Ironic Times

In this week’s post, I’m going to attempt to explore the ironies of timing, and how just as you get your head around a situation, and adjusting to it, all of a sudden it changes.

So let’s start with the big one…

A “Walk-Life” Balance

I can almost hear some of you exclaiming “Surely he means ‘Work-Life Balance'”, but actually you’d be wrong and I mean precisely what I said. Best I explain…

When people refer to work-life balance they’re usually implying that the work bit is too big and the life bit needs to be bigger. Really, the phrase should be “life-work balance”, thereby emphasising the “life” as the important bit. After all, most people in work only spend around a quarter of their week actually at work, and that’s before counting holidays etc.  I felt it was important to highlight this before I go on to talk about “walk-life” balance, which of course implies that it is the walking that is important. But what about work, I hear you cry ?

Well, having left my permanent job of 15 years back in February this year, I decided to become my own boss so that I could take more control over how much I work and, more importantly, how much I walk. But first I took 6 months off which I spent walking, painting and being at home with the family. This really was walk-life balance, quite literally.  6 months then turned into 9 months when it took a while to persuade someone to actually buy my services. And so this week, just as I was starting to think about a last-minute Lakes trip (like everyone else seems to be doing), I re-entered the world of work.

It’s only a short contract, and won’t make me rich, but it tops up the coffers.  But I was slightly concerned when handed an iPhone on the first day, and for two reasons: firstly, being given a Blackberry or work iPhone usually signals that you’re one of those people that needs to be in constant contact with the office, which is never much of an enhancement to work-life balance.  Secondly, because I have strived for years now to avoid ensnarement by Apple, and even bought myself a Blackberry when I had to hand back my work one when I left my old permie job.  But at least I might find out what all the fuss is about.

Another irony is that having spend a couple of K on refreshing my project management skills and getting some certification, my first contract isn’t really going to use them to any great extent.

Of course, the other thing this contract does is mess up any serious walking until the spring, and my original and rather idealised plan to work from September to June and walk during the summer.  But it’s not the end of the world…I’ve got a new plan.

I have to confess, I never really much considered walking at the dark end of the year, and in my mind it all consisted of either rain and lashing gales or deep snow. But seeing everyone else’s pictures, especially the cloud inversions (you know who you are!), fired me up to be much more open-minded about walking all year round. And if I adopt that mindset, it takes the pressure off the timing of my contracts, so I can find a way of walking whenever they finish.

So now I’m going to plan a proper walking trip to somewhere with proper views for just after the end of each contract, whenever it happens to be.  And I’m going to make sure I get out in the limbo weeks while I’m looking for work, and not put walking off because I need to be at a couple of days constant notice for an interview.  The only way I’m going to restrict myself is to try not to be away too much in school holidays.

The central irony here, is that actually this way of balancing work and play is much true to the reason why I decided to adopt this lifestyle in the first place.  It just took a while to work it out.

Some ironic walking

All this balancing work and play is probably going to mean walking at some different times of year, and therefore, maybe I too will see a proper cloud inversion.  Also, I suspect I’ll be planning walking trips much closer to when they take place, and I think that the issues this will bring to accommodation finding may  make me use the tent more, and even get me wild-camping.  Something which I’ve so far chickened out of, but which I know many do and particularly enjoy.  And I need to face up to it anyway, especially as my main Lake District target for the next year is to make serious inroads to the Far Eastern fells which, without a car, and relying only on feet and buses, is very tricky – in terms of access by road.  Because of this, I think of the FE Fells as the most remote part of the Lakes, which is especially ironic given that my “local” Wainwright (Grey Crag) is one of them.  The irony that my new work-walk-life balance may actually be the push I need to get my wild-camping isn’t lost on me either.

We’ll just have to see how it pans out, I guess.

Some new gear

The other thing that happened this week was the arrival of my prize from a competition I entered on the Outdoor Bloggers Network.  So I’m now the proud owner of a Geigerrig 1200 hydration pack.  Of course, there is a but…I had to agree to write a review of the product, but that’s no hardship.  So a review of this rather pricey bit of kit will follow in the next few weeks.

It’s also quite ironic that it turned up just as my walking slowed down massively, and I could have given it a good thrashing if I’d got it before.  It’s partly my own fault as when I chased up the OBN, they’d forgotten to send my details to the supplier, and so if I’d chased before, I’d have had it tested by now.  But once I chased it, it arrived in 2 days, which was good going, seeing as I wasn’t paying the postage.

