West Cork

Life lately – the month of March

I’ve had massive writer’s block recently. I’ve had lots of things to share but have been too cluttered in my head to write, and have only been able to post my weekly fitness recap. But I thought I’d try to get some words out there about how life has been during March, so let’s go!

We went to Spain

We finally went on holiday together, for the first time since we moved to Ireland. The last time was in August 2018 when we went to our usual place in Italy. We’ve been around Ireland of course, but not abroad. Now, like many other Northern Europeans at this time of the year, we went to Spain – probably the only place in Europe with decent weather in March.

My in-laws have a house in Torrevieja and they live there about 50% of the year. It was lovely to go and see them there, we haven’t been there since 2017. The plans for the trip were minimal – basically to relax, enjoy warmer weather, switch off the brain, hang out with my in-laws and be showed around, but we also wanted to take them on a secret trip, which was our Christmas gift to them. I had booked a visit to a winery near Elche, about 30 minutes away, for a tour and tasting. It was a very small, genuine winery, we learned about the winery and its history, and then had a tasting of five different wines with tapas. There was a gluten free option for me, and the wines were lovely – the grapes are also grown without pesticides and the wine made without additives.

And while on the topic of good drinks, my in-laws had brought some of the Swedish whisky from our own cask that was bottled before Christmas, so that we could take what we could with us home.

We shared this cask with some friends in Sweden. The Pot Stills was the name of a band we had with one of them. We did a few fun gigs, at parties and similar, before we moved to Ireland! The whisky is a peated single malt matured in a 30L (as are all Mackmyra private casks) port cask and it’s delicious!

Other drinks were enjoyed at the local Irish pub. The pub is probably more Spanish than Irish, but they had Bushmills (even the 10-year-old single malt), Jameson, Murphy’s Red and you could follow the Six Nations rugby tournament there. I loved that fun ice cube in the shape of what we thought was supposed to be a leprechaun hat.

We enjoyed some healthier activities too. We went for long walks, some mornings my husband and I went out to run, and we enjoyed good chats, good food, good company, and even did a simple strength training session on the patio. I took very few photos but I relaxed and had a great time. I needed to disconnect from being productive for a while!

Seen from the roof terrace during sunset
Fantastic morning runs along the beach
Oh the sunshine! We had 31 degrees C this day. Imagine my “fun” tan on my shoulder after carrying that camera bag, lol!

Returning to Ireland

I loved spending some time in Spain, but do you know what I loved even more? Coming home! I loved the weather in Torrevieja but it’s not a very scenic area, very dry and rugged, and I missed being near nature. Coming home to the green fields where birds sing outside my door and the cherry tree is in bloom was wonderful. I love my life here, despite the not so charming weather.

Fog and drizzle the day after we came home. But it was mild and spring-like.

What about my photography?

You probably know I am, or used to be, a photography geek. Recently I’ve mostly taken snapshots of where I go running, or the random photo at some event (like those above). I enjoyed photographing the West Cork Rally some week ago and on a beach in February, but other than that I’ve gone very quiet with the camera, despite the fact that I still love photography.

The short version is that I rarely find any interesting photography subjects in the winter. But of course there’s a lot more to it than that. I think I’ve simply been too intimidated lately, by all the fantastic photographers who joined our camera club this year, and suddenly I feel I know absolutely zero about photography, that there’s no point with trying to become good at it, but also that I don’t know how to get back to enjoying it and doing it just for fun, just for me. I suspect things will fall into place during the spring when flowers and insects show up in the garden, and I go outside more.

I realise that I’ve fallen into the comparison trap and need to find a way to get up. But summer is coming and there’s a world out there that is begging to be photographed… and my scores in our club competitions have been above average, so all this BS is just in my head. The photography blog (or if it’ll just be a gallery, I haven’t decided yet) will be back up when I’m actually taking photos again. It was all a mish-mash of old random stuff from my old blog so I decided to start fresh when I do open it.

Fitness and running during March

I’ve continued my strength training routine during March, twice a week in the gym and my own session at home on Sundays when I do core, bodyweight squats and lunges, hip mobility and some exercises for feet and lower legs. I’ve also started doing more balance and stability exercises. After the trip to Spain I’ve been feeling generally stronger, perhaps I needed some time off to get my focus back? I’ve been delighted with my performance in the gym, also these last two weeks when we’ve increased the weights.

So what about running? I wish I had good news, but I don’t.
I’ve been doing well with running during March, and have been out for walk/run intervals twice a week. I was doing great! But while writing this, I have almost decided to give it up – at least for now. Yet again, also after very slowly increasing the distances I run, I’ve developed an injury. This is my third running-related injury since October, and I’m getting fed up. This is an annoying pattern that seems to repeat each time I get to a certain point with progress in running. In January, I refused to give it up, and made a plan for how to come back to it and make it work. And everything looked promising! Sure, I could continue building strength, and try again. But do I really want to spend all the mental energy again that it takes to start over? I’m not so sure anymore. For now, it’s very likely that I’ll put my running ambitions to rest, and put all my effort and Jävlaranamma into strength training.


