“Children have one kind of silliness, as you know, and grown-ups have another kind.”C.S. Lewis
You’ve just finished one meeting. You have just enough time to go and make a drink before your next meeting. The drink making facilities are just across the open plan office, down a corridor in another room. As you traverse the office you have to pass in-between two people chatting in the middle of the walkway that you are using. As you turn into the small corridor you notice there are three people who’ve already got their brew (as a hot drink is known in these parts) stood blocking the corridor, again your progress is slowed as it takes a little while to notice you. You politely ask the people to move to one side, which they do, with a surprised look that questions why someone else would want to use this same space. Once you move past them you are conscious that they have moved back to their original position, returning the corridor to the blocked state. They must know that that you will soon return and again politely ask them to move.
I suspect that there is an almost universal frustration that comes from the inability to reach your destination because people are stood, often talking, in doorways and corridors.
Doorways seem to have a particular attraction for people; doorways on corridors are a magnet.
Why have they chosen these places to stop, why couldn’t they move to somewhere more convenient (for you)?
What is so attractive about corridors and pinch-points?
Why do people stand in corridors and doorways more than anywhere else?
The reality is that we’ve all done it, we’ve stood at a pinch-point, blocking access and been completely unaware of other’s need to traverse a space.
I started the research for this post expected there to be a really good, simple, easily found, universally understood answer to these questions, but it hasn’t proved to be easy to find any information.
If I search for something like “why do people chat in corridors” I’m introduced to a myriad of newspaper articles about a school where they’ve banned talking in corridors. I didn’t realise that it was such a big issue 😏.
If I search for something like “why do people block corridors” I get a different issue – the blocking of corridors by residents, predominantly in flats. People leaving objects in corridors for others to fall over seem to be problem that’s experienced across the globe 🙄.
During my journey of discover I’ve discovered that corridors are, themselves, a modern construction in English speaking countries dating back only as far as back as the 1700’s. While this is interesting it doesn’t answer my query.
I did find a couple of articles where I thought I might get to an answer but all they were doing was moaning about the problem, followed by hundreds of comments from people raging against people who stood in such places. I haven’t linked to these articles because most of the comments weren’t worth viewing and many were offensive 😣.
My quest for answers will continue, but for now I’ve decided on a different approach. In order to research some more I think I need some hypotheses, perhaps you have some other ones to add to my understanding?
Standing in Corridors Hypotheses
Why do people stand and chat in corridors and doorways more than anywhere else?
Likelihood of meeting
Corridors and doorways are places of transit. The likelihood of meeting someone in one of these locations is higher than in other places because there’s a concentration of interactions.
People aren’t normally scheduling a meeting in a corridor it’s just the place where they met someone.
Meetings are difficult to move
Once you’ve met someone it’s difficult to move that discussion elsewhere. I’ve tried it a few times and the meeting is more likely to end, in my experience.
“Shall we continue our chat on the comfy seats”
“Actually I’ve got a meeting I need to be getting to. Bye.” (or similar)
It’s a perception issue
Actually people don’t prefer to chat in corridors or doorways, we notice these interactions because people are in the way. If two people in an office, on adjacent desks, are chatting it’s barely visible, if those two people were stood in front of a water cooler it would be noticed by everyone trying to get some refreshment.
A corridor represents the cave of old where we used to converse. We feel comfy and cosy here, it’s a natural place to chat, we are safe here. A doorway represents the edge of safety with an easy retreat. Chatting in a large open plan office is a strange place to chat, out in the open, vulnerable to predators.
People are annoying
People stand in corridor just to annoy you. I don’t believe this is true, I include it here because it’s what I’m thinking when I try to get past people.
What other reasons come to mind?
I work in a role where it’s possible that a meeting can happen anywhere in the 24 hour of a day. In general people work together to respect people’s working day, but there are times when a meeting at an anti-social time is unavoidable, that’s accepted. What makes me grumpy, though, is when these meetings are cancelled or postponed, particularly at short notice.
