May
2020

Short Walks

I’m getting used to doing short walks, nearer home. In some ways, these local walks can work out quite well.

The short walks I have done lately haven’t exactly been unusual, new, or exciting but there are quite a few hills around my area. My humble abode is tucked in-between Brixton Hill, Tulse Hill & Herne Hill, I often walk up Herne Hill through Ruskin Park to my place of work, off Denmark Hill.

Swan among the reeds Brockwell Park

Brixton Market in Lockdown

 

The last short walk I did was from Brockwell Park, up to Gypsy Hill into Crystal Palace to visit the Secret Garden. https://www.thesecretgardencentre.co.uk/

Of course, I miss getting out further afield but those days will come back eventually; the upside is at least I managed to do some painting and writing. My creative urges are crying for attention so I enrolled in an online course called turning your doodles into art, something I have been meaning to do for ages. For more information on their brilliant online courses, check out.

https://www.domestika.org/

SHORT WALKS, in the local area

I can’t pretend I’m thrilled at being in lockdown and not to be able to travel as intended. As all organized walks have been cancelled until further notice, it is out of my control. Instead, I can do short walks, & other stuff that I have been putting off for years. Somehow we need to find the positive out of what could be seen as a stagnant situation!

The only plan I have left in place, that could still go ahead, is a hill walking retreat in Scotland, booked for 3/7. I am really looking forward to that.

A quiet road – somewhere in Scotland

I don’t want to say too much about this upcoming event just yet

The hill walking retreat is based in Scotland, the nearest main station is Stirling. I have only visited once before, on a yoga retreat in 2011.

While I was there on the yoga retreat, I did wander off a couple of times; but without maps and a sense of direction, I didn’t stray far. I’m really looking forward to exploring the area again, this time with a professional hill walk leader.  For further details of the retreat, you can check their website below. Beautiful Lake

I don’t want to say too much about this upcoming event just yet

The hill walking retreat is based in Scotland, the nearest main station is Stirling. I have only visited once before, on a yoga retreat in 2011.

While I was there on the yoga retreat, I did wander off a couple of times; but without maps and a sense of direction, I didn’t stray far. I’m really looking forward to exploring the area again, this time with a professional hill walk leader.  For further details of the retreat, you can check their website below. Beautiful Lake

https://www.dhanakosa.com

I intend to master the Rye to Hastings walk one day.

My plan to lead a joint walk from Rye to Hastings in June this year has been scrapped, due to Lockdown. The plan was to do a practice run on June the 5th and lead the walk on the 20th.

I still have those days booked off, so I could do something else instead- but what?

Below is my blog from September 2012, walking from Rye to Hastings. Since then I have done this walk several times, but only led the walk once and that was not plain sailing. Rye to Hastings walk

Hastings Country Park, bigger than you think

 

I think it will be September before I attempt to do this walk 
again. Below are some pictures from the first time walking this brilliant but long route.

Rye to Hastings walk

Hastings

Up and down near Hastings

 

Apr
2020

Confined to house

Is it so bad to be confined to house ?

Love it or hate it, we have to find ways of amusing ourselves and keeping healthy and sane.  Confined to the house throws up new challenges, but there’s always plenty to do.  Finding new ways to deal with being confined, can be difficult, but once we let go of our habits, be they good or bad; life can be as rich as we want it to be. It’s not so bad to be confined to the house, in fact, it can be quite enjoyable.

Coronavirus

 

 YouTube, is a source of inspiration on all matters existential, or looking for specific exercises to learn, or/and walks.

I particularly like ‘The Fabulous at 50’s‘ videos. She may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but there are hundreds to choose from and I’m sure you will find someone whos’ style you will like.

https://youtu.be/AMsuGyGF9EQ

I used to go to a great yoga class at Brixton Lido overlooking the pool, but the teacher changed his schedule and I was unable to attend his new classes. I eventually bought a few DVD’s from the Element collection and a yoga mat, so I’m good to go anytime. 