This pack has a rather innovative hydration system, where the water (or gin if you like) is squirted rather than sucked.  On their website, Geigerrig make a big thing about how much hard work it is sucking on a conventional bladder, but personally I don’t find it a problem at all, and rather take the view that anyone who has trouble sucking is probably at a level of fitness that means that they wouldn’t have any interest in the product anyway.  So we’ll have to see how much of a benefit the pump action actually is.

What did please me, was that the sack itself is grey, and therefore, I won’t look too silly if I take it to work.  It’s about the right size for that too.  Overall, though, first impressions are that it’s a quality product, and although the bag itself is at the smaller end of daysack territory (20 litres), will fit well into my rucksack “library.”

So I guess, it’s watch this space for the review.

A “Walk-Life” Balance

I can almost hear some of you exclaiming “Surely he means ‘Work-Life Balance'”, but actually you’d be wrong and I mean precisely what I said. Best I explain…

When people refer to work-life balance they’re usually implying that the work bit is too big and the life bit needs to be bigger. Really, the phrase should be “life-work balance”, thereby emphasising the “life” as the important bit. After all, most people in work only spend around a quarter of their week actually at work, and that’s before counting holidays etc.  I felt it was important to highlight this before I go on to talk about “walk-life” balance, which of course implies that it is the walking that is important. But what about work, I hear you cry ?

Well, having left my permanent job of 15 years back in February this year, I decided to become my own boss so that I could take more control over how much I work and, more importantly, how much I walk. But first I took 6 months off which I spent walking, painting and being at home with the family. This really was walk-life balance, quite literally.  6 months then turned into 9 months when it took a while to persuade someone to actually buy my services. And so this week, just as I was starting to think about a last-minute Lakes trip (like everyone else seems to be doing), I re-entered the world of work.

It’s only a short contract, and won’t make me rich, but it tops up the coffers.  But I was slightly concerned when handed an iPhone on the first day, and for two reasons: firstly, being given a Blackberry or work iPhone usually signals that you’re one of those people that needs to be in constant contact with the office, which is never much of an enhancement to work-life balance.  Secondly, because I have strived for years now to avoid ensnarement by Apple, and even bought myself a Blackberry when I had to hand back my work one when I left my old permie job.  But at least I might find out what all the fuss is about.

Another irony is that having spend a couple of K on refreshing my project management skills and getting some certification, my first contract isn’t really going to use them to any great extent.

Of course, the other thing this contract does is mess up any serious walking until the spring, and my original and rather idealised plan to work from September to June and walk during the summer.  But it’s not the end of the world…I’ve got a new plan.

I have to confess, I never really much considered walking at the dark end of the year, and in my mind it all consisted of either rain and lashing gales or deep snow. But seeing everyone else’s pictures, especially the cloud inversions (you know who you are!), fired me up to be much more open-minded about walking all year round. And if I adopt that mindset, it takes the pressure off the timing of my contracts, so I can find a way of walking whenever they finish.

So now I’m going to plan a proper walking trip to somewhere with proper views for just after the end of each contract, whenever it happens to be.  And I’m going to make sure I get out in the limbo weeks while I’m looking for work, and not put walking off because I need to be at a couple of days constant notice for an interview.  The only way I’m going to restrict myself is to try not to be away too much in school holidays.

The central irony here, is that actually this way of balancing work and play is much true to the reason why I decided to adopt this lifestyle in the first place.  It just took a while to work it out.

Some ironic walking

All this balancing work and play is probably going to mean walking at some different times of year, and therefore, maybe I too will see a proper cloud inversion.  Also, I suspect I’ll be planning walking trips much closer to when they take place, and I think that the issues this will bring to accommodation finding may  make me use the tent more, and even get me wild-camping.  Something which I’ve so far chickened out of, but which I know many do and particularly enjoy.  And I need to face up to it anyway, especially as my main Lake District target for the next year is to make serious inroads to the Far Eastern fells which, without a car, and relying only on feet and buses, is very tricky – in terms of access by road.  Because of this, I think of the FE Fells as the most remote part of the Lakes, which is especially ironic given that my “local” Wainwright (Grey Crag) is one of them.  The irony that my new work-walk-life balance may actually be the push I need to get my wild-camping isn’t lost on me either.

