Sep
2021

SEPTEMBER

 

 SEPTEMBER IN MONTCUQ

This  September is a potent month, I  have eventually managed to travel to see my mother who is now in a home a half hours drive from Montcuq. she is 80 and is in the late stage of alzheimers. I spend 6 days with her holding her hand and trying to give her some comfort as she visibly fades away. As well I turn 60 this september but don’t really feel like celebrating.

The lonely road ahead.

 

It’s a difficult time. In between visits, I go for short walks around the village and out of the village into the surrounding countryside.

I also visit the French / English Bookshop daily.

I take my lap top in there with the aim to  ‘sort out’ some writing, but I dont’ achieve much, That doesn’t really matter, it’s hot and I’m out of sorts. I buy a novel by Joyce Carol Oates called Breathe; which I hope will resonate with me. https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/authorpage/joyce-carol-oates.html 

I also get given a book by one of the local artists who lives in the village, It is called The death of Margaret Thatcher by Hilary Mantel; As well I also find a book in the house and start reading it;  the T’he story of Lucy Gault, by wIlliam Trevor.

FRONT ENTRANCE TO THE FRENCH/ENGLISH BOOKSHOP /CAFE/GALLERY

As my thoughts turn inwards, books start to seem special again to me.

I have sort of reached a point of intolerance to marketing/emails, online scams and general internet overload. retreating into other worlds is  especially appealing right now, in particular,  literature music and nature.

INSIDE THE GROUND FLOOR BOOK SHOP

SIDE ENTRANCE OF FRENCH/ENGLISH BOOKSHOP

SIGN FOR FRENCH /ENGLISH BOOKSHOP

BOOKSHOP SIDE ENTRANCE

ONE OF THE EMPTY ROADS I WALK ALONG WHEN IN MONTCUQ

WHICH WAY NOW? I DO A 3 MILE CIRCULAR WALK WHEN IN MONTCUQ THEN A STROLL ROUND VILLAGE LATER

I LOVE THIS POT, I WALK PAST IT ON MY CIRCULAR WALKS OUTSIDE OF MONTCUQ VILLAGE

 

BALES OF HAY, WALKING AROUND THE VILLAGE OF MONTCUQ

 

Animals and other friends

I always like to meet the local animals and have a quick chat they cheer me up.They can only be themselves and their lives are pretty basic they seem fairly content to me. One of the things I have noticed in the village is the amount of underfed semi feral cats around.

WHAT YOU LOOKING AT!!!

FERAL KITTEN OUT PROWLING..

NEW BORN CALF WITH IT’S MOTHER

THE ROAD TO WHO KNOWS WHERE.

 

I try a couple of different walks this time and decide to pop into the hostel for walkers which is just about a 10 minute walk outside the main village. Having known the previous owner, a friend of the family, it seemed to be ok to venture over there. My understanding was the new couple were English. They were a lovely French couple but their English was as bad as my French; so the conversation was short and sweet.

http://www.lesouleillou.com

The hostel  is popular among hikers who mainly pass through on walking  “The way!’,  otherwise known as a The Camino de Santiago’ Lots of hikers pass through the village daily, en route.  It is something I may do someday in memory of my mother.

Alzheimers is an awful disease and so little is known about it. Research is vital and I would try and do another fundraiser further on down the line.

https://santiagoways.com/en/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIpJDUo6mX8wIViLbtCh0xbA9qEAAYBCAAEgKjKfD_BwE

 

see my recommended reading page for more books about walks.

Writing about walking and things along the way.

Micro- adventures

Walking holidays are hugely popular in France but people especially of a working age are looking for random adventures. Reading an article in a local  newspaper for the English living in France, it explores the growing trend among Parisians, looking for different landscapes.

Coming up this weekend

walking from Faversham to whitstable.

I have done this walk before and it is precisely because I know and like it that I’m doing it again.

Until next time keep on keeping on.

 

 

 

Aug
2021

Margate

 

A day out in Margate with a few twists & turns

After a month of so many twists & turns, it is a wonder I hadn’t lost the plot completely. Lets put it this way, I was close to the edge. ( I will spare you the details!) Of course I needed a walk. I booked a return from BROMLEY SOUTH TO WESTGATE ON SEA, but ended up in Margate The plan was to walk from Westgate on Sea to Margate, but for some reason the train didn’t stop at Westgate- on Sea, I must double check the train timetables for next visit, some go to Westgate some don’t but I’m sure I booked for that particular train. Anyway I got out at Margate instead.

