Brandon Marsh

I have been wanting to head out to Brandon Marsh for a couple of years now, but never quite getting the chance, but with a UK wildlife photography competition looming that would only take recent work it seemed like a good time to pop along. Brandon Marsh is the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s headquarters and it really is very nice indeed. There are some flat pleasant walks  around the lakes that are mostly not too muddy and an abundance of wildlife, 230 species of birds have been recorded as well as Muntjack deer hiding in the largest reed bed in Warwickshire and otters, badgers and bats to name but a few. brandon-marsh-for-blog-1The light was beautifulbrandon-marsh-for-blog-2brandon-marsh-for-blog-3as we wandered around, brandon-marsh-for-blog-4and in parts there were still signs of a hard frost overnight. grass-1 brandon-marsh-for-blog-9The grasses just so beautiful towering above me. brandon-marsh-for-blog-5 brandon-marsh-for-blog-6 brandon-marsh-for-blog-7We were lucky enough to meet this friendly robin and carried on with out walk, brandon-marsh-for-blog-10When we met the friendliest robin I ever did meet. He was very keen, so I said to hubby, put your finger out, see what he does. brandon-marsh-for-blog-11And this lovely robin would have landed in the palm of his hand had hubby had a mealworm about his person. brandon-marsh-for-blog-12We had such a good time chatting away to him. img_1611And he seemed to enjoy it too.

Unfortunately we were booked up for the afternoon so made plans to come back very soon.

New Years Resolutions.

This year I have been thinking rather a lot about planning. When hubby retired I think I was a bit lost as I hadn’t needed to share my ideas or plans on any great scale for quite a while and being a person that can memorise the next months appointments and even carry a rough idea when dentist and optician appointments are due during the year,  I very rarely referred to a diary.  But that wasn’t going to work as a couple as it left hubby floundering and me wondering why on earth he was doing something different to what I had planned – which of course I hadn’t communicated to him.

So we started to plan together on Sunday evenings, Mandy with her Erin Condren and all the stickers, colourful gel pens, stamps with chalk ink and gorgeous washi tapes, accompanied by hubby with a book of 1001 things to do in London, the Londonist and various other whats on in London and Warwickshire websites and a map of the underground. That concerted effort that lasted maybe an hour really set the tone for the following week.  It didn’t always work, sometimes we would get rained out or just not feel like doing a long slog that day, but the ideas were still there and ready to pick up and pop into the diary at a moments notice.

Various ways of planning have been experimented with, and I find as my diary gets busier and busier that I actually do need a diary, maybe thats an age thing, but I am wondering how I managed without one. Bullet journaling comes and goes, mainly when I am in clean all the things and sort it all out mode. My Erin Condren  was brilliant for organising and planning and as the week went on it turned into a scrapbook of postcards and leaflets of events and cute sticker photographs printed by my zip printer, becoming a perfect memory of our 1st year of retirement, it is totally rammed I can barely close it.  So I am changing that around too, this year I will be solely using my Erin Condren as a scrapbook of our lives together, to record all the joyful things that we see and do and have bought a Mambi Happy Planner in the new Big size to plan the week with. It will be big enough to include all excursions, exercise, meal plans, photography and other hobbies ideas and time slots, domesticity and anything else that may appear. Along with that I have been playing with a Cocoa Daisy, Daisy Dormainly because they are just so pretty, but this allows me to concentrate on the month in hand and slots very nicely into my travelers notebook, along with my diary (a Hobonichi Weeks, the paper is just gorgeous and fountain pen friendly!) and with that a journal that I write up daily. Have I found my herd of Unicorns?  I’m not sure, but I think I am getting close.

This year I aim to experiment with Power Sheets, well I will when they come, they arrived in Paris and then went to Germany for a wander around, they are in London now, so I should see them soon. I’ve also picked up a couple of books about living well and How to Live a Good Life by Jonathan Fields is certainly hitting the spot.  And although we are still in the embryonic stage of exploring my deeper thinking, needs and wants it has already become abundantly clear that photography has become a driving force behind my creativity this year. I also know that spending too much time on social media, addictive as it is, has exhausted me, sometimes I feel like a rat caught in a run, running up and down, up and down and therefore it needs to be reigned in and controlled.

But there is good stuff within the digital world, notably the world and its wife do videos these days, so exploring the use of Photoshop and Lightroom has never been easier and to that end I aim to use Lynda.com a couple of times a week, as well as using Youtube as a tool not just entertainment.

This year our plant based diet is going to be ramped up to five days a week, we have been hovering at three days for a while, so we are ready to take the next step. I think we will always enjoy eating meat, but as we both enjoy all the vegetables and noticeably feel better when we are more attentive to our diet, it just makes sense. Obviously the usual murmurings about exercise and alcohol intake apply.

Apart from photography, diet and exercise as the main components of my year ahead, I really want to live as presently as possible.  I know that these have been the buzz words of the last few years, but I have pondered with them for a quite a while and at last see how it all works, together, for me, at a deeper level and it is getting easier.  And I know that when I make that effort, and actually it does require quite a bit, hubby and I’s life together just gets that little bit more colourful and much more memorable and if I know anything, it is that I want to enjoy and remember every single second, which of course is impossible, but as much as I possibly can.  I want to remember these crazy, fun filled days forever, even if I might need an aid memoir in my later stages.

Happy New Year everyone, safe journey.