Nov
2019

Favourite Walks

Margate is now officially on my list of  Favourite Walks

I will be putting together my Favourite Walks of 2019 during the Xmas break at some time. I like to look back at what I have done during the year. Coastal Walks are my favourite walks, as are river walks, They are places I go back to time and time again. For more posts on Margate see the link below, or archives.

Brightly painted huts along the seafront at Birchington on Sea

I don’t know Irena !-but the sea is on the left, and watch out for bikes and mobility scooters

 

BIRCHINGTON ON SEA TO MARGATE

Getting off the train at Birchington on Sea, within 2 minutes you will be at the seafront.

We picked up the high-speed train from Rochester to Birchington on Sea, this is an easy flat walk along the promenade for about 5 miles. The sun was out, the sky was blue, a perfect cold day for a walk

What’s not to like? Lunch at the Harbour Cafe in Margate, facing the sea, followed by a visit to the Turner Gallery, and then a drink at a microbrewery bar; a great place to sit and look at sea and sky while nursing a local brew. It’s so easy to get to from Victoria London on the train.

BLUE SKY, blue sea-  CATCH THE LIGHT, before the day is through.

 

I had wanted to see the contenders for the 2019 Turner prize.

Having recently been shown one of the exhibitors work on someones I Phone, curiosity spurred me on. It doesn’t take much persuasion to get me to Margate. My contender for the prize is, Tai Shani’

Her practice encompasses performance, film, photography and sculptural installations, frequently structured around experimental texts

I am a word person and love the spoken word, as well as the mystical. To see the contenders for the 2019 Turner prize see the link below.

https://turnercontemporary.org/whats-on/turner-prize-2019/

Speaking of favourite walks, you don’t get much more familiar than walking about Brixton. Having lived here for decades,  I tend to not hang out so much here, but on Sunday I decided to check out a local event.

Coldharbour 360˚ VR Film and Oral History Exhibition

https://www.independentfilmtrust.org/coldharbour

Last chance to see 14/12/2019 Highly Recommended!

Using virtual reality we got a trip around the market places, some of the music clubs, & record stores, as well as some brilliant poetry, being recited, shot right outside my flat on the Zebra crossing.

I came out feeling inspired. Looking at Brixton with new eyes & I took a few street photos.

For some time I had been meaning to take another look at the mural in Brixton station, having listened to an interview with the artist on the Robert Elms show.

see link below for more info on the artist.

Brixton tube Mural- POLICE OPPRESSION, BLUES CLUBS AND GHETTO BLASTERS.

 

Brixton library The Ritzy looking towards Brixton Road

 

Granville Arcade part of the indoor Market

black n white/ street Art

Cool thing..
Street Photo Electric Lane
Brixton

 

Walking the Walk and talking the talk

We decided to take a walk up Josephine Avenue to Brixton Hill down past the prison, and across  Blenheim Walk to see the original Windmill.

The Windmill

I knew of the Windmill Pub/music venue having frequented there for many years and even worked briefly in the bar there, but I hadn’t visited the actual Windmill. It’s about 1 minute from the Windmill Venue!

The windmill is undergoing some major work to transform this site into a visitor/education centre for schools, tourists and the wandering curious. Looks like it could be a good spot on the map for future urban walks.

Walking in my area

At the end of the day, we had ditched the idea to go and do the Isle of Dogs walk and stayed in Brixton.

We walked back down up Brixton Hill, we cut through Tulse Hill over to Brockwell Park, as we approached the Brixton Water Lane entrance, I bumped into an old friend of mine, it had been a long time, nearly 15 years!, so we popped over  to the Hobgoblin for a beer and a catch up then stumbled into Khans for a shared meal. 

 

 

Until next time keep on keeping on.

Westgate to Margate revisited February 8th 2014 for more writing about Margate see this link.

 

 

 

Oct
2019

Autumn Walks

Spring is fine, summer divine, but you can’t beat Autumn Walks.

