The 7 Pasties Challenge

Earlier this year, my sister, her husband and a group of other fit-mad people, completed the World Marathon Challenge. This involves running 7 Marathons on 7 Continents in 7 Days. Find out more here. Could you do that?

Running 10K was a success for me so I knew I could not even try a marathon, but we wanted to do something to show support for their endeavours. Somehow, we invented the 7 Pasties Challenge.

We are huge fans of the traditional Cornish pasty, preferably from our favourite bakery, The Chough, in Padstow. With another family, we enjoy a week’s holiday in Padstow each year and that first pasty on the beach – even in the wind and rain as we usually go in the winter – is always a treat.

So we decided we’d try and do the 7 Pasties Challenge. Initially the idea was 7 Pasties in 7 Pubs in 7 Hours but we thought we’d be sick. We wondered whether, if we did a tough cliff walk in between each beach, we might burn off enough calories to be able to eat the next pasty.

And so the challenge evolved. There are few rules:

  1. All pasties must be full sized and traditional.
  2. The time starts when you start to eat the first pasty on the first beach and ends when you finish the last pasty on the seventh beach.
  3. Beaches must be named bays – so you can’t just walk to the end of the same beach.

We’ve worked out a route starting on Padstow beach which involves about a 10 mile walk. We reckon we can do this. We’re in training – well, Iain has bought some walking boots.

We will be attempting this first world record challenge in early April. Follow our progress here and on twitter @7Pasties #7pastieschallenge or invent your own 7-7-7 challenge and tell us all about it.

An Autumn Acrostic Poem

At my children’s school they seem fond of writing acrostic poems. I thought I’d have a go, to celebrate all that I love about Autumn. Why not try? It’s a wonderful way to reflect on what you love about a season.

An abundance of apples.

Under my feet, red and gold leaves are crisp against the wet grass.

Torrential rain, then sun.

Utter awe at the gorgeous glowing fullness of the harvest moon.

Misty mornings fade to warm sunny days.

Nights become chilly; the joy of the first fire.

Up-cycling feels Good

Made for my 6-year old daughter using a jumper she had grown out of.

We cut out the owl from the front, stitched it to fabric from the back which she loves to cuddle, saying it’s cosy; stuffed it and stitched up the top. A new toy/cuddly cushion for nothing but a bit of effort. She says “I love your ideas mummy” and I feel proud.

Do you know how God works?

Am reading Marshall Brain’s new book for Lent reflection. Look out for a review on

Through My Window

Through my office window I can see tiled roofs, trees, fields, the M4 where traffic is moving up and down, a village in the distance, a church spire. In close focus I can see a spider’s web, and dirt on the pane.

What can you see through your window today?

Earth Pathways Diary

As you turn the page in your Earth Pathways Diary this week you will see my images of Sharon Jacksties storytelling at Embercombe in the JUNO tent. The backdrop is the silhouette of a fruit tree as the sun set behind it.

The Earth Pathways Diary is a wonderful publication – a week to view diary, spiral bound for ease of use, full of of useful information and inspirational words and images on each facing page, to reflect the passing seasons. 2015 diaries are now available at

Holidays – are they worth it?

Last week it was half term and we went away to Cornwall for a few days. It was amazing. We were outside on wild beaches in wild weather. The strains of the world felt distant and I felt so relaxed. I enjoyed just watching – watching the children explore the beach, watching the waves, watching the sea birds; just doing nothing.

But within minutes of driving away from our cottage, all that was lost – a child was car sick! And now, days later, I’m up too late every night trying to catch up with emails. So, I wonder, is going on holiday worth it?

Before going away there are many additional things to organise.  Now, on return, I have that horrid feeling of running to catch up. And I don’t feel relaxed any more. But if I didn’t go away and stop sending emails, the emails would never stop – I’ve realised that when you don’t send emails, they do slow up a little. It’s a vicious cycle trying to keep up, you reply to emails to empty your inbox but then the person replies, so it fills as you empty it. “Stop”, I want to cry, “where is the pause button, can life just stop so that I can catch up please?”

But there is no button and life doesn’t stop. Frustrating as the catch up is, I’ve realised that sometimes you just have to walk away and pay that price. Those few days of feeling relaxed and refreshed and ready to “do battle” again is worth it. And I do wonder, maybe I’m so busy this week because I’m feeling invigorated so am initiating more things?

So yes, I think going on holiday probably is worth it. What I just have to accept is that the “high” is lost once you start travelling home!

Deep Reading

I am aware of the irony of posting an article on a blog about the importance of preserving “deep reading” as opposed to on-line skim reading, but I really like the sentiments in the article at the link below and wished to share it.

You’ll know from this blog that as well as blogging and other online things, I “deep” read lots of books too. This article asks, are we losing the ability to “deep” read and what are we denying our children if we don’t teach them how to read in this way.

Save the Readers! A Defense of Deep Reading

A story of shoes: Why can’t we be better at mending things?

Waste. There is so much of it in our world, on so many levels. Many of us do our best not to waste things, to mend them so that we don’t have to buy new, but collectively in the UK we are not good at this. We are too much orientated towards consuming. This is where we have much to learn from “developing” countries. In places such as Bangladesh, millions of people have nothing, so everything has a value.

A good example is my husband’s shoes; a good pair of shoes that he’s worn for a while. They needed fixing. We were happy to pay for this service – a good pair of shoes that you like and that feel comfortable to wear are priceless. These shoes had too much wear in them to justify throwing away. But our local shoe mender said he could do nothing.

Matthew is an international water consultant and works in places like Egypt, Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh. There we know we can find someone who thinks it’s worth the effort to mend a pair of shoes. On his next trip to Dhaka Matthew took his shoes to a mender and they were fixed, for very little money.

Why can’t we do this in the UK? Why are we so fixated on buying new rather than mending things that have use and can be cherish. Until we really work out what Reduce Reuse and Recycle means, is there hope for our planet’s resources?


Small World Big Ideas edited by Satish Kumar, Leaping Hare Press – stories from activists to inspire us to take a stand. Review to follow in the Autumn issue of JUNO.

Where do you work?

Over the weekend I was talking to Helen, JUNO’s brilliant sub-editor. We were both working hard to get the next issue ready, and Helen said she had a wonderful image of me at our family table surrounded by books. This got me thinking about all the dedicated parents out there who work at crazy times and in different places, blending jobs, passions and projects with family life – which I know is not easy. So, here is me working on a Saturday morning while the children made lego models around me. Do you work at random times to get things done, or have a mobile office desk?