Yesterday evening I finished my normal working day with the expectation of joining a teleconference at 8:00pm. When I had started my break at 6:00pm I had already attended a preparation meeting with the full expectation that the later meeting would go ahead. Still expecting that the meeting would go ahead I retreated into my small study at 7:55pm ready to connect, but in the 1 hour 55 minutes I had been offline the meeting had been reschedule to a later date. I was a bit grumpy, I wasn’t a lot grumpy, because I had some expectation that this would happen. Why was I grumpy?
This experience got me thinking; if the notice of this postponement had come to 6:00pm I would have been delighted. The timing of the cancellation/reschedule made all the difference to my response.
I wondered whether I could create a model, or an equation, to understand this phenomenon, something that would help us to empathise with others in different time zones attending a meeting.
First step, create a chart of grumpiness/delight for a typical meeting cancellation based on time of the meeting and notice period given:
The first observation is that most of the points on this chart are actually ranges that depend upon the type of meeting and the importance of the meeting that is being cancelled or postponed. If a meeting is at an anti-social time, but I don’t think it’s important, I’m not likely to attend anyway. If the meeting at an anti-social time is critically important to progress another activity and is postponed I’m likely to still be a bit grumpy even if I get good notice of the move. Imagine that this charge represents a moderately important meeting that doesn’t represent anything that is time critical.
There are some interesting aspects to this chart:
If you give me good notice of a cancellation for a meeting at an anti-social time I will be delighted that it’s been cancelled. The reverse is also true, give me poor notice and I’ll be especially glum. If I know before the end of my normal working day that I don’t need to interrupt my evening with a work commitment I’ll be very happy, thank you. If I interrupt my evening, or even my sleep, to attend something that I then find out that I didn’t need to attend will make me sad.
There are degrees of anti-socialness, evenings are different to very early mornings but for each of them you need to consider how much notice you might need to give. The danger here is that the more anti-social it is the more notice you need to give; giving 2 hours of notice for a 2:00am meeting isn’t helping anyone.
Even with a 12 hour notice there is still a window for grumpiness. Assuming that I finish my working day at 6:00pm and don’t check in the evening, the postponement of a meeting scheduled for 7:00am the next day will still make me a but grumpy. I’m normally awake about that time, but attending a meeting at this time will be outside my normal routine, which I’m happy to do as long as there is some value in doing it. Interrupting the normal routine and having nothing to show for it it frustrating.
While it’s not always possible to give people notice of a cancellation giving zero notice is always likely to lead to a level of umbrage. If you have some notice you have a chance of re-planning your day, zero notice takes away that possibility.
Cancellations for meetings that happen around lunchtime are a special condition in the model. Meetings at mealtimes are themselves anti-social, there’s a less marked impact, for me anyway, for breakfast and dinner, but messing about with lunchtime makes me grumpy. Treat that meeting at 12:00pm to 12:30pm with special care.
The end of the normal working day is another special case. This is the one time I’m likely to a little peak of delight that a meeting is cancelled with zero notice. Strangely I feel more delighted about a meeting cancelled at the end of the working day than one postponed in the evening.
Having looked at the chart I concluded that there probably wasn’t a formula for this. I also concluded that there were several other factors that influence my response to a meeting postponement or cancellation:
- Day of the week – a Monday looks different to a Friday.
- Time sensitivity – how do I feel if the results of a meeting are needed for a time critical activity.
- Social impact – what I am doing outside of the normal working day makes a huge difference, especially if I have chosen to forego a personal commitment in favour of a work commitment that then doesn’t happen.
- Reasons for meeting timing – there are very good reasons for some meetings happening at anti-social times, the reasons are not as clear for other meetings.
- Expectation of postponement – there are some meetings that give me, for various reasons, I have a high expectation of change. My response to these meetings differs.
