Monday Meditation: A January Day in the English Countryside

Originally published in January 2017, now updated.

A few pics from our impromptu afternoon out when we were in need of fresh air and space after being cooped up for some time. It was a grey but fine day with no icy winds to sting our faces and make our eyes water, unlike the storms currently battering the UK a whole year later. We did the same walk this week and when I compare the views, it is noticeable how much greener, calmer and more fertile-looking the land was last year. This year there is a lot of mud and debris from all the winds and rain. I’ll be posting the latest photographs in a companion piece later.



Lots of crab apples!


A gnarly old tree, one of many!

Does anyone know what plant these grey pods belong to?


They look like they are from a climbing plant, they were growing next to some lovely yellow winter jasmine overhanging a garden wall and had a few small pink flowers like blossom on their branches. They look like grey broad beans! (A year later, there were hardly any pods, and what there were looked black and shrivelled from the frost).



An English country lane. We saw a fat grey squirrel leap from the bare twigs of a tree on the right hand side of the road into the large pine tree opposite, very athletic! Such a contrast between the lush green conifers on the left and the bare-twigged hawthorns on the right. We were accompanied by a robin we saw a few times down this lane, but he was a little camera-shy, he kept flying off before I could take his photo.

Some farm animals on a smallholding, the grey goose did not like our presence one little bit!


This poor goat was looking at us and bleating the whole time, both when we passed the first time and again an hour later. Then we realised it was in exactly the same position. It was clearly quite distressed and we realised it was tethered so tightly it could neither turn around, lie down or move in anyway from this position. I can’t stop thinking about how disstressed it was and how much stress there must be on its joints etc. having to remain in that position. There was no-one around to do anything about it.

When we retraced our steps exactly 12 months later, there was no sign of any of the animals, the land looked abandoned; they could have been in the out-buildings, but we heard no sound.

27536816_unknownMore crab apples! This time in a small woodland.

(None at all 12 months later).

 A lonely glove. This one’s for the Tom Hanks’ collection! Did you know he collects photos of discarded/lost gloves?



Copyright: Chris McGowan

Preparing to be SuperJuiced!


I find January difficult. Dark, damp chilly days, post-Christmas blues, everyone hibernating waiting for the sun to come out.

A few years ago, I developed a coping strategy whereby every January I give myself a project or a challenge.

Three years ago, for instance, I spent the month adding to my family history. Two years ago, I came across Jason Vale’s 3lbs in 3 Days app* and began juicing (see my post ‘J is for January, Juicing and Jason!’).

I discovered a new me.

Last year, I became a raw foodie and vegan.

This time I am going to try Super Juicing. I have wanted to do it since I saw Jason Vale’s documentary, Super Juice Me! (see it for free on YouTube, link below), but wasn’t sure I had the stamina or discipline. I have done 7-9 days before, but I am concerned about my weight. I can’t afford to lose more than 3 or 4lbs, having already lost and kept off 34lbs and reached an optimum weight for me.

No, I am not superjuicing for weight loss. At this time of year, I always feel a slump in energy, a feeling of lethargy. As I write this, it is such a grey, wet day we need all the lights on, the fire lit. No opportunities for natural Vitamin D. I also have multiple aches and pains from longterm injuries. The youngest children were full of coughs and colds at Christmas, plus my husband has started sneezing.

So I am superjuicing to boost my energy levels, help ward off winter viruses and to see if it will help me reduce the pains and stiffness of damp winter weather.

This week I am tapering down: gradually returning to my normal clean diet in preparation for beginning Jason’s Free Big January Juice Challenge on the 11th.*

Part of this preparation is reading Jason’s ‘Super Juice Me! 28-Day Juice Plan.’

Although I have done most of his juice challenges, it is still always inspiring and remotivating to read one of his books before embarking on a cleanse.

It is as important to renew your juicing faith, to understand how it works and why you’re doing it, to make a mental commitment, as to prepare your body physically by gradually reducing the processed, sugary and fatty foods, coffee and alcohol.

I recommend reading any of Jason’s books: they are easy to read, informative as well as amusing. His enthusiasm is like attending an evangelical meeting. It is almost impossible not to see it through once you have read the book, made the commitment and best of all, watched his daily coaching videos. His SuperJuiceMe! The Documentary * is also inspirational as is Joe Cross’s film, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.

So this is my personal January Challenge: I am committing to doing a 14 Day Super Juice Me plan. I will see how that goes and how it affects my weight before deciding whether to carry on.

I had my last mince pie on Friday.

(It is important to emphasise that this is Taper Down Week NOT One Last Blow-Out Week!)

I am having my morning ginger shots or variations on the theme (see my post ‘Juicy Winter Warmers), a protein smoothie for breakfast, blended juice for lunch, a handful of nuts in the afternoon and light cooked meal for dinner – oh, and perhaps a little Raw Chocolate Company* raw chocolate in between (well it would be rude to let my Christmas present go to waste!)

I’ll keep you posted!

Happy New Year to you All!

Ps Don’t Forget To Keep Hydrated!

SuperJuiceMe! The Documentary


Copyright: Chris McGowan