Feb
2019

It’s Spring, it’s February in London

Off the cuff –

A walk through Ruskin Park

What a pleasure to finish work early, leaving at 1.pm, with time for a gentle easy walk, home. I cut off from the forever busy Denmark Hill in  Camberwell into the magnificent Ruskin Park, strolling down to Herne Hill where I live.

picture of plants in walled garden

Beautiful faded winter  at the beginning of February 2019  in Ruskin Park

It was a welcome change to go on a couple of led walks this month.

Victorian Walking London Meet up Group

It’s been a while since I have kind of switched off my brain, and followed someone else. Indeed it was interesting to see how the two leaders, led their groups.  We all have our own style and set of experiences

The first walk I went on this month was with  The Victorian Walks meetup group. It was only 7 miles but it felt vital to get out and walk with a new group in an area I am unfamiliar with.

We started at Walthamstow Tube station. (there are two entrances) check which entrance to meet, and in a group of about 20 we headed off down the high street turning in at William Morris House, the only real part of the walk that had any Victorian theme!; then onto Lea Marshes,  a fairly flat and straightforward route, following along a canal & ending up in Hackney. It was windy and a bit grey but still worth the effort.

It was good to meet some different people in a different setting, and a few of us ended up having a few drinks at the end.

The second walk I went on was with a fellow member of The South Bank Group.

pic of water tap feature garden

Water tap feature in St John’s museum garden

A historical look into the revolutionaries of Clerkenwell

A three hour guided tour in and around Farringdon and Clerkenwell. Led by Artist Martin Fiddler, I was the backmarker on this occasion; herding the group, who kept drifting into the road or straggling behind taking pictures.

It’s a fascinating historical area and the second time I have attended this walk/tour. Exclusive to South Bank Ramblers only.!

Discovering plants & the Natural World.

One of my recent growing interests is in the natural world, this has grown alongside my love of walking & discovering new places.

I often take photographs of plants that catch my eye, but I’m not always able to identify them. Writing a blog and publishing online, it is essential that I name my photographs. Knowing what they are called is even more useful!.

SMALL PERFECTLY FORMED OLIVE TREE

OLIVE TREE ST JOHN’S MUSEUM GARDEN

 

 Talking about photographs, last year I was somewhat befuddled on a couple of occasions and managed to lose a couple of I phones.  I have already given myself a good talking to and taken penance; in many a teetotal night as a punishment. To be fair, some of the more stressful events of last year weren’t helped by drinking alcohol, it’s a bit like adding fuel to fire. Having a break from it all has felt like a much-needed rest.

I will be stuck with the I phone 5 until September.

The I phone 6 took great pictures. I’m sure the I phone 7 or 8 will be even better. I need to negotiate a deal for my next camera /phone. I’ve given up on buying a camera, as they are too bulky when out walking.

Picture of plants in Camberwell The Grove

Plants poking through the railings. Camberwell, The Grove.

 

pic of crocus blooming

Crocus have their time out in Camberwell, The Grove

 

MY MEET UP WALKING GROUP SUNDAY 24/2

 I started a Meet Up Group towards the end of last year. Staying in with the theme of my blog, I called it I can’t explain my feet ad hoc walks. Introducing Urban Led Walks in London. My first one started in Mornington Crescent, and around Camden, Primrose Hill, Chalk farm area.

What if it all goes terribly wrong?!

Cartoon image of confused person1

I have done this twice now and as yet have the Brixton to Chelsea walk to introduce.  There is a problem in Meet Up groups in that people seem keen to join but then drop out. The verdict is still out about whether to carry on with this.

I have also joined up with Victorian London Walkers as a walk leader.

I had been studying a bit about Camden in the 1900s for my own walk and figured I could somehow incorporate some Victorian History into my Camden walk. Victorian London can be seen in the architecture; all over Camden, the old pubs, and theatres. Camden was unscathed during ‘the war’; apart from a bit of the tube station.! 

https://www.meetup.com/tourists-travellers/

 

WAR CHILD

I have reached my goal and raised the £550 for Warchild so  I will be walking the Jurassic Coast over 2 days in May. My priority is to build up my fitness gradually. I want to get in at least three strenuous walks before then. Equally, important is getting rest in between

 

As always, until the end of next month, keep on keeping on

Jan
2019

London Cemeteries

 West Norwood Cemetery

Perhaps the least known, but most attractive, of the great Victorian Cemeteries of London.

It is one of the seven great Victorian cemeteries established in a ring around the outskirts of London. Within the cemetery you will see examples of the magnificent monuments erected in memory of the most eminent citizens of the day, which contrast sharply with the small, simple headstones marking common, or public, burials.

