May
2017

Is it better to travel or arrive

BRIXTON TO MONTCUQ A 12 HOUR JOURNEY DOOR TO DOOR

Magic ward and fairy dust

 

Is it better to travel than arrive?!

I leave my building at 8.20am, where I walk briskly down Railton Road to Brixton Tube. As I got to the station, my heart sunk as I was confronted by 2 queues being controlled at the top of the stairs. ‘(crowd’ control!)  There are three staircases to the entrance at Brixton Tube Station, two going in and one for those coming out. There are considerably more want to go in than come out.

Some deviants try to escape the cattle like situation & huddle into a small lift, which is only big enough for about 4 people with suitcases. The scoundrels squeeze themselves in hoping to get to the platform without having to wait in line.

Arriving at Victoria Station, I was getting flustered at being diverted to a different exit. It was jam packed and claustrophobic. . I start to feel panicky in the crowd trapped under ground.

Further panic as I realised it wasn’t such a good idea trying to get on a peak time train to Gatwick with an off-peak train ticket. I managed to get away with it. I arrived at Gatwick, realised  in the nick of time Easy Jet who usually depart from South Terminal had changed to North Terminal. If they emailed me that information I overlooked it.

 

 Is it better to travel than to arrive.?

What is it with this part of the journey, you are at the gate with passport check/boarding pass & going on to the plane. You are told to put your handbag in your bag! Now walk 100 yards from here to the plane and take your bag out of your bag-

Oh for Christ’s sake I’m getting annoyed and flustered now. All said and done once I sat on the plane I was fine.

The Journey French/English

Funny as soon as I got to France all office politics and tedious concerns had dissolved. There is no point caring about things you cannot change, but to focus on the things you can. My extremly limited understanding of the French language is shown up at the ticket bureau in the airport.

Buying a return ticket for the airport bus to Toulouse. We have a bit of a situation. The guy could speak good English.I can sort of string a sentence in French with missing bits!

It was a sort of polite battle of wills as to who was going to lead the conversation. I will make the effort but if the guy can speak fluent English and is keen to do so who am I to argue.? The journey to Toulouse was easy the roads not crowded and I was there in no time.

My next hurdle is buying my aller simple  (Single ticket)to Cahors! I had it written down on a bit of paper but wanted to practice speaking.

There was some confusion the lady misunderstood my request for a simple aller Cahors with a simple Latour de Carol.

Although I might be able to ask for something in French, I can’t always understand what they are saying back. Unless they pronounce it clearly and speak slowly.

She printed a ticket out and I asked if this was the Paris Train or the train that goes to Brive? Apparently not. This train was not going to either of those places.

I knew something was wrong  Buried somewhere in my bag. I had this information written down, the exact time, price and train type.  The price of the ticket and train and where it was heading to. She was printing the ticket and I knew it wasn’t right. Eventually somehow, I revived my bit of paper. she reimbursed me with the correct ticket. Not too much tutting or disapproval expressed no harm done.

Better to travel than arrive.?

RL Stevenson original quote

“Little do ye know your own blessedness; for to travel hopefully is a better thing than to arrive, and the true success is to labour.”It is ultimately expressing that to live in hope and anticipation is more exciting than arrival.

Taoists also believed the journey is as important as arriving. Life is a journey. There’s a lot of talk these days about people being on journeys but usually people are waffling on about their careers or path to success.

I doubt  this has much to do with any real journey of Taoist Wisdom, travelling far and wide.!  Modern travel these days has about as much romance in it as a Brussel Sprout, it feels more like being on a conveyer belt.

Brixton to Montcuq Door to Door about a 12 hour journey

SPICES AT THE MARKET MONTCUQ

The Poplar Tree

Once fertilized, female catkins develop into fluffy cotton-like seeds, which fall in late summer. It was unseasonably warm this weekend in May, so perhaps this is happening earlier than  usual. I had gone on a little walk out of the village and all this was streaming through the tree from a great height & sounded like gentle rain, it was quite magical, but I didn’t have my camera to make a video. Returning later in the day it had all settled.

w

Magic wands and fairy dust

 

Sienna a keen budding photographer, as well as a great Hip Hop Dancer.

