CHICCHANTAL's SparkPeople Blog CHICCHANTAL's Blog on SparkPeople, home of free diet plans and a healthy living community Pigs might fly I went for a hike today. This is a route that will be new to you, but not to me. I discovered it a couple of years ago and have walked it regularly since then, but have never blogged about it. <BR> <BR> So. Hike. Train to Chorleywood. <link><BR>ywood </link> Get off train, walk up steps, walk up hill, on to Chorleywood Common. This is a much bedogged common, but it also has many trees (which dogs like for reasons I am too delicate to mention) and pon... Sun, 7 Jan 2018 13:20:00 EST Convalescent Yesterday I decide to go for a gentle wander, being still convalescent after two colds. So I start off at Epping, and allow myself to get the bus up to the main road because the walk up the hill from the station is steep and tedious and my lungs are bothering me a bit, only the bus doesn't come so I have to walk anyway. <BR> <BR> At this point sensible people would already be giving up and going home, but I am made of stupider - I mean sterner - stuff. <BR> <BR> I get to the start of the w... Mon, 7 Mar 2016 16:54:39 EST The trouble with housework Well, the trouble with housework is that I don't like it. Not that I do much, I'm a housework minimalist, you might say. Lick and a promise? Forget the promise, I don't even INTEND to go back and finish it, I mean do it more thoroughly. I can think of much more exciting ways to spend my time, like playing with the cat or logging my carbs. <BR> <BR> Housework must be quite good exercise, all that lugging of furniture and bending and stretching must add up to something. My exercise at the mome... Sat, 9 Jan 2016 06:41:31 EST How DO I get myself into these things? <img src=""> <BR> A couple of months ago I was chatting to a friend online about holidays. Holidays in Italy. <BR> <BR> Over the course of a few conversations we narrowed it down to Rome, Venice or Florence. <BR> <BR> Then to Venice. <BR> <BR> Then to 'How about we do the Venice carnival?' <BR> <BR> Then to 'What are we going to wear in Venice at the carnival?' <BR> <BR> As you'll understand, things escala... Fri, 8 Jan 2016 13:23:27 EST Spoiled for choice I don't know about you but for me January is the month when (as a colleague once observed) you get to the tin in the back of the cupboard and eat whatever's in it. You're too broke for anything else, after Christmas. <BR> <BR> In my case, it also means getting to the back of the freezer, which is normally full of UFOs. Yes, Unidentifiable Frozen Objects. Leftovers of leftovers. Things that seemed like a good idea at the time when I made enough for six meals, froze five of them, and now no l... Tue, 6 Jan 2015 16:58:15 EST Onesie I had a not-very-successful hike today. I went out into the wilds of Buckinghamshire but the weather closed in and got very cold and grey so I did a couple of miles and gave up because it's the solstice today and what light there was, was going to have gone by 3pm. And so it turned out. <BR> <BR> So I got home, muddy and discouraged, and got into the bath. Then I got into my onesie. My NEW onesie, for I have two. <BR> <BR> The new one is leopard print in design and if you think it might ma... Sun, 21 Dec 2014 16:33:11 EST Grappling hooks I've been off Sparkpeople for a while. Well, more than a while. Several whiles. I didn't decide to lapse, it just happened. More or less in the way Snow White drifted. So this week I had a few days off work and was clearing some stuff out and spring cleaning (Yes, I know. Not spring. So I've been told) and I thought I'd look up Sparkpeople again. <BR> <BR> Still there. A few new faces, and a lot of old ones - a few extra wrinkles here and there, haven't we all? <BR> <BR> Although wrinkle... Sat, 20 Dec 2014 16:34:40 EST Any way you do it I have a habit of losing small things. You could call me the Goddess of Lost Small Things. In the past month, I've lost my breadmaker recipe book which has resulted in all kinds of weird and largely inedible concoctions from the bread machine, my aunt's diamond ring (ouch) and, a week or so ago, my nearly brand new Fitbit One. <BR> <BR> Argh. It cost £70, that Fitbit, and I've only had it for three weeks. Yesterday evening I did some serious hunting for it: no joy. This morning, ditto. I w... Sun, 23 Feb 2014 13:13:28 EST Long, hot summer Saturday I decided to go for a little walk. I can't