Lockdown week 5: Creating a personal sanctuary whilst reaching out

Last night here in the UK, there was a really super charity fundraising event on BBC1 hosted by some of the country’s best known TV presenters with contributions from comedians, actors, sportspeople and so many more. Even Prince William made a comedic appearance with Stephen Fry! Whilst coronavirus was the backdrop to the event and the event acknowledged the very serious impact on people’s lives, I felt it just oozed positivity and a real sense of all being in this together.

The view from our bedroom window

And nothing more illustrates this than every Thursday at 8pm where we continue to come out of our front doors, look out our windows and step onto our boundaries to applaud the NHS and frontline workers. The applause can be heard all around our village as the trees on village green are lit up in blue. And it’s an amazing opportunity to catch up with neighbours. We know the people on either side of us very well but we have a lady over the road who keeps herself to herself and is rarely seen, especially as she parks her car behind her house and doesn’t go through her front door. Last week, I noticed her open her front door for the applause but I was caught up in conversation with our elderly neighbours so I was really keen this Thursday to reach out to this lady whom I’d heard was widowed last year. So I was really pleased to find her reciprocate a wave from my doorstep before I wandered over to her path and chat for about 15 minutes. Just coming away with first names exchanged, a catch up about how she’s doing and her knowing that she can let tell us if she needs help was really lovely. Human connection is priceless!

I will admit that I’ve found things hard over the past week and wasn’t feeling the blogging vibe last weekend. If I could be anywhere right now, I’d love to be in Paris. No doubt about it! I had a day trip in the French capital last year (which you can read about here) but I thought that if I can’t go to Paris, perhaps a piece of Paris can come to me! So, we have one newly decorated bedroom and this canvas print which I bought online from Wayfair. I might add some pretty lights to our room too. I’m a real sucker for anywhere with pretty white lights so perhaps it’s something else to do to create a sanctuary.

We’ve found that more and more places are offering delivery, whether it’s trays of 30 eggs, crates of fresh fruit and veg, or restaurants bringing Spanish, Italian or BBQ. Last night, we ordered in from a local farm and I had this humongous chicken Caesar salad turn up. Yum! We haven’t tried tapas yet but I’m hoping to do this very soon so hubby and I can have a date sitting in our garden one evening….with pretty lights of course!

And finally, I’m going to read more. This is actually embarrassing as I spend my professional life encouraging others to read, advocating all the positives yet I’ve read just one book cover to cover as an adult! I have Irlen Syndrome which causes black text to look blurry and makes reading physically tiring. But I didn’t realise that we have access to thousands of books with our Amazon Prime membership and I’ve chosen to download this one onto my iPad. So, I might take myself up to our bedroom and imagine I’m reading this whilst sitting on the banks of the river Seine!

Never more has saying ‘take care’ feel so important but I really hope you all stay safe and have a positive week in your own sanctuaries xx

Lockdown week 3… still adding ideas to the bucket list :)

Hello folks

How’re you doing?

So, I thought I’d share with you some things I’ve done this week but, in the quest to stay positive and look ahead, I’m also adding 3 things to my bucket list. Despite what’s happening in the world, we can still plan for the days when we can roam once again and, you know, I’ll never again take for granted the freedom we usually have!

This week has been reasonably busy with almost daily walks, studying various things (German, Makaton and for a counselling skills qualification), and chatting with friends. I had a fabulous catch-up with a neighbour where we sat on our driveways metres apart with a drink and also dinner with a friend where we ate together over FaceTime! I’ve had daily lunch with my hubby who’s working from home which has been a real treat. I’ve decorated the cloakroom, a small wall in the kitchen and some of the back garden fence panels with plans to paint the banister up the stairs and our bedroom.

Our village pond
Our kitchen one night when hubby went to bed…..
……and the kitchen the next morning when he woke up!

So, what new ideas have I come up with?

First, I’d love to capture sunrise over London when sitting on Primrose Hill. It’s one of the few London boroughs I haven’t visited but it’s often featured in films with its colourful Regency townhouses and Victorian terraces. It’s from the top of the hilly park where you can see London’s skyline. Another place to mention with a stunning London skyline is Greenwich Park which is where I took the photo at the top of this post during the 2018 heatwave. It’s right next to the Royal Greenwich Observatory where you can stand on the Meridian time line. And lastly, another place to check out is London’s 24 hour Duck and Waffle Restaurant which gave me the best sunrise experience EVER from 40 floors up! Feel free to read about it here.