We’ll just have to see how it pans out, I guess.

Some new gear

The other thing that happened this week was the arrival of my prize from a competition I entered on the Outdoor Bloggers Network.  So I’m now the proud owner of a Geigerrig 1200 hydration pack.  Of course, there is a but…I had to agree to write a review of the product, but that’s no hardship.  So a review of this rather pricey bit of kit will follow in the next few weeks.

It’s also quite ironic that it turned up just as my walking slowed down massively, and I could have given it a good thrashing if I’d got it before.  It’s partly my own fault as when I chased up the OBN, they’d forgotten to send my details to the supplier, and so if I’d chased before, I’d have had it tested by now.  But once I chased it, it arrived in 2 days, which was good going, seeing as I wasn’t paying the postage.

This pack has a rather innovative hydration system, where the water (or gin if you like) is squirted rather than sucked.  On their website, Geigerrig make a big thing about how much hard work it is sucking on a conventional bladder, but personally I don’t find it a problem at all, and rather take the view that anyone who has trouble sucking is probably at a level of fitness that means that they wouldn’t have any interest in the product anyway.  So we’ll have to see how much of a benefit the pump action actually is.

What did please me, was that the sack itself is grey, and therefore, I won’t look too silly if I take it to work.  It’s about the right size for that too.  Overall, though, first impressions are that it’s a quality product, and although the bag itself is at the smaller end of daysack territory (20 litres), will fit well into my rucksack “library.”

So I guess, it’s watch this space for the review.

A “Walk-Life” Balance

I can almost hear some of you exclaiming “Surely he means ‘Work-Life Balance'”, but actually you’d be wrong and I mean precisely what I said. Best I explain…

When people refer to work-life balance they’re usually implying that the work bit is too big and the life bit needs to be bigger. Really, the phrase should be “life-work balance”, thereby emphasising the “life” as the important bit. After all, most people in work only spend around a quarter of their week actually at work, and that’s before counting holidays etc.  I felt it was important to highlight this before I go on to talk about “walk-life” balance, which of course implies that it is the walking that is important. But what about work, I hear you cry ?

Well, having left my permanent job of 15 years back in February this year, I decided to become my own boss so that I could take more control over how much I work and, more importantly, how much I walk. But first I took 6 months off which I spent walking, painting and being at home with the family. This really was walk-life balance, quite literally.  6 months then turned into 9 months when it took a while to persuade someone to actually buy my services. And so this week, just as I was starting to think about a last-minute Lakes trip (like everyone else seems to be doing), I re-entered the world of work.

It’s only a short contract, and won’t make me rich, but it tops up the coffers.  But I was slightly concerned when handed an iPhone on the first day, and for two reasons: firstly, being given a Blackberry or work iPhone usually signals that you’re one of those people that needs to be in constant contact with the office, which is never much of an enhancement to work-life balance.  Secondly, because I have strived for years now to avoid ensnarement by Apple, and even bought myself a Blackberry when I had to hand back my work one when I left my old permie job.  But at least I might find out what all the fuss is about.

Another irony is that having spend a couple of K on refreshing my project management skills and getting some certification, my first contract isn’t really going to use them to any great extent.

Of course, the other thing this contract does is mess up any serious walking until the spring, and my original and rather idealised plan to work from September to June and walk during the summer.  But it’s not the end of the world…I’ve got a new plan.

I have to confess, I never really much considered walking at the dark end of the year, and in my mind it all consisted of either rain and lashing gales or deep snow. But seeing everyone else’s pictures, especially the cloud inversions (you know who you are!), fired me up to be much more open-minded about walking all year round. And if I adopt that mindset, it takes the pressure off the timing of my contracts, so I can find a way of walking whenever they finish.

So now I’m going to plan a proper walking trip to somewhere with proper views for just after the end of each contract, whenever it happens to be.  And I’m going to make sure I get out in the limbo weeks while I’m looking for work, and not put walking off because I need to be at a couple of days constant notice for an interview.  The only way I’m going to restrict myself is to try not to be away too much in school holidays.

The central irony here, is that actually this way of balancing work and play is much true to the reason why I decided to adopt this lifestyle in the first place.  It just took a while to work it out.

