Simon Whaley

Author | Writer | Photographer

Bye Bye Wunderlist For Writers

Microsoft, who bought the Wunderkind software company in 2015, has announced that development of their productivity software, Wunderlist, will cease, and the software will be withdrawn at some point in the next few months.

Staff are now focussing on a Microsoft To-Do programme called ‘To-Do’, which is in its infancy, but will be developed further over the coming months.

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Breakfast Snapper

When I go away to the Lake District, I usually wake up early on the first morning (excitement!). And this time was no different, something the early dawn chorus no doubt assisted with. So, despite it being 5am, I got up and ventured outside.

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Newcastle on Clun

Check out the Spring 2017 issue of Country Walking magazine for my route of ‘middles’ around Newcastle on Clun (it feels like the ‘middle’ of nowhere, yet is also the ‘middle’ point of Offa’s Dyke).

2017 Relax & Write Short Story Retreat at Cirencester

Thank you to Lois, Liz, Sally and Daren for all their hard work at last weekend’s Relax & Write Short Story Retreat, which I was running at the rather impressive Royal Agricultural University, near Cirencester.

© Lois Maddox – Relax & Write

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Snappy Snap

It was a tad blowy up the top of Ragleth Hill today, something you can judge for yourself here:

But as you can see, there were blue skies, so I took a photo too. I tried uploading it to the BBC WeatherWatchers website, but couldn’t because for some strange reason there was no 4G signal on top of the hill, like there usually is. (It wasn’t until I got home that I discovered we’d had a power cut, hence the 4G signal problem.)

I nearly forgot to upload the photo I’d taken, but I remembered when I stopped for lunch. I uploaded it, before tootling off to the kitchen. So I was a little surprised to see, while sitting down in front of the news with my lunch, a certain picture jump onto the screen. They don’t hang about these weather presenters you know, when they’re looking for a piccy!

Grey April

Sometimes you wonder whether it’s worth snapping a grey sky image. Then you discover, it is!

Diamond Is A Diamond!

This morning, I had an email from my Icelandic publisher, Gunnar, whose dog, Diamond, graces the front cover of the Icelandic edition of my book One Hundred Ways For A Dog To Train Its Human. (Well, there have to be some perks to being the publisher’s dog.)

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262,468 Thank yous!

My thanks go to the 262,468 people who bought a copy of One Hundred Ways For A Dog To Train Its Human, since it was first published in 2003. It always amazes me how the book is still selling so well. And this year, I’ve even had royalties from the Italian edition!

100 Ways For A Dog To Train Its Human

Snapping Sunshine

BBC Midlands Today 15th March 2017

Well, I wasn’t the only one out snapping photos in the glorious sunshine today but, and I know I might be slightly biased here, I think she saved the best until last 😝

(see video below)

Sentinels Along The Way

Sentinels Along The Way – The Countryman

They stand, like two rows of regimented soldiers, lining the long ridge of Shropshire’s Linley Hill. It was once thought these sentinels were planted by Napoleonic prisoners of war, but tree-dating technology proves that these beech trees were planted circa 1740, long before there was even a Napoleonic prisoner-of-war camp at nearby Bishop’s Castle.

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On The Waterways

On The Waterways appeared in The People’s Friend Special

“Every time someone opens these lock gates,” says Mike, the engineer, “we lose 40,000 gallons of water.”

We’re standing at the bottom of Lock 72 of the Trent & Mersey Canal in Middlewich, Cheshire, thanks to one of the Canal and River Trust’s Open Days.

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Newcastle on Clun

Check out the Spring issue of Country Walking magazine, for my ‘middle’ route around Newcastle on Clun. It roams the ‘middle’ of nowhere, found somewhere along the ‘middle’ of Offa’s Dyke.

Free Range Borders

When is a free-range egg, not a free-range egg? When it’s the wrong side of the border.

I know they like to speak Welsh in Wales, and English in London, but sometimes, you’d think the bureaucrats in the big cities (London and Cardiff) would occasionally get together and speak the language of common sense on matters of disease control.

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All Change

Put a border somewhere and there will come a point when it needs to be crossed. Put two different governments in charge of life on either side of that border and life gets a little more complicated when you need to cross that border.

Take trains, for example. On mainland Europe you can travel by rail through several countries without needing to change. The Venice-Simplon Orient Express runs a service from London to Venice, travelling through England, France, Switzerland, Austria and Italy. Once you’ve crossed the English Channel, it’s the same train all the way to Venice.

But when it comes to the English/Welsh Borders, things could become a little more interesting.

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Out of Place – Senior Travel Expert Competition Runner Up

Senior Travel Expert Website

 

My entry into last year’s Senior Travel Expert ‘Off the Beaten Track’ competition has just been published. To read the full entry, click here.

Weston Park is a fabulous place to stay, especially for that special occasion. But there’s something for everyone: historic house, fabulous gardens, children’s play area, miniature trains, amazing church, artisan food outlet and cafe … You get my point. To plan your day out at Weston, visit: http://www.weston-park.com

Snapper Simon Snaps Snow

Snow and fog in one photo today. Well, it was probably low cloud, rather than fog. But it was flippin’ freezin’ up on the top of Ragleth Hill today. Still, the fact that Midlands Today liked the photo enough to use it, shows it was worth the climb!

Snowy Snapper Simon

Woke up to a light dusting of snow and fog this morning. Thought I’d head up Ragleth Hill, just in case I could climb above the fog. Didn’t. 😞 But I did take this photo and uploaded it to the BBC WeatherWatchers website. An hour later Matt Taylor was using it on the BBC News Channel, and then Nick Miller used it on BBC1 😃.

Beautiful Birdsong

And here it is. My last Mindful Moment of 2016. And to make the most of this you should turn up the volume and listen to the beautiful birdsong that accompanied me on my walk today.

To view all of the mindful moments I recorded this year, click here. You’ll see there are a plethora of visual views, close-up encounters, and aural entertainment.

The weather has been a dominant feature, which is understandable, seeing as my moments have occurred when I’ve been out for my daily walk. (And in case you’re wondering, over the course of 2016 I’ve clocked up 1,003.13 miles.)

It’s been an interesting year-long exercise. Some days were easier than others. On some days I took several videos and then had to decide which one I was going to put up on my website. Other days were harder, as I sought out something to focus on. But throughout 2016 these moments have forced me to stop and take stock of what is around me.

I think you’ll agree, it’s time to go and put my feet up now, for a rest. Happy New Year.

Stretton Fog

More fog today, but this time I clambered up the side of the Long Mynd, and I noticed how the hills on the eastern side of the Stretton Valley appeared to be holding back the fog. Ragleth, Helmeth, Hope Bowdler and Caer Caradoc were acting as one long dam.

Ape Dale Fog

It was so icy this morning my planned route wasn’t safe to do, so I headed up Ragleth Hill once again. There wasn’t anywhere near as much fog about today, but it was perhaps more interesting to look at than yesterday’s, because of the way it interacted with the trees beneath Wenlock Edge and through Ape Dale. So, same weather, but different experience. Amazing.

And I took a photo at 11.41 and uploaded it to the BBC WeatherWatchers website, and fewer then 15 minutes later it was being broadcast on the national weather forecast!

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