Second, I’d love to go to an escape room! Yes, perhaps staying home and not going out on my adventures has inspired this idea but they sound good fun and hubby said that he’s up for doing this with me. There’s one very near here. Have you gone to an escape room? How did you find it? I’d love to know!

Third, as I posted on my Facebook page the other day, I would absolutely love to go to see the tulips in the Netherlands. Although the Keukenhof Tulip Exhibition isn’t on this year, the photos online look stunning and are a colourful burst of joy that I will head to next year or 2022.

On top of this, I still want to do all the other things on my bucket list before I turn 50 like visiting 10 new countries, seeing friends in Seattle, having lunch on No Man’s Fort in Portsmouth, going to a desert, using a pneumatic drill, knocking down a partition wall in a house, going on the sleeper train from Paris to Venice, having a trial helicopter lesson, seeing a show at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall and so much more!

Before I go, feel free to ‘like’ my Facebook page ‘Bucket List to Happiness’ where this blog appears and the occasional other post when I’m gallivanting all over the country and finding myself on day trips to France and Belgium!

Well, stay safe everyone and hope you can still create moments of joy and contentment in the week ahead

Sarah xx

Lockdown week 2… adapting to change!

Hey guys

How are you all? Hope you’ve been okay and you’re staying safe and well, wherever you are in the world.

Here in the UK, we’re coming towards the end of our second week in lockdown and, in all honesty, I’ve found it a little bit tricky. With my business and main volunteering role suspended until it’s safe again and no venturing out to new places to share with you, it’s left quite a void in my week. And I will admit that as I tied up the final bits of my business last Monday, I threw a pity party for myself! Yes, I allowed myself to have a really miserable day and a bit of a cry but then I thought to myself “Right, Sarah, come on girl. This isn’t going to be forever. Let’s make a plan”!! Although I had a couple of bits to already focus on, I knew that I really needed to structure my weeks when I’m not working. So, I’d love to share with you what I’ve been up to.

1. Learnt 10 Makaton signs. Yes, as well as continuing to learn German each day, I now know the Makaton signs for good, bad, thank you, hungry, thirsty, toilet, finished, jigsaw, Mum and Dad. Hopefully this will come in use when my volunteering role continues but I’ve got 40 more signs to learn! Yes, my bucket list challenge is to learn 50 signs in all (do check out the menu to see my full bucket list).

2. Went to a drive thru farm shop. What a great experience where everything is contactless, from ordering the food to paying to then having the food to put in our car boot without us even having to leave our car. But there again, this is Tulley’s Farm in West Sussex, just a short drive from our house and known for its award-winning Shocktober Fest each October which is Europe’s biggest Halloween scream park. And even with the drive-thru, you can tell that these guys are great at putting on events and using their out-of-the-box thinking. You can read about my first visit to Shocktober Fest here. This is SO worth a visit!

3. Make the village smile! Well, that’s the hope anyway. I’ve decided that I’m going to decorate the kitchen window with a new theme each week so that people walking past and enjoying their daily exercise can smile. Hopefully it’ll give children something to look out for. This week’s theme, Easter, will be up until Easter Monday but I’m not sure what the next one will be but, if you have ideas, do let me know! I’ve got loads of coloured card here and I’ll post photos each weekend.

4. Study, study, study! As family and friends know, I love studying! I don’t think I have it in me any more to do a doctorate but every day can still be a school day. As well as Makaton and German, I’ve been doing work-related professional development webinars and I’m also about to embark on a counselling skills qualification that will take 4 months and could be the first step to slightly diversifying work-wise. I’m also waiting to hear if I’ve been accepted onto the training to become an online mental health crisis volunteer. So, even though I’m not working right now, there’s still plenty out there which costs nothing or very little and will more than happily fill my time.

5. Not a pyjama day in sight! Am I the only person who likes a pj day?! Usually, I LOVE these! But I’ve been pretty strict with myself since lockdown started and made sure that I still get dressed….even though it may not be super early. And, right now, that’s probably doing me the power of good and sets me up to go for a walk nearly every day. But even if the occasional pj day slips in over the next few weeks, that’s okay too!

And you know, today, I should have been setting off on a P&O 7 night cruise to Porto, Lisbon, Vigo and Guernsey and I am gutted. I was really looking forward to lounging about on my balcony, exploring these cities and having a bit of ‘me’ time BUT I’m determined more than ever to still have a good week!

So, guys, take special care this week. I sincerely mean that. And if you’ve got ideas for my kitchen window display themes, please do let me know

Sarah xx

In case you missed it: First week under lockdown including seeing how London turned blue for the NHS

Lockdown week 1… I’ve kept myself busy!