North Welwyn Hertfordshire

I hadn’t planned any Autumn walks other than Hastings. Out of the blue, I got an email invite from a member of the Finchley Walking group to join a Sunday walk around North Welwyn. It is only 35 minutes from London, so it turned out to be a very good idea.

I saw the open sky, wild mushrooms, galloping horses, and had a good walk. It slightly rained for about half an hour but overall was a fine day. 

Beautiful Mushrooms

These little creatures are popping up a lot in the British Countryside.

 

Autumn Walks don’t get much better than a meander along the river.

Boulevard al a Hammersmith, the first day of the week without rainLOOKING OUT AT THE RIVER FROM THE BALCONY OF PUB

GOOD MORNING HASTINGS.

A sight for sore eyes. It was great to be greeted by the open sky and sea. We met at Hastings at 10ish, walked up to the castle to take in the views of the sea, then over the cliffs and down to the town.

Apparently, Alister Crowley (occultist-who practiced the magic of the black arts) Lived in the blue house for a brief period

WALKING AROUND THE TOWN, INTERESTING TYPOGRAPHY

OLD BOHEMIA MEETING PLACE, (MAKE A WISH)DRAMATIC SKYLINE,

We were lucky and managed to get an early lunch while it rained for an hour at lunchtime.

 We walked in and around Hastings, through the woodland environment of Bohemia and Summerfield. We extended our walk along the seafront to St Leonard’s on Sea with its bohemian artists quarter and numerous cafes. A great place to end the walk and have a drink or two.

 

Hastings is part of East Sussex,  around 20 miles from Lewes, and 60 miles from London.

Other towns in East Sussex are Brighton, and Hove, as you get to Worthing you are venturing into West Sussex which borders on Kent.  I’m eventually getting very familiar with the South Coast of England. Being a Northerner it has taken me a long time to truly appreciate it’s diversity.

 

Also coming up- The Isle of Dogs Sunday Walk, and a circular walk to Margate.

 

 

Sep
2019

Discovering The Isle of Wight

On this visit it was like discovering the Isle of Wight for the first time

My memory of my first visit is sketchy. I recall, staying  in a converted Mill and was told that E.P Thompson; Historian and Author (The Making of The Working Classes) had some connection to it. What that connection was I’m not entirely sure.  I did feel as if I was discovering the Isle of Wight for the first time -it felt like a distant land, surrounded by sea.  Imagining living there I thought I might feel a bit cut off. Although the idea of being away from a major city like London and having all that space has its’ attractions.

Awesome Plumes Windswept…sea grass magnificent…can you spot the butterfly at back of pic or the great whale diving into  the sea!!!

 

Discovering the Isle of Wight public transport

Getting to the Isle of Wight from London is easy, take a train from Waterloo to Portsmouth. Then from Portsmouth, a ferry (Catamaran) to Ryde pier. From Ryde Pier there is an old fashioned London tube train and there is one line only.  At this time of year (off peak) only one train an hour. You can pay on the train. Once on the Island, they have a very good bus service.

 

Rosehips all over the Island

 

Good enough to eat, we picked a few en route, and they were delicious

On our first day without much of a plan we walked over 15 miles 

Exploring the Isle of Wight, is fairly easy, as the coastal path is well sign posted, and accessible. We started off at Shanklin walking along the top of the beach  and headed  uphill and down towards Sandown bay. We just kept going and hoped for the best.

Sandown, 2 miles into the walk

You are never far from the Sea on the Isle of Wight.

Bembridge, Discovering The Isle of Wight

White Light at Bembridge

Bembridge Discovering the Isle of Wight

St Helens Discovering the Isle of WightWe had lunch at the Crab and Lobster in Bembridge then carried on over towards St Helens and  Seaview where we walked aside the windswept waves, taking care not to get swept away!

