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Ann of Vries

The Entwife’s Heart II: Beyond Rivendell

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I’m Ann of Vries, often Adventurer and occasional Ranger. I decided it was time to do my semi-annual “holiday” to the Rangers Guild.

 

I’m an American currently living in London with my British husband and 2 year old son (more on him later). However, this urban status is to be short lived as we are in the process of purchasing a woodland property in the magical Wye Valley/Forest of Dean and expect to move there this autumn/winter (move date TBD). 

 

(You may not have heard of the Forest of Dean, but you’ve probably seen it. A lot of movies and TV shows have been filmed in its faerie tale woodland.) 

 

Meanwhile, I’ve been on a pilgrimage of my own to follow my heroes the Fellowship of the Ring on their Walk to Mordor. During the last challenge, I just missed my goal of arriving at the Trollshaws (211/221 miles). For this challenge, I will put my chin up and continue my journey.

 

The recent months have been difficult—there’s been the global pandemic crisis, of course, and myriad challenges caused by Lockdown restrictions in the UK. My husband was unemployed at the beginning of the pandemic but thankfully found a new contract in the midst of it and has been working from home—which presents its own challenges. (He will eventually be commuting to the Midlands part-time and working from home part-time, probably starting early next year.) Oh, and there’s all of the issues of moving house as well, which isn’t easy even during the best of times. But then there is also my toddler, the Enting, who is in the throes of the Terrible Twos and can foil my attempts at lengthy walks and... well, anything and everything else I’m trying to accomplish!

 

The Challenge:

 

Find the Entwives
There are a great many tasks involved in any moving of home, and this one of course is no different. We need to keep on with the solicitors, get the building survey done, go through our things, decide what’s going with us and what’s going away, set up a removal service once we have a date, etc.

 

Part 2 of this search for the Entwives is to Find Joy in Growing. The Terrible Twos have been pretty hard on me. I want to remember the joy of little Entings instead of spending this time always feeling exhausted and frustrated. 

 

Beyond Rivendell
I’m about 100 miles from Rivendell, but I intend to get much further beyond it. My goal is 205 miles—which should take me just past the “6 Days Past Rivendell” milestone on my Walk to Mordor app. This is based on an average of 6 miles a day starting in Week Zero. These miles are taken straight from my Fitbit—they include any puttering about, errands, long walks, chasing of toddler, etc. I stick to challenges better when the record-keeping is easy and straight forward. 

 

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Learn from the Rangers
They say that you’ll be chasing your toddler until you’re exhausted and in a way that’s true, but I’ve found that doesn’t seem to include going on long walks which has always been my principle form of exercise and was fine when he was littler and less mobile since I could just put him in the carrier or buggy and go as far as I wanted. Add in Lockdown restrictions/social distancing in a big city, husband working from home, preparing for selling/buying/move of homes, and I’ve found my weight frustratingly ticking up. I need to find alternatives I can do in a shorter time frame—preferably that don’t require much (if any!) kit change, new equipment, or set-up since I just don’t have time for that (and I’m trying not to buy things when we’re about to move). 

 

This is an exploratory goal. I aim to try different things over the course of the challenge with intent to choose one (or some) to continue with by the end. They don’t have to be formal “exercise.” One idea I have is just playing “tag” with my toddler in the park. 

 

(Suggestions welcome!)

 

Maintain or Lose
I want to either maintain my current weight (which is admittedly a touch higher than I prefer), or make progress on it going down. I’m already a pretty “clean” and healthy eater, so I feel that weight gain is mostly about my activity level.

 

Ever on we go....

 

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1 minute ago, Tanktimus the Encourager said:

I know about the Forest of Dean because it's where Harry, Hermione and Ron go after they have to abandon Grimmauld Place

 

Welcome!

 

Yes, I expect that’s where a lot of people have heard the name (it’s true for me, too!). The scenes in the movie were filmed there, too. 