Hey folks

So, last weekend, I shared with you that my bucket list journey will continue regardless and I set out 3 things I wanted to work on. So, I thought I’d share with you how I’m doing and also other things I’ve been up to this week.

1. Learn a language

In just under a week, I’m grasping the very basics of German using the DuoLingo app (which is free). Although it’s very repetitive, I’m getting there in learning to read, write and speak the language although I can currently do little more than ask for water and bread! Here’s a screenshot:

2. Learn Makaton

I haven’t started this one yet but I’ve decided that the target will be to learn 50 signs as my bucket list is all about the things I’d like to achieve before I turn 50. More about that next weekend!

3. Look for online volunteering opportunities

Progress has been made and, in fact, I’ve got 2 opportunities in the pipeline.

I’m in the process of applying to be an online mental health crisis volunteer and, with references already submitted, my application is being reviewed.

Here in the U.K., our prime minister asked for 250,000 people to step forward to be NHS volunteers in this pandemic, hoping to reach this number over a few days. Well, in true British spirit, more than 400,000 people signed up in under 24 hours and the number has now grown to more than 750,000 of which I’m just one. Whether it’s transporting patients, transporting medical equipment, working as community responders or phoning people who are isolated, this is just the most amazing collective response.

…..and talking of collective responses, did you see on your news that on Thursday at 8pm, thousands upon thousands of people in the U.K. stepped out of their front doors, stood at their windows and looked out at on their balconies and applauded our country’s heroes keeping the country going…from the NHS staff to supermarket staff, from teachers looking after key workers’ children to logistics staff. And the clapping of hands, ringing of church bells, banging of saucepans, etc could be heard from so far away. Just one of the most extraordinary moments of my life that brought a huge lump to my throat. London also lit many landmarks blue in recognition.

Other things

I’ve been going out for daily walks (which we’re allowed to do whilst socially distancing) and, yesterday, I walked down the hill to my village pond.

Apart from that, I’ve been doing a bit of work, sorted my wardrobe, decorated a room, shared a vlog on Facebook, had long phone chats with family and friends, saw Venus very clearly, watched the International Space Station fly over my house AND even took part in a Zoom dance party with mainly Americans who also love the programme Crazy Ex Girlfriend!

Hope you’re all okay. Keep safe and more next weekend

Sarah xx

The bucket list WILL continue!

Hey folks

I know some of you have very kindly followed my blog for a while whereas others may be coming across it for the first time so I thought I would say a quick ‘hello’ and tell you very briefly about myself, including what my blog is all about.

So, my name’s Sarah and I live in the UK. Leading up to my 40th birthday, I challenged myself to tick 40 things off my bucket list and, having had such fun, and I’ve been doing the same again as I head towards my 50th. You can see what I’ve done if you look around my site such as joining the police for a night shift, completing 50 hours of voluntary work, eating in a treehouse restaurant and doing an off-road driving experience. I’ve also blogged about day trips as I love to venture out most weekends.

In these very scary times, my work as a freelance specialist education consultant is very likely to dry up for a while and I won’t be going on my usual adventures so I thought what can I do? What can I do it at home that still means I feel like I’m working towards something? So, these are 3 things I plan to do over the next few months:

1. Learn a new language. This is something that’s been on my bucket list for a while so during the weekend, I’m going to find an online program to learn German and my aim is to be able to write a short paragraph about myself in German completely independently.

2. I’m going to learn Makaton. You may be thinking ‘What’s Makaton?’! Well, it’s a simplified version of sign language and it’s something that I could use in my voluntary work for young people with complex learning needs. I would love to be able to go back after this virus settles down and communicate better with those who find it hard to speak. I did contact the Makaton Charity to see if they do online training but they don’t so I’m just going to get resourceful!

3. I’m going to look for an online volunteering opportunity. The charity I’ve volunteered for since January 2018 has suspended all activities for now which is completely understandable. So, I’d love to something online where I can support others perhaps around mental health or education. Watch this space!

I’m also going to use this time at home doing some decorating, sitting in my garden as much as possible and creating a photo book of all my adventures. This week, I’ve been building a photo wall in my dining room and I thought I’d share this with you. These are various photos I’ve taken whilst out on my adventures.

And, to save you zooming in, here are the photos!

But I’m going to set you a challenge! Where do you think the above photos were taken? I wonder who will work out the most (my hubby is totally excluded from this!). Answers will be revealed next weekend when I’ll also let you know how I’ve got on.