Seaview Discovering the Isle of Wight

The coastal path is very well sign posted, but we had to go inland a lot, it was pleasant enough in the woods mainly. Eventually ending up at Ryde at about 7pm. It was a long day, but worth it. We hadn’t made plans for the following day but wanted to avoid the Goth Party at the Hotel later on.!  After that long walk, I might have fancied a spa, or swim followed by a massage and early night, but there was no chance of that!

Ryde Discovering the Isle of Wight

Birds sweeping in at dusk Ryde

Eating out in Shanklin

On the first evening we ate out at The Black Cat a Thai restaurant. The Guy serving us was from London and it was his families business. He was a journalist and had lived in Brixton. This made for some easy conversation; he made us feel so welcome. We had a similar experience the following evening after our 15 mile walk.  We were pretty tired, and ate out inPendletons.www.pendletons.org where again the waiting staff were so friendly and welcoming.

Fantastic Friendly service is something unusual these days

On our third night we ate in an Indian restaurant and then went over the road to a makeshift bar. There the landlady kept us amused telling us of her outsider status; she had worked in healthcare but somehow ended up taking over the business from her daughter. We got a 2 for 1 drink and chatted with her.  We told her the name of the hotel we were staying in , The Nightingale which ‘everyone in the village’ has heard of!. She seemed to think there were orgies going on in there due to it’s Gothic Status.

 

 The Nightingale

Originally it was a private house (a mansion, of which there are a lot on the island) known as Blenhim in the late 1800.s and named the Nightingale as an ode to Keats the poet.  

The murals outside were mainly of dead rockstars! all of whom I have loved, in my time.

It was a bit of an eyesore to see a mainly black painted hotel with: Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, Curt Cobain and Amy Winehouse images painted on it. However, the heated outdoor swimming pool was welcome, and the room was small but nice.The hotel did advertise as having a vegetarian restaurant. I had been looking forward to sampling the food on arrival, but we were told it was closed for the season.

Although we were welcomed and invited to the Gothic party on the Saturday, at £40 a head! (that was just to reserve a seat.)When I booked the hotel, I had asked if there were events on and had been told no. So I wasn’t impressed, but what can you do. Perhaps a complimentary bottle of champagne or Prosecco  might have helped! (I think my goth days lasted about 3 months, sometime around 1981! I just wasn’t in to that.)

https://www.nightingale-hotel.co.uk  

Instead, we stayed out in town sampling the local beers till as late as possible, there was a bit of live music on in town. We returned later for a couple of dances in their private bar later. Who knows what was going on behind closed doors in the early hours. I was past caring at that point

Walking from the Needles to Freshwater Bay
Freshwater Discovering the isle of wight

Looking from the Needles Battery to Alum Bay Isle of Wight, beautiful colours in the cliff side.

The following day we jumped on a coastal route bus

You can jump on and off the coastal bus for a 24 hour ticket for a tenner. I was a bit disappointed with the Needles, we jumped off there and were faced with a tourist trap. So walked a bit further until we came across the Needles.

We visited the National Trust Exhibition at the Needles, 

https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/the-needles-old-battery-and-new-battery/features/the-needles

Followed by a walk up to Tennyson Monument and down to Freshwater where we sat at the seafront with an ice cream watching the sea

Freshwater Discovering Todland in the Isle of Wight

Somewhere in Totland! Possibly Freshwater!

 

 I liked the look of Ventnor and would visit again

We picked the bus back up to Ventnor and considered walking back to Shanklin and decided against it as time was running out; as the days draw in. It was just as well really, as the following day, we walked from Shanklin to Ventnor and 4 miles of the walk was in woods. I wouldn’t want to get stuck in there late at night.

Ventnor seems to me to be an interesting little town. However the train does not go there. As we were heading up and out of the town, back to Shanklin.  I looked back and noted a plaque to `karl marx, turns out he lived there for a period of his life.

Our last walk was from Shanklin to Ventnor

 

en route to Ventnor Discovering The Isle of Wight

Window to garden with flower “A thing of beauty is a joy forever!’ KEATS.