The first sight when coming out of Margate Train /station. Pretty it aint.

 

I planned to have lunch and then go the Turner Gallery. My favourite cafe told me, the two meals that I actually liked were both off the menu. A couple of doors down, there was a small coffee type place that did a vegan brunch which was nice enough; avocado with a bean type tomato dish. http://margatecoffeeshed.co.uk/

I am currently taking supplements and take one at lunch time as a routine, somehow it missed my mouth and dropped on the floor and rolled away, I have no idea where it went!! never to be seen again. Was this day going to improve any time soon? I did so need a half decent day out.

Let me get off my chest, it’s been a testing time.

Someone had come into work with cover 19.  I was told to go home in the middle of my working day and not come back until the 23/8 only to be texted at the weekend to be told to come in on Monday,  16/8. I returned half an hour early for work, on 16/8 and I was  told to go back home again until the 23rd.

A job I had applied for and had given up on, decided to offer me an interview on the date I had a planned trip. Having booked the train ticket in advance, I had to make a choice, the interview or a day out!  When I went on line, I realised I had booked the train ticket for the wrong day, anyway! So what the hell. !

Lunch done and dusted I wondered around Margate Shops wondering when my luck was going to change.

shops around Margate

Love Lane, I have mentioned Love walk many times so this is the partner street ‘perhaps.! Nice to call something Love Lane or Love Walk.

 

If you like local ales, ciders and wine you can’t go wrong here.

I booked a slot at The Turner Gallery, before my visit, but as I hadn’t walked from Westgate on Sea, was an hour early. They were fine about that. 

What a pleasant surprise- in all honesty I had totally forgotten which exhibition was on,  I hadn’t really cared -I just wanted to do something. The theme of one of her exhibits  was called The Disappointed Tourist. (which felt fairly fitting!) I didn’t take any pictures of that exhibit, but did take a couple from her other collection. Tiny miniature landscapes onto everyday places such as garbage cans and old mailboxes.

We live in a world that often feels as thought it is vanishing before our eyes. Places we love disappear. Places we have hoped to visit cease to exist. The forces of war, time, ideology, greed and natural disaster are constantly remaking places that we love but cannot control or save”- Ellen Harvy

 

https://www.disappointedtourist.org

 

miniature landscape paintings on everyday objects, in NYC around Williamsburg and Brooklyn.

After the exhibition I decided I might as well walk to Broadstairs, and took some pictures along the seafront.

 

It wasn’t till I got close up I knew who this was, at first I thought he looked like that Irish guy from a chat show, but it’s David Attenbourgh.

 

In your face a load of graffiti.. This is Margate.

 

Wild large yellow dandelions..

Brave swimmers. I wonder how cold it was.

 


As I walked merrily along the nature reserve and approached a main road, near Kingsgate Bay, I decided to shoot down into an off track route. I had mistaken it for a shortcut which was in reality, further en route. After walking alone for 15 minutes with no signs in sight,  I realised it was the wrong road. It was an awful feeling until,  I saw someone walking towards me who looked like a rambler.  Relived I stopped him to ask him about the route.

He explained the way I was going was the long way round, but I could get to Broadstairs that way. I was then stuck between walking back to Broadstairs along a lonely pathway the long way or with a complete stranger.

 

So down the long lonely track I trudged- in what seemed like for ever!.

The messenger,  had told me two things that stuck. Look for Reading Road on the left and donkeys on the right! No donkeys were in sight in any part of this journey! but eventually I  found Reading road. where there was signs of life and a woman answered my question about getting to Broadstairs, who directed me to the train station basically.

Before I arrived at the Railway Station, I did go all round the houses

Google announced me arriving at my destination. Feeling seriously pissed off, I backtracked to the main road near an industrial area and walked down some track adjoined to a kids play area and arrived at the back of the station. At this point I was beyond weary.

Resisting the lure of the many new craft type bars en route, I headed down to the sea front for some air. I got a fix of  energy from a delicious smoothie and granola bar.

https://www.namaka.co.uk/ 

 

UNTIL next time keep on keeping on

 

Writing about walking and things along the way.

see my good reads page for book recommendation.

Tell me about a book you have read that inspires you.

Leave a comment, share a view.

 

 

 

Jul
2021

Two walks in June

Two walks in June a step in the right direction

I’m amazed how many people have asked how the walking is going during lockdown!. Two walks in June outside of London felt like a bit of a break. I was getting out of my ‘comfort zone’; or should I say, uncomfortable zone. The first walk was in  Cambridge,  my second was from Seaford to East Dean. In truth I had more than two walks in June, but only two out of London. I’m always walking in London. Pretty much every day I walk in London.

