Diet Change…

So, after our holiday I had managed to pile on 7 pounds and M managed to lose 2, how in hell that happened I do not know, I walked countless miles, swam in the Atlantic, ran about with the dogs, and generally never stopped from 5am each day.

We had decided to go Paleo after our holiday was over, so on Monday, we started.  I love paleo, it makes cutting out sugar and processed food easy.  I admit I do miss my coffee with full-fat milk and sugar in the morning, but in the same breath, I don’t miss it.  I think I miss the thought of the sweet richness that I have had for countless years.

We have done paleo before and managed to lose weight and ate so much.  But cut sugar and processed foods and you are bound to lose weight.  I want to lose fat, bulk up, build muscle and generally get fitter and with that healthier.  My previous diet was okay as I was calorie counting all the time, but in all honesty, I was still eating crap and too much sugar, as I love my sweets (candy), just within my calorie goal.

So far so good, I have had a moment when I really fancy something sweet, but then grab a piece of fruit to quash it.  I bought an electric spiralizer, and boy, what fun.  I decided to make a chicken stirfry and apart from chicken, garlic, fine green beans (grey area on this being paleo), chilli, green peppers, onions, and best of all, spiralized courgettes which added a different dimension to it rather than rice.  It was a success, and I intend to spiralize lots of veggies.  I think I will still include raw milk in my diet from time to time, that is whenever I get to the farm for it, and I was reading that some include the odd bit of fetta cheese as this being goats cheese is okay, but I am not too sure as yet.  I love my cheese, but am determined to keep to the basics and by that, I mean to stick to the rules of “what would a caveman eat”

I have tried to find magazines in the UK for paleo, and it really has not caught on so far, if anyone knows of one, please let me know.  I have found many American publications, which are okay, but they have lots of ingredients that you cannot get here.  My friend Anna has been paleo for about 6/7 years now, and I first had a go 5 years back, and loved it, but missed my milk and in the end, the cake cravings were too much.  There was little or no information about the diet, and lots of articles really contradicted each other which was not helpful at all.  The web seems alive now with paleo and primal diet information and lots of the shops are starting to cater for it.  I now get paleo bars from a local supermarket which are mainly dates but have various flavours and they satisfy the sweet need in the diet.  I have eaten these for some time, but now they will be a staple.  Cakes will not be a problem either as I have a few recipe books on my Kindle that have lots of lovely cake and muffin recipes to keep me going. YAY!

I have never drunk so much water since starting.  Each day I have consumed about 4 litres rather than my usual 10-15 cups of coffee and tea.  Over the weekend we bought lots of bad things to eat, and many I never got round to eating as I felt bloated and really not in the mood for stuffing my face, so those treats are still in the cupboard.  Let’s see if they reach the expiry date first or my temptation and willpower give way.

I hope that this lasts and I don’t go back to calorie counting.

Holiday Over…

Well, it is back to reality now from our lovely stay in Exmoor.  Here are a few final photos

The Farm Yard from our cottage door, taken at 6am

Exmoor Ponies, rarer than the Giant Panda

Dunster Castle

The Atlantic – ready for surfing

M taking photos whilst I drive (over 1300 miles)

Lynton & Lynmouth

When I was a kid I loved going to Lynton & Lynmouth so that we could ride the world’s highest and steepest fully water powered railway.

The famous Lynton and Lynmouth funicular Cliff Railway opened in 1890 and is the highest and the steepest totally water powered railway in the world! This historic funicular Cliff Railway connects the twin towns of Lynton and Lynmouth providing stunning coastal views. This working heritage railway is grade II listed, the UK’s only fully water powered railway and one of just three examples left in the World!

If you are not aware of how these things work, then let me enlighten you. The railway consists of two cars, each capable of transporting 40 passengers, joined by a continuous cable running around a 5 ft 6 in (1.676 m) pulley at each end of the incline. The cable below the upper car counterbalances that supporting the lower car, which weighs several tons, thereby keeping the two sides in equilibrium, +/- the weight of the water.

Water feeds through 5-inch (127 mm) pipes from the West Lyn River — over 1 mile (1.6 km) away — into tanks under the floor of the upper car. Each car has a 700-imperial-gallon (3,182 L; 841 US gal) tank mounted between the wheels. Water is discharged from the lower car, until the heavier top car begins to descend, with the speed controlled by a brakeman travelling on each car.

The parallel 3 ft 9 in (1,143 mm) gauge tracks (which bow out at the centre point, to allow the cars to pass) rise 500 feet (152.4 m) and are 862 feet (262.7 m) long, giving the line a gradient of 1:1.724 (58%).

Needless to say, this was a highlight of every trip to Lynton.  But rather than look out at the incredible scenery, I always look down/up the track to see the other car approaching, and as it passes, wave, then carry on watching to where we are headed.

Here is a very short video I shot of the car arriving in Lynmouth from Lynton.  You can see the green water tank under the carriage.

