This being the festive season, this tree looked from a distance as if someone had decked it out with seasonal lights – close to it turned out to be a trick of a lamp-light.

arI have committed myself to the Advent Running Challenge which is to run for at least 30 minutes every day from 1st to 25th December.

Actually, I doubt that I’ll actually be running much; you are more likely to see me striding out briskly.

A couple of years ago I pulled a calf muscle badly which meant I was laid up for 2 months. I am more or less healed now but after this injury I decided that I should take up fast walking rather than slow jogging. I soon discovered that the benefits to mind and body were on a par.

I swim and go to the gym regularly but there’s something special about exercising outdoors. This December challenge appealed because it’s a month whent it’s all too easy to hibernate and avoid going out when the weather is cold and wet.

‘Tis the season to be lazy but I reckon wrapping up and facing the elements is preferable to nodding off in front of some crappy TV show.

Normally, I would go out first thing – at about 7am –  but today I had a dental appointment at 9am and had to work afterwards. The best time was therefore directly after my lesson at 4pm. I parked my car by a riverside path and stripped Clark Kent style from teaching wear to  walking gear. It had rained on and off all day so there was the need for some puddle dodging but the gravel paths were not too muddy.

To clear my head like this straight after work was invigorating and I now look forward to another three and a bit weeks in the run up (literally!) to and including Christmas day.