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The Mr is aware I do challenges on NF, but doesn’t keep track of them. So it was by sheer coincidence that he set up another hike in west Sussex with our friend on the first day of the challenge—much as he did at the beginning of the last challenge.

 

The last time we did an 8 mile level meander down the River Ouse. This time we went up, up, up into the South Downs. After a long, steep incline out of the town of Lewes—to which the Enting walked (albeit at toddler speed) an impressive 95% before asking for a carry the rest of the way up the hill—we emerged onto the Downs and this beautiful wildflower field.

 

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We carried on around 3 miles, most with gentle ascent. The views of countryside were breathtaking. 

 

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It took us around 2.5 hours because we encouraged the Enting to walk as much as he could—and he did. Just before we reached our turn-back point—an iron age hill fort—he wore down and requested another carry—before eventually crashing out. It only took us an hour to get back to our friend’s house at grown-up walking speed. 

 

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Most of my walking will be around the city, but it’s nice to start off from the countryside.

 

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Wow that walk looks beautiful! It’s also making me jealous of your beautiful sunny weather! I am now going to look for the Forest of Dean in movies and TV shows I watch.

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9 minutes ago, Emerald Eagle said:

making me jealous of your beautiful sunny weather! I am now going to look for the Forest of Dean in movies and TV shows I watch.

 

It rained on Saturday and it’s raining again this morning. It was a lucky break in the weather!

 

I know. It’s such a great excuse to rewatch Merlin, right? I’m doing research on my future locale.... 

 

4 minutes ago, fearless 2.0 said:

Must check out your app too

 

Someone mentioned it a couple of challenges ago and it was a total game changer for me. I’ve been trying to do this “virtual walk” for something like 15 years (back when it was Eowyn’s Walk) and the recordkeeping was always the killer for me. I walked plenty. I always gave up on the tracking by 50 miles in XD Between my FitBit and the WtM app it’s been so much better.

 

That said, I wish I could pay a couple of £ to get rid of the ads or something. I hate ads. 

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2 minutes ago, fearless 2.0 said:

just changed my walking goal and loaded the app. I will meet the elves during this challenge! Thanks for the inspo

 

Welcome to the Fellowship! 

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Hi Ann! Cheers on the move. I know you've been waiting for that for a while. Also... ENTING IS SO BIG! Your walk was so lovely. Here for adventures. :)

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11 minutes ago, annyshay said:

Ann! Cheers on the move. I know you've been waiting for that for a while. Also... ENTING IS SO BIG

 

Thanks! Operation: Escape London has definitely been a background plan for a few years now. I’m so glad we’re finally doing it.

 

He’s huge! And so much a little person now rather than a big baby.

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One of the things I’ve been thinking about of late in regards to Find the Joy in Growing and my walking goals is that the Enting doesn’t really get Goal Oriented Walking. And I need to... choose my battles, I guess. This really struck me yesterday on our hike, when he’d stop stop and sit down and play with his cars on the trail. He doesn’t get this idea of “we must walk directly until we get to the end, and then turn around and walk back. There will be no stops or detours.”

 

There are times when we do need to get somewhere by appointment.  When we’re doing the morning school run, he needs to get there on time. This is when I usually try to get him to go into the carrier wrap, and sometimes we take the buggy if he’s not into that idea. Last week, he was insisting on walking himself and I found it stressful because we had planned departure based on my walking speed, not his, and I spent the whole time like “keep going, don’t stop, don’t detour, keep going, we’re late, etc. etc.” (We were 10 minutes late. The staff was very impressed he’d walked the whole mile and didn’t mind he was a bit late.)

 

But most of our outings don’t have that necessary urgency. On the way home from nursery, I’m always hellbent on us getting home... but actually, we often don’t need to get home right away. It’s just that I have the thought in mind of “we’re going home, therefore we must do it in the most efficient way.” I suppose it’s a Western/urban perspective. Always in a hurry to get to the next place! Be productive! Be efficient!