Sienna Taking pictures in the village

Lots of stray cats in village, this one didnt’ look too bad though. Probably been in a few scraps..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Apr
2017

Counting Steps

  A feast of walks, counting steps and getting there.

Counting steps has become a daily occurrence. I had bought a pedometer & tested it out walking from the lighthouse at Newhaven,to  South Shields That was a wee walk really, about 4 miles. When counting steps 10,000 steps is equal to about 4 miles.

Picture courtesy of Jan n Blue taken from their flat at Newcastle Quayside.

 

 Lunch was a real treat in the fantastic ocean road fish and chip shop. We were going to carry on walking & counting steps in Newcastle, later on that day.

Big Clouds you can almost touch

Marsden South Shields

 

It’s surprising how easy it is to clock up the miles & inspiring to see we had walked over 30,000 steps in a day.

I spent a lot of time just walking up and down the Quayside & visiting the Baltic http://www.balticmill.com/visit

(There’s always something new & interesting going on in there) followed by a walk in the City Centre & a quick  visit to Tynemouth we  had  clocked up about 12 miles.

Looking at Newcastle from The Baltic

 

 

Saturday 8th of April Berwick to  Lewes walk

www.ordnancesurveymap.com https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk

 I now had both maps downloaded  as the area bordered on two maps & I  brought along the newly acquired physical Hastings Map, which had some of the walk and the second part was on the map I had left behind. Although both of them were downloaded on the phone, the battery was running down rapidly.

In the middle of the country it is very easy to get lost. There is very little in terms of signposts and landmarks. Without a map for guidance it is useless.

Future tips for walkers

  • If the walk overlaps on two separate walks, bring both maps’
  • Make sure to have a portable charger , fully charged, and an external socket to use on the train.
  • Have plenty of pockets with zips. I lost my Network rail card on this walk. This meant I had to buy another ticket to get back to London.

In the country

This is not just going for a walk, this is trying to navigate a walk.  The intention is to get to know the area,  so I can lead a new walk.  At this point my loyal companion & occasional walking partner, summoned up his inner scout & he happily took the lead with the one paper map.

Just get us to our destination.!

‘The Mole’ Man & Map… like tea & toast!!

 

An empty road, a sight for sore eyes.

 

We arrived safely back in Lewes feeling somewhat spaced out.

Arriving at our local pub in Lewes,The Lansdowne. We spent a happy couple of hours in true troubadour style drinking a few beers ;with some rock n roll soundtracks playing from the jukebox, to keep us going.

THE FOLLOWING WEEK, I HAD GOT OVER MY MISADVENTURE, 

Ready for action and to get out again on a coastal walk. No map was needed for this walk. The path was clear and for a change, there were no engineering works, no strikes,

Starting from Seaford it’s not long before you’re going up the cliffs and it’s as vigorous as I remember.

The golf course seems to have cut in to some of the cliff top at Seaford Nature Reserve. this isn’t good for us walkers. We managed to walk it in good time though and had great weather.

Seaford looking towards The Seven Sisters

 

We had a rest in The Tiger Inn, East Dean Village.The sun wasn’t really strong enough to just sit outside, so  a quick bus took us back to Seaford, to have a quick drink before catching the train home.

After the last walk, we were well happy to have had a relatively easy day out. I was greeted by a surprise as I got back home which really made my day.

Looking back at the Sea coming off the Seven Sisters

 

The return of my Network Rail Card

I enjoyed the journey home and got back to Herne Hill about 8.30pm. There was a small jiffy bag waiting for me in the hallway. I didn’t recognise the writing and my name was mispelt,the postcode was  also incorrect.

It was my Travel card holder : with my  Network card, unused return ticket, and Ramblers Membership card. Tucked in side was  a wee note to say it had been found.

I was thrilled, someone had found them  & had taken the time to find my address – none of the cards had my address on.

Walking towards East Dean

 

I have since posted back a thank you card and put in a packet of 1st class stamps. It’s always nice when someone does something kind. 

Until Next time Keep on Keeping On. I’m leading my annual walk along The Seven Sisters today. I may well do it again later in the year if they are short of walk leaders.

