Summer highlights

Since a while I’m back on my two feet and although my walking isn’t really back on track, at least I can be out and about. Never before have I thought of the freedom you have when you can walk. I feel like I’m getting my life back.

The summer was rough but it offered some good moments too, and I thought I’d share some of it here. Music, road trips and people were involved in most of the summer highlights. Let’s talk about it!

Bluegrass events

In mid July we went to Donegal again for the bluegrass festival we discovered last summer. It was a wonderful distraction from the misery that was my life in July, and it was a great festival, with good jam sessions, concerts, and seeing friends, old and new. Like last year, we stayed in a hostel-like accommodation where your have your on-suite room and access to a shared kitchen. This year we knew the people staying there and also got to know a lovely 78-year-old gentleman from up north who played the banjo, guitar and mandolin, and who’s a fine singer too. We had quite a few good jam sessions in the kitchen, and in my opinion, these sessions were the best.

Like last year, we were asked to play a few songs on stage during the Sunday night finishing event. We did “Walk on boy” and “Roll on buddy”, and had a blast!

My partner in crime

About a month later, some friends organised a house concert with a bluegrass band, followed by a jam session. Storm Betty was forecasted to hit that evening, but we didn’t have far to travel so we decided to go anyway and certainly didn’t regret it! We managed to miss the storm too – the rain was very heavy during the early evening but the storm passed by while we were busy enjoying the music. When we drove home at 2 am it was calm but we saw debris on the road as we got closer to home so obviously it had been quite nasty.

Other music events

When it comes to listening to other musicians, we managed to get tickets to our local music venue to see Sharon Shannon and her band, for the fourth time. I brough the camera and took tons of photos, but this summer I haven’t practised my photography and had forgotten what I need to do to best manage the low light in this pub. My photos weren’t great, but I still enjoyed taking them, and the concert was fantastic as always.

Sharon Shannon at DeBarras 2023

Road trips

After an eventful trip, during which the plane had to turn back to Stockholm because of unknown “technical errors”, my sister came over to visit. If I had been well we would have done a lot more fun stuff, but it was lovely to have her here. We took the car to show her around some of our favourite places in the area, went to Kerry and around West Cork – Galley head, Kinsale, out towards the Mizen Head peninsula and enjoying coffee in Ballydehob on the way back. We also enjoyed some drinks in our local pubs, dinner with friends, and more. It was a lovely week!

During this time I was still disabled (but started walking bootless at home), but I did my best to enjoy myself with the camera anyway.

A local beach

On the Friday we went to Kinsale which is a popular little coastal town in our area. I realised this town is not suitable for less able-bodied people, but my sister strolled around a bit and took some photos before we went for coffee. I wouldn’t recommend getting inside this coffee shop when you’re confined to a CAM boot. Or, getting around anywhere at all in Kinsale with a CAM boot. It was utter misery. But the coffee was good!

In reality, I have nothing against Kinsale. Just don’t go there with crutch and CAM boot. Also, the old bookshop has closed, and the previously beautiful and colourful Oscar Madison’s bar has been repainted in a horrible bland beige colour. Just WHY?! I wanted to scream when I saw it. This corner used to be one of the prettiest spots in Kinsale.

Oscar Madison’s in its former glory

Grateful that I get to stay active

I’m so grateful I’ve been able to continue strength training throughout my injury, and in the early summer I decided to go three times a week instead of two. This also gives me a lower price per session. I’m so fortunate to have access to a good personal trainer. It’s not only a convenience, I get a personalised program based on my weaknesses and needs. Since I started training with him, my shoulder pain is gone, my lower back pain is gone, some muscular and tendon problems have been dealt with and I’ve built some good muscle and strength. With the stress fracture I’ve still been able to do a quite normal program, but with modified exercises, such as putting the knee of the bad leg on a bench instead of standing up for shoulder lifts, using an inclined bench for barbell rows, and resistance bands for legs and hips. I miss my squats and deadlifts, but I’ll get back to them.

I share my fitness activities and more every Sunday in the Weekly rundown link-up, and I really enjoy the community of bloggers (all of them runners, but you can link up if you have a fitness-based blog, runner or not) taking part in it.