really call this one a hike, because it was a nice flat path all the way with only one tiny hill. I started just north of Harlow, in Essex, at Harlow Mill. I pick this because I can see from the map that the path is only about half a kilometre north of the station and it is by the river Stort so even I should be able to find it without difficulty. <BR> <BR> And so it proves. Nip over the bridge and down on to the path by the river. <BR> <... Tue, 30 Jul 2013 15:43:07 EST Too hot to handle Not hot in the good sense, I don't mean. Not at my age. It's been about 30C (mid 80s F) in the UK for a week and we're suffering. Well honestly, we're not used to it. For the last three years we got no summer, just extra rain. This year, however my garden's like a blasted heath. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> In the bit of Epping Forest that I walked in the blog called 'Mud, mud glorious mud', the muddiest walk of many very muddy wa... Fri, 19 Jul 2013 14:47:44 EST Life without Percy My large cat, Charlie, is missing his recently deceased brother. Not in a howling, sort of way. Or even a prowling sort of way. He did not (as I'm told some cats do) spend days looking for Percy. In fact since they were always both very outdoors cats, they weren't often in the same place at the same time. That, and the fact that Charlie always found Percy irritating because he wanted to snuggle up. <BR> <BR> Now, however, something in Charlie's cat brain is missing Percy. This is manifestin... Sat, 11 May 2013 05:11:06 EST Facilities This is the blog of someone who's having an UnSparkly weekend. I'm eating rice salad (containing three times as many vegetables as rice) Always the sign of food sins to expiate when you catch me eating rice salad. <BR> <BR> I have just been reading another Sparker's blog and she's talking about a hot tub. Well, I've seen one on telly so I know what they look like, but as to trying one out . . . Maybe I'll book one somewhere for my next big birthday. <BR> <BR> It's very clear though that I'... Sun, 5 May 2013 15:12:12 EST Not a proper blog From thinking of Twitter as something for people with too much time on their hands, I've recently become a bit of a fan. <BR> <BR> A lot depends on who you follow. Being English, I follow the BBC. (I can just hear you thinking 'jolly good chaps!' and trust me, they don't talk like that any more except on Radio 4). <BR> <BR> For people who don't use Twitter for news purposes, all the news sites tweet when they put up a new feature and put in a link. Well this evening, as I'm curled up on t... Thu, 2 May 2013 15:51:28 EST The big M I was sitting at work today, hunched over my computer and feeling very Mondayish. If you don't know what I mean by Mondayish, run away and play in the traffic, do. The only thing on my mind was concentrating on the 'to do' list (first getting it written and then getting it done). <BR> <BR> Suddenly, I started to feel Not Right. Even by Monday's standards, not brilliant. Bit of a temperature developing, etc. I mentioned this to the colleague next to me who suggested I might be going down wit... Mon, 29 Apr 2013 14:47:16 EST Tea and milk, no sugar Yesterday Stonecot and I went for a nice little walk (all 11 miles of it, yes). <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> We saw billowing clouds of the kind that would have made Constable gibber and reach for his paintbox, and pretty little bullocks whose beauty was enhanced greatly by the fact that they were the other side of the fence. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src="http://photos... Sat, 27 Apr 2013 11:17:03 EST Parking space I've been in Regent's Park this afternoon. My sore foot was not actually sore this morning so I treated it to another short walk. <BR> <BR> London's parks are always full of people on sunny weekends, especially when the weather's been lousy. It's so nice to see everyone out and doing their own thing. