This weekend has been the first of four weekends in our latest national lockdown, also known colloquially as Lockdown 2.0. Since Thursday, all parts of England have returned to a full Covid-19 restrictions, with the re-closure of non-essential retail businesses and with restaurants and cafes offering takeaway menus, rather than eat-in options.
Happily, Saturday was a lovely, melow, autumn day, so the people of Kenilworth were able to be outdoors, enjoying the fresh air, walk with a companion or cycle in the sunhine (all observing the lockdown rules). Just as the nation got outside in spring and summer, so we now need to find ways to maximise the daylight hours and experience a sense of freedom.
In her delightful book, Afoot and Lighthearted, Bonnie Smith Whitehouse begins with the assertion: Solvitur ambulando, a Latin phrase that means, “It is solved by walking.”
Since I started doing more long distance walking last year, I’ve begun to experience the real benefits of walking – both physical and mental – that putting one foot in front of the other can bring. Even better, walking with a companion is a wonderful way not only to catch up with each other but to reflect on life’s challenges; discuss problems and find solutions. Indeed, it is solved by walking. Whilst out yesterday, we also learned the momentus news of Biden’s success in the US elections.
Yesterday, the dog and I covered 12.6 miles over two walks – a short walk in the morning and another – much longer – trail in the afternoon. It was so good to be outside, to feel the sun on my face and to re-trace familiar steps. The longer of the two walks can be found on AllTrails: Millennium Way: Meer End and Kenilworth Walk. This route takes in the magnificent ruin that is Kenilworth Castle, passes through large swaithes of farmland and allows glimpses of wonderful dwellings.
Almost everyone can walk; even just 20 minute sof brisk walking per day is said to bring benefit to both health and overall wellbeing. Captain Sir Tom Moore showed us that you’re never too old to get started or, indeed, to achieve extraordinary things.
Just a year ago, I began a quest to walk all 630 miles of the South West Coast Path. I’ve mentioned it here before, but I can’t believe that 12 months have passed since we first stood in front of the iconic sculpture that heralds in the start of the trail (in the pouring rain!). This summer, I was able to go a little further, having postponed the second stretch twice (first because of Storm Dennis, then Covid). With my friend, Lynne (plus Ollie the cockapoo, we walked 90,000 steps over 3 days, crossing the Somerset/Devon border to enter the second county on the trail.
Nowadays, life has changed a great deal in a number of ways. Perhaps the most signficant is how sedentary I have become. My health app tells me, “So far, you’re waliking and running less than you normally do.” No kidding, Sherlock. Working from home has a number of benefits, not least the reduced stress involved in actually getting up and arriving on time at your desk. Nowadays, here are no excuses for not being on time!
However, friends agree that, no matter what organisation you work for, working from home involves too many online meetings. It feels relentless. So, to catch a little daylight now that the clocks have gone back, I’ve given myself a little diary prompt that sits within a 30-minute slot and simply says, “WALK.” If the prompt is there, it may just be that I can give myself permission to get up from my dining-room desk and get outside.
And, who knows? Those work challenges might even just get solved – or lessened – by putting one foot in front of the other.
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