Feb
2022

Walking in spring

 

 

 

 

The days are slowly getting longer, and we can finally start looking forward to walking in spring

 

Walking in Spring has to be one of the best seasons. Although it is still cold it’s lighter for longer; so possible to go further afield. As it’s not quite spring yet, I decided to go on a walk not too far away, with the South Bank Ramblers Group. This started at Eynsford Kent and is part of The Darrent Valley. It’s about an hour from Herne Hill train station, changing at Bromley South. If trains aren’t running properly and the weather is bad, it can be a drag hanging about stations in the cold.

It was the day after Storm Eunice and many people were a bit reluctant to go out.A couple of people I knew had previously wanted to go but dropped out. We made up a small group who had taken a leap of faith into the great outdoors.

Within five minutes of leaving the station, we come across a wee bridge over the Darrent river at Eynsford Kent.

CALM AFTER THE STORM

 

walking in the Darrent Valley

 

WALKING EYNSFORD

The walk route meanders off away from the river past along the Darrent Valley. a short walk along a single path under the magnificent bridge we pass the Fort museum then We pass Lullingstone CastleL & WORLD GARDEN https://www.lullingstonecastle.co.uk  this opens in April 2022

HISTORY WALKING

 

We then follow the river again, along to the visitors centre, where the electric was down.  In there we could not do anything other than use their loos in the dark. After this we walked up hill through chestnut and beech woodland  to get views of the valley from the chalk ridge.

RIVER DARRENT WALK

It was a grand walk apart from the few rain showers and the mud. I skidded down a hill flat on my back! luckily not on my face and no serious damage done, except covered in mud.

Sorry there are no live pictures of ‘the fall’!! It’s a good job I have damn quick reflexes and I was wearing waterproofs on top of the walking trousers. Theres’ nothing worse than having to get back on the train looking like I have been dragged through a hedge backwards, while all the day trippers are dressed in their glad rags.

It was fantastic to come across this quickly little cafe in an alleyway situated just a few minutes from the bottom of Muddy Slide Hill!. I made a dash for it and was grateful they had some of those blue plastic bags you can put on your feet to prevent the cafe turning into a mud slide. It wasn’t a great day to say the least but I still enjoyed it despite the damp weather. The cafe has a museum attached to it and is a place of interest. We were only a 10 minute walk from Shoerham at this stage. We didn’t bother walking on to Otford. Another day another time

http://www.shoreham-aircraft-museum.co.uk/teas.htm

South Downs Dark Skies Festival

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Jan
2022

WALKS in 2022

Looking forward to loads of walks in 2022.

 

Its exciting to be able to plan and feel fairly confident that this year will be free from lockdowns fear and paranoia. There are tons of walks in 2022 I want to do. Two places I haven’t  explored yet, are Norwich and Bath. Both worth having a look at.  so far in January I have stayed in London and mainly walked along the Thames around the Twickenham, Richmond area.  Last week when taking the train from Vauxhall, I decided to get off at kew bridge station, which I discovered was next to Brentford football stadium It was on match day at home and there was a buzz about the place.

Why I hadn’t used that station before I’m not sure, although I have walked under the bridge many times, not realising Kew Bridge station is above it. It’s always good to learn something new, no matter how small. As well I’m contemplating some of the new walks in 2022 I aim to do.  There will be lots of short day trips in addition to long walks.

Sometimes a little change in direction can bring a little happiness.

The long walks tend to be better in the late spring& summer.This week I had to opt out of the group walk as I had more urgent matters to attend to. Instead here are a couple of pictures from the last time I did that walk February 2020 after doing dry January. If I recall correctly it was quite sunny (at time) for February, but very muddy as part of the walk required going down a grassy bank where we all ended up skidding all over the place. It was an interesting, varied walk, taking in a bit of history and local culture. You can see that walk here.

Walking in Essex

BOATS/ CLOUDS Leigh on Sea

Where the Thames meets the Sea/

I nearly always get the blues in January

This month I can’t say I’ve really had the blues, what I have experienced is something altogether different.  It is almost indescribable & finding the words to explain the feelings of frustration and anger. Post Covid !  The juggle between optimism and pessimism,  happiness and sadness. There are many reasons for this and it’s  not unusual . As Neil Young would say Out of the blue and into the black. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i6RZY4Ar3fw Sometimes I do dwell there. Which does remind me and this is by the by, but I forgot to add Neil Young on to my desert island discs playlist! I’m so looking forward to seeing some live music again. Going out for a whole day and ending up at a gig, sounds like bliss.

 

looking for happiness? oh yes!