It’s formal avenue of towering limes and the Gothic gloom of the original Victorian planting gives way to paths which recall the country lanes of a bygone era

GREY DAY PICTURE OF ENTRANCE TO CEMETRY

Entrance to the Victorian Cemetery, on a bleak cold morning.

 

Friends of West Norwood Cemetery 

The friends are a charity run by volunteers who aim to increase the publics knowledge and appreciation of the Cemetery. They hold general tours on the first Sunday of every month, & host special themed tours during the summer; as well they host meetings with talks during the winter. There are further details in their programme of events.Additionally The charity raise funds for conservation work, and encourage other organisations and individuals to make contributions. It is surprising how much information is on their website and I would encourage people to take a look, using the link below.

OLD GRAVESTONES IN THE CEMETRY

OLD GRAVES IN THE SHADE.

 

https://www.fownc.org/   MORE INFO ON FRIENDS OF THE CEMETRY HERE.

 

I have two aims this year : one is to get fit for The Jurassic Coast Challenge, and the other to lead a few walks in London.

PICTURE OF PRETTY COLOURED DOORS CAMBERWELL GROVE

MY FIRST SIGHT OF COLOUR- APPROACHING THE GROVE FOR LUNCH TIME WALK.

 

Lunch time walks

In between my work demands and job hunting, I have to maintain some sort of exercise.  A new workout came about at a moment of extreme agitation, and I had to get out of the office to get some air. This has now become one of my regular extended lunch time walks

 I figured out, that if  I walked extremely briskly up Camberwell Grove (up and down is usually about 30 mins) I could just make it to   the massive sainsburys in Dog Kennell Hill. Although this is dooable, it is tight.

 I can then dash over to the sandwich bar  near the entrance and pick up something quickly.

Not something I want to do every day; as well the store does not have a great selection of sandwiches left by the time I get there around 1.50pm. It is a great way to  get rid of those office chains and can be done in  about 42 minutes, my lunch break is 45 minutes!

 

The 30 minute version is also a good little walk, up and down The Grove through the alleys, as long as I have brought something in for lunch.

PICTUE OF PASSAGE, A PALMTREE FLOWS OVER LAMPOST

LUNCH TIME WALK, HAS A GREAT VARIETY OF HOUSES AND PLANTS TO LOOK AT

Pimlico to Worlds End

 

HUGE SNAIL BRIGHTENS UP THE DAY OUTSIDE THE TATE GALLERY PIMLICO

ENTRANCE TO THE TATE PIMLICO

 

After my jog round Brockwell Park, I went home to attend to a couple of things, then got ready to go back out to meet a friend at The Tate Pimlico. We walked from Pimlico along the river  by the Embankment to Worlds End & then  had a general walk about the Kings Road, including a visit to Chelsea library and a few shops. At the end of the day my output was a 6.5 miles walk on top of my run, so not bad for a Sunday stroll.

Hungry Seagulls coming in-land for food

Seagulls along the embankment

BRIDGE AFTER BRIDGE ALONG EMBANKMENT

Sun blocked behind building, walking towards Worlds End!

 

Waterlow Park near Highgate cemetery

We just missed the tour at The Highgate Cemetery, so we will be saving that outing for another clear dry day!  Instead we had the shortest walk ever round Waterlow Park. I had done a jog in Brockwell Park earlier in the day, so after my uphill walk from Archway to Highgate, I wasn’t too put out to miss the walking tour. It was getting dark and raining.  That’s winter for you.

 

OLD TREE BENDING INTO POND

OLD TREE FALLING INTO POND WATERLOW PARK

 

 

PICTURE OF WINTER TREES

WINTER TREES IN WATERLOW PARK HIGHGATE

 

 

Until next time

Keep at it, whatever it is. I’m feeling a little excited about February. This is a rare occurrence admittedly but I can see some light at the end of the tunnel. I’m half way to my target to raise funds for War Child, see below for details.

 

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Julie-Connelly1

 

 

 

 

 

Dec
2018

Don’t’ need a clock to tell the time! John Lennon

 

I instinctively know when I’ve walked roughly 4-5 miles.

I can certainly feel it when the short walk becomes 7 miles. It comes from practice. A lot of my walks are across town, Victoria to Chelsea, Brixton to South Bank, Vauxhall to Blackfriars. Especially in the summer, I just tend to walk about a lot. I have now started jogging around Brockwell Park in preparation for a new venture. More on that later.

Mulling over the quagmire in my mind! Complicated,! Difficult, Complex, Murky,a Mare’s Nest,! 