 

  • Element the mind-body experience

  • My favorite which I use all of the time is  Element Am & Pm Yoga for beginners. I think I have been a beginner of yoga for 20 years.
  • The PM is great for winding down after work and is only 25 minutes. That’s all I need at the end of the day.

    ELEMENT DVDs-

    If you want a better work out designed to get trim then the DVD from the element range. Yoga for weight loss is pretty good.

    We find NEW WAYS to change.

I must say my 45-minute wait in the hot midday sun on Saturday was quite a challenge. I stood outside of the Brixton wholefood market to get tofu of all things, with the sun beating down on my head, I thought I must be quite mad standing here to get tofu! but this pandemic is causing all sorts of strange behaviour ! Just buying an item can take up too much of the day and it gets to the point that you just have to accept that.I also discovered my local supermarket stocked some of my favorite Biona Organic Products, so that was a revelation. As well they have started doing a 10% discount for NHS workers. As Organic produce is always expensive this is an added bonus.

This time last year I was preparing for the Jurassic Coast walk for Charity 

Jurassic coast

 

see old post Hiking along the Jurassic Coast Hiking along the Jurassic Coastalso My best walks in 2019  Last year I was also preparing to lead meet up groups as a tour/walk leader.2019 is looking exceptionally exciting and the chance of this year coming any way close to fulfilling is way out of sight.  I was on a real roll and I wanted to try leading urban walks and the first one I did was a Rock n Roller walk in Camden. I didn’t have the time to develop that, and it’s something I will consider doing, if/when I get to work part time, ore retire!  Revisiting Camden

picture of me taking a picture

I drink, therefore I am, a pun on JPS I think therefore I am- me taking a pic of pub window in Camden

 

I have discovered someone who is really good at doing themed walks and has a great channel on Youtube.  He is an actor so he has that confidence which makes his tours very interesting. He has a great website.  Check out his Bermondsey walk below. https://joolzguides.com/videos/bermondsey/   Another discovery but not so good is that Since Lockdown, everybody seems to have taken up joggers making a walk in the park very irritating!

A mural dedicated to Richard Burbage. It’s rare to see anything new walking around an area I have lived in for decades.

 

Due to their being no up n coming walks, I have parked my Up & Coming Walks Page, instead, I have posted a couple of videos.

 A little historic video below, I really like the music.

LAST BUT NOT LEAST-  Marina Abramovic sits in silence for 90 days with no contact up until this point. This is the first time the performance artists Abramovic and Ulay have seen each other in 22 years.

It took five years for Ulay and Abramović to get permission from The Chinese Authorities to do their ‘performance walk‘across The Chinese Wall; by which time, their lives had changed. The couple still vowed to do the walk, but instead of marrying when they met in the middle as originally planned, instead, they split up.

 

Until next time- keep on keeping on.

Mar
2020

LAUZERTE

Visiting Lauzerte

In February we visited the medieval town of Lauzerte. Although the weather was grey and drizzly it was a treat to visit. My mother has reached the grand age of 79 and that was reason enough to visit her.  She lives in Montcuq. Lauzerte is only about 20 minutes away in the car.

Lauzerte is listed as being one of the most beautiful villages in France. It is a stopping point on the way of St James, otherwise known as The Camino de Santiago; a modern-day pilgrimage.  

Lauzerte on a good clear cloudless day overlooks the valleys and hills of Quercy Blanc.

 

Les Puits Des Jours

To escape the rain, we headed to the cafe, named, Les Puits Des Jours, perhaps a poets interpretation of the name, could be; A source of spirit for the day, to go and to drink from the well of life! Although a little bird did tell me that, there is an actual well deep down behind the back of the stage!

The cafe is well known throughout the region as a place that hosts Lauzertine evenings. Towards the back of the cafe is a small stage. It is a cozy set up. Anyone who feels like it can get up after the concert to play.

Inside the cafe hung on the walls, you can see a range of musical instruments; interestingly a strange collection of dolls were displayed for sale on another wall.  They are knitted and look a bit like voodoo dolls.

