“If you want the rainbow, you’ve gotta put up with the rain…”

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After last week’s disastrous F grade I needed to get up and go this week. So get up and go I did.

On Sunday I did a walk with my husband, kids and my sister and her boyfriend around our village, which, although short, involved a fairly steep incline and some extra difficulty added by my daughter on my back.  I also managed 35 minutes of stepping in the afternoon, so felt the week had got off to a good start.  Monday and Tuesday also saw at least half an hour of stepping respectively, which is definitely strengthening the muscles around my dodgy knee, as well as being good cardio. My knee is far quieter when I bend it now, and my husband has noticed a decrease in the loud ripping noise when I come down the stairs. Wednesday and Thursday were difficult days in the Atkinson household for various reasons, which called for white wine in the evenings, so no training was done.

My parents came to stay on Thursday night in order for me to get in another walk with my Dad.  The weather on Friday morning was not far short of atrocious – driving rain, cold wind, and even a couple of flashes of lightening. However, England being England and the Lake District being the Lake District, avoiding training because of bad weather is naïve and ill advised, as the practice in dreadful weather may be greatly needed.  It does change the experience, both in levels of morale and physical comfort.

Dad and I got going as soon as the school run was complete, with Mum planning a lovely, warm, dry, cosy morning which involved playing with my daughter and taking her to the coffee morning at the local pub – yummy coffee and homemade cakes. Jealous? Not at all.

Dolly Parton once said, “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you’ve gotta put up with the rain”, so put up with it we did.  Dad and I set off up the hill behind my village, part of the Poldens which stretch from Street to Bridgwater.  It is a decent incline which involves a good push.  We followed the public footpaths until we reached the top and had to negotiate crossing the A39.  We then walked down into Shapwick, towards Westhay, through Shapwick Nature Reserve to Catcott, back to Shapwick before playing Chicken across the A39 again.  Over 3 hours walk and an estimated 9 miles.  It was very enjoyable and Dad and I had a good mardle (for those of you not from Norfolk, this means ‘gossip’. I suppose ‘gossip’ isn’t quite the right word really, seeing as Dad doesn’t really do gossiping. Basically we put the world to rights, I learnt about longtailed tits, furrow and ridge, and we had a good catch up).

So what lessons were learnt this week (besides the longtailed tits and furrow and ridge stuff?) I learnt that I need kit.  I arrived home drenched to the skin, having been wearing tracksuit bottoms, a long sleeved top, a hoodie, a water resistant jacket, woolly gloves, 3 hats (beanie, hood from hoodie and hood from jacket), and a pair of trainers.  My socks actually had little puddles in them when I took them off and my toes were all wrinkley like I’d been in the bath too long.  My hands were very cold – the gloves had been very useful for the first hour and a half until they got so wet I had to take them off, and then my hands froze. I couldn’t even put them in my pocket or up my sleeves as both of these areas were also soaking.  Cars drove past, their drivers and passengers looking at me in a confused way as I walked, head down, into the rain.  Dad looked the part, you see. When he walks, he looks like A Walker. In contrast, I look like someone who has planned their day badly, missed the bus and is having to walk home in completely inappropriate attire.  Dad has waterproof trousers, which he tucks into bright red walking socks, walking boots which are so caked in mud that anyone can see he is A Walker.  He has a snazzy waterproof jacket which is a sensible colour (bright blue) so he doesn’t blend into foliage in the event of a fall while walking up a mountain (heaven forbid).  He has waterproof gloves (essential), and a large-enough-but-not-overly-large backpack for essential items, with a separate pocket for a water bottle, and many internal zipped compartments for head torches, Kendal mint cake, swiss army knives, lengths of rope, whistles and compasses. His large-but-not-overly-large backpack also has a separate elasticated waterproof cover to keep essential and life saving items dry and undamaged. OK, I am getting a bit carried away now. He’s not Ray Mears.  But he looks the part and he has sensible kit to make sure that walking is comfortable and safe.

So… next stop for me is Mountain Warehouse at Clarks Village (other outdoor supplies establishments are available, but they are not present at Clarks Village Retail Outlet which offers up to 75% discount on many items. Moutain Warehouse it is then).  I must remember when I visit Clarks Village that I am not there to try on a new dress at Yumi, buy a pair of stylish wedges in Whistles or purchase another pair of dangley earrings in Accessorize. None of these items will help me on my trek.  * I REPEAT – NONE OF THESE ITEMS WILL HELP ME ON MY TREK. *

I have thought about Ian a lot this week due to the Various Issue which I mentioned earlier.  I had a lovely email recently from my step-brother-in-law (I have a large and complicated family) with some lovely words which I want to share…

‘I bet there are moments during your training when you are truly alone with your thoughts (rare for a busy Mum), and no doubt you’ll be giving a lot of thought to your brother… I hope those thoughts carry you up the hills instead of weighing you down.        E. Kenny-Levick, 2015.

Thanks Edd. There are many, many times when thoughts of Ian weigh very heavily.  Three and a half years on, glimpses of happy memories and happy times do shine through the clouds. I will try to cherish these words and let the happy thoughts carry me – fully, sensibly and properly attired in waterproof clothing – up the hills and through the rain.

Till next week,

Louise x

If you haven’t sponsored me and would like to, here is the link…. Think of it as payment to be able to chuckle at me standing in a puddle inside my socks.



  1. Another enlightening blog Lou and you’ve definitely upped your effort and achievement grade from last week. Well done. Now just the PRACTICAL and COMFORTABLE shopping to do. All thoughts of fashion accessories must be put to one side for now. No one – least of all yourself – will care what you look like at the top of a Lake District peak. I think that Ed’s words are so relevant and encouraging. What a great spur they will be as you traverse the countryside – this is all for Ian. Keep it up. Lots of love and duddles. Mum xxxx.


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