Jul
2013

Northward bound

South Shields

my birthplace

SOUTH SHIELDS BEACH

We had a great 5-6 mile walk along the cliff tops. I guess we take  our heritage for granted, but having spent some of my childhood there & later teenage years, I spent little time walking along the beach.The coastal area is maintained by the National Trust and although the area has been damaged to some extent by previous recessions it is resilient.

Souter Lighthouse to South Shields walk graphic

Craster in Northumberland

Further up the coastline we visited Craster in Northumberland by which time it had started raining  fiercely and we got a bit frightened off by the massive herd of cows who seemed intent on blocking our path at the gate that led to Dunstanburgh Castle. The photo of the cows doesn’t quite do it justice, but it was funny They were grazing down by the rocks and when they saw us coming they all ran towards the gate! I didn’t have the nerve to just walk through them! City Dwellers at heart.
These cows were actually galloping!

GALLOPING TO GATE TO BLOCK OUR ENTRANCE.

You can just about make Dunstanburgh Castle in the background, but Being soaked through after walking about a half a mile we walked back and  sat under shelter and enjoyed the local craster kipper in a bun! I need to spend more time in Northumberland and make at least a week of it.

EMBLETON BAY

kippers at Craster

Craster fishing village in the rain

Craster fishing village in the rain

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Jun
2013

365 days a year! posting pictures

 

365 days a year

Lately I have doing a bit of background tidying up my work on line. I just wanted to say if anyone is interested in photography there is an online project that I have started doing . I was focusing on some of the technical aspects of writing a blog, publishing &posting, installing widgets, reading up about tags, SEO etc. In writing a blog there is a certain amount of technical work to do. As yet the photographs as yet have not been the main or a central feature of my blog. I have been enjoying going out walking finding new places and meeting people. Eventually I will become more expert at this.

https://365project.org

The basic idea is that you post a picture every day of the year . I don’t have a digital at the moment and am using film, so my contributions are a bit haphazard. I’m half way there and certainly don’t post a picture every day. Eventually though I will post a full 365 pictures. I have a few followers and I enjoy seeing other amateur photographers.

linear walk Hitching to  Letchworth

I recently joined up with a  new walking group based in North London, we went out a  couple of  Sundays ago which was the hottest day of the year at that point.

Although now we seem to be having a heat wave, an it seems  a good time  for me to do a bit of research as it’s been too hot to do a lot of walking.The linear walk Hitching to  Letchworth via the old town of Hitching then Oughtonhead Common Nature Reserve led to a Lavender field. It was surprising to see such nice countryside and only about 30 miles outside of London A  train from Kings Cross took about 30 minutes.

I did a couple of country walks with my South Bank Group, on different occasions both around 8 mile walks. I’m starting to get to the point where I want to make up my own walks and do them when I feel like doing them , instead of having to follow a group. I’m now more interested in researching places and reading maps. A group can be good but I am also very independent minded and like to do things my own way. Still I would encourage anyone who wants to get out of the city to join a walking group. If like me you have spent more years than you care to remember living in London and as wonderful as it is . There is more to life. Anyone who knows London will know you can’t just get up and go for a walk , to really get anywhere scenic you need to travel at least 30 miles but more like 50 -6 0 for coastal walks which I prefer.

I have been catching up with a bit of reading and exploring places on line. looking at maps links etc.I’m also looking into the Saturday Walkers Club http://www.walkingclub.org.uk/they publish walks and maps. If you like to read a bit of history and view maps, you can also print out walks and download an audio programme outlining historical references to any area that you are interested in researching.

I haven’t been very successful with the phone application map my walk as I find it a bit fussy and difficult to read a map on a phone with the sunlight blaring on it. Far easier to have an idea first and then just amble along. I’m not too worried about getting lost really. It’s not like I’m going off into the Amazon Jungle.

 

Until next time please keep reading commenting sharing.

May
2013

200 flights cancelled at Heathrow 24/05/2013

Due to an aeroplane having to make an emergency landing. at Heathrow Airport, our flight to Berlin was cancelled as were about 200 other flights .We were told we would not get a flight that day &  sent away from the airport  in a state of disbelief, feeling dismal.Arriving back at Brixton in the pouring cold rain was a miserable way to begin our Bank Holiday Weekend,having looked forward  to going to Berlin for what  had promised to be an exciting Gig /Birthday Party. This had been booked six months ago and the hassle of having to get Management at work to agree to the date as other people had also booked it off and the general state of being micro managed at work, I was well ready for my trip.

