Dirty Boots

Dirty Boots

My dirty walking boots have been sitting outside my flat door since November. At the beginning of this month I visited South Shields and Newcastle and did a little bit of walking about but not proper rambling walks as such. It’s more to do with being too busy than any lack of enthusiasm. But admittedly I’m not that keen on wet muddy walks!

These pics were taking weekend of 4/12/2015. Walking on the beach was so lovely.

Also managed to get a little walk from Seasalter to Whitstable and back, the day after Boxing day. A little Browse around the town and a couple of drinks in Handsome Sams Bar- a micro pub based in Whitstable.




South Shields December 2015

South Shields December 2015


fireworks at South Shields

Fireworks at South Shields


Fireworks South Shields

Fireworks South Shields Great firework display  followed by a great night out in Newcastle . We saw a a London based band called The Fallen leaves. Track for ya, below.

 Take a walk in their shoes

At least I have a choice about going out for an eight mile walk. Spare a thought for those who have walked thousands of miles trying to escape war and conflict,an interactive website set up by channel 4 shows the routes taken and choices available. It’s bleak but real. The scale of the humanitarian disaster is something that cannot be ignored.

I have always liked christmas but at the same time I have always felt a bit unhappy at christmas. I think this stemmed from childhood and always feeling there was someone missing from my childhood which was my dad and his family. That in itself made me feel sad and it wasn’t a feeling that I felt I could share. So I do feel sympathy for people suffering alone or being out in the cold, especially at this time of year.

Planning walks & looking forward!

I have a planned walking weekend In Derbyshire in the spring that is with the new Meet -Up group I joined up with earlier this year. I will also be leading my walk again in June next year which will be Newhaven to East Dean via the Seven Sisters Sussex.

I do want to learn some new walks and need to look into that next year. There is now a buddy list in my walking group, so perhaps I can team up with some others to learn some new tricks.

Face Book

Well I have finally succumbed to rejoining Facebook. I have reactivated my account which is under my then pseudo name Julie Jameson. That person was my alter ego or something like that, she is from another era, but seemingly resurfaced. I don’t seem to be able to erase my account completely without writing  a letter to Facebook explaining myself! and then having to wait for approval , so for the time being she holds the reins.

As well though I have created a page just for this blog, and if I have done things correctly, this should appear on my Facebook page when I publish it as it does on twitter.

Ok folks.

RIP Lemmy…

Until then


keep it real!


Meet up groups

Meet up Groups

I have been to a  couple of Meet Up groups lately.

    *  WordPress *

Without WordPress I would not have this Blog. I joined their User Group in New Zealand House Haymarket, where they have hired rooms The group Westminster Hub,is provided by sponsors WP Engine.

I had suggested we do a sort of speed dating session, with the aim to find out what people want to get from the group.  Eugene was hosting his final night, so this was a good as time as any. It went very well and I felt I had made a contribution to the group. I made my pitch which is that I’m at a crossroads regarding where I’m going with the blog/writing Web Design ideas. I learned a lot about my aims as well as WordPress and Web Developing than I have in a very long time. A good session was had by all, but where now?

I do still want to go out on  walks but the writing about walking can sometimes feel like a bit of a chore and I have other ambitions to pursue.  It is a personal choice as to how to migrate my blog to a free platform and have little control over the layout or to continue paying for a hosting service. After a lot of churning and thinking I settled at keeping my site hosted by SITE GROUND It’s convenient. A good outcome from that group.

Black White background or White Background ?

Thinking about design

At the WordPress Meet Up group I had some constructive criticism from one of the Web Developers who seemed to think the black background wasn’t good!   I have since changed my theme so that is no longer an issue. I chose a design that wasn’t black or white.!

Back to my walking, my latest trip was with the Explorer Uk Group.

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Belfast Northern Ireland September 2015

A grand view looking down at Belfast

A grand view looking down at Belfast

Bridge over troubled water

Bridge over troubled water

Shiny waterfront Belfast

Shiny waterfront Belfast


I couldn’t go to Belfast and not say anything about ‘the troubles’.

The troubles.’

