Apr
2014

Which way is south?

Two out- of- Towners (Map not included!)

Having joined the ramblers group a few years ago I’m getting the hang of a few things: Being punctual! thinking ahead, booking trains in advance, wearing the right clothes for the right weather, and of course just doing it,when I might not feel like it.

I know that an 8 mile walk is roughly about 4 hours long and that is probably long enough for a saturday, bearing in mind,the extras such as walking to the train station walking about afterwards,back tracking,after taking wrong turns..all clocks it up to about 10 miles.

The mole and I in a joint venture decided the weather was good enough for a walk. I had cut the Walk instructions out of the Magazine sent quarterly from the Ramblers Association. I have only followed a guide once, so wanted to try another,this walk from Lewis to  Saltdean, not  so straightforward as most of it was in fields.

Uhh. which way is South?

 

We found the path eventually , after walking East to a hedge with a stye !

We found the path eventually , after walking East to a hedge….

 

Trying to make head or tail of the instructions while standing in the middle of a field!

It was turn left here, turn right then left at a hedge then over a stile 30 metres from a fence   facing West,etc…then bear south!

 

HOLY COW IN SOUTH DOWNS with two new borns..

HOLY COW IN SOUTH DOWNS with two new borns..

 

Some people like to google everything I prefer to leave it to trial and error and learn the hard way!  Having  recently just ambled along following the leader in the Cotswolds, I was now in charge of my destiny again, well my companion The Mole, as well,who did not take to kindly to the vague directions! I can tell you.

Not much in the village of Iford  apart from a farm and a few houses.I had thought there may perhaps a cafe ! Or a pub for a break. Not so, and further I was anticipating some kind of vineyard or Spanish Cafe towards the end of the walk.!

Now what was that written in  the walk description?

“Ramblers Routes 09

“The plush free eastern face of the Downs  a vineyard and hidden valleys, finishing up with a glass of Rioja and some tapas at the nearest Costa to Lewes”

Not quite sure what that was about.! Still it was 28th of March and we were glad of some fresh air and light.

Moving up- dusty path upwards

Moving up- dusty path upwards

 

A lot of cows ,a lot of sheep and a lot of grass.  At the top of a hill we cross the South Downs Way carrying on with slight ascents and descents and endless seclusion, we pass Breaky bottom Vineyard , but no sign of any cafe/wine tasting sessions that we could see. It got a bit confusing again after this as there wasn’t clear directions as to how to get to the coastal town of Saltdean, but as we head down we can see what looks like Seaford area looking left.We walked and walked until we got down to a football pitch and then came out to a road with some holiday homes. We headed to the main road and jumped on a bus to Brighton.

 

looking back towards Ilford a lot of fields a lot of sheep

looking back towards Ilford a lot of fields a lot of sheep

 

Just as a footnote I would like to mention that I led a group from Brixton to Chelsea on Sunday , it was a nice little group of about 11 and some of them had found out about the walk from a meet up group.I wasn’t aware that my South Bank Group advertised on there ,so it was a nice surprise.

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Mar
2014

Stow on the Wold

 Stow On the Wold Cotswolds 

My recent & first ever weekend away with The south Bank rambler group 

Pubs in Town Square Stow on the Wold

We took a train from Paddington heading towards Stow on the Wold .It’s not far from Oxford so under 2 hours  to get to Morton on Marsh where we caught a 10 min bus ride to Stow on the Wold; 10 of us were sharing a cottage .

Away we go!

Away we go!

At the cost of £70 which included food kitty for breakfast and one evening meal it was a good deal. We had three nights there and two full days for walking. I hadn’t previously given much thought to the Cotswolds area, hadn’t heard of Stow on the wold and no idea where it was exactly. I didn’t bother googling it. My job involves too much staring at a PC. Tired and blurry eyed, a wake up from my winter slumber I stumbled out of bed & reminded myself it was for my own good and go I did.

See the massive feet of the tree.. Awesome..

Tree Trunks at church door Stow on Wold

Tree Trunks at church door Stow on Wold

 

Sign to Lower Slaughter

Sign to Lower Slaughter

 

I was taken with The Old Mill at Lower Slaughter  “voted most beautiful village in the Cotswold.

http://oldmill-lowerslaughter.comA shop created by Gerald Harris (well -known Jazz Singer and Crooner) is to create an environment that is a blast from the past,  it’s like walking into a different era, with the music of Ella Fitzgerald and other old jazz  artist playing in the shop..I would have loved to have bought stuff but I wasn’t really prepared for this and didn’t want to be walking for another 4 miles with cast iron door knobs or whatever!

Shop / Museum/ Cafe at Upper Slaughter

Shop / Museum/ Cafe at Upper Slaughter

 

Current Stock Includes:

Sheepskin Flying Jackets-Wool Caps (Patchwork)- Oil Paintings-Selected Furniture Pieces-Wooden Chopping Boards-(Kitchenalia)-Leather Handbag-,Not to mention!, :Staddle Stones, Books of Interest, Local Walking Books MCotswold Garden Stoneware, and much much —much more…..

view of Upper Slaughter

View of Upper Slaughter

 

MILL IN LOWER SLAUGHTER amazing shop gallery and village

MILL IN LOWER SLAUGHTER amazing shop gallery and village

 


Monarch’s Way to Broadwell

On the second day we went along the Monarch’s Way to Broadwell, then via Donnington to Longborough where we stopped for a drink. After that we went south to Upper Swell for lunch, onto Lower Swell and back to Stow

Walking in space!