After a wound up Friday night we decided that on Saturday and Sunday we would at least walk around London , the thought of having to try and get a flight the next day seemed pointless. We had missed the gig ,therefore, we weren’t going to pay again and hang about another airport with thousands of others trying to find an alternative route.

Surely British Airways could have shifted the plane and got some planes out to Europe! So close yet so far! It’s not like it was a major catastrophe just a fault in one of the planes engines.

I’ve never known anything like it. They could have shifted the said plane to a garage and got the other planes moving. Ok what do I know about policies and procedures but  accidents happen and they need to be dealt with. What to do in an Emergency by British Airways! Have they not  got a copy!!!!

I wont’ book with British Airways again..

The Cockney Mole and I walked 10 miles on Saturday, starting at  Aldgate in the East End, I had thought maybe we could meet up with the South Bank Walkers who were following Jack the Ripper’s trail through Victorian London’s sinister East End but somehow got off at the wrong station and it was too late. I will spare you the details , but we missed this walk by about five minutes. Feeling a bit jinxed at this point we wandered over to Petticoat Lane Market an area I hadn’t visited for years. Got a few goodies at the market there  then walked through the city of `London  which was really quiet ,then walked to London Bridge, where we stopped off and had a lovely pub lunch by the river. I spotted  a massive dead fish floating downward on a very a fast tide along the Thames It seemed strange just bobbing along being carried on the waves.

We carried on walking over southwark Bridge to Blackfriars  where we stopped for a drink. The sun was beaming at this point and nice breeze blew from Father Thames.We then carried on down the Embankment towards Vauxhall and  walked to Oval and to Brixton . The day out was nice due to the weather, but you know I would have preferred to have been to Berlin seeing things I hadn’t seen before.

A quiet place in the City of London – Bank Holiday when I was meant to be in Berlin (see last post as to why i didn’t get there)

On Sunday I took my book out with me  –Walking Haunted London.

I wanted to test out a short 3 mile walk around St James  & Green Park area. There’s some very interesting stories in the book with plenty of historical references and stop off points. a nice lunch was had at  Shepherds market Mayfair and then a walk back through Green Park, past Buckingham Palce to Victoria train station and back to Herne Hill. It was the best we could do under the circumstances. We tried to get away and just couldn’t , what a blow.

I want to try a few more of these walks and possibly lead one in the Autumn, when the dark evenings set the stage for a good Ghost Walk.

 

 

 

Until next time

 

 

 

Apr
2013

Learning to lead & the Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry

 

Sticking To The Plan

There’s a lot to be said for sticking to a plan, but then again, it can be a total pain and I prefer an open-minded approach to life. I recently did the leaders walk in the freezing snow. Personally a 8 mile walk in the freezing cold is not my idea of fun, and I don’t hold the No pain no gain attitude. But in this case I felt like I had to stick to the plan, because if I didn’t I would have missed the chance to get together with the group and learn something.I met up with the South Bank Walkers Group on a Sunday morning and we discussed the roles of being a Walk Leader and Map reader. It was interesting and I have put my name forward to do my first walk later in the year. The next newsletter comes out in July so I will be in the July to October issue and I’m going to lead the Seven Sisters Walk. For this walk you need reasonably good weather. I haven’t decided the date yet, but his year at some point!  Now that Spring seems to be here I can get out on some decent walks and will be out next  Saturday and be writing about that next Sunday.

In the meantime, I am enclosing a very short book review, a novel about someone who went on a very long walk.!

 

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry Written by Rachel Joyce published by Black Swan 

A tale of a walk of 627 miles in 87 days from Kingsbury to Berwick

book cover Harold Fry

I would describe it as an old-fashioned English story; quaint, sweet, innocent & sad.In short the main character the elderly retired Harold is living an intolerable existence, his wife barely speaks or looks at him, they live separate lives both thwarted by the experience of their son’s suicide. The story takes off really when Harold gets a letter from someone called Queenie to tell him she remembered his kindness and wanted to thank him and that she was dying.

He wants to do the right thing but isn’t sure what it is.  Initially he is going to post a letter to her but just can’t face it and feels, in the light of someone dying a letter was nowhere near adequate.He starts walking to a letter box not wanting to post it after meandering past 3 or 4 post-boxes he gets the idea to keep walking and personally visit Queenie, starting in Devon where he lives, to Berwick where she is dying in a hospice. We are not too sure who this character Queenie is at this point.

