Jan
2014

Arm Chair Traveller

The Arm Chair Traveller

As often I was up in Central London wondering about when I  popped into Waterstones Piccadilly & saw a wide selection of books about walking. One for my list is Ramble on The story or our love for walking Britain by Sinclair McKay; another  possible read ,Will Self’s Walking to Hollywood. I since discovered Walking to Hollywood was not a literal walk, but some kind of intellectual satire which left me baffled after a few pages and most defiantly not amused enough to labour through that.  I attempted but gave up on after a few pages, it is written for a selective audience. Looking for inspiration I had waited a long time for the new Donna Tart Novel.

 

I’m in the depths The Goldfinch (not walking related) which may take some time to finish, but I am enjoying it so I will finish it first before starting anything new.

Inside the cover it has a beautiful cutting printed and pasted, it is a picture of a GoldFinch and sitting on a little bird table and has a very delicate gold chain tied around its ankle.

Donna tarts young character who has somehow acquired this original painting says of it.

When I looked at the painting,I felt the same convergence on a single point: a flickering sun-struck instant that existed now and forever. Only occasionally did I notice the chain on the finch’s ankle, or think what a cruel life for a little living creature fluttering briefly, forced always to land in the same hopeless place”

It kills me that quote and I have to hope that the finch was only chained for the purpose of the painting and was then freed.!  I have mentioned in other posts my hatred of cruelty to animals, and keeping birds in cages. It is akin to being a fit human being kept in a prison unable to leave.

Donna Tartt

Cover for The Goldfinch

The Goldfinch painting has now taking on a new lease of life. See below for more details.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-goldfinch-painting-drawing-crowds-since-donna-tartt-book-release/

Lets all try to spread our wings in 2014 and not be chained to convention.

 

 

KEEPING ON WALKING

At present I’m having a break from  the canvassing work for Westminster Council and I am planning on researching some new walks. As always I will be taking some pics on my last two weeks  around Belgravia and posting them.

I am awaiting news from a rambling friend out in Croatia at present. She made a lucky escape from the Storms and chaos of Christmas.

Hopefully she can inspire me with her tales when she returns! I have never been on a walking holiday as such, but it’s something I would like to do.

Best Wishes and Happy New Year 2014

 

Julie

Secluded in the mews. Winter sun in Belgravia

 

 

 

 

Dec
2013

We’re alwhite in Belgravia

From Brixton to Belgravia – The contrast couldn’t be more different.

I am thrilled to say  I have now finished the canvassing for the electoral register in the Belgravia/Chelsea and Victoria area. I swear I was dazzled by the sun reflecting form the white washed buildings.  At times I felt completely spaced out.!Everywhere was so bright in the winter sun especially in the mews secluded and cozy a real sun trap.

"There aint alf been some clever bastards" to quote Ian Dury!

“There aint alf been some clever bastards” to quote Ian Dury!

“Noel Coward was a charmer. / As a writer he was brahma. / Velvet jackets and pyjamas” Ian Dury

An area where Lords, actors, and a mixture of well to do people live ; as well as their housekeepers,  nannies, cleaners, doorkeepers,the place is always busy and buzzing with builders, cabbies,chauffeurs,  and delivery vans. It has a very uniform feel to it, smart yes, interesting, ok, but a bit aloof!

We're secluded in the mews

We’re secluded in the mews

 

A frustrating job at times. Most of the time it was the housekeepers who answered the doors, the job seemed pointless after a while and the pay was lousy. We are sent to encourage people to put their name on the electoral register, so that they can vote. At times that was a doomed mission! If they hadn’t put their name on already, in the main they were unlikely to answer the door to do it. As tempting as it was to sit in one of the few quaint little pubs in the area, I plodded on.

Eaton Terrace

Eaton Terrace

 

All Done and Dusted

Thats called walking with a purpose.Luckily I only got a couple of cold days, and one evening which was wet  & miserable.The evening  proved to be worse than the day, struggling to see in the dark and getting no answers in Eaton Place! I almost threw the whole lot into the street.There is only so much knocking at the doors of Lord this and the Duchess of that I can take!

White Washed Belgravia

White Washed Belgravia

 

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Nov
2013

Wild

The Wild years

I haven’t been on any significant walks lately but have been walking a lot.

