We're living the Millennial Dream - so what happens when we’re old?


Work for a year or two. Save a few thousand pounds. Quit your desk-job. Pack a rucksack. Travel the world.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

This is the dream we’re preached, by thousands of travel blogs, magazines, social media pages, television dramas, books, films: anything is possible if you just believe. Clichéd, I know, but true.

And let’s be honest, travelling the world is an attractive dream to follow. There are plenty of ways of doing it on a limited budget. Who wouldn’t want to quit the 9-5 for scenes like these?


But what happens when the travelling stops?

This is not a post about rural life.

Car beside Haweswater Reservoir

This was supposed to be a post about Orton Farmers' Market: rural life, local produce, and reclaiming a sense of community.

But fate, it seems, had other ideas.

A couple of weekends ago, my mum and I set off in the car to visit the Farmers' Market. It's only a few miles from my house, but we never made it. As I was waiting to turn right at a junction, the girl in the car behind drove straight into the back of me.

Fortunately, she admitted straight away that it had been her fault; she just hadn't seen me. It was as though I wasn't even there. Wham. Plans out of the window. Weekend changed.

Don't worry - I'm fine. I have a bit of a twinge in the back of my neck when I sit for too long, but given the damage to the car (completely written off), I think I got off lightly.

I guess it just shows: the best laid schemes of mice and men gang oft agley.

Travel blogs are full of advice that we should embrace spontaneity. That we should be open to the changes in the road that chance / destiny brings us. That life is full of chance and opportunity, and we need to be able to change our plans accordingly.

Sometimes, though, those interruptions aren't so much 'opportunities' as huge great big enormous inconveniences.

Don't get me wrong: I'm trying to see the positive in it all. For starters, I now know a lot more about how car insurance works. I've FINALLY learnt my car number plate - although as it's been written off, I guess that isn't particularly helpful. I've also become a lot more aware of hazards and potential accidents. (Sometimes too aware; for a while I was seeing everything as a potential accident.)

Alright, so it isn't a great bright side, but I'm sticking to it like glue.

Besides, I can always visit Orton Farmers' Market another time, and photograph it then. In the meantime, I plan to yank myself back from insurance-land, and start posting about travel again.

The Road to the Drowned Village

Haweswater, Lake District Cumbria

Apologies for yet another photo-based post - I promise I'll write something a little longer soon. But for now I just had to share this with you.

Two valleys over from my house is one of my favourite 'lakes' in the Lake District: Haweswater. (It's actually a reservoir rather than a lake, providing water for Manchester. Bit of trivia: there's only one lake in the Lake District, which is Bassenthwaite Lake. Something to remember for the next pub quiz!)

Haweswater is beautiful, the way it curls around the winding valley, fed by hundreds of frothing ghylls and rivulets. Its steep banks and surrounding hills are home to a rare golden eagle (the only nesting place of the golden eagle in England), and endangered red squirrels can be found in abundance.

But the water hides a darker past.

Flooded in the first half of the twentieth century, the valley of Mardale was once home to a village that shared its name. In the 1930s, the houses and hotels were demolished to make way for the water. The historic Dun Bull Inn was pulled down. The church was taken apart stone by stone, and the stones used to construct the dam itself. The bodies from the churchyard were all exhumed, and are now buried in the churchyard in the nearby village of Shap.

Monday Wisdom: 'Wear bright colours when you're young'



October's Monday Wisdom comes from a lady I met in Singapore.

She had a stall in Little India, selling clothes and ornaments, and I was trying to decide between two pashminas: a black one and a silvery blue one. I tried on both in front of the mirror and was still unable to make up my mind, when I noticed her frowning at me.

I turned to her: 'Which one do you think?' (One of  the unintended side-effects of travelling alone: you get used to asking strangers' opinions about purchases - at least, you do if you're as undecided as I am!)

'That one,' she said immediately, pointing at the blue, 'Black is for old people. Wear bright colours when you're young.' 

It stuck with me, that advice. Yes, I did go for the blue scarf, and I still think of that whenever I'm buying clothes today. But I also think it was about more than just the colour of clothing. I think it says something about attitude. I think it says: go out and experience the world while you can


By Royal Appointment: an invitation to Bath


Anyone who follows me on facebook may well already know that a couple of weeks ago, I went to a rather special event.

My grandma, Dot Pendleton, was presented with the British Empire Medal.

I know, right? It was such an incredible occasion - partly because of the event and the venue itself. The presentation took place in the Bath Pump Rooms (anyone familiar with the works of Jane Austen will recognise this name from one of my favourite novels, Persuasion).

The Award was presented by Lady Gass, the Lord Leuitenant of Somerset, and afterwards there was an afternoon tea, followed by a chance to look around the Roman Baths.

The following week, the presentation was (justly) featured on the front page of the local newspaper, the Bridgwater Mercury.

My grandma received her award for services to her local Oxfam shop: she's volunteered there for over 30 years, and helped to raise over £66,000 for the charity. Oh, and did I mention? She'll be 94 at the end of the month.

If I have half her determination when I'm older, I'll be very pleased!