It's fair to say that the past week or so has been a bit of a struggle. Whilst I'm all about the brave face, my mental health has not been great, lately and it's been all I can do to crack on with basic functioning. I've been looking forward to this weekend for a while, though, like the proverbial silver lining and it didn't disappoint.
Reunited with my fellow #THFC members for the first time since Paris, it was lovely to catch up on the latest news (I feel as though I've missed a lot lately and I'm putting that down to my fairly shite concentration / engagement levels) and things and we laughed a lot during the course of the weekend, which always helps.
Staying in a cottage in Middleton-in-Teeside in the depths of County Durham, we were fairly rural and surrounded by hills and countryside and beautiful autumnal colours. The others had done more research than me (I blame my Myers Brigg personality traits) and knew that there were waterfalls and caves to explore nearby, so that was Saturday planned.
Parking up at the Bowlees visitor centre, we set off for a day of exploring, starting with Summerhill Force and Gibson's Cave, before heading over the hills towards the High Force waterfall. We stopped en route to marvel at sheep and cows and sheepdogs and bridges, and the weather was glorious. For someone who's been all about hibernating lately, getting outside was just what I needed.
Recharged by a pub lunch at the High Force Hotel, we were up for more exploring and after playing on the rocks at High Force, we crossed the River Tees and began to head back along the other side.
Of course, the weekend was filled with plenty of #yummers food - Becks and Alex made great chefs and kept us very well fed, with a faux Xmas Dinner on Saturday evening.
On Sunday we ventured out into the town itself, which was super tiny but had lots to see, including this rather cute matrimonial-theme yarn bombing, on the bollards outside the church. Apparently when Alex and Becks went back there this morning, it had gone. Random.
Other randomness included the weirdest takeaway situation, ever. Sunday tea was an Indian takeaway, and according to the cottage handbook, the takeaway in the next town will deliver your food to the public car park in Middleton, provided you've ordered before 6pm. We did so, and Lucy and I went to collect it - super weird, but we weren't the only ones. The locals clearly do this often, as it seemed to be something of a social event.
Somehow, a change of scene seemed to help my motivation levels when it came to running as well. Since I'm currently freaking out majorly about a race I've signed up to take part in, I was desperate to get some practice in and I was pleased that I managed to get out and run each morning before breakfast. Baby steps.
A lovely weekend filled with lots of exploring, knitting, climbing and catching up. We're already planning the next convention.