It has been a while since I have ventured out on my own and apart from visiting Cambridge Cathedral about 20 years ago, I had no connection to the place. My budget was zilch, I managed to purchase a train ticket and walked out of the station towards the Botanical Gardens, then somehow navigated my way to Paradise Gardens.

I had dowloaded instructions from the Saturday Walkers Website. They were overly complicated at times but I persisted and found the River Cam at least…

The walks PDF version,  available from The Saturday walkers Website.https://www.walkingclub.org.uk

 

Saturday walkers have hundreds of free walks available.

They are useful if you don’t know a place, as all of the walks, have been well worked out and tested.  I only used the instructions for a brief reference. There was too much information and bits of history written in between the instructions. I wanted to see some countryside, that was all.  We were still in partial lockdown at this point and I didn’t feel like hanging out too much, I somehow managed to walk around 8 miles and visited a very expensive but beautiful orchard for a tea and scone!! https://www.theorchardteagarden.co.uk

I think further down the line, I would like to spend a night nearby and explore the fens a bit further out.

Free roaming cows on route to Grantchester Cambridge along the River Cam.

It was lovely to see the cows roaming freely, eating the leaves from the trees.

 

it is taking a long time for me to finish reading a book called The Secret Life of Cows by Rosamand Young, a Sunday times best seller. I only read it when on a train travelling to go out on rambles/walks. Those journeys have been lacking in the last year and the journeys too short. My interest in these creatures has become more curious. I still approach with care but I feel more confident in standing near them. Occasionally I write a book review for Good Reads, and Iwill add to my recommended reads. Reads about walking/roaming. 

I’m in the process of creating a book review page to go on Facebook -so will link that next time.

 

It wasn’t an especially warm day, in fact it was on the chilly side, yet plenty were swimming & sunbathing by the river.

 

Seaford nature reserve you know I love you

 

Misty Blue, sea and hazy sky, leaves me walking without a sigh, the bliss of solitude..

Weeds outlining the cliff top by the sea. I had missed this place. A perfect day for a walk as the temperature was cool and the atmosphere was misty

 

The cloud lifted slightly for a wee glimpse into a possible future…

Down by the creek I go, looking for my soul and my long lost friends..

I see something YELLOW..

Purple flowers wild on Seaford Reserve.

 

I know this Fishermans cottage is not for sale but I think I could live there.

like the Wild West down here.

A bouquet of wild flowers

It’s wild, it’s hazy, it’s moody, and no one is around.. Just as we like it.

 

The day ended at The Tiger Inn where a couple of cool drinks  was a welcome treat. sitting outside at the village Green.

Keep on keeping on.

 

 

 

Jun
2021

A weekend in the North East

I covered a lot of ground during my weekend in the North East.

HOLY ISLAND has been on my mind for a long time. I’m not sure why. I have been revisiting the North East my home land! for the last 10 years or more and during  my many weekends in the North East I never quite got that far.  It is far up as Berwick and Berwick isn’t that far from Scotland. I often think about spending a bit longer in the north East so I can visit all of my favourite places on the coast and that’s before I even consider spending some time up in Scotland.

Eventually I got to the Island thanks to a friend offering to drive up there. I will revisit another time and spend a lot more time roaming about which is my ultimate goal in life.

nature doing what it does well, ‘being there’. HOLY ISLAND

 

Holy Island/lindisfarne is something of an enigma. It can only be visited at certain times of the day, due to the tides coming in flooding the island.

https://holy-island.uk/visitor-information/

 

TAKEN BY JULIE WALKER -THE DEER PUT IN A BRIEF APPEARANCE..


THE KINGDOM OF NORTHUMBERLAND the mist hangs heavy over the land. We didn’t get to see much of Lindisfarne castle due to the fog hanging over.

PRYAMID USED IN THE PAST AS A LIGHTHOUSE FOR SAILORS.

Sand Dunes at Holy Island- I can imagine some of the scenes from the fantastic series The last Kingdom being played out here.

 

https://aelarsen.wordpress.com/2017/09/04/the-last-kingdom-the-background/

The last kingdom .. Going back a bit..

I LOVE DRIFT WOOD

 

 

We also visited the town of Bamburgh which was mega busy; that was even before Harrison Ford made it into town. He was all over the media, seen cycling around Newcastle. The film crew were shooting a film at Bamburgh castle. The Castle is worth a visit it is magnificent & situated right on the coast. Next time I visit I will make sure I visit. For a quick preview look at the link below.

https://www.bamburghcastle.com/

I  have spent many a weekend in the North East and each time it is a new experience.

