By: Blonde Two

Even a Blonde can’t stay outside all of the time (although this one is doing her very best to up her Get Outside rating for 2018). Indoor hobbies are as important as outdoor hobbies, particularly indoor hobbies which get you thinking about what you might get up to when you do Get Outside again. At the moment I have two Stay Inside – Get Outside hobbies on the go that are great examples of this. Both of them were birthday presents and both of them came from my mum (which proves that mum’s, despite what we may think when we are teenagers, actually do know us rather well!)

Get Outside Inside Hobby Number 1

I love jigsaws. Don’t laugh! Jigsaws are a great way of keeping your brain active (although to be fair, mine is usually over-active) and getting your eyes off a screen. My latest jigsaw is the perfect Get Outside Inside jigsaw because it is an Ordnance Survey map (a 1:50,000 Ordnance Survey map to be precise). What makes it particularly exciting though is that it is a map that has my house in the centre! You would imagine that this would make the jigsaw really easy and that I, a Get Outside Champion and advocate of all maps, would know every square centimetre of my local map, but I am discovering that I don’t. As you can see from the picture below, I have made a start. Here are some of the outside/inside thoughts my map jigsaw has given me.

  1. I live near the seaside. In fact the map jigsaw has made me realise all over again how lucky I am to live within easy walking distance of the beach. When it comes to jigsaw making, however, sea in a map jigsaw is pretty much as tricky as sky in a normal one.
  2. Grid lines and their related blue numbers, especially if you know how they are usually presented on a map, can be very useful when assembling your jigsaw seascape.
  3. I don’t know the Torbay coastline as well as I though I did. It has been enormous fun piecing it together and finding new coves that, if I knew of their existence, I couldn’t name. (A definite inspiration for some sea swimming exploration.)
  4. Starting to assemble the jigsaw has taken me a long time because it is like taking a trip down memory lane. Here is Thatcher Rock where my kayak once sprang a fairly serious leak, here is Maidencombe where the boys and I caught our first (and possibly last) fish and here are the Devon green lanes down which Blonde One and I have walked our Bronze DofE teams.
  5. I have several copies of Explorer Map OL44 (1:25,000) and Landranger Map 202 (1:50,000) and access to the whole of the UK via OS Maps but I am determined not to cheat… this jigsaw came without a picture and I am going to complete it without one!

I am taking a ‘whenever I am passing’ approach to my jigsaw because I am enjoying it too much to want to finish it quickly. This is what I have been telling myself, but maybe it is because my next jigsaw is set to be even more of a challenge, equally Get Outside Inside, it was designed by the uncle of a friend, is only black and white and is mainly composed of black sheep on a white background and white sheep on a black background… not for the fainthearted but another Get Outside Inside theme (if you fancy one or want to see some stunning but simple design work, take a look at his website)!

Get Outside Inside Hobby Number 2

Blonde One and I have long joked, in desperate and difficult circumstances that usually include rain, lots of wet, grumpy youngsters and very early mornings, that we should take up knitting as an alternative hobby. In fact, in The-World-of-Blonde, just uttering the word ‘knitting’ gives a very clear ‘why on earth are we here’ message (insert rude words). In truth I love knitting, it requires skill, makes useful (sometimes) items and stops me eating crisps while I watch TV (shhh, don’t tell anyone I watch TV!) My second Get Outside Inside present from my mum was a book packed full of different knitting stitch patterns. To anyone who doesn’t knit this might sound boring, but it is a bit like giving someone who loves cooking (not B1) the best recipe book in the whole universe.

My new knitting book has led to a resurgence of my passion for knitting and I have decided that the best way to get to try out as many stitch patterns as possible is to knit a ‘vlanket’. A lot like a blanket, my ‘vlanket’ is going to be knitted in and for my camper van, it will grow as our adventures in and around the van grow and, hopefully, each square will represent something significant that happens on our journey. My first stitch pattern is called ‘broken rib’ because Mr B2 was recently wondering if that was what had happened to him after a little accident (he’s fine).

I currently find myself wondering if it is possible to knit in a hammock… or would that be a ‘hamklet’?