During March, music has been very absent from my life. We’ve played in the usual places, but quite sparingly since we’ve been away, and then my husband got his odd cold/flu back so we haven’t been anywhere for that reason. But April should be much better! We were invited to a small bluegrass festival in early May – I say invited although we’re not playing on stage, because the festival is so small that it’s not publicly advertised as far as I know, and we were informed about it in an SMS. I’m really looking forward to this!

Other things

We celebrated St Patrick’s day by watching the parade in town, then playing music in the pub, then going out on the peninsula to join a smaller parade (where I nearly got frostbite playing the guitar outside, lol!) and then chatting with people in the pub. In that same pub, we played some music the day after, which was also the day of a yearly charity event. No walks or marathons this time. That’s boring! In this village we do charity by having tractor runs. The best decorated tractor gets a prize!

This will be my contribution to the What’s been on my calendar link-up hosted by Deb, Jo, Sue and Donna, but I’m also joining Denyse’s Wednesday words & pics.


18 responses to “Life lately – the month of March”

  1. Joanne avatar

    I keep hoping I’ll be more motivated to take photos as spring and summer come too with flowers and butterflies, etc. coming into the garden. I am so much more motivated to take photos when we’re outside and everything is blooming. I’m sorry to hear about your running injury again! I think I’d be ready to give it up at that point too. It sounds like you had a great trip to see your in-laws.

    1. Susanne avatar

      I couldn’t agree more about being outside and everything is blooming etc. In winter it could be interesting to do macros of raindrops and such but then it’s not pleasant to be outside for too long! Yes, it’s **** about the running injuries but I just need to accept I need to do something else and find joy in that instead.

  2. Sue from Women Living Well After 50 avatar

    HI Susanne, what a lovely month – Spain!!! We visited about 4 years ago and absolutely loved it. We would love to revisit but Europe is such a distance from Australia and there are so many places we still want to visit. Try not to get too down about your running. Take it easy and if you aren’t feeling it then there is no problem giving it a rest for a while. My running buddy had a knee problem at the end of last year and we have eased into this year whilst she mends. We have a half marathon in June so that is now the focus and keeps me motivated. Lovely to read your post about March. xx

    1. Susanne avatar

      March has been a lovely month in so many ways! I can imagine that if you go back to Europe you’d like to visit other places where you’ve never been. Like perhaps… Ireland?
      It’s sad that my body won’t let me run but I’m not too upset over it, at least not like I was in January. Then I feared I was too old (which is of course BS, I know many older runners) and went into crisis over it so I dealt with all (or most) the emotional stuff then. Now I’m ok with letting running rest for a while, there’s no point doing it anyway if I can never make any real progress, and I prefer being able to perform well in the gym and make progress there. Spring is coming now which offers wonderful walks with the camera as soon as the foot is healed.

  3. Denyse Whelan avatar

    I am so pleased that you shared what’s been happening lately for you. Good to read your updates, the news of travel, and then some more about family and so on.

    Isn’t the mind a tricky thing? I admit mine has been a bit like that in our move but also recognise (thank goodness) that it IS telling me stories and not all thoughts are true. That comparison trap is NOT nice. Hope you can move on from it)

    As always, I am grateful that you shared your post for Wednesday’s Words and Pics. See you again next week, when no more daylight saving in Australia for 6 months, means Eastern States will be all on same time! Denyse.

    1. Susanne avatar

      The mind is an annoying thing! But we’ve come a long way when we recognise that it’s telling us stories we shouldn’t listen to. I usually find ways to get out of the comparison trap but I think now I’ve been a bit affected by the always dull, rainy weather. I’m sure I’ll get back on track when I can be outside more, and for photography my inability to run will actually be a good thing because when I walk instead of run, I take more photos and enjoy the scenery more.

  4. Joanne Tracey avatar

    Comparisonitis is the WORST. (And yes, the caps are necessary! As is the exclamation mark). As an aside I love the moody pics. Since moving to Queensland I miss the seasons and am loving seeing the spring pics that are filling my Instagram at the moment. Take care with your running, be kind to yourself with your art and thanks for linking up.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes and amen to what you said about comparison.
      I like moody pics too and I adore taking photos in foggy weather! I think I would miss seasons if I didn’t have them, although the winter we have in Ireland is totally enough for my needs. Short winters with usually no snow was one of the reasons I wanted to live here. Spring is certainly here now and as soon as my foot allows me to walk more, I’ll go out and take some photos.