I had vaguely thought about posting a days out from London series, so they would all be shortish walks within a 25 mile radius. Then I changed my mind. For me to  be committed to just writing about 1  place monthly, ( I can’t commit to more than 1 post a month)-sounds like too much work. It also means I would then feel obliged to do all of the tourist things, Until the day comes that someone pays me to write about museums, galleries, cafes and bars, I will stick to wandering off.; something I often do when at a museum!! But still watch this space as I will venture out a lot and come spring things will pick up a lot.

 

I have loads of walks coming up in  2022 and this post will explore some of that.

walks in 2022

The first walk (I’m not including my random London rambles) is a led walk by one of the South Bank Leaders and it’s not too far away. This is good as it’s February and likely to still be cold. The walk is a Darrent Valley walk from EYNSFORD to Otford a linear walk of about 8 miles, so we may get back before it gets dark if we are lucky.

After that I will be travelling to France for a short family visit. When I return then I will be doing a trial run of the planned walk I will be leading April 24th. I have never led this walk before; but have been led on this walk, a very long time ago. I printed out the walk instructions from the Ramblers Website, and aim to head off with that in hand sometime in March. It could  be a bit hit and miss, as I have found out before, but somehow I get there in the end. Map reading is certainly not something I am good at, so instructions will have to do.

 

The walk is Along the Stour Estuary to Grayson Perry’s House ending in Wrabmess.

The walk has a lot of variety to it and is roughly around 9.5 miles. I have limited it to 10 people, and two have booked already. Anyone reading this interested. Text me. Anyone interested in spending a weekend in the house that Grayson designed follow this link! A house for Essex.https://www.living-architecture.co.uk/the-houses/a-house-for-essex/overview/

 

I am more of a roamer at heart

Although I’m capable of leading walks and joining group walks, I like to limit that and not plan too far ahead. I dare to say I probably will lead a walk in the summer as usual and that will be Seaford to Eastbourne about 13- 14 miles. That’s a long way off yet and a lot more to think about until then,

 

Until next time

Here are a few photos taken from various routes on The Thames. Recent walks have included Eel Pie Island (Twickenham to Mortlake, Kew Bridge to Hammersmith, Putney to Richmond.

some light coming through the clouds at Eel Pie Island

Start of the River walk from Twickenham to Mortlake.

RESOURCEFUL we all need to draw on this from time to time, especially recently, keep at it  that’s all you can do.

Home sweet Home near Hammersmith on the river. Gate to the boat on river.

Last but not least, I did a short walk to The South Bank from Blackfriars to visit The Poetry library. Been a long time since I reached into that resource.

 

It is my ambition to go much further up river and explore around Reading. I have a couple of walks in mind one being Staines to Reading. Longer days are needed for a full day out and to avoid the frost.

 

 

 

 

Keep on Keeping on will keep you posted on any new walks I come up with

 

 

 

Dec
2021

A DAY OUT IN FAVERSHAM

A VERY COLD DAY OUT IN FAVERSHAM

You never can tell what the weather in the UK will be like. If you want to plan a day out on public transport you need to book ahead . I had randomly chosen the 17th of December to visit Faversham again. Not aware it was under the auspiciously named, cold full moon,

https://www.timeanddate.com/moon/phases/and cold it was. Shiver me timbers! Please feel free to play while you read..

Being near Christmas I was keen to browse the shops and markets. A long walk was not on the cards.

I have passed through Faversham so many times on the way to Whitstable. Despite the cold it was a good day out. Faversham is well worth a visit and the return journey was better on the way back. Some shopping, lunch and a few beers helped to get into something resembling ‘the Christmas mood.’ I have only been out shopping and for xmas lunches a couple of times but I have noticed the crowds are not so big this year. The market was still on but not as busy as it might be at the summer beer festival for example.

 

Some of the town houses in Faversham town centre were also artists windows/workshops

It wasn’t always easy to tell which houses were peoples living spaces, and which were shops/workshops with some  You can’t help prying through windows which could well be someones living space.! Or a studio.

A smart town house/artist studio in battleship grey.

 

A closer look inside, not open to the public today but some interesting bits & pieces on display

 

Many of the houses in Faversham date back to the 15th century

A door next to an old fashioned dispensary

An old fashioned dispensary.

 

I tried to resist the Apothecary shop

APOTHECARY  traditional shop in FAVERSHAM

The name taken from Apothercary an old fashioned type of chemist!! when I first moved to London I spent a lot of time in Neils Yard covent Gard which has a similar type of feel. All natural ingredients .

https://www.apothecashop.co.uk/

I had a quick peek inside and was immediately drawn to the Hemp CBD teabags  I picked up a quick guide to CBD (abbreviation of cannabidiol)everything you need to know by Dr Julie Moltke. For more on books take a look at GOODREADS.COM https://www.goodreads.com  other reads can be seen on my inspired reads page.Inspired Reads

CBD not to be confused with CBT although I have now had encounters with both!