But take special care right now and remember to focus on what you CAN do

xx

At home because of coronavirus? 20 ideas to pass the time

Hey guys,

I don’t know about you but each hour seems to bring more and more news about travel restrictions, places in our neighbourhoods we can’t currently visit and the impact on daily life such as taking our kids to school or going to work. I’m very aware of the horrific toll it’s having on families throughout the world but, in the pursuit of a positive post, I thought it might be a good idea to talk about what we CAN do if we’re at home and can’t go far.

Before I share my list with you, I thought I’d quickly update you on last weekend’s blog about my cruise that I should be on in 3 weeks’ time. Well, even before it was cancelled, I decided to transfer to a different cruise. In fact, hubby encouraged me to book my dream cruise, the one that I’ve had my eye on for a while, well, apart from the 3 month one around the world! So, in summer 2021, I’m off on a 14 night Baltic cruise to Germany, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia and Russia. Apart from Germany, these are 5 new countries for me and therefore halfway to my bucket list challenge to visit 10 new countries before I turn 50. Very excited to have this to look forward to.

So, my lovely readers, back to my list:

  • Create a photo book. Yes, rather than have hundreds and hundreds of photos on your phone, why not get creative, design a photo book online and have it delivered if possible. I used Photobox here in the UK a couple of years ago who did a fabulous job.
  • Learn a language. There are so many different wtays you can learn a language online, whether it’s paying for a course or teaching yourself for free. Perhaps start with the basics like “please”, “thank you”, etc and go on to learn 30 phrases you could use on your dream holiday. You could even learn Braille, Makaton or sign language.
  • Get baking. It can be very easy to rely on shops for bread and cakes but why not stock up in the basics and try 5 tempting recipes.
  • Get fit. Okay, so the gym may be out of bounds right now but you can still get fit at home, whether it’s creating a daily exercise routine, trying out yoga online, walking in the local area if that’s possible or following a fitness YouTuber.
  • Spring clean. I’ll be the first to admit that cleaning isn’t at the top of my list of ways to entertain myself but why not pull forward the heavy furniture to clean behind, empty cupboards and put together a bag of things you don’t need for your local charity shop.
  • Get ruthless with the wardrobe! Yes, it can be easy to focus on the house but why not sort through your wardrobe. Clear out the clothes beyond repair, fix clothes where you can, decide if those size 8 jeans from 20 years ago are likely to be worn again, put together a charity bag of clothes that don’t make you feel good, etc.
  • Play! Yes, why not! Board games don’t have to be just for children. Switch off technology and have a board games evening with the family. Fish out the jigsaw from the back of the cupboard and set it up somewhere that will be undisturbed for a few days. And do you have a box of Lego put aside for the grandchildren one day? Get it out! Adults can play too. Let your imagination run wild with a glass of wine in hand!
  • Write a book. Whether you’ve an idea for fiction, non-fiction, adult or children, the next few weeks could be the ideal time to write a book. Create your plan, edit and edit again. Feel you have something worth publishing? Check out self-publishing websites like Lulu.
  • Read a book. Life can often be very busy but you may have time to really settle down with a book and immerse yourself in a different world.
  • Connect with others. There are many people who rely on connection with others through work and who have little conact otherwise. Loneliness can be even more of a problem right now so why not be the first to suggest a phone call to a friend or close colleague. Perhaps Skype. Set up a social media group for your street if you can’t leave your home and get to know your neighbours so you can form deeper bonds later on. Use social media to find people with similar hobbies and interests.
  • Study. There are so many opportunities to study online, from short courses to full degree programs like the Open University. However, learning can be informal as well. Always been interested in Japanese culture of the 19th century? Find out as much as you can!
  • Decorate your house. Dig out the paint pots and freshen up a room. An ideal weekend project.
  • Get crafting. Whether you’re a seasoned crafter or a newbie, get painting, model-building, knitting, decoupaging, etc. Perhaps you can make over an old piece of furniture.
  • Discover a new online game. Now, I’m not a gamer but my family is and I get the idea that there are many games to really get involved in and play with others from around the world. You could even buy a second hand games console if you don’t want to play online.
  • Binge watch. Does everyone tell you about a series you haven’t seen? Perfect opportunity to check it out. or, like me, rewatch your favourite programme for the upteenth time. Hubby and I are currently rewatching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on Netflix.
  • Learn to play a musical instrument. One of my bucket list challenges was to learn to play the ukulele and I found so many YouTube videos to teach myself.
  • Evaluate employment and volunteering opportunities. I know many people will lose work or jobs because of coronavirus. I can only imagine the financial tool toll this can have as well emotional, etc. Use this time to refocus your work goals if you want to pursue a different path. Look for volunteering opportunities too.
  • Blog! It might be about something specific or just about what you get up today-to-day. Blogging is a fabulous way to connect with others and I personally love seeing my blog being read from read by people all over the world! And it’s very easy to do.
  • Plan future holidays. Okay, so this year’s holiday isn’t happening but plan your next trip for whenever it happens. Read everything you can about it. Take yourself there on a journey through your mind, even if not physically right now.
  • Plan life beyond coronavirus. Guys, we hope that things will improve at some point regarding coronavirus. I think we can take so much for granted in life and it’s not until we can’t do something that we realise what it meant to us….or perhaps we filled our lives with things we thought were important but really weren’t. So, take stock of things you want to do when you have more freedom and, when the time comes, make it happen. You never know what’s around the corner

