My Morning Routine – Jon Waller
For this month’s morning routine we catch up with 30-year-old Jon Waller, a ranger at Haldon Forest Park (Forestry, England) who lives in Dawlish.
Jon describes himself as “One of those irritating people who wear shorts all year, even if it snows, and refuse to admit they are cold”.
Tell us about your morning routine:
Most mornings follow a night having fought (and usually lost!) my cat Wizard for a share of the duvet all night. Suitably disgruntled, I wake up at 7 am to the sound of Radio X and contemplate my next move. It’s not hard to find the motivation to get up and go, working in such a beautiful corner of the world with passionate and dedicated people. If the weather is kind, I’m straight out on my gate-sized Surly touring bike to hammer up the hill…if not, or my Wizard-induced torpor means I’ve left it far too late, a quick prayer to the gods of combustion is required to coax my faithful-but-aged van from its slumber…sometimes more cursing than praying!
I am welcomed to work by Jack, Peso, Lola, Alfie and Ernie….and their owners! Every morning at the park starts with a team ‘huddle’ to catch up with news and pitch in together on the jobs list. We’re a small team keeping the Forest Park in good order for around 400,000 yearly visitors so there is always plenty to do!
Post-huddle, I make a quick check of any meetings scheduled in then it’s straight outside to crack on. I do everything possible to avoid having to spend all day in front of a screen. I have a great job which I am very passionate about; organising and supporting activities, health and wellbeing visits alongside my Ranger duties. This means I get to meet and work with a huge range of community groups, charities and sports coaches such as our over 55 beginner groups and weekly park run.
Tell us about the food and drink that you consume in the morning?
I don’t eat breakfast most days, preferring instead to sip on the liquid joy which is “TeaHeeHee” from our local organic tea blender “Tea’s Me”. The blurb reads “To help you splash through the puddles of life. Liquid Happiness” and boy do I need that in the morning!
If I’m on day 7 of a long week or have a heavy day planned (like shovelling snow in the depth of winter) this goes out the window somewhat and I satisfy my caffeine and bacon desires at the Forest’s café…it is an absolute blessing and a waistline curse to have such delicious homemade food a few steps away, all day.
If you were an item of breakfast food, what would you be and why?
I take food very seriously so I pondered this question for a while. I think I have to go with a thick, fluffy and ever-so-slightly-crispy-on-the-edge pancake. Why? Because they are easy, cheap and versatile. I like to keep things straight forward and honest in life, be ready for any opportunity and happily swing wildly from blueberry and yoghurt healthy activity projects to down and dirty bacon, maple syrup and strong coffee post digging days.
Tell us about any technology that you use in the morning.
I am a major data nerd. My favourite ‘important task’ that keeps me in bed for another few minutes is to sync my Garmin watch with my phone and analyse last night’s sleep cycles and heart rate. It’s fascinating to relate stats to how refreshed (or not) you feel and I ponder if the late evening latte was really a wise decision. And digital radio. And Bluetooth headphones…cannot stand wires jangling around.
What would you say is your typical ‘Morning song’?
Bill Withers – Lovely Day. I love the positivity and the gentle opening is perfect for morning alarms.
Tell us about your journey to work?
Bicycles, bicycles, bicycles! I love bicycles. I am very lucky that I don’t need to use any major roads to get from home to work. I cycle all year for the reward of some stunning scenery, especially breaking through the sea of mist coming up Mamhead hill.
Tell us who your favourite ‘CarPool Karaoke’ artist would be and what you would sing together?
Foo Fighters – Best of You. I am an awful singer and would prefer it not to be recorded.
What are the first tasks that you need to attend to when you get to work?
My favourite morning tasks are feeding the birds, greeting the office dogs and litter picking, which I find strangely rewarding and cathartic.
If you had an endless supply of money, what would your ideal job/hobby be and why?
Think a fusion of Robin Hood and a Prime Minister. I’d build a utopia and everyone would live happily, peacefully and sustainably. My hobby would be an underwater photographer. It’s another world down there and I’d sail the oceans and lakes capturing the hidden beauty.
What’s your favourite book, TV programme or movie?
Favourite book is a close tie between Ready Player One by Ernest Cline for its pure 80s video game nostalgia and Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman. Every book about the end of the world should make you chuckle.
What would your SuperHero Name be and what would your SuperPower be?
The Dog Whisperer. I’d be a hero for dogs, able to talk to them and make them happy because dogs have feelings too.