 

Mar
2017

Exploring East Sussex

Exploring East Sussex

I have been exploring East Sussex, ever since joining a walking group. Armed with my  OS LANDRANGER map 198, I set off. Although straightaway it’s clear that wasn’t going to be adequate. The map  covers some of Brighton and some of Lewes; it went as far as Firle; but not as far as Charleston House -which is sort of where I wanted to go. You might understand I am still getting the hang of maps.

Looking through the window of closed pub in Glynde

No service today.

 

Weather wise it was a bit grey and looking bleakly overcast.  I had visited a few weeks earlier; it had been snowing so this climate was an improvement.

I was recognising land marks and getting my bearings in the area. The village cafe was also closed until 17th of March. It would have been nice to have had a tea break and look at my map, the reward for my efforts  was sit on a wall by the bus stop to rest my feet.

The answer is blowing in the Wind my friend

 

Since a young age, my instinct was to get up and explore. I moved on a regular basis so was keen to get to know the areas I moved to.

I was used to going off for walks without a definite destination. (maybe it’s called drifting )My  vague plan to day, was as good as it got.

On this day out, I got as far as the end of glynde village, uncertain as to how to get across the A27 without getting run over.

It was another 5 miles to Charleston. It seemed easier to get the train to Glynde next visit and walk to Charleston house from there. Or an alternative plan would be to take a train  to Charleston House (is there a train to Charleston house)? and walk back to Lewes which is about 8.5miles.

Frogs, cows and other friends of mine!

frogs mating near Lewes South Downs

Real cute frogs having a go!

 

Whilst out on the South Downs, I was on my own and not making any noise I just stuck my head over the railing and these sweet frogs swam towards me,

 

There were quite a few of them swimming about. It was obviously the mating season. . Confirmation that there is so much wildlife ‘out there’ not something we are aware of living in cities.

Many years ago a frog did manage to get into my garden at Railton road once and was living in a big glass jar that had been lying empty in the garde some time, it was a thrill but a short lived affair!

Being out in nature walking alone gives me time to unwind and let my thoughts run free. Returning from my walk heading towards the Golf club and just about to walk out of the downs back into Lewes, this dear creature waddled slowly towards me.  Really cool.

Animal Welfare

Testing products on animals is one thing I am totally against; as well as factory farming. I walked through the field looking at the cows wondering what sort of life they had, they seemed content from what I could sense. They were out in the fields grazing.

On returning home I eventually worked out how to redeem my code to download the ordinance survey map onto my phone .I  was about to buy my return ticket for the following week to Lewes to continue my walk, engineering works were scheduled for the next three weeks in the area.

Engineering Works

It just puts a spanner in the works. It makes the day too long. Lewes is near Brighton, getting to Lewes from Brixton is a two-hour journey each way. Add on engineering works, & any other diversions, makes for a tedious day.

Off to Newcastle 1st of April.

 

Feb
2017

Destinations & Travel

It’s good to be inspired. I recently attended Destinations & Travel show, at Olympia.

This was my first visit to the Destinations and Travel show . I will definately go again.  I found it was interesting listening to Nicholas Crane speak at The Stamford Writers stage about how he researched and wrote his latest book.  Most people will have seen him on the BBC series Coast.  He was an impressive speaker. His talk covered about 5,000 years in 40 minutes. Not an easy task.

The making of The British Landscape

Guardian review 30/09/ 2016 (extract from The Making of The British Landscape)

“The first “little ice age” hit around 6700BC. About 500 years later, a huge North American lake broke through its dam and dumped such a huge amount of fresh water into the Atlantic that the Gulf Stream shut down. Temperatures plummeted, trees died, sea water pushed into rivers and Britain’s landscape changed again. Only 200 years later – a geological blink – a tsunami crashed over Doggerland. Britain became an island and isolated”-

  Exploring the British Isles and beyond

Finding further inspiration to get out and explore the island that I live on.

