Firstly, don’t turn off if you don’t have a dog to walk, this post is for anyone wanting to get out and about in the highways and byways around their area in any weathers. I’ve spent the past 6 months going for my daily walks solo. At the start of lockdown at least I had the teenagers for company, now they are back at school with their friends, I’m back relegated to the Vauxhall Conference league of people they want to go out with.
But, sod them, I have a dog now and finally this week he will actually be able to come on a walk with me. He has his last set of jabs so can come out and see all my daily walk ‘friends’. When I say ‘Friends’, I mean the Kestrel, the Heron, the Gypsy Horses, the birdwatchers, the dog walkers and the fiercely grumpy Irish lady who wears only a bra and shorts in the summer, but I see has moved onto a gillet and gardening gloves for her Autumnal attire. I can’t wait to see her sartorial choices come November. I know she is Irish because just one time (out of the at least 20 times I’ve seen her) she spoke to me. Her only words were ‘I’m leaving you in my dust’…
My dog is called Thomas Frank, he’s named after the Brentford Head Coach. He is a chocolate Labradoodle with a penchant for shoes and water bowls that he likes to take to his bed. He is 13 weeks old and desperate to go out and make new friends. I bought him from a family in Kent with the last of my Virgin Holidays refund money. 10 days in the Caribbean, that turned in to 2 UK holidays, a bicycle and a dog. I think I actually got the better end of the deal in the end.
I wouldn’t call him a lockdown dog, I’d call him a Meno-paws. The kind of dog that is bought by women of a certain age whose children are too grown up to spend much time with them. Hands up who else has one of these.
RAINY DAY WALKS
There are two jackets that I own that have been proven to be fully waterproof. Those are my trusty Protected Species City Walker Rain Jacket and my Barbour. I was a bit sceptical about the waterproof qualities of a Barbour if I’m honest. It just doesn’t look like it will hold up in a downpour does it? Well, I can tell you that it really does. When we came back from Devon in July we stopped off at Stonehenge. Got to make the most out of that National trust membership.
Anyway, in the middle of admiring the Neolithic miracle, the heavens opened and there was rain of biblical proportions for the whole of the mile long walk back to the carpark. Don’t tell me, I don’t know how to have family fun. While everyone else got soaked to the skin in their pathetic flimsy ‘rain’ jackets, I was the only one dry under my Barbour. I rest my case.
1. Barbour Wax Tawney Jacket
2. & Other Stories Nylon Bucket Hat
3. Mango Cable Knit Sweater
4. M&S High Waist Sofia Straight Leg Jeans
5. The Distinguished Dog Co. Leather Dog Collars
6. Hunter Short Wellington Boots
DRIZZLY CHILLY DAY WALKS
A cold day with a permanent sense of drizzle calls for a decent parka. The best parkas are ones that have a removable lining so they can be worn throughout the Autumn and Winter months. You don’t want to peak too soon with your fleecy lining or you’ll be a sweaty mess half way round your walk and then you’ll have that age-old dilemma, ‘Do I take my jacket off and get a bit wet, or do I boil and stay dry?’. This is a particular issue for those of us battling the ‘change’.
This one from Boden does just that AND it claims to be not just water resistant, but waterproof. I can’t vouch for that claim but it does look like a lovely and very useful coat. Everyone needs a good warm parka. It should be green with a hood and ideally have that mod fishtail too.
1. Boden Dunbar Waterproof Parka
2. Topshop Oversized Swirl Knitted Jumper
3. Barbour Waxed Dog Coat
4. Cos Tapered Leg Jeans
5. & Other Stories Elasticated Leather Boots
MIGHT RAIN, MIGHT NOT WALKS
Having said your parka should be green, I know not everyone favours a colour, so this one from Arket is more of a throw-over a chunky sweater, slightly cleaner designed alternative. I did have to purchase these sock wellies from ASOS as for £25 they seemed too good to be true. I can confirm they are decent and I shall be keeping them. They will be good for wet walks and I’ll probably pair them with slim fit jeans. I have to confess I also bought this Stine Goya jumper after I saw it in Liberty last week. I’m a sucker for a colourful knit. Anything to brighten up dull winter days.
1. Arket Oversized Fishtail Parka
2. Stine Goya Rebeka Zig Zag Jumper
3. Joules Mustard Dog Raincoat
4. H&M Vintage Slim High Ankle Jeans
5. ASOS Gabrielle Sock Wellies
SUNNY BUT COLD WALKS
Ahh the crisp, cold sunny walk. Best kind of walk there is in the winter. If it involves a stop off at a great pub for a classic Sunday Roast then that’s the icing on the cake. Fingers crossed they aren’t all closed again by the end of next week. Roast dinners always taste better when someone else has cooked them. Unless they don’t get the potatoes right, roast potatoes should always be crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside. It’s a fine balance. No one likes a hard potato.
Oh, and don’t scrimp on the gravy. Like wine, it’s always better to have too much available than too little. A dry roast is no roast at all. In our family we were alway aghast that my middle brother would shun gravy in favour of ketchup on his Sunday Lunch. Blasphemer. Luckily he’s grown out of that now.
1. Anine Bing Ryder Pile Jacket
2. H&M Jacquard Knit Polo Neck Jumper
3. Distinguished Dog Co, Knitted Dog Sweater
4. Cos Cropped Cotton Trousers
5. DM Lace Up Leather Boots
FROSTY MORNING WALKS
If it’s really cold on your walk then you’ll be needing a puffer jacket, or some kind of similar quilted number. A duvet that you can wear is always a good thing. Talking of warmth I should mention socks at this point. Sorry I meant to touch on this last week with the chunky boots. My main piece of advice for winter socks that help with breaking in boots and keeping your feet warm and dry is Smart Wool hiking socks.
John Lewis sell some here, but you can also check out your local outdoors shop if you have one. They are quite expensive for socks but they are really worthwhile if you’ve got tricky boots that give you blisters or you’re going to be outside for a long time. I would always wear mine to the football. Oh how I miss the football…
1. M&S Feather and Down Puffer Jacket
2. Barbour High Neck Wool Jumper
3. Joules Navy Quilted Dog Coat
4. Topshop Considered Straight Leg Jeans
5. Barbour Chelsea Short Welly Boots
Sorry, I was planning an extra Mens clothes post for this week but time ran away with me. I shall try for this week. Next Sunday I’m thinking corduroy, just because I love corduroy and I think you should too.