I have got a load of pictures that I am currently sorting out in I photo and will be posting a lot on the 365 project.

I mentioned in the previous blog that I was reading  the story of Cheryl Strayed. In her book Wild she describes herself  asThe woman with the hole in her heart”  A 1100 mile journey on foot from Mexico Border to the Canadian Border alongside California known as the Pacific Crest Trail .

I will be doing a lot of non wild walking next month when I start walking around Victoria and Belgravia, knocking at the doors of the rich & famous, collecting data for the Electoral Register of Westminster Council. I’m also working on a piece of writing for The Ramblers Organisation which should feature as a guest blog on their site.

AFTER THE RAIN comes the sun.

SUN COMING THROUGH CLOUD

 

A different type of Wild

I feel like my wild years are behind me now but there is still something of the rebel in me that wants to steer off into the wilderness. My wild years were pretty much from about aged 16  -29, (although I think once a rebel always a rebel) running to London where I was obsessed with music and lived in people’s spare rooms/working and living in hotels as a Chamber Maid and Waitress then ‘progressing’ to squats spending most of my time out at Gigs and playing the bass trying to get a band together.

There was an innocence to it all and I remember giving up a  job in the library to go to New York for a month in the hope that I would find a new life over there.

When there I advertised my plane ticket for sale in the hope of having enough money to go to L.A but it was not to be.   I took a volunteer job in New Jersey in a campsite for abused children ran by what I considered at the time to be Religious Weirdos.

I just found the whole thing scary, it was not really something that I was anywhere near prepared to deal with. I had to get out of there and go back to NYC .

I met loads of people and had a great time it had such a powerful feeling of impermanence about it.The only thing to do was to keep on moving. When back at my London squat I put an ad in The Melody Maker (no longer in print)& formed a band which lasted all of 3 months then I decided to do a degree as a mature student. Another story altogether.

The thing is though, even now when I read Cheryl Strayed’s story I can’t help feeling envious of her out in the Wild . I wouldn’t want to live my wild days again. (as if!!)  But-it seems to me that I am running to stand still these days. I’ve been working 10 years in the same job and am no better off as the cost of living has gone up so much but the pay hasn’t. It’s difficult to know what course of action to take. What sort of changes to make.

Some people may think I should be grateful to have a job (I am) but somewhere a long the line I like to think there will be some adventures again.

Well that’s about it from me . Happy October, and keep on walking.

Had a good 5 mile walk today from Brixton to Chelsea.

I may well lead some London walks next year, lets see how it goes. Will keep you posted.

 

Next episode coming soon.

Oct
2013

People you can’t live with them you can’t live without them

PeopleYou can’t live with them you can’t live without them.

Take a walk on the wild side

 

Carrying on with the review of Cherly Strayed the author of Wild, I like to  share some of her trials and errors while hiking and walking the PCT trail.

You either pay or you leave.

Whilst hitching a lift on a slight detour from The PCT route a campsite  exists, she reckons a free nights camping is on the cards, before getting back on track. It is dark late at night, & she hasn’t any money her much longed for  parcel hadn’t arrived at the last drop off post.

At times like this you can only hope for human kindness. Unfortunately she comes across a mean couple who were monitoring the grounds  and wouldn’t let her have a free pitch up for the  night – despite it being a virtually empty campsite.

Now this would not have made one ounce of difference to them, would it? if a woman alone is hiking you would think they would have at least  some comprehension of her plight.  They could have made some sort of deal, – you know, wash the dishes! . send us a cheque later on etc etc. There you go, even in these type of places you get Mr and Mrs Jobsworth, where a rule is a rule is a rule mam, and don’t you forget it.

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Sep
2013

Cherlyl Strayed Wild

Cheryl Strayed -Wild

PCT ROUTE

PCT ROUTE

A daunting ordeal

Cheryl Strayed’s book is a great read for anyone interested in travel.

A continuous wilderness trail stretching from the Mexican Border in California to just beyond the Canadian Border along the crest of Nine Mountain range. Turning her idea into a reality She Started at a Motel a dozen mile from the start of Pacific Crest Trial trial with a newly required rucksack with everything in it apart from the kitchen sink, naming it Monster which is aptly described.A sizable burden far outweighing that of her contemporary males she met up with at various stop of points.

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