Helllooo – ooo – ooo, is anyone there, there , there? *Taps on screen* So, it’s, ahem, been a while. 2 months shy of 2 years in fact since I posted here, I’ve written a few posts over on my running blog but fair to say I’ve lost the urge to write.
But an awful lot has changed since that last post (still making awesome sourdough though which was the subject of that last post), we’ve moved countries for one. Which is the main subject for this post, I thought it was about time I shared a little update about this Welsh adventure we’ve embarked on and some of the plans we’re making for the future.
I’ve written in the past about the dream of finding a job that isn’t in an office, or a job that is more closely linked to my passion for running, cycling and the outdoors. The Lady of the Manor and I have also always dreamed of owning a smallholding and trying to live a simpler life. So at the end of 2017 as I found myself in a job that I really wasn’t enjoying and was becoming quite stressful we decided to stop talking about the dream and just get on and do it. After all, if it doesn’t work out we could always move back again.
So that’s the reason why we decided to make a change but where does Wales fit in? Quite simply Wales ticks a lot of boxes for us; the countryside is stunning and perfect for running and cycling, house prices are lower if you’re willing to be away from the major south coast cities (perfect for us) but there are still reasonable employment opportunities for us both. What we hadn’t expected to find was such great small towns full of life and independent shops or such a welcoming and fun community, particularly at school.
Ok people listen up, if you like cycling and you like a bargain then you need to get down to Aldi pronto. Last Thursday their cycling Special buys launched and it’s well worth a look. I’ve bought one of their cycling jackets in the past and have a bunch of their running clothes, they’re great value and quality. Sure they’re not the latest in Italian styling but when you’re on a budget I don’t think you can go wrong, the range includes jackets, tops, trousers, shorts, shoes and even lights.
Now you need to be quick because once it’s gone it’s gone but Aldi set me a bunch of samples so I thought I’d give you a little taster of what you could be missing out on. I think I have a career in modelling ahead of me right?
Winter cycling shirt – £9.99
Ultra bright cycling jacket – £9.99
Hi viz rain jacket – £19.99
Tears at the start, thankfully not a sign of things to come!
I think it’s fair to say that I’m an active person, exercise obsessed may be a better description but that all depends on your perspective. Combine that with the fact that we are now living off one wage only the lady of the manor and I are having to be a bit more imaginative in how we spend our weekends.
Not that we used to go out all the time spending lots of money, we’ve always preferred a walk in the woods over a trip to a shopping centre, but now even trips to the park and inevitable coffee shop pit stop need to be rationed.
So with the stunning Marlborough downs quite literally on our doorstep we decided that getting out on our bikes with the babies could be a perfect activity for us. Once you have the bikes it’s essentially a free activity, throw in a picnic and you’ve easily got half a day sorted. I also love that it’s showing Matilda and Henry how exercise can and should be part of everyday life just like it was for me growing up.
Saturday was our first trip out, a fairy short 5 mile loop from home up towards the Ridgeway and back again. Far enough to be out for a little while but not so far that if the children decided they didn’t like it that we couldn’t get home quickly! We also stopped halfway for a snack and drink to break it up a bit but needn’t have worried.
Both Matilda and Henry seemed to really like it even if Matilda did spend most of the time squashing Henry into the side. Henry even fell asleep on the way back which I think tells you all you need to know.
Snack time with a beautiful view of the Marlborough downs
Matilda loved spotting the cows and sheep as we passed the fields, I think the pace of cycling means the scenery changes quite quickly so not boring for them, but not so quick that they can’t take it in.
We even braved the trip with Matilda wearing pants and no nappy with no accidents which surely has to make it a roaring success? Now we’ve tried it out we’re already thinking of where to go next. There are a few good routes from home but would love some suggestions for places we could drive to. Anyone have any good routes around the Forest of Dean or New Forest for example. Traffic free ideally of course.
Bradley Wiggins eat your heart out!
My neighbours now officially think I’m odd, within the space of a few hours they saw me cycling around my garden like some sort of big kid and then taking lots of photos of a half drunk cup of tea. I have no doubt they are looking up the phone number for the local psychiatric hospital as we speak.
It probably didn’t help that my explanation for cycling around the garden was that I was testing my new bike and more importantly shoes for a race where I’m doing 105 miles of running, cycling and kayaking in one day. The look on their face said “ooookkkk, what sort of weirdo does that sort of thing”. That would be me then.
Crazy? Most probably.
But practise was needed, this is the first time I’ve owned a road bike and the sure to make you look like an idiot clipless pedals that come with them. I managed to go around the garden without falling over but we shall see what happens when I really do need to stop suddenly. Of course this is thirsty work and with the glorious weather of the weekend a tasty cup of lady grey hit the spot perfectly.
Now where did I put my extra padded lycra shorts?
I’m linking this post up to the Gallery over on Tara’s blog, you can find all the other entries by clicking here.