Quaqmire is a new word I have found and I like its various meanings.  Walking to Dulwich village recently, with a few predicaments to mull over, I strolled from Kestrel Avenue Herne Hill to Half Moon lane and walked to Dulwich Village, then took a little dive into Belview park. I had a brief look around the grounds surrounding the Picture House Gallery. It’s grand in there and very expensive. I didn’t have the cash or the inclination to go into the Gallery. So carried on mulling things over, a nice gentle stroll back to Brixton.

 

BELVIEW PARK POND

REFLECTIONS OF TREE IN POND BELVIEW PARK

WINTER SUN AT DULWICH PICTURE GALLERY CHAPEL

 

The previous week I was, in & around town, where  I came across a couple of markets in the Victoria/Belgravia area, I wasn’t buying anything – just passing the time while on the way to get my eyes tested, in Victoria.

MURAL OF FRIDA MEXIAN ARTIST IN POP UP MARKET

MURAL OF ARTIST FRIDA (MEXICAN ARTIST) IN POP UP XMAS MARKET BELGRAVIA

 

It is the artist’s nature to demand freedom & to express their inner world; the conflicts, chaos, beauty and pain. Frida was an exceptionally dynamic and original artist who seems to be increasingly popular, I read a biography about Frida Kahlo many years ago, and felt inspired by her gift for life, despite her many setbacks.

 

 Walking for Charity

It has been on mind for a  long time, and I eventually got round to paying the registration fee and setting up a Fundraising page to raise funds for War Child. I hope some of my readers will help spur me on and donate to help me reach the £550 target. Any small amount will help. It is a weekend walk along the Jurassic Coastal Path in Dorset. After discussing it with one of the organisers, I realized I needed to get on this pretty quickly. Although May is a long way, I need to get fit and raise funds. I have started running around Brockwell Park and intend to get fit.

Winter solstice 2018

 

On December 21/12/2018 I had taken the day off.  What a windy but beautiful still day in other ways. I always love walking about pre-Christmas, anticipation in the air, and busy with shoppers.

It had been a while since I have been into the West End, and I walked from Green Park to Charing Cross, then down to St James Park over to Victoria and on to Chelsea, then finished at Victoria to take the train back to Herne Hill, and walk home.

While ‘chained to my chair’ at work during a rare quiet period, I came across this article; a subject close to my heart. It really resonated with me. Thinking about leaving the city and just moving on.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/dec/06/home-is-a-state-of-mind-you-dont-need-walls

It inspires me, particularly as I start to think about fundraising for War Child. This year there have been many setbacks, disappointments and stupid accidents. I can only go forward, there is no way back, and what’s lost is gone. 

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Julie-Connelly1

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2019

Got a list of walks to do with the South Bank Ramblers this winter season. I’m looking forward to getting out there. 

 

 

 

 

MAY THE ROAD RISE WITH YOU

 

 

 

Nov
2018

Bedlam

BETHLEM ROYAL HOSPITAL

Into the grounds

Walking through the grounds of the now functioning Psychiatric Hospital known as Bethlem Royal Hospital.

 

A Guided Tour

Originally the hospital was near Bishopsgate just outside the walls of the City of London. It then moved outside of Moorfields in the 17th century, after that it moved to St George’s Fields in Southwark in the 19th century. It’s final destination involved moving to (the current destination ) Monks Orchard in West Wickham in 1930.  

The lakes that used to be a feature of the grounds have now been covered up.

It is essential that patients safety had to be put first. Considering some of the states of minds patients might be experiencing from mania to sucide,  and many on heavy doses of medication it was deemed to be too much of a risk, and to this day they no longer have lakes. It seems a pity, that they can’t find away to keep the lakes in a secure way.

Lakes have since been covered up, yet still... winter landscape of The Royal Bethlem Hospital Grounds.

The Vvst grounds at Bethlem Hospital 

 

Medicine and Nature

A place where diverse nature exists, plants such as Dog Rose, St John’s Wort (said to be useful in aiding depression). Beetles such as Grasshopper, Green Shield Bug, as well as Butterflies. The tour guide mentioned many species of natural wild life, many names he mentioned went over my head, I was somewhat distracted by my own thoughts about mental illness and cures.

 

Getting There

Obviously depending on where you live will depend on how easy it is to get there, but the nearest train station is Eden Park and to get to Monks Orchard Road ,where Bethlam Hospital is located, is only a ten-minute walk.

 

Woodland at Bethlem Hospital.

The woods are a great place to walk about and kick up a few leaves

 

Bedlam!

The word “bedlam”, meaning uproar and confusion, is derived from the hospital’s nickname. Although the hospital became a modern psychiatric facility. Historically it was representative of the worst excesses of asylums in the era of lunacy reform.

