It's been half term, which has turned out to be a much needed rest from the school and work routine. The February half term is a strange one. It always seems to come around really quickly after the Christmas holiday, but I always feel like we really need the break. I think it's because Christmas is so manic, but the break isn't all that long, so we get thrown back into work and school without really recovering from all the festivities and effort involved. It is also usually the worst holiday for bad weather and, sure enough, it was damp and grey here until Friday. Then the temperature suddenly improved, so this week's Weekend Wanderings features our first sunny day out of the year! Hurrah for Spring!
But first, a discovery. A Costa Coffee has appeared in my local high street. I'm not sure how I feel about it, actually. On the one hand, we all love Costa, and it's a nice occasional treat, on the other hand, this is not a big high street. It's a very small town that currently boasts a Coffee #1 (which is excellent), a Greggs, a Parsons bakery and coffee shop, plus several other independent eateries, offering tea and coffee, as well as meals. The level of saturation worries me and I do hope another business, or even more, isn't sacrificed in order to make way for this one. However, we did pop in for a nose and the staff are all lovely and it's a great place to be. Let's hope it carries on being a positive addition for everyone.
The highlight of our weekend was our spur of the moment decision to take a picnic to Caen Hill Locks in Devizes. You may have already seen our My Sunday Photo post this week, and I have so many more photos! It was just the most fabulous day. You know how, every now and again, everything just works out perfectly? There is always a risk with unplanned day trips in wintertime; what will the roads be like? Will the weather be ok? What if the car has another tantrum on the motorway?! That day, though, everything went our way, even the weather! When we first decided to go, in the morning, it was damp and grey, but not raining, which we figured would probably have to do at this time of year, so we put our wellies on, and packed a picnic, thinking we could always eat it in the car, if it was cold. Not long after we left the house, the sun started to struggle it's way through the clouds and, by the time we got there, the sky was blue and the sun was shining llike the loveliest spring day! It was unbelievably warm and we left our coats in the car and picnicked by the canal. I must mention our fab new flask, actually. We got really lucky with the weather, but if you plan on day trips like this in the winter, hot drinks are a must. This giant Thermos comes with two cups, holds 1.8 litres of water (the same as an average kettle) and keeps liquid hot for up to 12 hours. The best part is, it only cost a tenner from Tesco! After looking around elsewhere, it seems this is really reasonable, and, considering the price of hot drinks in cafes at tourist spots, it has already paid for itself, after one trip out!
The Kennett and Avon Canal, where you will find Caen Hill Locks, really is stunning. There are 29 locks altogether and they make a pretty impressive sight, all in a row. The view is magnificent too, you could see for miles over Wiltshire. There were swans and other waterfowl and canal boats to look at and we managed to amuse ourselves for a couple of hours just taking it all in. I took hundreds of photos, to the point where I think someone was going to throw my camera in the canal if I didn't stop stopping! If you have considerably better walking ability than me, you can follow the tow path for miles, but I was finding the uneven ground a bit of a challenge, so we decided not to go too far. We had a great time though, and I would recommend it for a picnic spot with a bit more to offer. The only issue that really made me cross was the lack of toilet facilities. There were toilets, but you could only access them if you bought something from the cafe, which I thought was a bit mean. Personally, I don't think you can call yourself a tourist attraction without this most basic of facilities somewhere nearby and I don't like the feeling of being held to ransom. However, they did only charge £1 for all day parking, which was great, as it meant you could park right near to the picnic area, so not all bad. It was lovely to be able to enjoy a nice cup of tea somewhere a bit different!
It was our second week at Yoga this week. I was really nervous, as I felt a bit of a plank last week, when I couldn't keep up, or do a lot of the moves. One of the moves I couldn't do, in fact, was The Plank. That's called irony, boys and girls. I went along anyway, feeling like a bit of a hero for sticking with it, but, sure enough, I still couldn't do a lot of it. One massive improvement, though, was that we deliberately got there early, so that we could get a position where we could see what the instructor was doing. I think the class is very full, for the amount of space there is. The people over by the door, five mats away, don't stand a chance of seeing what's going on and it gets a bit like Chinese Whispers, where everyone is copying the person next to them and by the time the last person copies, it's probably not quite the posture it started out as! Being able to see properly made it much easier to keep up, so, although I still had to skip quite a lot of it, I could still do a pose, just a less demanding one. The biggest problem I have is getting up and down off the mat. It takes me ages and I sacrifice a lot of dignity in the process, but I am deterined to do as much as I can. While we were in there, the boys went for a hike up a huge hill, conveniently placed just outside our building, so, since it is unlikely I will ever let anyone take a photo of my attempts at Yoga, here is one Luke took of Phil at the top of the big hill! Have a great week!