- Overall meeting-load – there are regularly situations where I need to choose one meeting over another. Getting short notice of cancellation of the chosen meeting can lead to high levels of frustration.
- Family and cultural routines – some people’s chart for the anti-social hours would be very different to mine and that signifies their family and cultural routines. I tend to regard early evenings as easier than late evenings, people with younger children probably see this the other way around.
In short, there isn’t a simple formula to work out what my, or someone else’s, response to a reschedule will be, but giving people as much notice as possible is an excellent working practice. Avoiding zero-notice cancellations should be very high on meeting organisers objectives, especially at anti-social times.
Two of the books that I’ve read in the last 6 month have referred to the same study by a team lead by Jeremy Morris in 1949 to 1952.
Morris was interested in the connection between cardiovascular disease and physical activity. The link between exercise had been a long-held popular view, but there was little data to support it. On his daily commute in post war Britain, where money for research was scarce, Morris noticed a perfect sample for an experiment in the two people who operated the famous London double-decker buses on which he travelled – the driver and the conductor.
The driver with a mostly sedentary working life, the conductor on their feet most of the day, up and down stairs and from front to back. The difference in cardiovascular disease between the two cohorts was significant with drivers twice as likely to experience a heart-attack as the conductors. Neither of these roles required breathless physical exertion, the difference was between sitting all day and walking about all day.
Since the 1940’s the population in the west has moved from active jobs to sedentary ones. We may not be driving buses, our vehicles are apps, our steering wheels are screens, mice and keyboards.
Sitting all day is killing us, and it’s not just our cardiovascular system that is suffering, extended sitting is linked to a whole cluster of conditions. The recommended counter measure to these issues is exercise, in particular, walking.
Speaking personally, I can’t say that I can directly attribute any particular aspect of my physical well-being to regular walking, but I do feel the difference between active days and sedentary days. On active days I am less stiff, my brain is more alert, I sleep better, I feel less stressed, my posture is better, I am more creative, I am more motivated, my mood is better, I breathe better, in short I feel better.
One thing I’m not doing is walking to burn calories. While walking gives a reasonably good return on energy burnt, I’m more interested in the broader benefit to my overall well-being.
There’s still some debate about how much walking is enough walking, but for me I’m not sure that’s the right question. It appears that the 10,000 steps movement was created as a marketing event in Japan with no scientific research to support it. For me the question that I’m asking myself is how I build in as much activity as possible; can this meeting be done as a walking meeting? Can I take this call while I go for a walk? Even if I need to be near a screen for this discussion can I stand? Can I park my car away from the office door to make me walk in? I find it interesting that as a society we still regard these approaches as a bit weird.
Another question I ponder is which type of walking is best for me? In this regard it appears that we have to walk in a way that increases our breathing and heart rate. A number of people reference that phrase “you can still talk, but you can’t sing”. I rarely amble anywhere, but I don’t speed walk either. Perhaps I should be a bit more exerting as I walk, or perhaps I should just do more walking.
My morning walking routine has made a significant different to the amount of walking that I do, sadly it doesn’t stop me from sitting at a desk for 10 hours at a time occasionally. Most of the time this is broken by a lunchtime walk, whilst this walk does do something for me physically I find that it’s primary benefit is to my mind, perhaps that’s a subject for another day.
Header Image: Seathwaite Valley on the way back to the car after a fabulous day walking.
“Wherever there is judgement there is noise.”Daniel Kahneman – Daniel Kahneman: Putting Your Intuition on Ice
There’s an adage that says “seeing is believing”, but sometimes “seeing is inspiring” would be more appropriate, and that’s the case with the Envisioning Chemistry website videos.
My memories of chemistry at school are of diagrams, reference books and a few relatively dull, and somewhat safe, experiments. The most memorable experiment was the result of an accident. The teacher added rather too much potassium to water and the violent reaction that resulted had us all diving under our desks.
The Envisioning Chemistry website brings to life many more experiments in gloriously filmed time-lapse, macro and slow-motion videos.