Some ironic walking

All this balancing work and play is probably going to mean walking at some different times of year, and therefore, maybe I too will see a proper cloud inversion.  Also, I suspect I’ll be planning walking trips much closer to when they take place, and I think that the issues this will bring to accommodation finding may  make me use the tent more, and even get me wild-camping.  Something which I’ve so far chickened out of, but which I know many do and particularly enjoy.  And I need to face up to it anyway, especially as my main Lake District target for the next year is to make serious inroads to the Far Eastern fells which, without a car, and relying only on feet and buses, is very tricky – in terms of access by road.  Because of this, I think of the FE Fells as the most remote part of the Lakes, which is especially ironic given that my “local” Wainwright (Grey Crag) is one of them.  The irony that my new work-walk-life balance may actually be the push I need to get my wild-camping isn’t lost on me either.

We’ll just have to see how it pans out, I guess.

Some new gear

The other thing that happened this week was the arrival of my prize from a competition I entered on the Outdoor Bloggers Network.  So I’m now the proud owner of a Geigerrig 1200 hydration pack.  Of course, there is a but…I had to agree to write a review of the product, but that’s no hardship.  So a review of this rather pricey bit of kit will follow in the next few weeks.

It’s also quite ironic that it turned up just as my walking slowed down massively, and I could have given it a good thrashing if I’d got it before.  It’s partly my own fault as when I chased up the OBN, they’d forgotten to send my details to the supplier, and so if I’d chased before, I’d have had it tested by now.  But once I chased it, it arrived in 2 days, which was good going, seeing as I wasn’t paying the postage.

This pack has a rather innovative hydration system, where the water (or gin if you like) is squirted rather than sucked.  On their website, Geigerrig make a big thing about how much hard work it is sucking on a conventional bladder, but personally I don’t find it a problem at all, and rather take the view that anyone who has trouble sucking is probably at a level of fitness that means that they wouldn’t have any interest in the product anyway.  So we’ll have to see how much of a benefit the pump action actually is.

What did please me, was that the sack itself is grey, and therefore, I won’t look too silly if I take it to work.  It’s about the right size for that too.  Overall, though, first impressions are that it’s a quality product, and although the bag itself is at the smaller end of daysack territory (20 litres), will fit well into my rucksack “library.”

So I guess, it’s watch this space for the review.

A “Walk-Life” Balance

I can almost hear some of you exclaiming “Surely he means ‘Work-Life Balance'”, but actually you’d be wrong and I mean precisely what I said. Best I explain…

When people refer to work-life balance they’re usually implying that the work bit is too big and the life bit needs to be bigger. Really, the phrase should be “life-work balance”, thereby emphasising the “life” as the important bit. After all, most people in work only spend around a quarter of their week actually at work, and that’s before counting holidays etc.  I felt it was important to highlight this before I go on to talk about “walk-life” balance, which of course implies that it is the walking that is important. But what about work, I hear you cry ?

Well, having left my permanent job of 15 years back in February this year, I decided to become my own boss so that I could take more control over how much I work and, more importantly, how much I walk. But first I took 6 months off which I spent walking, painting and being at home with the family. This really was walk-life balance, quite literally.  6 months then turned into 9 months when it took a while to persuade someone to actually buy my services. And so this week, just as I was starting to think about a last-minute Lakes trip (like everyone else seems to be doing), I re-entered the world of work.

It’s only a short contract, and won’t make me rich, but it tops up the coffers.  But I was slightly concerned when handed an iPhone on the first day, and for two reasons: firstly, being given a Blackberry or work iPhone usually signals that you’re one of those people that needs to be in constant contact with the office, which is never much of an enhancement to work-life balance.  Secondly, because I have strived for years now to avoid ensnarement by Apple, and even bought myself a Blackberry when I had to hand back my work one when I left my old permie job.  But at least I might find out what all the fuss is about.

Another irony is that having spend a couple of K on refreshing my project management skills and getting some certification, my first contract isn’t really going to use them to any great extent.

Of course, the other thing this contract does is mess up any serious walking until the spring, and my original and rather idealised plan to work from September to June and walk during the summer.  But it’s not the end of the world…I’ve got a new plan.

I have to confess, I never really much considered walking at the dark end of the year, and in my mind it all consisted of either rain and lashing gales or deep snow. But seeing everyone else’s pictures, especially the cloud inversions (you know who you are!), fired me up to be much more open-minded about walking all year round. And if I adopt that mindset, it takes the pressure off the timing of my contracts, so I can find a way of walking whenever they finish.