So, there you go. These are just my ideas but feel free to share this post.

Take special care over the next week

xx

My 2020 travel plans…. hopefully 🤞🏻

Well, like I’m sure some of you, I’m wondering whether I’ll get to go away on trips I’ve already booked for this year. Every day is bringing new developments about coronavirus and with 2 trips booked for April and May, all I can do is wait, keep an eye out on the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) website and just come up with Plan B if necessary. There’s always a Plan B!

The trip which is probably most at risk is my weekend in Venice booked for mid May. I haven’t been to Italy before but, virus-depending, my plan is to head there on the overnight sleeper train from Paris on the Friday night (with the train company Thello), spend 10 hours exploring Venice before catching the train home Saturday night. I haven’t even had to book a hotel there as I get my own sleeping cabin on the train and a restaurant car to enjoy the views as we head through scenic Switzerland. All in all, I’d be away from my home for less than 48 hours and it sounds like an amazing adventure!

Before that, I’m meant to be on a 7-night cruise starting 4 weeks tomorrow taking me to Vigo in Spain, Porto and Lisbon in Portugal and Guernsey. As well as exploring the cities, I’m planning on sitting on my balcony, going along to events for solo travellers and just checking out everything the ship has to offer. P&O are rerouting some of their cruises due to coronavirus but, again, fingers crossed I’ll get to go.

This is all part of a bucket list challenge to visit 10 countries or self-governing islands before I turn 50 that I haven’t been to before so…drum roll…here’s my list of places I plan to visit before late 2022:

  • Italy
  • Portugal
  • Guernsey
  • Denmark
  • Sweden
  • Croatia
  • Slovenia
  • Czech Republic
  • Hungary
  • Romania

Have you been to any of these? Perhaps you live in one of these countries! I’d love to hear about the ‘must visit’ attractions you think I should check out.

Next weekend, I’ll tell you all about my visit to Cadbury World and West Midlands Safari Park which I visited with my daughter on Tuesday but have a great weekend everyone xx

Mamma Mia…here we go again

Hey guys. Well, last weekend, I went to see Mamma Mia the musical in Southampton which is on national tour around the UK. It has just the same charm as the original film, the actors are super talented, the songs are recognisable to most of us and it certainly leaves people tapping their feet by the time they leave the theatre. However, I have a confession to make…I left halfway through. Yes, I left at the interval and I’ve been in two minds about whether to tell you this. You see, it can be so easy to do or not do things because of other people’s expectations. Some people might exclaim that it was such a waste of money. But time is so precious to me and by halfway through the show, I’d had my fix of ABBA and leaving was the right thing to do. But do go and see the show if you can which finishes in Southampton today but will soon be at its next venue.

In fact, this isn’t the first time I’ve left a show halfway through. I wonder if there’s a market for selling tickets for only the second act of shows because I might just be onto something! Hubby and I went to see the Russian State Ballet about 18 months ago and we decided by the interval that ballet isn’t our thing. There’s frankly too much dance!! Instead, we snuck out of the theatre like children bunking school and went to a sumptuous dessert restaurant feeling as if we’d been very naughty indeed!