Normally I would take pictures if I was on a walk; with the intention of writing and posting a blog about it.  I was with family relaxing for a couple of days. Although I do wish I had purchased a voodoo doll! 

 

It’s safe to go in! only a few hippies and musicians lurk there!

 

Didier Soligon,( Le forgeron) english translation is The Blacksmith

The Blacksmith seat made up of horseshoes; among many of his creations.  Unfortunately due to the time of year his showroom/studio was closed.

 

A Lizard door handle

 

The Artist/ Blacksmith has a fantastic massive workshop and it is well worth a visit. He doesn’t open until the Summer like  a lot of French business.

A pretty window with lush green plants

 

The Lots Valley Region.

Was it a coincidence, that when I opened my emails  I got a newsletter from Joanne Harris ; (author of ‘Chocolat’) who is partly hosting a 7-day tour which includes a visit to Lauzerte.

Joanne Harris will also give a talk about the creative writing process and take part in a Q&A session. It sounds fantastic.

For further info on the France Tour see below

https://mailonsunday.tripsmiths.com/tours/southwest-france-tour-joanne-harris-nerac-cahors

 

I had been looking forward to two walks, before the news of Corona Virus and the lockdown. One of them was along the Chilterns; but ALL official walks are now cancelled until at least the end of April. So I have to console my self with looking back at old walks. did something similar in  September 2015, you can read about that in A tale of two walks.

 

I have no idea about where these feet will be going during April and May.

Until next time Keep on Keeping on.

Feb
2020

Walking in Essex

I have been meaning to go Walking in Essex for a while

It was the 1st day in February, I was ready for a walk, and after Dry January, looking forward to a  couple of drinks after the walk. Getting out of London & Walking in Essex was a perfect start to the month, and the weather was suitably dry. The journey is easy on public transport and frequent trains from Liverpool Street run every half hour.

 

waiting for the light

Walking from Benfleet to Southend

The walk started at Benfleet along the creek and then inland towards Hadleigh Farm. Hadleigh Farm was originally part of William Booth’s, “Darkest England” scheme. This involved people from what he referred to as the, “submerged tenth” being helped and in some cases rescued by Salvationists. They would then be offered work and shelter in the City Colony before being transferred to the Country Colony and eventually to the Overseas Colony. Of course these days it’s not quite so dramatic.

https://www.hadleighfarm.org.uk

Hadleigh Park Cafe is a good stopping point, there are loads of loos available.! As a large group of about 40, this was a relief.We then walked a short distance to Hadleigh Castle. I had seen the painting before, up until this day I didn’t realise it was this particular castle that we were looking at today, was the same castle that the artist, Constable had painted. We always learn something new when out walking.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hadleigh_Castle_(painting)

After our art education, we worked up a sweat trying to negotiate the least slippery muddy route, all the way downhill to Leigh on Sea.Leigh-on-Sea is a town full of unique character and charm and is a must-see when visiting Southend-on-Sea. Hosting a great selection of galleries and craft shops, and a selection of pubs.

 

BOATS/ CLOUDS/ LEIGH ON SEA

Where the Thames meets the Sea

 

After our lunch at Leigh on Sea we walked a couple of miles along the seafront into Southend, where we had our couple of drinks before taking a train back into London. A good day out.

Visiting St Albans

This month I attended a good friend’s funeral, in the Lady Chapel of St Albans. It was a sad farewell to my good friend Karen; who had always encouraged me to keep on walking, and to keep on writing about it.! Next year I will  revisit St Albans again, where I can remember Karen & light a candle for her.  Karen was the first patient to try a new treatment for cancer. Unfortunately despite her bravery, she passed away on the 19th of January 2020 

.https://www.royalmarsden.nhs.uk/world-first-treatment-acoustic-cluster-therapy-improve-chemotherapy-delivery

I did pick up a leaflet about St Albans tours, so it would be great to revisit.

http://www.stalbanstourguides.co.uk

As those of you who read my blogs will know, I formed a Meet up group and started leading some urban guided walks in London last year. See Revisiting Camden It is something I would like to do more of time permitting. In the meantime, spring is on the horizon.

