Week 8 day 53 – Friday 15th May 

  • 65 minutes at 120 watts
  • Max heart rate = 130 bpm
  • Calories = 554 (total so far 18302)
  • Distance covered = 23.41 miles
  • Total distance so far = 668.89

I’m sticking with the 120 watts and maintaining the mileage as planned but today I kept the rpm a bit higher and used up a few more calories – probably a good plan as for a change from the music I caught up with the Great British Menu finals – puddings! Now there’s a tempting thought for the weekend.

Leaving Longnor, it’s a beautiful drive through the Shropshire Hills, an AONB which covers a quarter of Shropshire and is one of 46 in the UK. There are apparently at least 50 decent sized ‘hills’ to climb and beautiful views for miles around. 

And of course, being near the Welsh border, we find yet again that there is no shortage of castles. One worth visiting if you are in the area is Stokesay. It’s one of the finest surviving fortified manor houses in England, largely built in its present form in the late 13th century by Laurence de Ludlow, by adding it on to an earlier castle, some of which still survives. Like many castles, it went through periods of decline and rebuilding with different owners. Thankfully, in 1992, the delightfully named Jewell Magnus-Allcroft left it to English Heritage and they have continued to develop and preserve it.

My journey today brings me to Ludlow (which Mary has visited and Rosalind has on her tick list!) It dates back to 1086 when the castle was first built as one of a line of castles along the Welsh Marches to defend the border and subdue the local Anglo Saxon population. The Norman overlords, the De Lacy family, also made the decision to base a town here – which they did on a grid network similar to planned towns today. 

As a result, there is a pleasing layout of wide streets connected by intriguing little alleys. At one time it was completely walled with seven gates and even now parts of the wall are well preserved although Broadgate is now the sole surviving medieval gate.

In the 18th and 19th centuries it was a fast developing industrial town as well as a fashionable social centre. However, from 1880 to the 1940s, it stagnated economically with the decline in the importance of wool and competition from larger towns with better access. A happy result of this is that with a lack of redevelopment, Ludlow’s town centre has pretty much survived as it was and there are nearly 500 listed buildings in the town. 

With a fascinating history and beautiful architecture, it’s a delightful town to explore but also well known for being a real foodie destination. There is a Spring festival in May held in the castle, an eight mile food walk festival in August and the famous food festival in September. And of course, there are many tasty offerings in the town all year round as well.

So, this week has seen the start of an easing of lockdown rules. I wonder what it will bring and how different people will react to it and interpret it? Everyone will have had a different journey and after so long keeping our distance, and living in our own little bubble, we will have to learn how to accommodate others and their feelings and emotions. 

I came across this interesting analogy today and thought it would be worth sharing.

You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere. 

Why did you spill the coffee? Because someone bumped into me.

Wrong. You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup. Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea. 

‘Whatever is inside the cup is what will spill out.’

Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen and HAS happened), whatever is inside you will come out. 

So, we have to ask ourselves…. ‘what’s in my cup?’

When life gets tough, what spills over? 

Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility?

Anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions?

Life provides the cup; YOU choose how to fill it.

Let’s work towards filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation; and kindness, gentleness and love for others. We are going to need all of those as we learn how to live ‘together’ again.