So now I’m going to plan a proper walking trip to somewhere with proper views for just after the end of each contract, whenever it happens to be.  And I’m going to make sure I get out in the limbo weeks while I’m looking for work, and not put walking off because I need to be at a couple of days constant notice for an interview.  The only way I’m going to restrict myself is to try not to be away too much in school holidays.

The central irony here, is that actually this way of balancing work and play is much true to the reason why I decided to adopt this lifestyle in the first place.  It just took a while to work it out.

Some ironic walking

All this balancing work and play is probably going to mean walking at some different times of year, and therefore, maybe I too will see a proper cloud inversion.  Also, I suspect I’ll be planning walking trips much closer to when they take place, and I think that the issues this will bring to accommodation finding may  make me use the tent more, and even get me wild-camping.  Something which I’ve so far chickened out of, but which I know many do and particularly enjoy.  And I need to face up to it anyway, especially as my main Lake District target for the next year is to make serious inroads to the Far Eastern fells which, without a car, and relying only on feet and buses, is very tricky – in terms of access by road.  Because of this, I think of the FE Fells as the most remote part of the Lakes, which is especially ironic given that my “local” Wainwright (Grey Crag) is one of them.  The irony that my new work-walk-life balance may actually be the push I need to get my wild-camping isn’t lost on me either.

We’ll just have to see how it pans out, I guess.

Some new gear

The other thing that happened this week was the arrival of my prize from a competition I entered on the Outdoor Bloggers Network.  So I’m now the proud owner of a Geigerrig 1200 hydration pack.  Of course, there is a but…I had to agree to write a review of the product, but that’s no hardship.  So a review of this rather pricey bit of kit will follow in the next few weeks.

It’s also quite ironic that it turned up just as my walking slowed down massively, and I could have given it a good thrashing if I’d got it before.  It’s partly my own fault as when I chased up the OBN, they’d forgotten to send my details to the supplier, and so if I’d chased before, I’d have had it tested by now.  But once I chased it, it arrived in 2 days, which was good going, seeing as I wasn’t paying the postage.

This pack has a rather innovative hydration system, where the water (or gin if you like) is squirted rather than sucked.  On their website, Geigerrig make a big thing about how much hard work it is sucking on a conventional bladder, but personally I don’t find it a problem at all, and rather take the view that anyone who has trouble sucking is probably at a level of fitness that means that they wouldn’t have any interest in the product anyway.  So we’ll have to see how much of a benefit the pump action actually is.

What did please me, was that the sack itself is grey, and therefore, I won’t look too silly if I take it to work.  It’s about the right size for that too.  Overall, though, first impressions are that it’s a quality product, and although the bag itself is at the smaller end of daysack territory (20 litres), will fit well into my rucksack “library.”

So I guess, it’s watch this space for the review.

A “Walk-Life” Balance

I can almost hear some of you exclaiming “Surely he means ‘Work-Life Balance'”, but actually you’d be wrong and I mean precisely what I said. Best I explain…

When people refer to work-life balance they’re usually implying that the work bit is too big and the life bit needs to be bigger. Really, the phrase should be “life-work balance”, thereby emphasising the “life” as the important bit. After all, most people in work only spend around a quarter of their week actually at work, and that’s before counting holidays etc.  I felt it was important to highlight this before I go on to talk about “walk-life” balance, which of course implies that it is the walking that is important. But what about work, I hear you cry ?

Well, having left my permanent job of 15 years back in February this year, I decided to become my own boss so that I could take more control over how much I work and, more importantly, how much I walk. But first I took 6 months off which I spent walking, painting and being at home with the family. This really was walk-life balance, quite literally.  6 months then turned into 9 months when it took a while to persuade someone to actually buy my services. And so this week, just as I was starting to think about a last-minute Lakes trip (like everyone else seems to be doing), I re-entered the world of work.

It’s only a short contract, and won’t make me rich, but it tops up the coffers.  But I was slightly concerned when handed an iPhone on the first day, and for two reasons: firstly, being given a Blackberry or work iPhone usually signals that you’re one of those people that needs to be in constant contact with the office, which is never much of an enhancement to work-life balance.  Secondly, because I have strived for years now to avoid ensnarement by Apple, and even bought myself a Blackberry when I had to hand back my work one when I left my old permie job.  But at least I might find out what all the fuss is about.