Here are a few of them, but there are many more on the web site and on the Vimeo channel:
The other day I was walking back towards my house when a cacophony of bird noises grabbed my attention. My hearing told me that there were magpies and birds of prey somewhere nearby. I searched the trees above me and sure enough at the top of some tall trees a group of magpies and a few buzzards were in the middle of an altercation. As I watched the buzzards would, one by one, fly in to one of the trees only to be sent packing by a angry response from a few of the magpies. Once one buzzard had been repelled another one would fly in from a different angle which was again repelled by even more magpies. If it hadn’t been for the noise I’m not sure that i would have noticed this fascinating behaviour.
There are so many different birds to hear as I partake of my morning ramblings.
Last summer I watched a flock of noisy long-tailed tits leap from bush to bush along a local hedgerow. Their call is distinctive, particularly as they move around in these small flocks chattering away to each other as they go.
I love to listen to nature as I walk around but that’s not the only type of listening that I like to do. Recently I received a present of some bone-conducting headphones from Sue, my wife. These headphones don’t go in my ears, but rest on my cheek bones, because my ears are still open to the air I can still hear all of the ambient sounds around me while I listen to a podcast or an audio-book. The headphones are also quite good for music, but although I love music I tend to prefer the spoken word while I’m out walking.
There’s something about walking and listening to an audio-book that enhances the experience of both, for me. Listening regularly, even for relatively short periods of time, means that you can get through quite a lot of material. Some of my listening is fiction and as I walk I enter into the scenes that the author has painted. There are times when I feel like I am equally in two places at the same time, the real one and the fictional one. At other times my listening is more factual learning and listening as I walk helps the learning to become embedded in my mind. Walking is, after all, supposed to have a positive effect on creative thinking.
Often, as I walk, the loudest noise isn’t an external one, it’s the one in my mind. There have been times when, before a walk, that voice has become almost deafening and blocked out every other sound. As I set out on a walk that voice drives me to walk at a pace, but without any rhythm, and little delight. The voice may be setting the pace at the beginning, but something about the activity of walking steadily arrest and calms that voice and returns my steps to a normal tempo. Calm steps and calm thoughts. Sometimes I don’t have to walk very far before I experience this effect, but there are other days when I can walk miles before the calm descends. If I am out hill walking the motion and effort of an ascent is a great facilitator for calming the voice. It can feel like I’m fighting the hill at the beginning, but anyone who has been hill walking knows that it’s always the hill that wins. Once my inner voice has been calmed it’s then, and only then, that I can really hear it.
My life would be far poorer if I was to loose the ability to walk and listen, but more than that, I suspect that my mental well-being would be significantly impaired.
There are days when my primary reason for walking is to listen, that’s particularly true when I need to listen to myself.
header image: This is the side of Yewbarrow looking towards Pillar from a recent walk when I listened to the entirety of Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell.
I’m writing this post having returned from a day of discovery.
Today I walked a route I have never walked before and went to a place I have never been to in my previous 50 years. This place was number 197 on a list of 214 places that I have a plan to discover.
My journey started from a place I know well having already been on several different adventures from this base. Only recently I travelled a route that took me to the top of a hill called Base Brown, number 187, from the north. Today’s route took me around the south of that same hill with delightful views that were hidden from my previous route with rugged crags emerging through the low clouds that became the theme of the day.
Up to this point I had been walking a well defined path which is one of the routes to a Lake District favourite and England’s highest peak. Even this was a discovery and something new for me. Having reached a small stream it was time to join a faint path branching off to the right, it was time for the real discovery to begin.
This path isn’t on the maps, well at least it’s not on the maps that I use, but it is in various people’s guides to this walk. While the beginning of this path was visible it was clear that further up the hill the path was indistinct at best. Sometimes when I am out walking each step is a discovery. There were times when I had to take a step to see the next step, by taking that next step, the step after it became visible. Then there were points where even the next step wasn’t visible and I discovered by moving forward without a path. I knew the direction I needed to head to reach my destination and I expected the path to become clear at some point.