This time it was a Bank Holiday weekend, each day I walked about 8 miles .Arriving Thursday I then headed to Newcastle upon Tyne quayside for a walk along the river to The Ousbourn valley.

We sat outside The Cluney in the sun sipping an alcohol free beer. It hosts two music venues and is situated in a valley along the River Ousbourn.

Many a good night has been had at this venue. saw such bands as Wire, the Rezillos and many more.

Further tales from the North east  can be read, in my post  written in 2018, Escaping the heatwave, the link is below.  It really should have been called Defining the North!  Venturing into Art and politics and trying to stay cool.

Escaping the heatwave

 

walking along The Ouseburn Valley . A rural retreat.

 

Newcastle Upon Tyne the cooperative Building.

Not everyone knows how magnificent some of the architecture is in Newcastle city centre. The arcade below has the best music shop in the world selling all musical instruments. Back in the 70s I used to go and listen to records in their listening booths.

As the sun shined brightly on Newcastle and the crowds were out, it made it difficult to do my ‘Vlog’  as intended.I had bought a harness type thing to put my iPhone in and unfortunately that didn’t quite work to plan.

Red swing bridge and Tyne Bridge behind it . Walking away from the centre.

 

A QUIET AFTERNOON WALK IN WYLAM

The bridge was originally built for the Scotswood, Newburn and Wylam Railway, to connect the North Wylam Loop with the Newcastle and Carlisle Railway.

 

The sun returned the mist and fog lifted and all was well in Wylam

Time ran away and as I headed back to Newcastle there was just enough time to get back and  go back out to have a meal with an old friend. The city centre was crazy. It being a Bank Holiday, the restrictions  had lifted and The ‘toon’ was in full blown party mode. However we managed to find a quiet mexican restaurant and had a fab meal without any dramas.

Next post I attempt a circular walk in Cambridge and head back to my favourite ramble along the Seven sisters.

UNTIL NEXT TIME, KEEP ON KEEPING ON

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May
2021

Farewell merry month of May

The weather in May has been somewhat mixed. Only recently we had showers of sleet.

Usually walking in May is one of the better months. I took THE 37 bus to Putney at the beginning of May and had a wee amble along the river. I got off at East Putney underground station; turning right onto the high street. The weather on this particular day in May wasn’t too bad. It was a bit windy but the sun was out at least.

Not so much a merry month but at least it’s May & Lockdown has now been eased somehow 

  There are three stations in Putney and a disused Network rail platform at East Putney. In use at present there is: East Putney Underground station on Upper Richmond Road then Putney station on the high street as well as Putney Bridge Underground station, the latter which takes you out at a really nice entrance near the river and the station I know best.

 

Once I got off the high street it wasn’t long before I was down by the river, one of my favourite places to be, but I have to say it folks – I’m not sure how many days like this in London will be around.

While ambling along the river.I came across a sign near the brewery at Mortlake, where it highlighted an ongoing campaign.  The area is under threat from corporate companies. To be able to amble along the river away from crowds is a true joy. Once it gets overdeveloped that won’t be possible. Even if you don’t know the area it’s worth taking a look at the plans and voicing your opinion if you have one.

https://www.mbcg.org.uk/what-you-can-do/

If the Major of London sells off these sites to Singapore investors, that is the end of  river walks., One of the few free pleasures in life.

Walk further up the Thames and you will be virtually knocked over by joggers. We don’t need more people living on the river…

Thames flooding

walking along the Thames without any bother from Business men!

 

Thames near Mortlake

somewhat flooded along The Thames Path

 

Putney

The tide is high at Putney

River Thames

walking along the river Putney

 

The launch of Great British Railway

Apparently the railways are ‘going back’ to being a public sector body. I’M NOT sure exactly what it means but I agree it needs an overhaul.

Over the years travelling on trains to get out for for walks; I have found that I have sort of got used to the split ticketing and crossing from one trainline -company to another. They ‘ are talking about having a fare system similar to the oyster pay as you go which is music to my ears.. lets connect and jump on and off the railways!!

May where spring pushes through the ground.

BRIGHT & CHEERFUL

BRIGHT & DANDY

 


A wee preview of what’s coming up.

Next post will be about my recent BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND VISITING Holy Island.. A night along the Tyne.. and much much more. At time of post I am returning on the great LNER railway to Kings Cross London.

 

My best walks in 2020