Another irony is that having spend a couple of K on refreshing my project management skills and getting some certification, my first contract isn’t really going to use them to any great extent.

Of course, the other thing this contract does is mess up any serious walking until the spring, and my original and rather idealised plan to work from September to June and walk during the summer.  But it’s not the end of the world…I’ve got a new plan.

I have to confess, I never really much considered walking at the dark end of the year, and in my mind it all consisted of either rain and lashing gales or deep snow. But seeing everyone else’s pictures, especially the cloud inversions (you know who you are!), fired me up to be much more open-minded about walking all year round. And if I adopt that mindset, it takes the pressure off the timing of my contracts, so I can find a way of walking whenever they finish.

So now I’m going to plan a proper walking trip to somewhere with proper views for just after the end of each contract, whenever it happens to be.  And I’m going to make sure I get out in the limbo weeks while I’m looking for work, and not put walking off because I need to be at a couple of days constant notice for an interview.  The only way I’m going to restrict myself is to try not to be away too much in school holidays.

The central irony here, is that actually this way of balancing work and play is much true to the reason why I decided to adopt this lifestyle in the first place.  It just took a while to work it out.

Some ironic walking

All this balancing work and play is probably going to mean walking at some different times of year, and therefore, maybe I too will see a proper cloud inversion.  Also, I suspect I’ll be planning walking trips much closer to when they take place, and I think that the issues this will bring to accommodation finding may  make me use the tent more, and even get me wild-camping.  Something which I’ve so far chickened out of, but which I know many do and particularly enjoy.  And I need to face up to it anyway, especially as my main Lake District target for the next year is to make serious inroads to the Far Eastern fells which, without a car, and relying only on feet and buses, is very tricky – in terms of access by road.  Because of this, I think of the FE Fells as the most remote part of the Lakes, which is especially ironic given that my “local” Wainwright (Grey Crag) is one of them.  The irony that my new work-walk-life balance may actually be the push I need to get my wild-camping isn’t lost on me either.

We’ll just have to see how it pans out, I guess.

Some new gear

The other thing that happened this week was the arrival of my prize from a competition I entered on the Outdoor Bloggers Network.  So I’m now the proud owner of a Geigerrig 1200 hydration pack.  Of course, there is a but…I had to agree to write a review of the product, but that’s no hardship.  So a review of this rather pricey bit of kit will follow in the next few weeks.

It’s also quite ironic that it turned up just as my walking slowed down massively, and I could have given it a good thrashing if I’d got it before.  It’s partly my own fault as when I chased up the OBN, they’d forgotten to send my details to the supplier, and so if I’d chased before, I’d have had it tested by now.  But once I chased it, it arrived in 2 days, which was good going, seeing as I wasn’t paying the postage.

This pack has a rather innovative hydration system, where the water (or gin if you like) is squirted rather than sucked.  On their website, Geigerrig make a big thing about how much hard work it is sucking on a conventional bladder, but personally I don’t find it a problem at all, and rather take the view that anyone who has trouble sucking is probably at a level of fitness that means that they wouldn’t have any interest in the product anyway.  So we’ll have to see how much of a benefit the pump action actually is.

What did please me, was that the sack itself is grey, and therefore, I won’t look too silly if I take it to work.  It’s about the right size for that too.  Overall, though, first impressions are that it’s a quality product, and although the bag itself is at the smaller end of daysack territory (20 litres), will fit well into my rucksack “library.”

So I guess, it’s watch this space for the review.

A “Walk-Life” Balance

I can almost hear some of you exclaiming “Surely he means ‘Work-Life Balance'”, but actually you’d be wrong and I mean precisely what I said. Best I explain…

When people refer to work-life balance they’re usually implying that the work bit is too big and the life bit needs to be bigger. Really, the phrase should be “life-work balance”, thereby emphasising the “life” as the important bit. After all, most people in work only spend around a quarter of their week actually at work, and that’s before counting holidays etc.  I felt it was important to highlight this before I go on to talk about “walk-life” balance, which of course implies that it is the walking that is important. But what about work, I hear you cry ?