Calius Gabriel Cibber iconic statue

‘Raving’
Caius Gabriel Bibber

 

statue named 'Melancholy Madness'

Photo of the iconic statue named ‘Melancholy

 

Museum of the Mind

The museum showcases many collections in its permanent and temporary exhibition galleries. They also hold a collection of art including works by Louis Wain.  I have always loved his crazy cats drawings. I had no idea he had been a resident at this institute. We live and learn. See the link for further details about Louis Wain.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Wain

Alongside the permanent displays, the museum has a dedicated temporary exhibition space. It offers a changing and thought-provoking seasonal programme.There are plenty of artefacts and interactive media displays to get engaged with. The museume helps in showing you about some of the patients journey from madness to cure. There has always been an arguement about how to deal with patient’s experiencing mania or suicidal tendancies. The space allows you to reflect on those cures, or restraings and lets you decide for yourself. 

For further information check out The Museum of the Mind’s website, go on to the link below. I recommend the tour and tickets are only £5 for both the tour of the gardens and the museum.

https://museumofthemind.org.uk/

 

To book tickets for the Bethlem Hosptial tour online go onto    https://www.eventbrite.co.uk

 

 

Until next time keep on, keeping on.

 

Oct
2018

Revisiting Camden

Walking in & around Camden, finding new places.

picture of me taking a picture

I drink, therefore I am, a pun on JPS I think therefore I am

 

Some time ago I decided to start a Meet Up Group and lead some of my Urban Walks, I felt Camden would be a good place to start.

I have been enjoying revisiting Camden a lot and getting loads of books out on loan from Chelsea library; It’s an enjoyable process, researching and reading up on the history of Camden.  A haven for Artists, Writers, Musicians, Historians; Camden has the lot.

Fascinating & somewhat mysterious historical characters, such as Walter Sickert,  one of the founder members of the Camden Artist group. I’m re-reading Patricia Cornwell’s Case Closed, where she sets out to prove that Walter Sickert was, in fact, Jack The Ripper. I’ not sure this is credible, but interesting nevertheless. I would be the last person to glamorize Jack the ripper but it does hold a place in my imagination from childhood.

JACK THE RIPPER

It has been said that Sickert’s landlady at 6 Mornington crescent believed The Ripper had lived in one of her rooms. this certainly had an effect on Sickert’s imagination who painted Jack the Rippers room and is featured today in Manchester Art Gallery. 

https://artuk.org/discover/artworks/jack-the-rippers-bedroom-206026

 

Camden got let off lightly during the blitz.

It seems only Camden Tube Station got slightly hit. The rest is intact. Part of its charm is the beautiful listed buildings, edging onto Regents Park. Camden Theatre at Mornington Crescent built in 1900 is still standing, now named Koko, it was rescued by the BBC in the 1940’s, virtually desolate in the early 1970’s then resurrected as The Music Machine named after an LA Psychedelic rock band, making way for the new wave punk generation.  Then it became Camden Palace, now Koko.

The main difficulty was what to keep in the walk and what to leave for another occasion

walking past Spiritual Bar

Girl walks past Spiritual Bar

Literary Camden

There is no end to writers who have lived and worked in Camden, from WB Yeats to Dylan Thomas, Sylvia Plath, Beryl Bainbridge, the original fantasy writer George McDonald, and many more.  I kept coming across plaques and had to rein it in somehow. What was starting off as a rock n roll walk was going to turn into a literary walk? Although I can’t do it all in one walk, there is so much scope for future walks.

OLD FASHIONED TOWN CRIER

 

PIC OF TOWN CRIER IN FULL OUTFIT

 It never fails to surprise me how popular Camden Market is. People are happy to be crammed in and queue up for the ever-increasing food stalls in the market.

I prefer to get there early to actually be able to look at the stores and look at the new designs and products. I had gone off Camden some years ago but must say it has so much life and energy there, it feels good to be back in North London.

 

BOOTS N SHOES

BOOTS N SHOES

 

ELTHAM WRITERS

I have been busily involved with The Eltham Readers group, my interview with Bernardine Evaristo author of Mr Loverman can be found in the SEnine Magazine. Tonight she will be at Eltham Library to talk about her book. (see page 29 on link below)

https://indd.adobe.com/view/7cec421a-b0b4-4310-9b6e-1cb5b5df888e

My new Meet up Group details are below.

 

I can’t explain my feet Ad Hoc Walking Group

London, GB
102 Members

Anyone who wants to get to know the real London and enjoys walking. Travellers, Tourists, & the curious. My first couple of walks will be in the Camden area, followed by a Bri…

Check out this Meetup Group →

Last Saturday of November I will be joining in the Bedlam Walk. More on that next blog.