Aug
2012

The Charleston House Experience

Glynde to Berwick via Charleston House, Sussex

 (My first ramble) 

Having pondered for some years about joining a walking group I eventually met with a bunch of Ramblers at Victoria London and introduced myself. I knew very little about what to expect and had been informed the walk was in Sussex and we were visiting a place called Charleston House.

I wanted to start walking and getting to know places that were accessible from London on public transport and could be done within a day.  This seemed a good place to start.

Ok it’s a far cry from walking the Himalayas but it’s a start.

Taking the train from Victoria we changed at Lewes and took a short journey to a place called Glynde.  We walked past a terrace of quaint cottages and then walked across a motorway over to a field and headed towards Firle Place.

Already I was in love, what a breath of fresh air. I needed this more than ever.

We walked through Firle place a historical national park and I felt like I had gone back in time. It was May and so the new-born lambs were out grazing on the grass and the flowers were blooming, it was so sweet, and refreshing after being cooped up at work all week.

After a few miles walking over fields, we were at Charleston Farmhouse situated in the heart of the Sussex Downs.

It’s called Farmhouse which is a bit misleading as it is more like an artist’s retreat hosting a stunning collection of art, much of the furnishing having been upholstered to its original plan by Laura Ashley.

 CHARLESTON FARMHOUSE

The place is unique and available guided tours give a fascinating insight into the lives of the Bloomsbury crowd which consisted of a loose group of artists, writers, and intellectuals.

The sister of Virginia Woolf, Vanessa is one of the prominent figures there. I found it to be sublime and inspirational.  Words are difficult to find to express the beauty of this special place. For further information click on this link. http://www.charleston.org.uk 

We then walked towards Berwick Church built in the 16th century. Here were further works of arts and murals by The Bloomsbury Group, and were part of the original deco. A wonderful day out, and only one & a half hours away from London.

Hazy -romantic old churchyard

 

The next walk I did after that was a month or so later.

The Ramblers organisation sent me a copy of Walk Britain, which has 50 walking routes with Britain’s Best views.

I took the book with me to Seaford and went off on my ownsome and did very well that sunny day in June. I walked the Seven Sisters Cliffs which is described in the book as a leisurely 8 mile walk!

Walking slowly to the park is a leisurely walk, the Seven Sisters is somewhat strenuous. Up and down!.Up and down, Up and down!! That is the Seven Sister Cliffs!

The next walk will be the Rochester Dickens walk, another very short walk.

 

 
BW Julie                            
Jul
2012

Shoes and Boots!

The state of people’s feet, is a huge issue.

I worked in the rheumatology Outpatients department in a hospital for some time and learnt a thing or two.  My frequent visits to the podiatrist were worth it. Shoes and Boots as most females know, is a very important subject. 

 

x-ray foot

We have devoted our pocket money to the perfect boot or shoe, only to find out later, we can’t really walk in them!

I never wore stilettos but did have a fondness for pointy boots back in the day. Occasionally fashion came before comfort. By the time I got to my mid -forties, I had to get real. I was walking to work in kitten heels, up to Herne Hill through Ruskin Park, a round trip of nearly 4 miles. Not to forget my lunch time wandering!

On my last walk, I wore an old pair of walking shoes that I had bought on Amazon for £20. It was May and pleasant -at the start of the day! (My next blog will be about the walk which was really lovely)The walk was about six miles or so; we hiked over a couple of fields, then our leader was getting slightly lost. We carried on somewhat lost for the next few miles.

 

Shoes and Boots!, What to wear for long-distance walking.

By the time we got to the train station and had waited some time my feet were soaking wet. We took a short journey from Glynde to Lewes. We waited there for what seemed a long time to get our connection back to London. Why is the café bar shut at 5 pm on a Saturday? The enjoyment of the walk was becoming a distant memory as the misery of sitting in the cold with wet soggy socks became a reality.

Understanding my feet

My next port of call had to be a shoe shop. I knew I had to buy a smart waterproof walking shoe before I went on another ramble. Previously I had managed some summer walks down the coasts, wearing plimsolls.

Walking The Seven Sisters for the 1st time alone, I was as happy as Larry in my Asics running shoes recommended to me by the podiatrist. 

Having trawled through pages of walking shoes online, buying and returning several pairs via Amazon, I was getting a bit desperate. My desire to walk a million miles away from the inner city was becoming unlikely if I couldn’t walk in any shoes. They were either; too small -too tight, too heavy, too expensive. How come the North face shoes I bought at Blacks did not do me any favours?

I Can’t explain my feet.!

 

I was size five and a half and they seemed fine, but after just a couple of miles along a muddy bank near Cobham just after Christmas, I was in agony. Had my feet grown? I have since bought boots that are size 6 and 6 and a half but they are too big!

This is a question for the podiatrist. Feet are strange things. We are individuals after all. It’s not a case of one size fits all. I tried them twice and managed a couple of miles or so before my old toe problem started hurting which on the second occasion resulted in me being confined to the sofa for the rest of the evening in agony!.

I saw the podiatrist who told me the toe in question had a bit too much skin at the bottom which you had to look at from an angle (I could not manage to look under my toe) and that it was causing pressure on the joints. She said my toes were slightly webbed! 

 

Finding a good podiatrist, finding the right footwear.

How comes I didn’t get that sort of pain when wearing the Asics or the Vans plimsolls? I have been told flat shoes are even worse than heels. This advice cane from an Orthopedic Surgeon after twisting my ankle some years ago.

The plimsoll saw me walk 4 miles on a coastal walk with no twinges or pain of any kind. Ditto; The Converse, the Puma, the Reebok, the Adidas, the list goes on. So how can I find a really good quality walking shoe?  I wanted something WATERPROOF and strong wearing but flexible.

 

I spent too much time the following day in the store, Cotswold in Piccadilly trying on totally unsuitable walking boots; designed for climbing Mount Everest and the (very young) guy was trying to convince me I needed a size 7 shoe which was ridiculous. 
Clarks Shoes measured my feet the following Saturday and confirmed the correct size -one foot was five and half the 
other foot a size 6!  I later went for a reflexology session, which was like a psychological foot reading followed by a foot massage

Check out if you want more info on that. It is quite interesting and therapeutic.

www.felicityreflexology.co.uk

 

Webbed feet!

 

Until next installment 

Best Wishes Julie