The last couple of weeks of January seemed to fly by with the excitement of starting my new job, and as a result my time spent walking has really decreased. It wasn’t exactly unexpected, as I knew I wouldn’t be able to maintain my rate while working but I’m now four miles below target. I’m hopeful that I’ll make it up once the evenings are lighter, but it’s still disappointing to see the numbers dropping, and I know they’ll continue to fall for a while until spring arrives.
We’ve got a busy February coming up (well, I say we – what I really mean is that Sam has lot of tennis planned), so we decided to do our February ‘day out’ this weekend. It does seem like it’s coming hot on the heels of January’s and we’ll have a bit of a wait until our one in March, but I’d rather get it in early than run out of time and not do it at all!
The day was off to a great start before we’d even set off, with the arrival of this fine fellow on the bird-table. I’ve really not been having much luck with feeding the birds this winter and have been attracting mainly pigeons and starlings, with a couple of robins and blue tits thrown in, so I was thrilled to have a bullfinch visiting. I know they’re not rare in the UK, but it was a very welcome change to have such a colourful visitor!We began with lunch in Arundel which is one of my favourite spots and so always a great start to a day out. I have mixed feelings about the castle as it was restored in 1900 and has a slight air of being made of Lego rather than being a ‘real’ castle. It redeems itself with its 12th century remains, and also by its wonderful gardens that are a real treat in summer. Regardless of its origins, it remains an imposing sight.Inspired by my love of castles, Sam took me to the Motte & Bailey cafe where I had a scrumptious lunch of scrambled eggs, smoked salmon, and salad, but the real highlight of Arundel was this beauty that we followed into town!It was quite happy to pose for photos and took very little notice of us on the path as it happily fished in an offshoot of the River Arun.
It’s quite difficult to top seeing (and photographing!) a kingfisher, but our next stop – Fishbourne Roman Palace – was trying its best to impress. Okay, so the first impression of the building was a little underwhelming, not helped by the fact that it’s right in the middle of a housing estate, but the inside definitely made up for it.The highlight was the ‘Cupid on a Dolphin’ mosaic that has been incredibly well preserved, although there were several other mosaics that were impressive in their own right.It had only just opened for the year and was fairly quiet which meant that we were free to wander around at our own pace. We’d not been before although it’s been on my list of ‘places to go’ for a while now, so I was thrilled to finally visit. It’s hard to believe that such a huge palace could disappear without a trace for hundreds of years, and I found the whole site fascinating.
It was a fantastic day out and a great start to February. As the days start to slowly lengthen and warm up, I’m hoping that we can squeeze a few miles in around the various tennis matches coming up this month – watch this space!