I embarked on a degree course as a mature student at age 30  in 1992 at N.L.U North London University.!  I studied Humanities and my subjects were Irish & French studies.

After a year I dropped the French and switched to English. A fantastic course that absorbed me for years and I’m forever grateful for having that opportunity. I studied for 3 month at Galway University and delighted in the chance to do so. It was always challenging but worth it. For my dissertation (10,000 words) I chose to write about the Civil Rights Movement in Northern Ireland. I started with good intentions but felt lost and overwhelmed – in too deep. Although I was sympathetic to the Nationalist cause, I had to be objective. I got through it but strangely I had never visited Belfast before now.

On this journey we took a guided tour round Belfast the coach led us through the Shankhill Road , there we’re union jack flags everywhere, as well as Unionist murals at every turn. In such a tiny area almost a 100 peace walls exist,heavy gates and even an old prison .

The commentator relayed the tales of the troubles. The whole area felt claustrophobic oppressive and very sad, although I’d studied it many years ago and thought I knew about the area,there was nothing like seeing it so close, it felt extremly intense and I fought to hold back the tears but couldn’t it was just awful.

Almost 3,000 lives lost there. Strangely enough after I returned from Belfast I was browsing online and came across an article in the Guardian recently titled.

will Belfast ever have a Berlin Wall moment and tear down its peace walls’?

Talks continue.

The Flag is everywhere in Belfast.

The Flag is everywhere in Belfast.


The following day we took a coach tour to The Giant’s Causeway somewhat hungover after a night out in Belfast’s many bars


Myself  looking a bit chubby cheeked and cockney mole


Rocks at Giant Causeway


Looking out to sea

The Hills are alive

Ode to rusty vessel!

Ode to rusty vessel!


The old vessel above is just outside on the river front of the area which is now called The Titanic Quarter. Seeing the Titanic experience really brought home how grand a city Belfast once was and the exhibiton was full of visual experiences illustrating the  Titanic experience from the building of the ship to the impact on the economy in Belfast. It was thrilling, grand and ultimately tragic.

The whole city was booming from employment at Belfast shipyards as well as the massive econmic rise from the linen industry; the Titanic was massive for Belfast. Part of the tour you actually get into a car similiar to going on a ghost train,it takes you deep down to the bottom of the recreated ship where you can see where the boiler makers and all of the crew worked, in the extremly dark.  Emerging from there there are further displays of the ship, different floors show it from different levels and angles video and audio recordings, give you a sense of the dizzy heights the richest millionaires would have felt floating 1st class on this magnificent ship, and the depths of the toil workers endured day and night to build this ship.

After the Titanic experience we visited  St Georges 19th century indoor Market which was packed with stalls, too many food stalls and live music.  We had a browse bought a couple of items, then walked back to the Botanic Quarter to pick up our luggage.

We had our farewell drink and lunch at The Woodworkers, a new bar with the best craft beers on six rotating taps. A wide selection of beers a very relaxed atmosphere, and  decent music.

Previous to this we had found an Egyption cafe in the same area close to the University,  I loved the fact that we were given warm hospitality a really lovely lunch which was well needed after a cold morning and afternoon sight seeing.

Since being back I have joined up with a new walking group

More about that next episode.




A Perfect September Day


 Brixton circular via Chelsea, Victoria & Pimlico.

I had organised a little party at the weekend and was still feeling lethargicon Monday, so I decided to take adavantage of the good weather. Walking to Chelsea from Brixton via Clapham into my favourite London space, Battersea Park.

Albert Bridge Chelsea Embankement

Albert Bridge Chelsea Embankement.


I never get tired of Chelsea although I no longer work there, I still enjoy popping up there to the  Kings road which is still full of poseur’s but it is basically these days a mainstream shopping street. The real life characters have in the main all gone.  It still is classy though without being too exclusive. I  have probably mentioned it before but I used to cycle from Brixton to Chelsea on a regular basis many years ago when I worked freelance and I still love to do that.