Photography, blogs and more

The best part of this summer was when I started being able to walk without crutches, and started proper rehab of the foot and leg. It’s been anything but straightforward, and I wrote about that in this post about walking. I’m doing a lot of physiotherapy exercises for balance, strength and stability, and this will continue for some time.

With better walking, I’m finally getting back to do some proper photography again. On Saturday I took a stroll in town with the camera, for the first time since March or even February. Photo walks are hard if you still walk crookedly after an injury, but I really enjoyed it, and will share some photos later this week.

For the autumn I hope to be around more on the blog. It will be a busy autumn but that also means I might have good things to share. Some of you know how I earlier got absorbed by the “how today’s internet thinks you should blog” thinking, and it killed my joy with blogging and almost made me quit altogether. When I started over I had a much healthier attitude about it, but have still struggled with the “why” and the “how” – plus the fact that I’m not a native English speaker and sometimes my writing really sucks. But after all the misery I’ve had this year, I want to drop unnecessary stress, and I want to simplify blogging, just have fun with it and enjoy the community.

Some of you may wonder about my photography blog, and I wonder the same, lol! It’s still there and I’ll keep it – I certainly can’t let someone else take that cool domain name! But before using it again, I want to get back to regular photography. My main updates will happen here.

What have you been up to? I hope you had a good summer (or winter, if you’re in Australia)!

I’m sharing this with Denyse’s words and pics, and What’s been on your calendar? with Sue, Jo, Donna and Deb.

Denyse's words and pics
What's been on your calendar link-up

18 responses to “Summer highlights”

  1. Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au avatar

    Hi Susanne – I can certainly relate to ” Never before have I thought of the freedom you have when you can walk.” It’s amazing how much you miss walking when you can’t do it well, and how much you appreciate it when you get it back again. I loved all your photos – you capture the light so well, and I’m glad you had your sister visiting – family time is always such a joy.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Yes, the art of walking is underrated, isn’t it!? I’ll enjoy every minute of walking going forward!
      Thanks for your comments about my photos, I always appreciate it! I had a lot of fun taking these, especially since I hadn’t been out with the camera for a vey long time.

  2. Min @ Write of the Middle avatar

    Hi Susanne, I think your photography is fabulous! The black and white band ones are great even if you think the lighting was bad. They depict the right mood and are great! All the others are fabulous too – sharp and great composition. I’m so sorry to hear about your injury. I am not keeping up with everyone’s blogs since I’m so swamped in aged care and looking after Mum so I don’t even know what you’ve done to yourself. I’m glad you’re starting to feel better though. Looks like you’ve had some wonderful times through your summer regardless. It’s starting to get hot here in Brisbane, Australia and we’re only 6 days into spring! Hope you’re fully recovered soon!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thank you so much, Min! I like these somewhat but I’m so annoyed that I had forgotten that in that music venue I have to increase the ISO quite a lot. I’ve become so used to keeping ISO mostly at 200 to get “cleaner” photos but earlier I started experimenting with high ISO values in this kind of setting and I’ve mostly been happy with the photos when I did. This evening I missed some very good action shots (Sharon can be very lively on stage!) because my ISO was too low and stopped me from being able to use faster shutter speeds, simply because I hadn’t been practising and had forgotten how I usually do it! But there’ll be more opportunities to try again.
      I had a stress fracture in the foot and it’s healed now but I’m still rehab-ing it which is a long process. I’m doing good though!

  3. Debbie Harris avatar

    Hi Susanne, I love your photos, those landscapes are amazing! You’ve certainly had a lot going on and I’m glad you can continue with your training and your personal trainer can modify various exercises for you. Thanks for joining us for WBOYC and all the best for September with lots of autumn photography happening!

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks Debbie, those are some stunning areas for photography!
      I’m always so grateful for my personal trainer and being able to keep lifting weights. Soon I can get back to more work on the legs too. I hope your September is treating you well!