Walking in space!

A beautiful sunny peaceful day on Sunday. Daffodils in full bloom, sheep grazing peacefully blue sky, lovely.

“It is a designated as an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the largest in the country, and its quintessentially English charm predominantly spans the counties of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, while also reaching into parts of Wiltshire, Somerset, Worcestershire and Warwickshire.

Longborough a perfect spring day for a lunch time drink. Beautiful.

Longborough a perfect spring day for a lunch time drink. Beautiful.

 

Cycling to work every day from Brixton to Camberwell ,I’m used to ambulances and police sirens for company. Usually I go to sleep with the sound of police cars a few blocks away,the occasional helicopter hovering over head in the early hours,and not long after I’m awake there is usually the presence of a siren or two, the planes joining in with the early morning chorus. So I have a fully orchestrated background at all times really ..be it a noisy one.

The desire to escape is strong at times, But—-saying that, it can be extremely disconcerting to be somewhere as quiet as the Cotswold, it was Pre- tourist season. Spring just about to break, and I must admit I felt a bit anxious as I often do in the country away from the din…

After a couple of days I started to relax a little  after a a couple of long walks and a few drinks in one of the many pubs in Stow- and then it’s back to London.

 

Mushroom seat

Mushroom seat

Next walk is with the map my walk extraordinaire the Cockney Mole. We are trying a new walk from Lewes to the coast…. So until next time, put one foot in front of the other and keep on keeping on.. 

 

Julie

 

 

Feb
2014

Westgate to Margate revisited February 8th 2014

Westgate to Margate circular walk

Approx. 6 miles round walk

I having walked  this many times now, it’s as familiar as a stroll in the park. I still enjoy the Westgate to Margate stroll, as always it is invigorating. Saturday proved to be an ever-changing day. The Sea looked grungy brown but calm & the wind almost blew us to Margate.  Then came the hailstones, the sand was rising from the surface  blowing towards Margate like a desert storm; as suddenly as the hail storms appeared,they then disappeared and blue skies appeared lighting up the Turner Gallery on the horizon.

MARGATE BEACH FEBRUARY

MARGATE BEACH FEBRUARY

 

Always great to see The Contemporary Turner Gallery 

https://www.turnercontemporary.org/ if only to take a break from the wind! There is always something on in there, and the views are great; Like the Tate in St Ives, a modern building, situated on the sea front designed to fit in with the landscape. A great chip shop nearby supplied a generous portion of chips . I shared my remains with the Seagulls; then walked down to the harbour, and visited the micro pub .

The Harbour Arms.

TURNER GALLERY THEN HARBOUR..

TURNER GALLERY -THEN HARBOUR..

 

Micro pub is defined by it being independent of breweries serving local beers and ciders. It is very tiny too and felt a bit like being on a stage set, it is not a pub as such but an old harbour office made into a small space with a bar and a few tables…

There were about 14 people huddled in there if you added another ten it would have been jam-packed! The prices are good too. I had half a raspberry cider and The Mole (my walking partner, and other… !) had a half local beer at! £3 a pint; nice!

RASPBERRY CIDER LOCAL ALE £3.00 A PINT

RASPBERRY CIDER LOCAL ALE £3.00 A PINT

 

Margate moving on?

I can’t help but feel the naughty weekend caption isn’t going to be the crowd puller they are aiming at, I seem to recall Mary Portas did a bit of a campaign to brighten the shopping area which is smart in parts. There are some great shops and cafes the Mole and I, plan to spend a night or two on the coast around Margate at some point this summer, dirty or otherwise.!

Walking back I see the works are still in progress along the seafront, the old  Royal Sea Bathing Hospital was a pioneer hospital in the use of open-air treatment for patients suffering from tubercular complaints. It was founded in 1791 for the poor of London by Dr John Coakley Lettsom, a Quaker physician. It is now being redeveloped into plush apartments.


 Resorts such as Margate had modesty hoods which werecould be let down to allow a woman to enter and leave the water in privacy.
If desired, the woman could also be dipped in privacy under the shelter of the hoodsalted sea water and be helped with cures for TB

I  say it’s a stroll in the park, but it clocks up about 6 miles all in all.

Walking back to Westgate from Margate always seems longer than walking to Margate,especially with the wind in our face as we were  attacked by another batch of hail stones…

We had planned to have another swift half in the micro pub in Westgate but they closed from about 2.30-5pm, so missed out on that. Mole drove back to London in true mole style, with  the low winter sun blinding his eyes, cursing and swearing up the motorway. The rain/sun/hail/rain/sun weather got the better of us and a return home to London for a night in front of the box was welcome.

Well  there is a lot of misery in many parts of the country due to excessive rain. I’m hoping it will calm down soon, as a short w/end in Devon is on cards & got a couple of walks with the South Bank Group penciled in for February and a W/end of it in March.

 

All for now

Julie

 

 

 

 

 

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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