Walking back via Pimlico & Victoria onwards to the ever developing mess of  Vauxhall with it’s nightmare roads and diversons;  I then trudged on to Kennington past the Oval cricket gorund. At this point I tried to cut off the main road and  somehow managed to get   caught in a labyrinth of sprawling blocks of housing at Kennington bordering on Camberwell. I try to avoid the main roads but the area is so built up now I had to get back onto the main road. Not the sort of walking I enjoy. I was  lucky on the next walk. No rain no heatwave, just a perfect September day.

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Blue Moon



Berwick (Sussex)Station
WILMINGTON LONG MAN, ALFRISTON & CUCKMERE HAVEN (13 miles. A gently undulating walk but with two extended hill climbs. From Berwick to the village of Wilmington with its ancient Church then, the first climb, up to the Long Man chalk figure then down to Alfriston village for Pubs/Cafe/Tea shops/picnic lunch. Then along the Cuckmere River valley, the second climb up to dramatic views along the river to Cuckmere Haven & the sea, then down to Exceat for the 9 miles opt out by bus to Seaford. Alternatively continuing for a further 4 miles along the cliff coastal path to Seaford.


Blue Moon


After a restless night not being able to drop off and waking up sporadically, I  jumped up checked the clock which said 8.07!! I was going to have to leave at 8.10 which gave me 3 minutes to sort myself out. I had been lying awake for some time but as the alarm hadn’t gone off I didnt’ know  what time it was.

Walking as quickly as I could I witnessed a car crash at the junction of Coldharbour Lane, Atlantic Road, which I walked around rushing straight to Brixton Tube. It wasn’t a serious crash, just a bonnet to bonnet collision. Drivers going too fast as usual a van blocking the way. Drivers and cars constantly irritate me and I couldn’t wait to get away.

Was it the Blue moon! causing my restless night?

Like the tides affected by the gravitational forces of the moon. ?

Moon Beams or other, the tensions had been building for most of the week. The last few days I had found myself  unable to relax, the usual conflicts from the workplace playing on my mind and a general unease about the future. Watching the news alone at home & feeling a sense of hopelessness.

The night before the walk, the neighbours were at it at one side and there was definitely someone walking about upstairs. As my neighbour had moved out a few weeks ago I wasn’t sure who the hell it was (turned out it was my neighbour returning for more removals) late at night.

Towards the man in the hill

Wilmington Long Man /Alfriston & Cuckmere Haven

looking down to Exceat

Nevertheless, the walk was to be done. A beautiful day we had walked from Berwick to Alfrington.

We had stopped for lunch at Alfrington a very pretty village and somewhere I would visit again. From there it’s only a three-mile walk to Exceat but you could just follow the river and avoid the hill. The Exceat is the river that joins the sea at Seaford, so  we had another magnificent view of the Seven Sisters. Admittedly not having breakfast or enough water or any sun-cream I came out of this walk with a headache and sunburn. It happens, especially on the longer walks.

Walking towards Seaford from Exceat

Due to rushing out I hadn’t properly prepared. Be time I got to the Gallon Inn  I was parched. (This was a drop off point for those only wanting to do a 9 mile walk. )I bought a bottle of sparkling mineral water for £2.50.!

Can we start placing water fountains in the countryside? Carrying all this water around is getting a bit expensive as well as heavy.


Arriving at Seaford

Arriving at Seaford


As we finished our 12 mile walk, I wasn’t keen to rush for a train back to London and arrived at the seafront. I just couldn’t face rushing back a few of us sat down drinking tea for about an hour, just gazing at the sea. Yes I had a headache, yes I had sunburn, but I still felt a lot better than if I hadn’t done it. The trick is to be more organised. Something I’m working towards.

This walk seems so long ago now. The planned walk I had for this week, I opted out of due to heavy rain. The second Wednesday I have booked off to do a walk & not been able to do it due to extreme weather conditions.

At the end of October I will be taking every Wednesday off for 6 months while I work on my ‘career plan’! but as well as that I have the option to go on a midweek Autumn or Winter Walk and do my courses at home in the evening hopefully feeling mellow and glowing from the Autumn sunshine !.


Until next time. Keep going .

Hope you all have a good Bank Holiday Monday.