I have been interested in trying CBD for ages and just not got round to it. Supposedly it is the cure for all ailments; especially those of the mind, such as depression and anxiety. Both of which I get in equal measures and I’m always looking for cures!! further wandering around and a peek at some other houses walking towards the Quayside.

There was a sign on the front of the building saying go round to the side!

Nothing much around the side so just another peer in the window. A few odd artifices such as a giraffe head, never know when you might want one!

Then a stroll down towards the waterfront on this extremely chilly day. to the right of the picture you see how pretty the small green town houses are.

It was too cold and misty to bother walking too far along the river and as well I had promised I would look around the market and actually buy something! I managed to get:  a pair of fingerless gloves, local honey, vegan cake some plants being sold off, and of course my CBT tea.

Historic Buildings of Kent

I always like a good sign, and not quite sure what the above sign signifies. 
Obviously Faversham has hundreds of listed historical buildings, so maybe this is some kind of award sign.

To end the day we sampled some of the local beers.

Inside the Creekers Tap Micro Pub Preston Street . Faversham is also famous for it’s brewery Shepherd Neam. THE Brewery has a reputation as being one of the oldest and best brewers in the Uk.

Brewery Tours do social distancing.

Unfortunately due to social distancing they were only letting 2 in at a time, so missed out on a tour. Another time I think it will be worth staying overnight, en-route to Whitstable, or start the walk at Whitstable to Faversham. Probably would do that in the summer. Until next time, keep on keeping on.

 

 

Happy New Year 2022

Coming up soon, Exploring Essex, Highgate Hills, more roaming the rivers

Keep on Keeping on.

 

 

Nov
2021

A DAY OUT IN ROCHESTER


Revisiting Rochester as part of my days out of London series. A day out in Rochester, is as good a place as any to start.

I have been wanting to write a series of days out from London for a while. For no apparent reason, I started at Rochester. Many years ago I remember going to a Charles Dickens Walk, another time, that I  visited I bought a black and white trilby hat, and that’s pretty much my memory of those two times.. My first visit was around August 2012, where they had a Dickens festival on.

Charles Dickens references are all over Rochester

Charles Dickens spent his early years from about 5yrs old to 10 being raised in Chatham. His family moved about a lot, as did the writer as he sought inspiration for his fiction. Charles Dickens chose to move back near where he was brought up and moved to Rochester in his older years ;as he loved the area. Dickens certainly moved  around, he also lived in Whitstable and several houses in London.

 The first port of call was the Cheese Room formally known as Mr Topes restaurant.

a place to eat and think and talk

THE CHEESE ROOM, BREAKFAST LUNCH DINNER. GIN BEER TEA .. IT’S GOT IT ALL.

 

This was the last building mentioned in Charles Dickens writing

The plaque mentioned mr Topes a Charles dickens fictional character and this building was apparently one of the last buildings mentioned in his fiction.It is worth a visit. All that was needed was a warm drink and a pan au raison, We were let in on the basis no lingering would be taking place, as tables were fully booked for lunch. We had a lovely seat next to an open fire in a relaxed atmosphere.

 

ANOTHER REFERENCE TO DICKENS.

 

FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD

You will find a reference to Dickens a lot in this glorious small city. Although this cafe was closed for refurbishment. I got the impression,  If you want to start a food business you could do well here. If I had the resources I would open a vegan cafe. On the menu would be some straightforward every day food. Such as: beans on toast, hummus & roast veg baps, vegan sausage baps , the usual salads and soups,

The next place to visit was the Cathederal

a view of an empty pew

SONGS OF PRAISE.

I love the layout and the ambience of a cathederal where the set is ready for a choir. It has been long time since I have heard a real live choir. No performances today .

Rochester Castle

There were  a fair amount of people going in and out and i didn’t go into the castle itself, but  will leave do that on another visit.  It’s £7.50 to visit including  a guided tour. Opening hours are: 10am- 4pm in the winter.

In the castle grounds, The workmen were preparing for the Dickens Christmas fair which will be on every weekend starting end of November.

Rochester Bridge looking from the grounds of the castle

 

Rochester Market.

Nothing much to report here. There were a few food stalls and as well the usual early xmas  stalls. I know how much people need money now and you can’t blame people for wanting to cash in on that . Although I think there are a lot more creatives out there hiding behind closed doors that have a lot more to offer, than glitter and reindeers..

 

CHARLES DICKEN, ROCHESTER

 

History of rochester as a haven for refugees.

 

Rochester is a small city with a big history

Six POOR TRAVLLERS  MUSEUM

 

I do recall visiting this interesting historical museum on one of my visits. Unfortunately it is presently closed until May 2022.. On my last visit it was impressive to imagine how life was as It has preserved the rooms in their original state. A safe haven for weary refugees. in the 16th & 17th century.