I headed towards a small tarnlet which I knew that the guided paths went past, by now I was up in the clouds with very little wind, when it’s like this the world shrinks to the size of the area that is visible. I like it when it’s like this.
A little way along the path reemerged, still faint, but clear a direct to the top where I discovered the two tops of Seathwaite Fell. There’s the summit on the map,and the summit defined by the guidebook writer Alfred Wainwright.
The best walks are continue their interest all the way up and all the way down, with discovery after discovery and this walk was one of those walks.
Not far beyond the summit there was another small unnamed tarn shrouded in cloud without even the faintest breath of wind. The reflections were wonderful in the cloudy gloom.
A little further along Sprinkling Tarn emerged, this is a larger tarn nestled into the hillside with an array of mountains looking down. While the path skirts around one side of the tarn I decided that this feature deserved a wider discover.
The tarn has an unusual shape with an isthmus shaped piece of land sticking out into the middle where I headed. It felt like I was on my own in the middle of the water. What a discovery.
From the isthmus I headed back to the path and eventually discovered another path along the route of the stream that flowed out of the tarn and back to my transport.
The stream flows down a cascade of waterfalls and rocky ravines with a different view every few metres. Eventually the path dropped below the clouds and opened up wonderful views across Borrowdale and Derwentwater beyond. This was a new view of familiar friends, another discovery.
It was a lovely day of discovery, discovery is connected to newness, but you don’t have to go somewhere new to discover. On my regular morning walks there’s often something to discover. Having said that, I do love to walk somewhere new, I love to discover. I still have 17 more discoveries on my list of 214, and then I’ll have to find a new list to discover.
You can, perhaps, discover more things, more quickly in a car, but discovering as you walk allows you to take in the experience. There’s nothing quite like a walking discovery adventure.
I was recently out and about on my morning walk and thoroughly enjoying the rhythm of it. It’s been very wet this year and my walking boots were covered in mud and wet inside, thankfully I had my waterproof socks on and my feet were fine. I was roughly half way around the circuit and I was starting to get that heading for home feeling as I left a country lane and headed onto a narrow path which runs alongside a brook. Just a few metres along a flash of blue down near the flowing water caught my eye. Instinctively I stopped still and turned slowly to look to where the flash had been. There, sat on a twig overhanging the brook was a kingfisher. It sat for a few seconds looked at me and darted off along the stream and into obscurity.
I was delighted.
That delight stayed with me for the rest of my walk and also as a slow fading feeling for the rest of that day.
On most of my morning walks I find something to delight in:
The drill of a woodpecker on a spring day.
The bronze glow of a beach tree in the autumn.
The taste of juicy brambles.
The look of disdain from a fox as is crosses the path and disappears into the undergrowth.
The roar of a stream in flood.
The smell of wild garlic and the beautiful white flowers.
The taste of plumbs ripened in a nearby field.
The mystery of a misty morning as trees turn into shadowy figures.
The excitement of seeing a deer effortlessly bounce down one side of a hollow and up the other.
The discovery of a new path that I’ve never used before and neither has anyone else from the look of the undergrowth.
The emergence of the buds in the oak trees and the promise of acorns.
The brilliance of a bank covered in bluebells hidden away from view.
The screech of buzzards circling overhead.
The crunch of fresh frozen snow.
The shock of startling a hare and seeing it speed across the fields.
The joy of the smaller birds as they scurry about their work.
The list goes on. I’m not upset if I don’t see anything new or unique there are plenty of marvelous things if I just have the eyes to see them. Seeing isn’t a passive thing, you have to train yourself to see, it requires attention, and walking gives that time for attention to build, but I think that might be a post for another day.
