Mar
2014

Stow On The Wold

 Stow On The Wold Cotswolds 

My first ever weekend away with The south Bank Ramblers Walking Group visiting Stow On The Wold

 A wake up from my winter slumber I stumbled out of bed & reminded myself it was for my own good and go I did.

We took a train from Paddington to  Stow on The Wold.  It’s not far from Oxford, so that is under 2 hours to get to Morton on Marsh where we caught a 10 min bus ride to Stow on the Wold.

 Away we go!Away we go!

I hadn’t done this sort of thing since I was in my early 20’s, and even then it was with a much smaller group.  The cost was £70 which included accommodation & the remains went into a kitty which covered breakfast and one evening meal.

It was a good deal. We had three nights there and two full days for walking.

 

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.com

A shop created by Gerald Harris (well -known Jazz Singer and Crooner) who had said his aim is to create an environment that is a blast from the past. Walking into the shop it’s like walking into a different era, with the music of Ella Fitzgerald and other old jazz artist playing

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, leather handbags; Not to mention: saddle stones, books of interest, local walking books, and 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. Lots of strange names, to grapple with and new places to see.

Walking in space!

Walking in space!

A beautiful sunny peaceful day on Sunday. Daffodils in full bloom, sheep grazing & peaceful 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 lunchtime drink. Beautiful.

 

 Usually, I go to sleep with the sound of police cars a few blocks away. The occasional helicopter hovering overhead can often enhance the noise pollution. Often this is in the early hours, and not long after I’m awake there is usually the presence of a siren or two. The frequent planes join in with the early morning chorus. 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 so quiet

 

After a couple of days, I really started to relax a little. It takes time and as often is the case, as I start to unwind and get used to my new environment it’s time to go back.

Mushroom seat

Mushroom seat

 

until next time, put one foot in front of the other and keep on keeping on.. 

 

Julie

 

 

Feb
2014

Westgate to Margate circular

Westgate to Margate circular 

 

I have walked this many times now, it’s as familiar as a stroll in the park. I still enjoy the Westgate to Margate circular.  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

 

 The Contemporary Turner Gallery 

https://www.turnercontemporary.org/

It’s always great to see the Turner Gallery.  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.

 

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 my walking partner 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?

Walking back to Westgate along the seafront, I notice the moderinisation of the old hospital is still in progress.

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 could 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

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. 

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.

 

Until next time Keep on Keeping on.

 

 

 

 

 

Jan
2014

Armchair Traveller

I’m sure many of us relate to the charm of being an Armchair Traveller

Sometimes when we can’t find the time or energy to get out, a good travel book can substitute for a real adventure. If we can’t get out far enough for an invigorating walk, it’s easy to be the Armchair Traveller, imagining all of the exotic and fantastic places we could visit, but perhaps never will!

Recently while strolling around Central London,  I  popped into Waterstones Piccadilly & saw a wide selection of books about walking.

One for my reading list is Ramble On The story of our love for walking Britain by Sinclair McKay, but I was disappointed with Will Self’s novel Walking to Hollywood.

I since discovered ‘Walking to Hollywood ‘was not a literal walk, but some kind of intellectual satire. I tried to read some of it, but the prose left me baffled. Having picked it up second hand it was no big deal to recycle it. Someone would get it. For me, it was too much to laboUr through the dense over intellectual text.  

Something I had waited for a long time was the new Donna Tart Novel. 

The Goldfinch 

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 taken 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/

Let us all try to spread our wings in 2014 and not be chained to outdated, compromised lives.

KEEPING ON WALKING

At present, I’m having a break from the canvassing work for Westminster Council. It is the sort of exercise I could do without. Walking around Belgravia knocking on doors, trying to fill in forms for the electoral register is a thankless task. The job is badly paid, and joyless.

 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

From Brixton to Belgravia

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

I am thrilled to say I have now finished the canvassing job for the electoral register in the Belgravia/Chelsea and Victoria area. I swear I was dazzled by the sun reflecting onto the whitewashed buildings.  At times I felt completely spaced out! Everywhere was so bright in the winter sun, especially in the mews all secluded and cosy, the mews were a real sun trap. Comparing Brixton to Belgravia may seem a futile exercise but I couldn’t help myself, I like to do that.

"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 it is yes, clean yes it’s very clean, but it is a bit aloof, there’s nothing actually going on there, other than workers going into the houses to maintain the already perfect houses. Although dare I say, I did come across a few famous names in the area, but I’m not allowed to say who.!

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, it hardly seemed worth the bother. Trying to get results was frustrating.  We are employed by Westminster Council to canvass the area, trying to find good folk at home who had ‘forgot’ to fill in their electoral register form! A t times it just seemed a futile and a doomed mission!

If they hadn’t put their name on the register already, in the main they were unlikely to answer the door to me to fill in the form.  

To console myself I consider that I’m at least walking about and getting some exercise, and I’m seeing something different 

Eaton Terrace

Eaton Terrace

 

All Done and Dusted

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 of paperwork and folders into the street.

White Washed Belgravia

White Washed Belgravia

 

Continue reading

Nov
2013

Wild

The Wild years

I mentioned in my last two blogs that I was reading the story of Cheryl Strayed. In her book,Wild she describes herself asThe woman with the hole in her heart”  She managed to endure a 1100 mile journey on foot from the Mexican Border to the Canadian Border, alongside California known as the Pacific Crest Trail .

AFTER THE RAIN comes the sun.

SUN COMING THROUGH CLOUD was taken on my recent coastal walk near Torquay, Devon.

 

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 lived out on the streets of London and before that Newcastle Upon Tyne. Punk Rock and squats.

There was an innocence to it all and I remember giving up a boring job, I had worked in for less than a year. I was working for Lambeth Libraries in London; but desperately  wanted  to go to New York , where I believed all possibilities existed, as I did when I ran to London aged 17.

When I was in New York, after a few weeks I was running out of money and my return ticket was valid for one month.

 I advertised my plane ticket for sale in the hostel I was staying at, known fondly by the locals as ‘The White House’ ; in the hope of having enough money to go to L.A.   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.

It wasn’t for me.  I had to get out of there and go back to NYC. I could not sell my ticket and returned to London and formed a band.

 

Ever since that trip, I never did manage to do anything adventureous in terms of travel anyway.

I came back and started a band, and that led to some fun and misadventures. At 30 I opted to take a degree as a amature student despite having no formal qualifications. Part of that did lead me to living in Galway for three months, which was very intersting.

 

 

Next episode coming soon.