Lullingstone Country Park, Kent

We woke up to a bright, sunny though still cold wintery day and thought – what better than a walk in the country? We didn’t want to travel too far and found Lullingstone Country park, just outside the M25, on the excellent ‘Explore Kent‘ website.

Lullingstone Country Park
Lullingstone Country Park

40 minutes later we pulled into the car park and found a pleasant visitor centre and cafe. Lots of other people had also had the idea of a country walk and there were plenty of walkers and children around.

Lullingstone Country Park
Lullingstone Country Park

We opted for the 4 mile ‘black’ walk that essentially circled the park and also swung by the castle and a local Roman Villa. There were a few ups and downs but nothing too strenuous. I carried my daughter Rose in the baby carrier and she seemed to love sitting up high checking out the scenery.

The centre of the park contains an 18 hole golf course and there were a few times that we had to rush across a fairway hoping we wouldn’t get hit.

Lullingstone woods
Lullingstone woods

The park makes a lot of its ‘veteran trees’ which makes them sound like they’ve been to war or something. There were, to be fair, some old and pretty impressive looking oaks around the park looking quite knotty and gnarly.

Altogether a lovely park and a lovely day out. Looks like there were some mountain biking opportunities too. We plan to go back again soon.

See all the photos from the day.

Lullingstone "Castle"
Lullingstone "Castle"

2009 Annual Report

In 2008 I took and published online a photo every day. How could I follow this slightly dweeby hobby in 2009? Well, inspired in part by the mega obsessional Feltron reports (worth checking out btw) I thought that I’d record some things in my life too.

Me reading a book
Me reading a book

I started with some very high ambitions by planning to do things like recording tea/coffee and alcohol consumption but this kind of minutiae was abandoned after a few weeks. I then decided to stick to things that I either record anyway or  that were not too much of a chore to chronicle:

  • Films seen at the cinema
  • Books read
  • Number of photos taken and published online
  • Exercise¬†taken

I saw 26 films at the cinema in 2009 which I think must be less than last year but is still an average of one a fortnight. There was only one film that I thought was truly awful and that was ‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’. The rest were either good/watchable or very good. It’s notable maybe that I didn’t see anything that I’d rate as ‘masterpiece’. My top three in no particular order were: Gran Torino, Looking for Eric and Me and Orson Welles.

I started 26 and finished 25 books (bizarrely similar number to films) this year. My top three favourites, again in no particular order, were: Revelation Space by Alastair Reynolds (Sci-fi), Bad Science by Ben Goldacre (Factual) and Watchmen (Graphic Novel). The only book I didn’t finish was The Good Husband of Zebra Drive by Alexander McCall Smith. I’ve enjoyed the previous books in this series but just felt I’d read it all before. I’ve never thought about my rate of reading before so this was really interesting.

In the whole of 2009 I took 5111 photographs, 3675 with my Canon 5D and 1476 with my 20D. Of these I uploaded 589 to my Flickr site. I’ve made a start at photographing my local area, Sydenham, something I hope to do more of in 2010. I also had one professional gig, a wedding, that went very well.

The main achievements on this front were completing my first Marathon and Sprint Triathlon plus ‘Britain’s toughest 10km race‘. In total I:

  • Ran for 57.5 hours
  • Swam for 8 hours
  • Cycled for 24 hours
  • Weight trained for 4.25 hours
  • Rowed for 2.5 hours

Next year i’ll carry on recording these items, but I may add tv series watched, plays seen and other cultural events attended. Might be interesting?