I’ve written about delight before – Count Your Blessings #143 – Delight – interestingly, also provoked by a walk and a song that I still love, who’s words I will leave you with:
Amid the rumours and the expectationsDon’t Forget About Delight: Bruce Cockburn
And all the stories dreamt and lived
Amid the clangour and the dislocation
And things to fear and to forgive
Header Image: One of those wonderful misty mornings.
I find walking rhythmic.
The step, step, step, step of a potter from somewhere to nowhere moves from my feet to my lungs.
In my lungs the step, step, step, step says “in, out, in, out”.
The in, out, in, out of my lungs say to my heart “pump-pump, pump-pump, pump-pump, pump-pump”.
Somehow that rhythm says to the rest of my body “calm, calm, calm, calm”.
When I’m walking up a particularly steep bit of a hill I’ll count each step in a rhythm – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 1, 2, 3… – continuing my progress, slowly, and rhythmically. When my body says that it’s time to stop I’ll make myself continue to the end of the current set of 10 almost likes it’s a bar in music. When it’s really, really steep I’ll make myself stop every two or three sets just to keep the rhythm.
Step, step, step, step.
One of the reasons that I avoid the very popular mountain paths where it’s become necessary to put in rock steps is because the uneven rocks destroy the rhythm, particularly coming down hill. It’s difficult to keep with the beat when you have to measure your every step.
In, out, in, out.
My working life has very little rhythm to it, each day the meetings, the conversations and the emails are all on different topics. A working day is really a set of interruptions, even in meetings it’s difficult not to get interrupted. Sometimes the stack of interruptions gets so high that I forget what the one at the bottom is. Then when the interruptions stop for a few minutes I don’t know what to do because the rhythm has been reduced to a cacophony. At times like this a few minutes walking reminds my whole being of the days rhythm and the calm returns, I’m far more productive in the calm.
Pump-pump, pump-pump, pump-pump, pump-pump.
A joys of a walk before work is knowing that I start the day with a tempo set by the steps I’ve already invested. While I try to make my morning walk stretching I deliberately avoid rushing it, I like to feel the beat. Days without a walk always feel a bit discordant.
Calm, calm, calm, calm.
The daily rhythms build into weekly rhythms.
The weekly rhythms build into seasonal rhythms.
Perhaps we’ll come back to that.
How can you explain that you need to know that the trees are still there, and the hills and the sky? Anyone knows they are. How can you say it is time your pulse responded to another rhythm, the rhythm of the day and the season instead of the hour and the minute? No, you cannot explain. So you walk.Author unknown, from New York Times editorial, “The Walk,” 25 October 1967
Earlier this year a colleague was bemoaning the availability of teaspoons in our office’s shared refreshment making facility. This had become a regular gripe, but not one that I regarded as critical or one that I should resolve.
This is the same facility that I wrote about some months ago in The Sub-optimal Kitchen – The 10 Steps to Getting a Cup of Tea where making a cup of tea is a challenge at the best of times.
One evening, however, a thought came to me: “I wonder how many spoons I can buy cheaply to resolve this situation for good, and perhaps I can have a bit of a laugh while I’m at it?”
Spurred on by this though I reached for my iPhone and discovered that I could purchase 48 teaspoons for the princely sum of £7. At 14.5p per spoon I decided that it was worth a giggle. I purchased the spoons and arranged to have them anonymously delivered directly to my colleague at the office. The delivery nicely aligned with a week of vacation and hence I wasn’t around when the cutlery arrived which extended the period of mystery. Returning from holiday I, of course, chose to stay silent on the matter which had clearly become a subject of discussion while I had been away.
What happened to the teaspoons?
Initially the teaspoons were retained by my colleague, but eventually a large proportion of them were placed in our Sub-optimal Kitchen for everyone to use.
For several weeks the spoons stayed where they were, in the Sub-optimal Kitchen, being used collectively as a shared asset. We didn’t monitor the number of spoons closely because they were just there. A few went missing, but mostly they resided where they had been placed. People weren’t great at washing them, but that was fine, a few of us undertook the duty of washing all of them from time-to-time. The teaspoons had become a shared utility which was being used as a shared asset for the benefit of all.