ROCHESTER hosts BRITAINS ONLY MUSEM OF HUGUENOT HISTORY.

Who were ThE Huguenots.? They were french refugees fleeing from French Catholic oppression. When you consider how busy and important the medway river would have been in those days, it would have been the port to the continent & the only mode of transportation, they French had fled over seas and were made welcome in Rochester.

Huguenot Museum – Discover your story

http://www.frenchhospital.org.uk/

The sister of Huguenot Museum The FRENCH HOSPITAl & all the Alm houses is the sister charity, build to house Huguenot refugee. Strange how I hadn’t noticed this on my last visit. Coincidentally, having just started listening to an audible book named The Hezbollah Hiking Club, written and narrated by Dom Joly (creator of trigger happy,)Joley mentions some of his family descending from the huguenots.

ANOTHER LOCAL HERO is Billy Childish

I love this mural, and by the way the Brexit is childish graffiti was not part of the original but I do think it’s stylishly done and makes a great statement/pun on the Billy Childish work. It was commissioned by Sam Collins in 2016 and this was the first time I had come across it. What Billy Childish thinks of this  mural and the ‘defacement’ graffiti is anyone’s guess.

Billy Childish for those who don’t know of him is an artist/musician & writer.

I did see one of his exhibitions in the historic Dockyards based in Chatham, At the time I was more interested in the history of the are at that time.  The dockyards are well worth a visit. I also saw one of his music shows a few years ago in Camden at the KOKO Club, formally known as The Music Machine. Billy Childish still lives in Chatam,

https://thedockyard.co.ukDockyards

AUSS/anglo Bar

My pledge to have a dry november in the run up to xmas hasn’t lasted. I have to say  I enjoyed a few Austrian beers and my time in this bar. As is often the case it’s always nice to have an afternoon/early evening drink after a long working week.

 

AUSSI /ANGLO AUTUMN GARDEN

 

 

Coming up next month

A day out in Faversham. As promised I’m going to just have a day in Faversham as opposed to walking from there to Whitstable. As well I will be joining a group walk on the 8th of December on a Murder and Mayhem Historical theme walk.

lots of xmas parties coming up and come January I will be looking to getting out a lot more in Kent as I team up with some walking groups.

 

Until then keep on Keeping on.

 

Oct
2021

FREEDOM PASS

I RECIEVED MY ‘FREEDOM PASS’

On the 27th September I awaited eagerly for the post person to deliver my 60+ Oyster card. The card is exclusive to Londoners; It offers, free travel on tubes,  buses , and trains  in London and approximately within a 25 mile radius of London. That was the best birthday gift this year. Freedom pass to who knows where.

where now with this new found freedom?

The world is your Oyster

 

Anywhere from zone 1-6 in London, as far as Dartford and out west to Reading. Many of the walks I do are outside of London,  the freedom pass can be used to get to to Zone 6, making the price of the train journey thereafter, more affordable. Ps this isn’t the actual freedom pass you get when you retire!

Walking from Faversham to Whitstable.

Recently I revisited Kent and did an amble along from Faversham to Whitstable the day after my b/day. A strangely quiet day; that is except for the attack of the green bugs!

I want to explore the town centre a bit more as it has a lot of quirky shops and.  historic buildings a well as the market place, and probably will do that for the xmas market.

To see any of my youtube shorts follow the link.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5sG13Fg6oewfbLBow2c3TQ?view_as=subscriber

A rare breed of sheep were huddled together , I couldn’t get close enough to get a great pic of them all, but managed to get this face in..

as well there were a breed of as long horned cows!!  Pic taken walking along the whitstable way

Rose chafer

After much research on line, the nearest description I could find or name of a green flying bug was a Rose Chafer. It may not be the at all but it was the closest resemblance I could come up with. More information needed.!

When in France recently another green bug making it’s presence known was most definitely known as a stink bug!

https://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/wildlife-explorer/invertebrates/beetles/rose-chafer

Talking about freedom has anybody heard of this remarkable journey

The Walk is an international arts festival meets endurance event. Little Amal, a 3.5 metre-tall puppet, will walk across the European continent to shine a light on the stories of millions of young refugees. She will travel through 8 countries, welcomed by hundreds of cultural events in cities, towns and villages all along her route. 

http://www.walkwithamal.org

I’m planning a couple of walks with a group this coming November, depending on what i can manage to get out of the way at work I may even manage a mid week walk. Space & fresh air, needed soon.!!

 

The  10 mile circular walk in Hertfordshire I was planning has been cancelled so thinking cap back on. Perhaps time to refer to the three guide books on walks in kent.