 

In any case, I’m trying to be more mindful about the whole thing. Which journeys must be accomplished directly? Which journeys don’t need to go in a straight line? Which journeys aren’t journeys at all but just outings and the “destination goal” is merely a construct I can let go of? I need to learn to identify these for myself and I also need to learn to communicate them to Enting. He may not be able to get it yet, but eventually he will. 

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Rivendell 14 miles walked over the last few days... a strong start and a little bit of padding because I won’t get 6 miles in every day. (Today is looking like one of those days....) 

 

Find the Entwives Most of what I’ve been doing in this regard is wrangling a toddler so the Mr can make progress on the sale and purchase paperwork :P It’s still helping, if indirectly.

 

Joy, Eventually Yesterday after nursery school we unexpectedly stopped by the playground (I had closed the gates on my way in to try to bypass it, but one of his older classmates just opened them and ran in with Enting on his heels *sigh*). He played there for an hour before a parent brought up watching TV and suddenly he wanted to go home and watch his favourite show. (*double sigh*) I took him on a “scenic” route home and we ended up stopping by many, many London Plane trees looking for particularly good sheddings of bark. By the end he would point to tree trunks and say “bark!” It took over an hour before we got home carrying stick and bark and stone offerings and the Mr was off work and TV was forgotten. Hurrah. 

 

I look forward to have a woodland on our property. And also just being able to go outside and play instead of “going out” being a huge production.

 

But for now, we’ll make due. 

 

Learn I’m thinking about trying a set of kettlebells. The Mr is keen on trying kettlebells as well, so maybe we’ll both get use out of them. And a couple of kettlebells won’t take up that much space....

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57 minutes ago, Ann of Vries said:

 

 

Learn I’m thinking about trying a set of kettlebells. The Mr is keen on trying kettlebells as well, so maybe we’ll both get use out of them. And a couple of kettlebells won’t take up that much space....

Come join the KB army. They are very versatile. Also, NF has a great beginner workout that I'm currently using.

https://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/the-20-minute-beginner-kettlebell-workout-build-muscle-and-burn-fat/

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My Learning goal I realize is also something of an “Improvising” goal. Today the Enting was really keen to practice on his scooter. We don’t use it much, but he’s been seeing his older classmates from nursery school using them and I think its piqued his interest. I proudly watched him “level up” his skill with the scooter in a matter of a couple of hours (very importantly learning how to steer) and we did many laps and back-and-forths around the park together. Me just walking, but I could have also just sat on my bum while he went around and around....

 

Then he crashed out at 5:30PM. I’m not surprised. My FitBit has clocked almost 5 miles today, and he’s done at least that much with me on his little little legs....

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I'm a city girl at heart (for living in) but I'm a bit jealous of that view you will have

 

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1 hour ago, RES said:

I'm a city girl at heart (for living in) but I'm a bit jealous of that view you will have

 

 

I love the city and the countryside, but not the suburbs. I guess it needs to be one or the other XD We’ve done city life for a few years now, and London is high octane city living. I’m a bit burned out now and looking forward to growing vegetables, being surrounded by trees, and being able to see the stars at night. Living in the city we always needed “green” breaks but never seem to have the time to do them. Now we’re going to see what happens if we reverse it and make the “green” default with “urban” breaks. ^_^

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Dear Rangers, 

 

Posting toddler-carrying selfies is a thing I do. I like to commemorate hauling around 15+ kg (we haven’t weighed him recently) of wiggle on my back—it makes me feel strong. (And I don’t know how much longer he’s going to let me do it... I always worry—is this the last time?)

 

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Sadly, you can’t see the Tower Bridge in the background which I was trying to capture but the camera overexposed and we had to get on to nursery school. 

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This is certainly not a practice you need to defend or explain.

 

Carrying 15+ kg of anything is worthy of photos.  I added a photo of me doing similarly last challenge.  Except, I was rucking around bricks.  You are carrying around a shake weight on your back.  You should feel strong!

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