In recent weeks that situation has gone through a dramatic change and today there were just 6 teaspoons left in the Suboptimal Kitchen. Within the space of just a few days the abundance of cutlery has been transformed into an asset of scarcity. The occasional washing duty has been turned into a requirement to wash a spoon every time you want to use one. We have returned to bemoaning the lack of teaspoons.
Why the change?
I don’t know what happened to the teaspoons, for sure, but I have some theories.
Theory #1: I suspect that most of the teaspoons are now on people’s desks and they are taking them with them every time they make a cup of tea. They were initially comfortable to leave the spoons in the Suboptimal Kitchen because they were abundant. The abundance meant that they didn’t need to worry about whether a clean spoon would be available so they didn’t need to have their spoon – they had an Abundance Mindset. At some point the volume of spoons reduced to the point where people regarded them as scarce and their mindset shift to a Scarcity Mindset. This scarcity triggered a concern that there might not be a clean spoon available, and worse than that, there might not be a spoon available at all. Once this mindset shift had occurred in a few people it precipitated a rapid depletion of the shared asset as people sought to secure their own access to the facility for the long term and, in so doing, further depleted the asset.
Theory #2: Someone is a teaspoon hoarder.
Theory #3: Someone has taken the teaspoons home to give them an extra-special clean and forgotten to bring them back.
Theory #4: The cleaner has decided to throw them all away.
What are you going to do about it?
There are a few approaches available to resolve this situation:
Resolution #1: I could send an email to everyone in the office pinpointing everyone’s inconsiderateness and asking them to return the spoons. This would be a perfectly legitimate response to an obvious breach of office etiquette, but perhaps this is a little petty. This will be highly embarrassing if someone has taken the teaspoons home for an extra-special clean.
Resolution #2: I could spend another £7 and return the Sub-optimal Kitchen to a status of teaspoon abundance and reestablishing the shared asset. If my abundance mindset theory is correct this will enable the Sub-optimal Kitchen to function a little less sub-optimally for another period of time. If, however, we have a teaspoon hoarder, this approach will give someone the joy of extending their collection. If it’s because someone took them home to wash them, then we will have an over-abundance, but I doubt that will be a problem.
Resolution #3: Forget all about it and leave the Sub-optimal Kitchen in teaspoon scarcity.
What do you think I should do?
We have recently been on holiday in a beautiful part of England. It’s a place steeped in history with an abundance of places to walk. While we’ve been out and about I’ve been pondering what it is about walking that I love some much.
As I’ve mused I’ve realised how important walking is to me. I’m currently 90% of the way through a challenge to climb all of the hills in the Lake District that are chronicled in the books by Arthur Wainwright. There are 214 hills in this list and I’m down to the last 19. I do most of these walks on my own and whatever the weather I love it. I have no idea how many hours I have spent on this venture, but it’s a lot.
Most weeks I go out for a walk before work on at least three days. One of the privileges of my life is the ability to walk. This privilege is multiplied when the walking is in the countryside, something I can do from my house. If I walk a little way down my street there is a gap in the houses and a path. The path drops down to another path that runs alongside a brook. From this starting point the choices of route multiply like the branches on a tree.
Walking is so natural to many of us that we barely give it a thought. We put one step in front of another and move from one place to another. Sometimes I walk with a purpose, but more often I walk to walk, it’s the walking that is the reward.
Although walking is, for me at least, an ordinary activity I still love it, and that’s what I’ve been pondering? Why do I love walking? Why do I get out of bed on a cold, wet, dark morning, put on my waterproof clothing and walk with a smile on my face? I’ve never really given it much thought before, and I’ve not really written about it, so perhaps it’s time that I did.
Header Image: This is Embleton Bay looking towards Dunstanburgh Castle taken on a late afternoon walk during our recent holiday.