 

We really didn’t have a clue about the island, so it was a real treat to find this walk. Mainly in the woods alongside the coast. It felt so refreshing with hardly a soul about. What with a cold coming on and a hangover, we were feeling somewhat fragile at this point.  We arrived at Ventnor and had lunch on the seafront. It was a bit late to get to the Botanical Garden, & we felt like we were done with  walking.  We were travelling back to London the following day.The only thing left to do was have a rest before going out for out our final meal in town.

Ventnor Discovering The Isle of Wight

Seafront at Ventnor

 

Photo Gallery for more photos go to my photo gallery.
Aug
2019

The many benefits of walking

Recently I have walked on average about 30 miles a week

There are many benefits of walking; I walk to work and back daily, which is under 4 mile. On top of that, I  add on a little lunchtime walk. With the occasional meeting to attend, this gives me the chance to get out of the office and walk down the hill and back. My frequent short (4-8 miles) weekend walks, can vary.

There are many benefits of getting out walking with a group;

Meeting up with other people and seeing new places, can be a real boost. Switching off from my own internal dialogue and having the opportunity to chat with a group, can be very relaxing. Sometimes, I do enjoy a bit of solitude and walk to unravel. As well I walk to discover new routes and short cuts. Taking the back road to avoid traffic, and look at architecture, landmarks, statues, and gardens.

 

The Benefits of walking

The benefits of what I call off the cuff walks are when I don’t know exactly where I’m going but I have a vague plan. These are my favorite walks. Walking in London you never know what you will come across.

ONE OF MY WALKS, ALONG CHELSEA EMBANKMENT, TAKEN OVER BY CYCLISTS.

Last Sunday was unexpected, as I turned off the Kings Road Chelsea, to walk along the embankment. I came across a bike race, hundreds if not thousands of cyclists, zoomed along the embankment, which was traffic-free, the sound of them all was great. They were wearing various bibs, stating which charity they were raising money for.

CYCLISTS, ALONG CHELSEA EMBANKMENT

The sound of the bikes racing along made a real nice change from cars, lorries, and coaches. Wardens helped pedestrians make a run for it over the road.

I walk therefore I am!

I am currently reading a book called A History of Walking, by Rebecca Solmut. My favorite chapter so far is –The Solitary stroller and the city. Will Self, quotes it as ‘Magisterial’. I love this snippet that says it all, taken from a radio interview with Patti Smith (Rock Poet/Singer)  when asked about what she did to prepare for her performances onstage -she came back with.

I would roam the streets for a few hours”

Rebecca Solmut goes on to say, how this summoned up her own outlaw romanticism and the way walking might toughen and sharpen the senses. Magnificent.!  

 

Moody and magnificent TEYNHAM CIRCULAR – KENT

Walking along the Swale, Kent.

 

A mostly flat walk following Saxon Shore Way along the sea wall of The Swale, with views to the Isle of Sheppey. This wild and wonderful 5-mile stretch is rich in birdlife and, in the Oare Marshes Nature Reserve, rare Konik horses have been seen grazing. We walked back to Teynham station via Oare Creek and village and then an inland route through orchards.

 
Teynham is a large village and civil parish in the borough of Swale, Kent, England.
The parish lies between the towns of Sittingbourne and Faversham, immediately north of the A2 road, and includes the hamlet of Conyer on an inlet of the Swale. The channel separates mainland Kent from the Isle of Sheppey.

 

Wild, n dry Thistle, Oare, Kent.

 

https://www.visit-swale.co.uk/

 

MAKE HAY WHILE THE SUN SHINES

 

We walked about five miles looking out along the SWALE looking out, towards the Isle of Sheppy.  The sky was hazy, but the breeze was much appreciated. After we left the waterside, we headed back inland towards Oare, which is based on the edge of Luddenham marshes.

 

walking through the apple orchids, some beautiful looking apples.