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.sparkp... Sun, 21 Apr 2013 13:25:11 EST Frisky <img src=""> <BR> <BR> I understand how my ancestors felt <BR> <BR> This morning I got up at 8.30 (Sunday = lie-in chez ChicChantal. If you usually get up at 7am, 8.30am is a lie-in, right?) and opened the bedroom window, bracing myself for the icy blast. <BR> <BR> It didn't happen. Instead, a scent with all the qualities of good wine curled in and started to explore the dusty corners of the room. <BR> <BR> I sort of choked and heade... Sun, 14 Apr 2013 06:33:30 EST She's rubbish, you know <img src=""> <BR> <BR> This female human we live with. She forgot to start spring this year so we went back into hibernation. She's also useless at remembering to feed us. Just how difficult is it to open a can of Whiskas when asked, hm? No we can't do it ourselves, we haven't got the thumbs. If mice had ringpulls, we'd have evolved with thumbs. Natural selection. As it is, we've trained humans instead. <BR> <BR> Her behaviour wants som... Fri, 12 Apr 2013 15:14:54 EST What they say about the English is true We have really got a thing about the weather. Take me, for example. When I got home from work this evening, I went to look at the weather forecast. I've been doing this twice a day for six months. This is what the Met Office said for Sunday: <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> For a moment, I genuinely did not take this in. I sort of thought the forecast for Sunday was part of the page border or something. Then I looked again. Then I went t... Wed, 10 Apr 2013 13:42:20 EST The best drink of the day When I started on SparkPeople, one of the things that surprised me was how much talk there was of tea. I was surprised because this is an American site, and in my yoof, Americans were well known - and pitied, in the UK at least - for not drinking much tea. This was when compared with the Brits, who drank very large quantities, up to a gallon a day. <BR> <BR> Times have clearly changed. Brits now drink about equal quantities of tea and coffee, I think, perhaps largely due to the rediscovery... Sun, 7 Apr 2013 15:25:51 EST Down at the doctor's I took my foot to the doctor's yesterday. In fact, it insisted on coming. It also made its presence felt with every step. <BR> <BR> The doctor held it in her lap and looked it over carefully and said the problem is probably a strained ligament, and as ligaments in general have a poor blood supply, it will take a while to heal. <BR> <BR> However, she was definite about one thing: I should not under any circumstance give up exercising. She was quite congratulatory about my revised lifestyl... Sat, 6 Apr 2013 15:52:59 EST Out of my box I like to think of myself as a fairly adventurous sort of person. Not adventurous as in white-water rafting, shark-fishing and so on, but someone who's always willing to do something different. This is how I originally came to be hiking on my own - I wanted exercise and fresh air, and didn't know anyone else who wanted to go hiking, so I bought a map and the rest is history. <BR> <BR> And mud. <BR> <BR> At the weekend, though, I realised just how much a creature of habit I really am, when ... Tue, 2 Apr 2013 08:36:33 EST The perils of alcohol On Saturday evening I had 11 nice bottles of wine delivered to my door. I had been along to the bottle shop and picked them out two weeks previously, then managed to forget they were being delivered so when at length I remembered I was due a delivery I phoned the shop and rearranged the delivery. My memory is not what it was, as you will see. <BR> <BR> I took the 12th bottle home with me to have something to drink that evening, and then didn't feel like it so didn't open it till Friday just ... Mon, 1 Apr 2013 06:34:52 EST Pottering about I've had the sort of three months you want to expunge from your SparkMemory to be honest. Like nearly everyone in the northern hemisphere, I've endured a cold, late, wet, grey, snowy and miserable spring. Like a lot of people, I've suffered from slippage. Slippage is what it's called when you get behind schedule, often to the point where you throw Plan A out of the window and go for Plan B. <BR> <BR> So, I decided yesterday, I'd concentrate on having a sort of clearout (that reminds me, is... Sun, 31 Mar 2013 11:07:00 EST Howl, howl, howl, howl! Poor naked wretches, wheresoe'er you are, <BR> That bide the pelting of this pitiless storm. <BR> <BR> Actually that's enough of King Lear. I'm not naked, in fact I wore my new frock to work today (it's now officially an almost-new frock cos I've worn it eight times) but the weather makes it seem so. Amazing the way the wind whips round your nether regions when you're wearing a frock. <BR> <BR> Have I mentioned the weather before? Oh yes, last blog and a lot of you seem to think you are wo... Wed, 27 Mar 2013 17:32:54 EST The winter has stolen my mojo 'What winter?' I hear you say, 'It's spring!' <BR> <BR> Hah. Not in the UK it isn't. We were promised 10C (50F) this weekend and I made plans to go away, and instead it's absolutely appendage-freezing, and the forecast is down to 2C for Saturday. 