March really is the season to start getting out more, and I’m spoilt for choice, there are loads of walks to do in March.

Until next time Keep on Keeping on.

 

 

 

 

Jan
2020

New walks 2020

 New walks in 2020 are plentiful

There are literally hundreds of thousands of New walks in 2020. Finding and selecting is the most difficult part to do. I’m not laying out any plans yet.  My ideas are many but the practicalities and the arranging of finances are complex. I did my first walk of the year in Buckinghamshire, and the following week I decided to take a stroll along the river and pop into Somerset House. I was curious to see the illuminated bridges. It is still a work in process. 

Illuminated river

https://illuminatedriver.london/bridges

By winter 2020 all of the bridges will be illuminated. It’s a huge and expensive project, but how magnificent. The city already looks fantastic at night, it is a treat to see.

LONDON BRIDGES AT NIGHT

We only got as far as the Millennium Bridge as it was dark and cold, but the work looks promising.

In the warmth of Somerset House, it was fun to experience a relaxing pod, they are displayed in the foyer you can sit in there for 20 minutes listening to tranquil sounds. I had no trouble getting into that.

Coming up at Somerset house.

View from Somerset house at Dusk

 

https://www.somersethouse.org.uk/whats-on/mushrooms-art-design-and-future-fungi

It isn’t always ideal to go out walking in the winter and sometimes it’s better to curl up with a book; something I have picked up recently is an interesting read by Patti Smith.  A highly original book called Year of the Monkey which expresses thoughts while in a year of solitary walking, (not logical) a dreamlike visionary read. see my page- Good reads for further reads.

Or if you have to get out, How about a bit of Sky Watching?.

This is something I will get round to one of these days. A lot of the activities are during the week, in the Brighton/Lewes area. If you have the time, well worth a visit.

 

Moongazing on the i360 on 9 February.

 

This event in Lewes Sussex looks impressive. Glide up gently to 450ft in the futuristic glass viewing pod and enjoy views of the National Park and night’s sky, guided by Dark Skies expert Dan Oakley. The venue will be turning off the lights for an exclusive and extended 45-minute stargazing pod flight as part of this year’s Festival. While onboard there will be an opportunity to explore the views from the BAi360 pod through telescopes. Booking is essential. For more details see :

https://britishairwaysi360.com/event/dark-skies-festival-british-airways-i360/

Chelsea Physic Gardens is another place to visit and cheer the soul on a bleak winter day.

Check out their heralding spring event starting 25/01/2020- 2nd February. It’s a short window, but check out their other events.

Cactus in Greenhouse at Physic Gardens

 

DENHAM TO RICKMANSWORTH (LINEAR) - 
BUCKINGHAMSHIRE

This was the first walk of the year Denham Village and golf course along the Grand Union Canal and Colne Valley Trail to Pynesfield Lake then along the Hillingdon Trail with some inclines through fields and woods with stiles, to Rickmansworth. We stopped for lunch at the Coy Carp pub alcohol-free of course! (Dry January for the 1st time ever)

It’s only about 30 minutes outside of London and has a great nature resort. Only last week Chris Packham was protesting about the plans to build the HS2 line through this area. Jonathan Pie in the video below sums it up! 

https://www.facebook.com/JonathanPieReporter/videos/948717915459274/

It does have a fantastic nature reserve and I can’t imagine they are just going to go direct through that! Are they?

HAPPY LADY /COLD DOG ON CANAL

I aim to do at least one 'official' walk with a walking group each month, and I hope to find some new walks this year.
For inspiration further afield
Why not consider a 7 day walking tour with 
the Ramblers?
 hhtps://ramblerslatest.com/1K7P-6O0O5-2CPUJYY2EB/cr.aspx

Next walk coming up is SATURDAY 1ST OF FEBRUARY
BENFLEET TO SOUTHEND-ON-SEA (LINEAR) - 

 

My friend Karen passed away this month, after a long battle with cancer. RIP Karen, you always remained positive and thanks for encouraging me to carry on walking and writing at times, when I felt like giving up.