 

My Best walks see some old favourite walks.

 

Good reads page, see some of my inspirational books.

 

Until next time; keep on keeping on.

Jul
2019

Travelling on Trains

Travelling on trains can be extremely frustrating.

Buying a train ticket in advance has its advantages, but also limitations. ‘Going for a walk,’ just ain’t that easy!  Public Transport at the best of times can be tricky. I was looking forward to, the Hassocks to Lewes 10 mile linear walk in Sussex. If anyone left on the planet thinks that travelling on trains, is fun, they must be under 10 years of age

 Travelling on trains, for pleasure! is a thing of the past. It’s ok, if you get super off peak, tickets and travel mid week. For future reference folks, don’t bother buying advanced tickets, just pay the extra few quid for the super off-peak ticket. My last train journey to Chichester was also complicated, due to the return train being (the only one I was ‘permitted on’) was cancelled. If you get a  super off-peak, you have a lot more flexibility and can travel on any route.I purchased one advanced train ticket and one super off-peak saver for the return journey. However, due to a back injury, I wasn’t able to make the journey, I got £2.75 back from my £24 purchase. Small mercies indeed! ( I will spare you the complex details )

Bob and Brad, my new online buddies, it’s time to look after my back.

OSTEOPATH BACK STRAIN, and being immobile

 In the last month, I have forgone the jogs, and long walks, due to painting a bedroom, among other distractions.  Additionally, I have started a new job which I hadn’t really taken into consideration as being a stress factor.

The osteopath talked me through my recent activities, then pushed me about a bit, until a couple of bones cracked in my spine. He also did a bit of acupuncture on my back. It did help a bit but I am a great believer in time healing, and not paying excessive amounts of money for advice.! I found these guys online who have inspired me to do back exercises daily.

Tai chi as mediation and exercise?

It has taken 3 weeks to be able to do a very easy yoga routine. A new approach to looking after my health is on the cards. Tai chi is something I may try again.

I learned the art of Tai Chi at the City Lit Adult Education Centre based in Covent Garden around 1985. Around this time I was living in a squat in Brixton. It was a few years after the 1981 riots, at the time my only real ambition was to play bass in a band, and to read books! Tai chi was regarded by some people around me as bizarre!

Then again a lot of what I got into certain people found strange. !

I found a teacher called Beverly from New Zealand. At a guess, she was probably in her 70’s. Her aura was calm personified! Thinking back I recall, she said my aura was pink or I need to be more green or something like that. My interest in this art form came about after having an ectopic pregnancy. I was rushed off to hospital in an emergency and it scared me. I needed to heal it helped and it worked.

 

CHICHESTER HARBOUR CIRCULAR – W.SUSSEX

 

This is the first proper long walk I have been on since I led the Seven Sisters walk at the beginning of June.

It is a flat, moderate-paced walk around Chichester Harbour with views of the estuary, passing through open countryside, a marina and with a ferry crossing (£2.50) at Ichenor before heading back to Bosham.

 

got ya

 

Walking with a group, you do not always get a chance to take photographs, usually, most groups walk at a fair pace. The photos look somewhat hazy but I still think they are great. If I had more time it would have been better to have taken a video. Next time.

 

A large and conspicuous waterbird.

The cormorant has an almost primitive appearance with its long neck making it appear reptilian. It is often seen standing with its wings held out to dry. Regarded by some as black, sinister and greedy, cormorants are supreme fishers which can bring them into conflict with anglers and they have been persecuted in the past. They love to fish! 

Read more 

https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/cormorant/#sP21tDJA2XhIxSPo.99

All said and done it was a good walk. Getting back, however, was an ordeal. I won’t bore you with the details, but it took three hours, and several train journeys.

 

Highlights of the day

The highlights were; the short ferry crossing, seeing the wild birds and duck island. Also, there were lots of pubs and oh a delicious vegan caramel ice cream in a cone at Bosham! (pronounced Bosam apparently!)