Walking the walk


I have been walking the walk for a long time now.

& 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. Walking the walk and talking the talk, is basically just doing it. You don’t need a clock to tell the time and you don’t need an i PHONE to monitor your every move.

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.






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.




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 my 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.

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.


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











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. We came to Bethlem Royal Hospital to find out more. We found little evidence of ‘Bedlam’ in the hospital ground.

Further into the tour, in the museum of the mind, there was much to discover. Firstly we enjoyed a tour around the grounds.

Walking through the grounds of Bethlem Royal Hospital.

Into the grounds

walking through the grounds fallen leaves and serenity.


A Guided Tour

I’m sure we have all used the term ‘bedlam’ and not really understood it’s origins. hospitals were nicknamed Bedlam, it is derived from the name the Bethlehem hospital now known as Bethlem.

Originally the hospital was near Bishopsgate just outside the walls of the City of London, then moved outside of Moorfields in the 17th century.  It moved to St George’s Fields in Southwark in the 19th century. It’s final destination involved moving to  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 the patient’s safety is put first. Patients on medication may well wander off.  It seems a pity, that they can’t find a way 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 Vast 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.


Getting to Monks Orchard Road

 The nearest train station is Eden Park and to get to Monks Orchard Road where Bethlem Hospital is located, is only a ten-minute walk. Further information below.



Woodland at Bethlem Hospital.

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



In the main entrance of the building in the foyer, you can see the two statues, Melancholy and Mania. The two sides of depression. One is introverted the other is angry and aggressive.

Calius Gabriel Cibber iconic statue

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. It was interesting to learn he had been a resident at this institute.

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 artifacts and interactive media displays to get engaged with. 


The museum shows the patients’ journey from madness to cure. There has always been an argument about how to deal with patients experiencing mania or suicidal tendencies. The Space allows you to reflect on those cures or restraints 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.


To book tickets for the Bethlem Hosptial tour online go onto


States of Mind

Another blog where I investigate the states of mind exhibition at the wellbeing museum, I discover more interesting facts.

Until next time keep on, keeping on.



Revisiting Camden

Revisiting Camden, & finding new places.

I say I have been Revisiting Camden, as it’s a place I used to frequent a lot. As well in the early ’90s, I  studied at North London University in Kentish Town as a mature student. I used to go to a lot of gigs there. Going back there and getting the idea to lead a walk in the area felt exciting. I was also going there to writers meet up group. (sadly not there any longer.)


picture of me taking a picture

I drink, therefore I am, a pun on JPS I think therefore I am, self-reflection in a window.

After Revisiting Camden, I started revisiting the Chelsea library again!. 

I  love Chelsea  I used to work there on Old Church Street. The Kings Road, however, is still pretentious. Researching though is an enjoyable process, researching and reading up on the history of Camden.  A haven for Artists, Writers, Musicians, Historians. 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. The case is in fact not closed as further evidence has been discovered. 


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.


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 1940s, virtually desolate in the early 1970s 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.

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.






 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.





From Literary Camden to 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.  (see page 29 on the link below)


Last Saturday of November I will be joining the’ Bedlam Walk. ‘

A historical tour set in the grounds of the Bethlem Royal Hospital.






September Coastal Walks

SEPTEMBER is my favourite month as we try to capture the last of the remaining summer.

Taking a train from Victoria we wanted to venture out to the coast using my 1/3 travel ticket before it expires in October. We walked from  LITTLEHAMPTON to WORTHING. Great to get out in the fresh air and away from London.  Starting from leaving the house to returning, the whole day walk was about 12 miles. This was an easy but long walk. We admired some of the houses along the coast line, considering what type of house we might like to live in if money wasn’t an issue!

A linear walk along the coast.

coastal picture sea, sky, space

Big sky open space, just what the doc ordered.


The little Haven South Shields

Staying at the Little Haven at South Shields we were fortunate with the weather, as well as being upgraded to the Marco Polo Penthouse Suite.

Travelling up  on The Grand Central Train to Sunderland, it can work out cheaper going to Sunderland instead of Newcastle and then just taking the metro for a few quid. We got to the hotel  on the Wednesday evening in time for  a shower and went out in the evening for a quick drink in The Harbour Lights. All the better for the recently installed full length windows ensuring a great view. 

After a swift half, we headed down to the famous Ocean road for a meal. We sampled one of the many Indian restaurants, Zeer Cuisine. It was beautifully decorated and the service was fabulous. I sampled a vegan menu, with a selection of various dishes.  A very relaxing evening to set us up for the following day’s walk.


The following day we walked to Seaburn from South Shields.



There was hardly a soul in sight, only a few cyclists and dog walkers.


We were fortunate with the fantastic weather & beautiful blue sky’s all day.

Catching the bus back to South Shields we took a bus to the Market Place and checked out the Ferry Timetable. Then walked up to the Ocean Road.