2C is 2C above 0C which is freezing in Cs. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> So I was planning all kinds of things for the weekend including being very careful about what I eat and taking ple... Thu, 21 Mar 2013 16:04:38 EST Bean brilliant There's not much chance of a hike this weekend. The weather has warmed up a bit, we now have a magnificent 8C (46.5F) but of course it's also got wetter. So I'm doing housework and advance cooking. <BR> <BR> I've recently developed (much to the dismay of the cats) a bit of a thing about beans and lentils. An interesting point about beans is nearly all the beans we eat these days are new world beans, indigenous to the Americas. In Europe, the only indigenous bean was broad beans which you ca... Sat, 16 Mar 2013 04:48:40 EST Back in the Ice Age Can't make up my mind where to go for a hike today. In the end I take the train to a place called Tring in Hertfordshire which is not a synthetic fibre although it sounds as though it should be, but a small town, inconveniently situated 1.5 miles from its own railway station (what do they think this is , France or something?). Just how inconvenient this is becomes clear when I enquire about a lavatory at the station. <BR> <BR> 'No, sorry. Only if you go into town.' Peruse the bus timetables... Sun, 10 Mar 2013 13:30:34 EST Fortitude Ah, an interesting quality and one in which I am lacking. Fortitude involves the courage to keep trying even when you've filleted your flat and you can't find your mojo. <BR> <BR> And when things you can't control get in the way. <BR> <BR> Take this week. This week I was planning to start a gym streak. The weather's warmed up a bit, spring is here in a washed out and feeble sort of way, and so far 10 people have mentioned how nice my new dress looks on me (I've put notches on my desk at wo... Fri, 8 Mar 2013 03:56:45 EST Verknackulared We all like a bit of a challenge, don't we? The important thing is to quantify the word 'bit', before you get started. <BR> <BR> So . . . a few blogs ago I remarked that one day I wanted to join up some of the walks I have done, because the ones up the Lee river valley and the ones in Epping Forest are on the same Ordnance Survey map. I had observed that the Three Forests Way does the joining up bit nicely. The next step (pun!) was to work out how far. <BR> <BR> Well, a long way. Using th... Sat, 2 Mar 2013 17:16:57 EST Almost sprung Spring, that is. And I for one am pretty dam' glad. I have completely lost my SparkMojo the last few weeks and I am very sure it will reappear as soon as the temperature outside gets up to 10C (50F) and stays there. <BR> <BR> This, we have been promised as of Sunday. Do not speak to me of further possible cold snaps: I am not prepared to countenance them. I don't remember such a prolonged cold spell in years but that may be because for the last 14 years I've had reliable central heating and ... Fri, 1 Mar 2013 16:43:34 EST The shape of things to come <img src=""> <BR> Well, not quite, because it looks a bit shapeless hanging up there. But yesterday I went shopping for some work clothes and bought the first dress I have owned in 20 years. <BR> <BR> So, me in a changing cubicle. I took in with me two skirts in two sizes and two dresses, one size each. Tried on the first dress and it was enormous so asked for a smaller size which fitted. Examined the dress at some length but the style o... Fri, 22 Feb 2013 06:20:11 EST Mistresses Overdone it Well, I'm writing this before the trauma of yesterday's events blanks it from my mind. So here goes. <BR> <BR> Stonecot and I meet up at 9.05am (I'm five minutes late. This is normal practice. Stonecot is usually half an hour early except when she's an hour late. Look, shall I just get on with it?) and take the train to Merstham, a village in Surrey. I've been buying maps in Stanford's again, and have discovered that the North Downs Way goes along a ridge of hills all the way to Box Hill, wh... Sun, 17 Feb 2013 07:17:53 EST Cheap as chips Every time I'm down the gym (where I should be right now), there's a skinny 20-year-old blonde on the next machine to me. It's never the same one twice, you