A lot of the background isn’t revealed until midway in the walk, when Harold is extremely undernourished and ill prepared for the distance walking the 600 miles from Devon to Berwick.The story of how his life became so unbearable becomes clear as the walk evolves.He meets waifs and strays along the way, and even becoming a minor celebratory with many people jumping on the bandwagon with their own reasons for being out there!

There are pleasurable aspects and a newfound joy to be discovered in the simplicity of walking, and living outdoors under an English sky and countryside, that still holds many beauties, something he had forgotten to take time to appreciate.He encounters both a painful recollection of what it is he is escaping and the joy of not knowing where he is going, the unknown future he is moving towards.

It unravels during his walk that Harold’s father was an abusive alcoholic and his wife blamed Harold’s past for the demise of their son, who had turned into a layabout, drunk and a drug addict before hanging himself.

The relationship with Queenie is one of two alienated souls who manage to find solace in each other while working in the Brewery. As Harold is of a time, so is Queenie, an unassuming secretary without the usual attire and personality associated with a secretary, she is humble and conscientious which does her no favours under the rule of the chauvinistic factory owner who try’s it on with her and intimidates her constantly in front of the rest of the staff.

Harold offers some support to Queenie in terms of old fashioned friendship with no strings attached. In turn she takes the blame when Harold goes off the rails when he as he had reacted violently and wrecked the bosses office, whilst still in shock and grief hearing of the death of his son.

The end of the road offers Harold reconciliation with his wife after bearing his soul having witnessed the demise of Queenie who had simply wanted to say thanks; she could no longer actually speak as her tongue had been cut out in an operation relating to her brain tumour. It was a moving end to the story and really the end had to reconcile him and his wife, additionally it is moving to read about the encounters with hangers-on he meets on the road and the different types of people, each with their own stories and grievances slightly lost in need of an awakening, they follow Harold and also contribute to his own healing.

JULIE C©

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ÓJulie Connelly

 

 

Mar
2013

Sharing Blogs

Sharing blogs

As those of you have been with me from the beginning will know, my blog is an excuse to write and I chose to write about walking and places I visit. It’s not exclusively about walking. I’m not writing for the Ramblers or any other organisation. This is more a journal. I want to mention other bloggers /writers, as that is really my passion. I went on a Yoga retreat a couple of years ago in Scotland and this yoga teacher who also writes interesting blogs about life itself. He is devoted to yoga and Buddhism in a way I am unlikely to ever be, but I do enjoy reading his blogs.

Here is his spring newsletter that I have copied to share and included a link to his website.

He is based in Manchester but does teach at the Buddhist Centre in Scotland.http://www.dhanakosa.com where I visited in 2011.

Some of my pictures from the retreat

quiet road

Manjuaga’s Spring Newsletter/Blog

On 29th May 1913,  when a new ballet was first premiered  at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées in Paris, the avant-garde nature of the music and the new modern form of choreography caused a riot as violence broke out in the audience. The music for the ballet was composed by a young unknown composer called Igor Stravinsky, with choreography by the famous Russian dancer Vaslav Nijinsky.The ballet was called The Rite of Spring and had a pagan theme centring around a young maiden who was sacrificing herself by dancing until she died.  By the following morning the events surrounding the ballet’s opening night would become the stuff of myth and legend. furthermore, Stravinsky’s music for the ballet later became recognised as one of the most influential musical works of the 20th century.

I have had the opportunity to hear the Rite of Spring performed and it does, I feel, have a violent, primordial beauty to it. The reason I share this story with you is because I think it illustrates when strongly held concepts or ideas we hold about a situation stop us from experiencing the naked, fresh awareness of the moment. So often we bring labels and concepts of what is happening to a situation rather than just being with the direct experience, as it is. When the Rite of Spring was first performed there would have been set ideas and assumptions about the forms and tradition that existed in classical ballet and music. When artists such as Stravinsky and Nijinsky broke away and explored new forms of music and dance then something new emerged, a new art form was created.

If we perceive life with very rigid concepts then we will find ourselves challenged by our direct experience, which is often offering us something very different. This is what the audience in Paris was struggling with when they first encountered The Rite of Spring. In my own life, I am trying to allow myself to hold onto more loosely fixed ideas I have about myself and my life, and learn to trust my direct experience more fully. All concepts are an overlaying of our direct experience and offer us an abstracted sense of the reality of any given situation. Maybe we could hold more lightly any ideas or thoughts about what we think will happen and just be open through our body and our senses to the mystery of the direct experience as it unfolds?”

“All the stability in our life is conceptual, all the change in our life is experiential”. – James LowBuddhist teacher

 

www.manjunaga.com