I’ve decided to confront a fear that I developed a few years ago…flying. Despite travelling lots as a child with many trips to the US, Canada, Hong Kong, all over Europe, etc. I’ve developed a fear of flying and there’s absolutely no reason for it. The last time I flew anywhere was back in 2011 when I went to Iceland with the family and I remember on that flight desperately holding in the tears so that my children wouldn’t pick up on my nerves. I mean, I should be confident flying as my dad worked for British Airways and I’d sometimes go away with him on night stops. So.…..drum roll please….I’m going to go on at least two weekend breaks this year by plane…coronavirus depending of course. Just very cheap tickets going early Saturday morning and coming back late Sunday evening but it’s all part of my bucket list goal to visit 10 new countries before I turn 50. Next weekend, I’ll tell you about my 2020 travel plans including a holiday with 4 destinations that starts 5 weeks today.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend XX

Heading to the theatre on my own!

Hello guys

I’ve blogged before about how I’ve gained so much confidence about going to restaurants on my own and asking for a table for one. Even really busy restaurants can often fit in a solo traveller so there are perks 😊 … plus, with no one to talk to, they probably know that my meal will be far quicker than a table of 8!

Recently, one of my favourite childhood groups, Level 42, has been doing a round of TV and radio interviews. I spent hours listening to their music, especially their 1989 album, Level Best. However, as anyone of a certain age can no doubt relate, I also spent a VERY long time trying to repair those old fashioned music cassettes! Yes, the worn out tape would slowly emerge and start to tie itself in knots. All I needed was a pencil and a lot of patience to slowly encourage the tape back into the cassette, desperately hoping that the music would still play.

Well, Level 42 is going on tour (yay!) and, in November, I’m off to see them at the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton. There just happened to be a spare seat all on its own next to a column and that will do me very nicely, thank you! Do you find that you may not have heard your favourite childhood songs for many years but, as soon as you do, all the words come flooding back?! Keep it in the Family, The Chinese Way, Love Games and Lessons in Love…just some of the hits where the lyrics have been stored deep inside my brain for the past 30 years!

And with November so many months away, I thought I’d see if there’s anything on there sooner and I managed to grab one of the last few remaining seats for tonight to see the national tour of Mamma Mia. Yes, I’m in that same seat next to the column!

Next weekend, I’ll let you know how Mamma Mia went and also about something that I want to pluck up the courage to do although I’m terrified at the thought. But I’m going to keep you in suspense over that one 😊

Have a great weekend everyone xx

From sadness in Wales to the thrill of a roundabout!

This is a post of two very different halves! I hope that my posts are usually happy and inspiring which may give people ideas of places to travel and things to try out. However, after my 24 hour whirlwind trip to Wales last weekend when I visited the Royal Mint, I’m really keen to tell you what else I got up to.

So, let’s talk about the ‘sadness in Wales’ part first. When people think about the history of Wales, the tightknit mining communities will often come to mind. I’ve known for many years about the tragic events of the 1966 colliery spoil tip collapsing onto the village of Aberfan which was referred to in season 3 of The Crown on Netflix. I really felt compelled to visit the site of the old school where 144 people, most of them children, lost their lives. Now, there’s a memorial garden with inscribed benches and flower beds. Taking photos absolutely didn’t feel like the right thing to do, either there or the graves overlooking the hills in the cemetery just a few streets away. All I will say is that if you get the chance to visit, I’d really encourage you to.

I also visited The Guardian which is a 20 metre tall statue commemorating the lives of the 45 men who lost their lives in the 1960 mining disaster in Six Bells. This work of art is nothing like I’ve seen before as, from afar, it blends into the environment with its metal framework…..

….but then, up close, it looks completely solid with the names and ages of the lives lost inscribed beneath. It’s not hugely easy to find as it’s deep in the valley and the translucent appearance meant that I drove past initially. But, again, it’s a really interesting place to visit with information boards. Travelling around the Welsh valleys and heading over to Tenby and Cardigan too means that I’ve now scratched off all but 2 Welsh counties of my UK scratch map. I’m sure the other two will also be visited in a matter of months!

And now onto the fun part of my trip….roundabouts! Okay, two geeky facts first! Did you now that half of the world’s roundabouts are in France?! However, here in the UK, according to Wiki, roundabouts make up a larger proportion of our roads. Anyway, back to me and roundabouts…..I drove over the Magic Roundabout in Swindon, Wiltshire. Oh…my…word! This is mind blowing as it’s one roundabout surrounded with 5 mini roundabouts! Whilst this photo online makes it look rather calm if not confusing, it was utter chaos when I went through it on a Saturday moring! It was packed with cars pointing in all directions, slowly edging around each other, desperately hoping not to crash. So, another bucket list tick and one that cost no more than the petrol to get there!

I’m on my travels again this weekend so no post on Saturday but hopefully lots to share the weekend after

xx