidentally left it in the sun too long.