  5. Sue from Women Living Well After 50 avatar

    I would love to visit Ireland, Susanne and wish Australia wasn’t so far away from many of the places I would like to visit. I love your attitude about running at the moment and I’m sure you will get back into it when you ‘feel it is the right tie’. I’m looking forward to seeing your Spring in photos and hope your foot heals soon so you can enjoy beautiful country walks. Thanks for sharing at What’s Been On Your Calendar? and have a fabulous April xx

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks Sue, right now I’m feeling hopeful about the running as long as I can get some help with my walking & running mechanics, and I feel it will all be ok. In the meantime, I’ll be out there for camera walks soon!

  6. Donna Connolly avatar

    Hi, Susanne – I did it again. I replied without checking the proper boxes and lost my comment (duh to me). Here, I go again. I love Spain but wholeheartedly agree with you on the joy of returning home. Your shot of the rain and drizzle is absolutely stunning. Thank you for joining us for What’s Been on Your Calendar. We greatly appreciate it.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks Donna! That was a simple snapshot really – but you’re not the first one commenting on it! I love photographing in foggy weather. There’s a special mood in those photos that I find attractive.

  7. Gail avatar

    I’m glad to discover your blog, I’m interested in stepping up my weights and resistance routine, so will be able to learn from you. Also it’s lovely to hear about life in Ireland (and Spain!).

    1. Susanne avatar

      Hi Gail, and welcome! That’s great that you want to ramp up your strength training. Do you do any of it now? I go to the gym twice a week, it’s a tiny gym where I see a personal trainer who does one-to-one sessions. Every Sunday I do a bodyweight & resistance band workout at home. You might want to check out my Sunday posts where I join other running & fitness bloggers in a weekly link-up to share the week’s fitness activities.

  8. Debbie Harris avatar

    Hi Susanne, your trip to Spain sound delightful and a good way to rest up and refocus as you say. It’s somewhere I’ve not been before but I hear a lot of good things about it, mainly the weather! Your mention of the comparison trap is something I think many of us fall into to, but shouldn’t as we’re all bright, creative and clever women, and each have our own strengths. Sometimes it can be hard to find them in ourselves thought can’t it? I’m like you with my running, I was doing really well, loving it and making progress before having a knee injury. I’ve tried to start again but am always scared of doing more harm so now I’m happy riding my bike, doing strength training with friends, walking and doing the odd run when I feel I can manage it. I’ll never run a marathon, which was a bit of a dream I had. Thanks for joining us for #WBOYC, take care.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, we should all realise that we’re clever and creative, each in our own way! The good thing is that I’ve had these downs so many times now but every time it gets easier to get out of it. I haven’t done a lot of photography recently but I have the inspiration back, and it must be something with the weather and the season too, with longer days and more sunshine recently.
      Walking, cycling and strength training are great things! I’ll try running again but will first recover, and seek help to analyse my foot mechanics to see what I can correct whether it’s with running technique or more strength training. We’ll see how it goes. In the meantime I’ll fully enjoy my sessions in the gym, and later going out for walks when the foot is better.

  9. Anne avatar

    Oh, Susanne. Now I know what you were talking about in your reply to my last comment. What a complete and utter disappointment that must be for you. I admire your focus on and dedication to your strength training and can only think that will benefit you in the long run – whether you are running or not.
    That said, so much good in this post. Spain! Returning home! (Random thought…when did it become “home”? has it been since you moved to Ireland?) Beautiful snapshots! Music!
    I hope that you shift beyond the horrific comparison trap we all find ourselves in at times. I am struggling with this in work life now, as I prepare a bunch of materials to go out for some random people to review and judge (e.g., “There’s no way I will measure up to other portfolios they’ve reviewed…”). So I feel you, but I also don’t know how to squash it, unfortunately. Let me know if you figure out the magic approach, please. 🙂

    1. Susanne avatar

      Ireland has been home since we moved here. Perhaps even before that. It was a long time when we still lived in Sweden and it didn’t feel like home. Technically it was of course, but not emotionally because I didn’t feel I fitted in there. I probably don’t fit in here either, but a lot more than I do in Sweden. Home to me doesn’t have to do with where you grew up, but where you feel you have a good life and belong. When we lived in Sweden and came home from holidays I always felt sad because I came home to something that I didn’t enjoy. Here in Ireland I have a good life.

      Regarding photography I had an interesting experience on Wednesday with the camera club. I’m going to chill out more with my photography now and just enjoy it. Having to have other people judge your work is horrible!! I don’t take photo competitions so seriously as it’s just a hobby and I learn from it, but in a work context it must be awful.
      I didn’t have a magic approach, sadly. The only thing that happened was that we had a critique night with the club, I brought some photos, one of them was quite good and the other one quite awful in my opinion because the colours looked terrible in print. But the other people, some of them quite advanced photographers, didn’t agree with me at all and thought they were both very good and gave me some very good comments on them, as did other people in the club. I’m annoyed that I need other people’s validation but I guess that’s one way you learn and understand what level you’re at. Now at least I don’t feel like a shitty photographer anymore, and I also realised that advanced photographers are also just ordinary people who, like me, want to improve their photography, and they are actually quite supportive and can give some useful input, instead of judgement.

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