Well, having left my permanent job of 15 years back in February this year, I decided to become my own boss so that I could take more control over how much I work and, more importantly, how much I walk. But first I took 6 months off which I spent walking, painting and being at home with the family. This really was walk-life balance, quite literally.  6 months then turned into 9 months when it took a while to persuade someone to actually buy my services. And so this week, just as I was starting to think about a last-minute Lakes trip (like everyone else seems to be doing), I re-entered the world of work.

It’s only a short contract, and won’t make me rich, but it tops up the coffers.  But I was slightly concerned when handed an iPhone on the first day, and for two reasons: firstly, being given a Blackberry or work iPhone usually signals that you’re one of those people that needs to be in constant contact with the office, which is never much of an enhancement to work-life balance.  Secondly, because I have strived for years now to avoid ensnarement by Apple, and even bought myself a Blackberry when I had to hand back my work one when I left my old permie job.  But at least I might find out what all the fuss is about.

Another irony is that having spend a couple of K on refreshing my project management skills and getting some certification, my first contract isn’t really going to use them to any great extent.

Of course, the other thing this contract does is mess up any serious walking until the spring, and my original and rather idealised plan to work from September to June and walk during the summer.  But it’s not the end of the world…I’ve got a new plan.

I have to confess, I never really much considered walking at the dark end of the year, and in my mind it all consisted of either rain and lashing gales or deep snow. But seeing everyone else’s pictures, especially the cloud inversions (you know who you are!), fired me up to be much more open-minded about walking all year round. And if I adopt that mindset, it takes the pressure off the timing of my contracts, so I can find a way of walking whenever they finish.

So now I’m going to plan a proper walking trip to somewhere with proper views for just after the end of each contract, whenever it happens to be.  And I’m going to make sure I get out in the limbo weeks while I’m looking for work, and not put walking off because I need to be at a couple of days constant notice for an interview.  The only way I’m going to restrict myself is to try not to be away too much in school holidays.

The central irony here, is that actually this way of balancing work and play is much true to the reason why I decided to adopt this lifestyle in the first place.  It just took a while to work it out.

Some ironic walking

All this balancing work and play is probably going to mean walking at some different times of year, and therefore, maybe I too will see a proper cloud inversion.  Also, I suspect I’ll be planning walking trips much closer to when they take place, and I think that the issues this will bring to accommodation finding may  make me use the tent more, and even get me wild-camping.  Something which I’ve so far chickened out of, but which I know many do and particularly enjoy.  And I need to face up to it anyway, especially as my main Lake District target for the next year is to make serious inroads to the Far Eastern fells which, without a car, and relying only on feet and buses, is very tricky – in terms of access by road.  Because of this, I think of the FE Fells as the most remote part of the Lakes, which is especially ironic given that my “local” Wainwright (Grey Crag) is one of them.  The irony that my new work-walk-life balance may actually be the push I need to get my wild-camping isn’t lost on me either.

We’ll just have to see how it pans out, I guess.

Some new gear

The other thing that happened this week was the arrival of my prize from a competition I entered on the Outdoor Bloggers Network.  So I’m now the proud owner of a Geigerrig 1200 hydration pack.  Of course, there is a but…I had to agree to write a review of the product, but that’s no hardship.  So a review of this rather pricey bit of kit will follow in the next few weeks.

It’s also quite ironic that it turned up just as my walking slowed down massively, and I could have given it a good thrashing if I’d got it before.  It’s partly my own fault as when I chased up the OBN, they’d forgotten to send my details to the supplier, and so if I’d chased before, I’d have had it tested by now.  But once I chased it, it arrived in 2 days, which was good going, seeing as I wasn’t paying the postage.

This pack has a rather innovative hydration system, where the water (or gin if you like) is squirted rather than sucked.  On their website, Geigerrig make a big thing about how much hard work it is sucking on a conventional bladder, but personally I don’t find it a problem at all, and rather take the view that anyone who has trouble sucking is probably at a level of fitness that means that they wouldn’t have any interest in the product anyway.  So we’ll have to see how much of a benefit the pump action actually is.

What did please me, was that the sack itself is grey, and therefore, I won’t look too silly if I take it to work.  It’s about the right size for that too.  Overall, though, first impressions are that it’s a quality product, and although the bag itself is at the smaller end of daysack territory (20 litres), will fit well into my rucksack “library.”

So I guess, it’s watch this space for the review.

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