understand - the gym has an unlimited supply of them. <BR> <BR> She'll be wearing one of these sleeveless vests that looks like a harness, spandex leggings, girly trainers and a thin film of sweat, just enough to proves she's really working at it. <BR> <BR> And me? Fat, fifty-something and brunette-out-of-a-bottle, that's me. I wear a... Sun, 10 Feb 2013 10:02:07 EST A 30-year personal best Today Stonecot and I walk from Chingford via a village called Upshire, to Epping. We set off at a brisk pace (set by me: we're meant to be taking exercise after all) up the hill to Queen Elizabeth's hunting lodge (ref previous blogs by both of us) and turn left on to the common. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <img src=" Sat, 2 Feb 2013 15:58:56 EST Emerging from hibernation I seem to have been asleep for most of January. Apart from occasional forays to the front door to let in gas engineers (RIP my boiler, it finally died completely on Thursday last), I seem to have spent the month having colds and sleeping them off. <BR> <BR> This wasn't helped by the weather, of course. You saw my last blog? Well believe me the snow looked pretty for a day, after that I wanted to return it to the shop and get my money back. It's a bit overrated, snow. There's a limit to the n... Mon, 28 Jan 2013 16:21:04 EST Emergency blog - snow joke! London is reeling under at least three inches of snow. Your intrepid reporter was at Sainsbury's yesterday night in the last flurry, stocking up on non-perishable foods and toastable bread in case she was unable to open the door this morning. So were a couple of hundred other people. Ah, the siege mentality. <BR> <BR> And what a sight met Londoners' eyes this morning. We drew back our curtains on the same three inches of snow that fell yesterday and not a flake more. Pretty . . . er, well, j... Sat, 19 Jan 2013 07:11:49 EST The magic blog wand I've been meaning to post this one for a while, ever since I put up 'Why don't people blog more?' <BR> <BR> <link><BR>ournal_individual.asp?blog_id=5107086 </link> <BR> <BR> I've been blogging since I started on SP and I'd never blogged before I found this site. So I started from scratch, and that was why I wondered why so many people don't blog much when there's a lovely blogging function ready and waiting to use. <BR> <BR> I've just had a lo... Sat, 5 Jan 2013 17:41:57 EST Elastic limits Down the gym tonight, half hour workout and nearly as long under the shower. Blimey it is wonderful to have a shower when it's your first for two days and you are normally a two bath a day girl. To quote Queen Elizabeth the First as personified by Miranda Richardson I felt 'a bit SMELLLLY'. I doubt I was actually smelly, as I do know how to use a basin full of hot water, but the truth is there's nowt like scrubbing up proper, is there? <BR> <BR> So, there I am damp and clean as a whistle, pu... Fri, 4 Jan 2013 16:55:56 EST A funny thing happened down the gym Actually it was a bit odd I was AT the gym, the reason I got there this evening instead of having the evening off that I'd promised myself is that they have hot water down the gym, something I haven't got at home at the moment, owing to my defunct boiler. <BR> <BR> 'Defunct boiler'. It sounds like a very offensive description of a woman of a certain (in other words my) age doesn't it? In this case it's a worn out gas appliance. <BR> <BR> Anyway, while at the gym, before I allowed myself in... Wed, 2 Jan 2013 16:19:39 EST Best foot forward Well, new year, best to start the way I mean to go forward I reckon. So instead of a lie in this morning, I'm off to Loughton to go for a walk in Epping forest (for a change). <BR> <BR> But worry not, for I have a plan. This is going to be a different walk, because I'm heading off toward Beach at which point I normally turn right and walk to Upshire. Today I'm going to turn left, and pick up the path to Chingford. This path ultimately takes me to Queen Elizabeth's Hunting Lodge, and would (... Tue, 1 Jan 2013 11:52:09 EST An end and a beginning Well, it's mid-afternoon on new year's eve as I write this. I'm going to a ballet later, which is a good choice for someone who's trying not to consume unnecessary calories cos I can't afford the champagne at Covent Garden (£12 for a SMALL glass. For £12 I expect to get sozzled and have enough money over for a bag of nuts). <BR> <BR> I've just fulfulled an ambition. For the first time ever this afternoon, I did an hour-long workout at the gym. Half an hour on the elliptical, 15 minutes eac... Mon, 31 Dec 2012 10:13:08 EST Landscape under water I meet up with Stonecot for a walk up the river Lea today. To be fair, this is a landscape that is mostly under water all the time, consisting of a river, a canal, several streams and a series of fishponds. However there were lots of extra pools today too. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> The first thing we see when we get to the canal, having missed the cycle track because muggins forgets to say 'turn left' at the salient point, is a... Fri, 28 Dec 2012 11:49:54 EST New toy This morning I open the front door to put the rubbish out (too late as it turns out, the dustmen have already been) and there is the postie, with a parcel for me. <BR> <BR> Me, in my nightshirt and dressing gown. <BR> <BR> I gulp and clutch at said dressing gown and I hope say thank you nicely for the parcel. <BR> <BR> The parcel, ah. It contains a new toy for me in my role as a kitchen denizen. <BR> <BR> <img src=""> <BR> <BR> Le... Thu, 27 Dec 2012 13:03:09 EST A walk in the park Limited options for exercise today. The gym's closed (open again tomorrow, I absolutely can't wait!) and public transport is scanty so getting to the outer reaches of London for a nice walk would be awkward. The weather's looking nice but the forecast is for rain. You'd think the sky would have run out but we just keep getting more and more. <BR> <BR> I decide on a bus to Kensington High Street, and a walk through Kensington Gardens and Hyde Park. <BR> <BR> <img src="http://photos-ak.spar... Wed, 26 Dec 2012 12:26:35 EST Post-Christmas lunch reflection Well, that's that so far as I'm concerned. A day and a bit expunged from my SparkMemory and as of this moment, I'm back on the wagon. Won't be eating anything else today - the mere thought of food makes my stomach feel a bit unruly. <BR> <BR> It was nice while it lasted . . . though to be honest, it wasn't quite as nice as I expected, I really can't eat all that much at once any more, not without indigestion. Started feeling a bit like a forcefed goose myself. The 200g bag of bombay mix was ... Tue, 25 Dec 2012 14:40:11 EST Cabbage soup Today I decided to branch out and got out the as yet unused map of northwest London that I bought in the summer. It covers an area not known for beauty, including Watford and Harrow. I tick off part of the London LOOP (London Outer Orbital Path) and head to Carpender's Park station with a flask of coffee, a bottle of water and a hopeful expression. <BR> <BR> Plus boots, natch. <BR> <BR> Half an hour's walk sees me pick up the LOOP (this sounds like a knitting pattern). Walk up a nice path ... Sun, 23 Dec 2012 14:33:46 EST Sparked at the gym The gym I use closes at 4pm on weekends in the winter. This is irritating, but so long as I remember to leave home by 3pm I can get my workout in. <BR> <BR> So today, this is what I do. Arrive, sling coat in locker, get on treadmill etc etc. Keep an eagle eye open because I want one of the two elliptical wossnames that are in pole position, right under the telly. After ten minutes, the person on one of them feels my eyes boring into the back of her head and hops it. I grab. <BR> <BR> This i... Sat, 22 Dec 2012 14:16:20 EST Everything under control Today I went shopping to get some things for Christmas lunch. <BR> <BR> Originally I was going to have two days' SparkHoliday, to eat in a gluttonous manner but unfortunately I ate more than I ought in Cornwall. On the plus side I did two days of hiking, but anyway I make the rules so I'm forfeiting one of my days of eating what I want. In my house the 24-hour Chrimbo celebration starts at 4pm on Christmas Eve and ends at 4pm on Christmas day. That means Posh Afternoon Tea with as many trim... Fri, 21 Dec 2012 15:16:58 EST Rain stopped play That's the announcement you get when cricket matches are rained off in summer. I mean 'summer', this is England after all. Today I was going to treat us all to another long walk, but when I looked out at the weather it was drizzle. The met office forecast said dry by lunchtime but by lunchtime I'd intended to be in the middle of nowhere on a footpath. <BR> <BR> So, change of plan. I get the bus to the south coast, and get off at Long Rock near Marazion and walk along to Marazion, which is t... Wed, 19 Dec 2012 12:32:19 EST