Julie Bradbury has a current show on ITV, where she walks along some of the most picturesque landscapes in Britain.  Her walks are always on a perfect summer’s day!  Interesting  & picturesque without being excessively long or difficult. See below for the link to the fabulous Julia Bradbury.http://www.theoutdoorguide.co.uk/

Getting to know Lewes and the surrounding areas.

I may not have a team of experts behind me but that’s not going to stop me having a go. I’m getting better organised than ever. Considering my previous chaotic existence this is quite an achievement. !

Sheep spaced out on a Snowy day in Lewes/South Downs, Sussex

Lewes Sussex has been an area I have been venturing into on and off since joining a walking group, I now want to make my mark and learn to lead walks in this area. 

A friend from the South Bank Ramblers Group came along with me on a bleak mid winter’s day. I wasn’t sure where to start and had a few maps with ideas, but opted just to go the tourist office in the high street.http://www.lewes.gov.uk/tourism/

We kept it short as it was freezing we did a return from Lewes to the foot of Glynde and back again, then a brief walk around the town to the castle. We were rewarded with a fantastic vegetarian breakfast.
Laporte’s a French Café /Wholefood shop in Lansdowne Place Lewes. (Sadly closed down shortly after this post)

It really was the bleakest of days. We stopped to have a swift half while waiting for the train.  The pub is a five-minute walk from the railway station.

We walked over the bridge, where I noticed the cloud parted slightly, the glowing full moon in the day time sky glimmered like a jewel.

I frantically struggled to switch my phone on & then the same clouds closed like a pair of curtains! If you look very carefully by enlarging the picture you will see a bright white cloud, closing back over the moon.!

Until next time, keep on keeping, more adventures from me at the end of March .

 

Jan
2017

Guildford to Godalming

 Guildford to Godalming

This was probably just one of thost things, but trying to book for the programmed walk Guildford to Godalming, was off the scale in terms of having some kind of mental deadlock! The walk was a doddle in comparison to planning it! A breeze in fact, less than it’s printed 6.5 mile description.  Last weekend in between planning for a job interview I decided I was going to do this walk, & buy the ticket in advance as you do.

It had been a hard week, I needed a walk, & some fresh air, no question about that. I checked in the South Bank newsletter for details of a walk on Saturday and found the Guildform to Godalming walk to be a short enough and near enough walk to manage. 

 

Breaking Ice

Sometimes it just gets confusing

The newsletter & on-line South Bank Website said to  buy a return to Godalming and get the 9.30am getting off at Guildford  meeting at 10.15am on the 21st of January.  I typed in London Waterloo to Godalming  9.30am. I’m looking but there isn’t a 9.30 train! to Godalming. I called one of the leaders. Yes she tells me, the train is at 9.30am, she is looking at the website and she can see it, she sends me the link.

 

I tell her I’m looking at it too and there is no 9.30am train from Waterloo to Godalming. Something vital is missing in this conversation, but neither of us have a clue what.!

 

God damn it where the hell is Godamling anyway? It must be on the GUILDFORD LINE. Well it is but the 9.30am train from Waterloo isn’t going there, BUT  a train at 9am is going to Godalming, another at 10am and so on every hour.I can’t  buy a return from Waterloo at 9.30am to Godalming that stops at Guildford.  Fact.

I have to buy a return to Guildford and a single ticket form Godalming to  Guildford. For those of you still reading, (tell me about it!) please check this out!

How to pronounce Godalming! 

Elocution lesson  of the day folks.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eoh53gOFDXk

 

Guildford to Godalming

 

Well as you can see it’s a walk along the river just under a 2 hour walk. In hindsight perhaps I should have looked it up. The way I look at it though, is the Leaders are organising it, I’m just following. My job is to buy the ticket and join in! I am accredited walk leader but I simply don’t know the Surrey area.

It was a short but sweet walk.

We watched a swan take off in full flight along this river, a magnificent sight. I thought about taking a snap shot but it happened so unexpectedly I let it go.

Sweet Bridge en route to Godalming!

 

It was over far too quickly and I left the group at Farncombe Surrey. A bunch of the group wanted to have lunch at midday. The rest sat by the river to eat a packed lunch. I decided to split & I carried on to Godalming alone.

 

Guildford Swan Lake