  4. Sue from Women Living Well After 50 avatar

    HI Susanne I’m so pleased you have been able to still enjoy life and workouts despite your injury. Ireland is on my bucket list to visit and your photos are just beautiful and capture how I imagine Ireland countryside to be. Thanks for joining us t WBOYC and hopefully you continue to go from strength to strength. Take care xx

    1. Susanne avatar

      Oh yes, you definitely need to come to Ireland if you haven’t been! I feel I’m back in the swing of things with the camera now and hope to take more photos locally too later this month.

  5. Joanne avatar

    Oh yes! I had a minor foot injury this past spring and it was so hard to stay off of. Glad you are healing now and while I understand your photos are not up to your standard yet they are quite lovely. It sounds like you have had a wonderful time playing hometown tourist while showing your sister around.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Thanks Joanne! Foot injuries are so hard, aren’t they? We’re so dependent on our feet for anything in life!
      Yes, we had a great time with my sister although I wish I could have been able to walk more. But hopefully she’ll come back another year!

  6. Denyse Whelan avatar

    OH my Susanne, those images of Kerry are MAGICAL for someone like me who will never visit there. Thank you so much for sharing.

    I read between the lines (ha!) that life has not been all you would wish for and enjoy and I think it’s right to blog about those parts of life too. None of us have a smooth or easy path. Blogging is a connection tool but not a competitive one in my eyes.

    I am glad your sister got to visit even though it was troublesome for you getting about.

    I missed you in my blogging community and am glad you are back!

    Thank you so much for linking your blog post to WWandPics this week. See you next week too, I hope, for the link up at Denyse’s Words and Pics! Always appreciative of our connection via blogging! Denyse.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Aw thanks for saying that – I missed your blogging community too but haven’t been up to blogging at all, I’ve only tried to keep my fitness updates going because they are important for me later to look back and see the progress I’ve made.

      Life has been so hard this summer. It’s only now that I feel I’m getting back to somewhat where I want to be, even if it’s a new normal after being diagnosed with osteoporosis and osteopenia (not sure if you read that post, at least you didn’t comment on it as far as I remember). But as you well now we have to adapt to what life throws at us and make the best of it.
      Kerry is a lovely place but there are so many beautiful places in Ireland! I’ll do more photography and more sharing of photos now that I can be out and about again.

  7. Janine avatar

    Hi Susanne – I’m new to your blog but I love your honest overview of your life – the ups and downs which we all have at some stage in life. Your photos are beautiful, even if you feel they could be better. Don’t let perfectionism stop your creativity! It’s all about the doing. I hope your injury soon improves. It’s so difficult dealing with restrictions to our movement. We all take what our bodies do for us for granted. I look forward to reading more of your stories/life

    1. Susanne avatar

      Hi Janine and welcome to my blog! Believe it or not, I’ve dropped a lot of perfectionism around my photography, but of course I still want my photos to be good – although now it’s only to my own standards, not someone else’s.
      The injury is much improved, I had a stress fracture in the foot and the bone is healed but it was a long journey which means it’s a long rehab journey too. But I’m doing well and I’m very happy to be back walking again.
      Thanks for visiting and taking the time to leave a comment!

  8. Jennifer Jones avatar

    Hi Susanne, good to read that you’re on the mend. I can definitely understand the feeling of loss of freedom that injuries can cause. I’ve had a few in recent years and found it very challenging. I’m wondering how far you live from Donegal. I’ve never been there but often dream about it, as I have family history there.

    1. Susanne avatar

      Hi Jennifer, yes injuries are very challenging and I’m fortunate that this was only a small injury, but still it has sidelined me for months, for various reasons.
      We live quite far away from Donegal. We live at the southern coast and have maybe 6 hours drive to Donegal which is at the very north-west of Ireland. But that doesn’t stop us from going up there for that music festival! This year the only road tripping we did was to a knitwear shop but next year I hope we can go out to the cliffs again like last year.

  9. Kym avatar

    I absolutely love the photos, which are really whetting my appetite to visit Ireland someday! Congratulations on the progress in your healing! Visiting (late!) from WBOYC today

    1. Susanne avatar

      Hi Kym, thank you and welcome to my blog! Yes, there’s a lot to see in Ireland and pretty scenery everywhere. I was also late getting around on WBOYC – need to get better organised if I want to join link-ups! Enjoy your weekend!

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