After a delicious fish and chips from the famous Coleman’s fish and chip restaurant. A popular place where it is written up on the  board which boat the fish came in!.  After the feast, we needed a couple of hours to rest in the Penthouse.! We were startled by a loud horn, and this beautiful ship cruised by.

We were back up with a spring in our steps. A brief shower followed the cruise liner, as we watched it heading into a big black cloud. Looking out from our balcony overlooking the sea, it was an artists dream to see the ever-changing cloud formations.The brief rain only made the air feel fresher as we ventured back out to sample a few pubs.

A sight for sore eyes! cruising past the hotel

Going going gone….


There is a rich history in this part of town with the docks, river and sea.  


Starting at The Lawe Top in the Harbour lights pub , we first stopped at the two cannons (which according to Newcastle Chronicle are replicas captured from the Russians during the Crimean War, as the originals were melted for amminution during World War 11.

We walked up and down a lot of stairs on this trip. There are many old steep staircases along & around the Lawe Top. Eventually two staircases down we were at the Quayside which was unrecognisable to me. As is everywhere near a river, renovations and new buildings everywhere.

We tried a half a beer in the Allum House pub situated next to the ferry. Then ventured over to The Steamboat situated by the Tyne close to the Customs house Arts centre. It served hand pulled beers in a cozy lit atmospheric bar ; saturated with paraphnellia ranging from Lobster pots to scarves and flags. It was a great pub  with a fantastic jukebox, we could have stayed longer but had run out of cash and they weren’t accepting cards . We found a few places that only accepted cash in the area.


shadow on wall


We had one more for the road at the end of ocean road, and eventually found some room for a sandwich back at the hotelOn The Friday we took the ferry to North Shields to discover a lot of new restaurants had opened up and we enjoyed a lovely walk along the promenade to Tynemouth.

We considered walking to St Marys Lighthouse but as we were going out into Newcastle later in the evening, decided against it. WE kept it simple,& had an amble around Tynemouth before heading backto North Shields for our lunch returning on the ferry to the flea market at South Shields

Last but not least, as always it’s great to be back in my home town Newcastle and go out to a restaurant down near the river and visit the Tyne Bar & Baltic. Then back to Sunderland to catch a train back to Kings Cross. I could have done with one more day in Newcastle. Maybe next time

Coming up in October my new walking group and the Belam Walk. Watch this space for further details.

I can’t explain my feet Ad Hoc Walking Group

London, GB
91 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 →


You gotta serve somebody- Bob Dylan



Last month, when walking along the cliff tops in Northumberland. during the beginning of the heat wave, I took some pictures using the old camera. It was a couple of weeks later when I saw them in Islington. It makes me feel very happy, to see them. Returning to London the heat wave was to intensify. Looking back, a lot has happened. If only I had stayed longer.

Northumberland, Craster coastline

Stunning scenery in Northumberland  

waves crashing on cliffs

Blue sea rugged cliffs, June 2018 Northumberland

Old friends (eh not so much of the old,!) go back a long way…  from Newcastle & South Shields enjoying the sunshine


looking at you, looking at me

Handsome cliff side sheep


Politics/Unite, Angel-Islington & Farringdon, London

On a recent UNITE REP course situated between Angel and Farringdon, I found this little spot by the Canal to sit in at lunchtime. No matter what I’m doing or where I am, I usually find hidden spots. The Unite Course was intense for a whole week, so finding a bit of space was heaven.

Although I haven’t had the time to go on any organised walks lately, I’m still walking a lot.

Clocking up the steps

Walking from My house to Herne Hill and from  Farringdon Station to the Unite Office; I then usually visited Upper Street Islington for lunch and walked back to Farringdon at the end of the day to take the train, this all clocked up about 5 miles a day. As well as walking at the weekend from Victoria to Blackfriars to the TATE MODERN  walking 8 miles. It all adds up.

five minutes from Angel Station

                                Regent Canal  Islington

Dave a Unite Rep told me this story

I love my walk to work. It’s about 7 kilometers and takes just over an hour.The first part of the trail is through the quiet back road, through a park,to the local area City Centre (Woolwich ).

Here I can jump on a bus (if running late) to work. It’s the highlight of my day; taking a bag of peanuts to feed the squirrels in the park. Where I can get my best ideas walking. Arriving at work my mind fully charged with ideas.


a chair a bridge an old boat and a cancal

Away from the main street was this little spot- Regents Canal Islington


As a Unite Rep Dave deals with drivers on a daily basis; who are dealing with poor health due to the job demands and lack of healthcare from the privately owned companies. It is a dog eat dog world & all he/we can do is fight for our rights for better working conditions. Helping ourselves is the first step towards freedom. Keeping on walking and getting the exercise as well as just seeing different places makes a whole load of difference to a mind that is filled with politics of one kind or another; be it office politics or general politics. There is no end to it all.

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