Just a few photos from our visit to Lynton & Lynmouth

Ouch…

Things happen when you are on holiday, it is inevitable, but usually, it is something small, like being charged for something you did not have (bread on table in Europe), or having a meal that you did not really enjoy (that was my lunch yesterday), but sometimes it is something really big, like missing a flight, losing luggage, but since we drove here that has not happened, but this did…

Yes, on Tuesday something hit my bumper, stoved it in and scratched and cracked the bodywork below the lights and took the trim off from around the driver’s side wheel.  So needless to say, I was not a happy bunny.

Even though it does not look like much it will cost thousands of pounds to get back to new as apart from the new parts including the front bodywork and bumper moulding, the paintwork needs doing, body clips need replacing, everything needs realigning.  I spoke to my insurance yesterday and they said they would sort it out and I only have to pay my excess which came as a relief.  My car is a Nissan X-Trail T32 2017, so only 1 year and 5 months old, so I am sure you could imagine how pissed off I was with it, but what can you do.

Back in 2009 I had just bought a Peugeot Sports and had it all of a week when someone went the wrong way in my work carpark and tore the whole back end off it.  Luckily there were witnesses and van driver who did it was working at the office next door.  I gave the insurance all the details and the witnesses contacted them too, but the guy denied it all, even though his red paint matched that all over my car.  The insurance fixed it and went after him as they had lots of evidence, but he denied it all the way to the end, his insurance buckled and paid out in the end.

Oh well, onwards and upwards as the saying goes.

Heddon Mouth

Monday we went to Heddon Valley and walked through to Heddon’s Mouth which is a lovely pebble beach that was completely deserted.  Paul said that most people don’t realise it is there and think it is a grassy bank and a National Trust centre along with a pub.

We got there at 8am and walked along winding paths following the flow of the river to the sea where the bay is surrounded by some of Englands highest cliffs.  To say it was beautiful is an underestimation.  The rocks forming the sides of the cliffs were enormous, and only being close to them could you really appreciate the sheer size.  Mazikeen and I went climbing up a few, but they were covered in sea moss and seaweed which made them quite treacherous to be on.  Harper decided to bound over to us and slipped over, then Mazikeen getting excited followed suit.  Both decided they had had enough and gingerly left the rocks to the more stable grounds of the pebble beach, which to us bipeds it was just as treacherous.  Mazikeen took off into the sea having a wild time, and I decided to join her, so trainers, socks and jeans off and in I went, only to realise it was bloody freezing and really hard not to fall on my ass into the sea, so out I went.  Whilst getting dried I looked over to see poor Mazikeen sat on the pebbles shaking with the cold.  I quickly dressed and moved over to where the sun was blazing down and into the warmth.

Heddon Valley

After taking some photos and building pebble towers we left to follow the trail back to the car.  The dogs were both glad of the rest in the car.

Croyde Bay From Baggy Point

Next stop was Croyde Bay and Baggy Point.  Both places I went to when I was a kid and have good memories of.  We walked part way up Baggy Point, but the heat was sweltering so turned back to the car so the dogs could cool down and rest again.  Quick ice cream then we were off again to find a place for lunch.

Lunch was at The Rock Inn.  The food was really nice, although I was torn between having plaice with crayfish or ribs.  I went for ribs, and although it was very nice, I feel I should have gone for the fish.

The Rock Inn

After all that we went back to the cottage for a well-earned rest, and I had a snooze as I was knackered again.

I had spoken to Paul the owner of the farm and he recommended going to Wistlandpound Reservoir as the walk is quite flat and good for disabled users.  It is only about 25 minutes drive away so pretty local.  So, imagine our surprise in taking over an hour and a half to find it.  This part of the world is not so well signposted, and very few roads have names, which makes it really hard to find a place.  My TomTom could not find it, not even in the points of interest.  We ended up in Barnstaple which was handy as I needed eye drops as my hay fever has reached fever pitch and even though I am taking double the dose of antihistamines it does not seem to rid me of the symptoms, so I needed eye drops too.  After my quick visit to Tesco pharmacy in this rather massive superstore, we left under the navigation of M who had found the place on Google Maps and was now my TomTom but in human form.  We got there relieved that we could finally get out of the car and enjoy the place.  Needless to say, the dogs were made up to get out of the car too and explore this new place.

As you can see from the header image, it is quite a lovely place to walk around, and the sun was out giving its all to us.  We met many other dog walkers and were surrounded by quite literally thousands of blue damselflies which were lovely to look at.

This is what they looked like, although this is not my photograph, but that of David Kitching, taken from the British Dragonfly Society website.

After our jaunt, we came back to the cottage and pottered about as the dogs were totally exhausted by the heat on top of the exciting walk they had.  I got the lounger out of the shed and lay there for a bit reading, then fell asleep in the midafternoon sun, and as you would expect, got burned quite a bit.  Thankfully I have been a little sun-kissed these last few weeks and I expect it to have calmed down quite considerably tomorrow.

Later this evening we went for another walk with the dogs down a rather rocky lane that part way down has a mound of horse manure that would rival any medium-sized hill, in other words, it was massive.  Not a highlight of the walk but all the same an amusing sight.

This evening we have both kicked back and relaxed on our own couches with a dog each keeping us company and read with Classic FM on in the background.

All in all, I think it was another successful day of relaxation.