2014 in the life of me (part 1)

A summary in pictures (and just a few words) of the year that was 2014, in the life of me;

#1 Whilst preparing to volunteer with VSO I tried to make the most of my time; one action was to take every opportunity to spend time with old friends and new. So wonderful to see so many of you, meet the important people in your lives and generally be able to catch up – thanks!;

01 friends

#2 I saw the New Year 2014 in with the Chesterfield crew courtesy of hosts Sian and Gareth at the wonderful ‘Broughton Manor’ in Wales – who deserve a special mention in fact for having been accidentally missed out of the 2013 summary despite generously helping me with my fundraising to secure their spot! My friends were also on hand to join me for a very British picnic in the countryside followed by a pub lunch for my send off in July – thanks all!;

02 Field team

#3 However, before I could head off to join VSO in July, I needed to keep myself busy (& out of trouble) for a few months so I volunteered with the RSPB (a major conservation charity in the UK) for six weeks in February/March. At short notice I accepted a placement at Insh Marshes and headed off for the highlands of Scotland to help clear marshland, build fences and generally help get the site ready to encourage nesting waders come the spring. The wood fire was a very welcome sight after a day working outside come snow, wind or flood;

03 insh work

#4 Insh Marshes are situated in the Spey Valley, at the base of the Cairn Gorms National Park. If you ever get the chance to go there, the scenery is simply spectacular. I certainly didn’t mind this being my office for six weeks!;

04 insh

#5 My six weeks in Scotland drew to a close, and still no confirmed VSO placement on the horizon. So, what’s a girl to do but accept the jaw-droppingly amazing offer of a quick holiday, to Hawaii!!?!? My magnificent partner in crime Angie can be seen here driving me in a 4WD around the scenery if many a Hollywood blockbuster. The resort we stayed in wasn’t too shabby either I think you’ll agree;

05 hawaii good times

#6 The characters of Hawaii included tsunami and tidal wave warnings, gangs of feral chickens, a great laid back surfing atmosphere and even local ales to be sampled at the end of the day’s adventures;

06 hawaii characters

#7 Not to mention simply astounding scenery much of which we did our utmost to explore;

07 hawaii scenary

#8 Back to Blighty and still no placement on the horizon, but luckily the RSPB team at Insh Marshes were happy to have me back so I spent the month of May with the wonderful Highlands as my office again (bit warmer this time too!);

08 insh part

#9 Whilst waiting for my placement to come through, and then whilst gearing myself up for the Nepali adventure that lay ahead, I had a great time making the most of being in the same country as my fabulous sisters for a change. Girls weekends away, pub quizzes & craft afternoons – always a pleasure;

09 sisters

#10 Great to join my nieces and nephews’ nativity plays, school picnics, sports days and lot’s of other quality Auntie time – just don’t grow up too quickly! And last but not least, my parents – thanks for graciously hosting me for a little bit longer than planned in 2014. I hope joining many a hike in the Derbyshire dales and offering my IT support 24/7 helped compensate slightly;

10 family

Part 2 – in Nepal, coming up soon…



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