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, with the sun beating down on my head.

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, see old post Hiking along the Jurassic Coast

Jurassic coast

 

Last year I was also preparing to lead meet up groups as a tour/walk leader.

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. Perhaps another time see one of my old posts. 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/

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.

 

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. 

https://www.hadleighfarm.org.uk

Hadleigh Park Cafe was a good stopping point, there were 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 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 friend of over 30 years 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.! 

It would be good to 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 had a little shot of leading some urban guided walks in London last year. See Revisiting Camden

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.

 

 

Buy me a coffeeBuy me a coffee

 

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 Millenium 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

I love a little night time read 

Patti Smith has written a highly original book called Year of the Monkey which is a year of solitary walking, (not logical) a dreamlike visionary read. see my page- Good reads for further reads.

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.

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!
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 walkin 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

SATURDAY 1ST OF FEBRUARY
BENFLEET TO SOUTHEND-ON-SEA (LINEAR) - 
for further details see my walks coming up page
Up & Coming Walks Page

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Stargazing extravaganza returns to South Downs National Park

Dec
2019

My best walks in 2019

 Looking back through Pictures & My best walks in 2019

My best walks in 2019 seemed to be mainly in the first half of the year and dwindle somewhat once summer arrived.

I spent April and May on the South Coast practicing walking from  Eastbourne to Seaford & over the Seven Sisters. It’s a great training ground and stood me in great stead for some very steep hills along the Jurassic Coast the following month.

Walking towards Eastbourne, as the hail started. I walked the 14 miles to Seaford. This coastline is a magnificent training ground.

 

WALKING THE JURRASIC COAST

Map of Jurassic Coast

We were starting our first day walking around Kimmeridge. The first day we covered about 20 miles of the coast, a brilliant open space.

The second day was slightly shorter but we had some incredibly steep hills to climb,  it was tough. The walk finished at  Duddle Door. I think of the British Isles as a small area until I get to the coast, and start walking! 

Over two days we covered about 35 miles approximately. I guess the whole coast could be walked in over a week. Seven days should do it.  It takes preparation, but weather permitting the walk is doable

for further details see.www.jurassiccoast.org 

https://www.visit-dorset.com/things-to-do/durdle-door-p1262763

I was the only one on the walk raising funds for War Child. There were are a few others raising money for different charities.

It was May the weather was good. We were really lucky to have two days of clear sky. I had raised £550.00, now all I needed to do was put one foot in front of the other & follow the leader.

 I felt proud to have completed the walk and wondered afterward what I had been so worried about. 

BLUE HAZE. People from the group taking a break on a hilltop

 

Camden Walk, from victorian art to punk rock

Back in London, I was rediscovering Camden. Having started a Meetup Group towards the end of 2018. I loved exploring and finding out more about the area and connecting the past to the present. My walk was a sort of literary art/rock n roller theme led walk. It was a short-lived experience, but interesting nevertheless.

 

Camden Canal

I think I enjoyed the organizing, preparation, and discovery of creating the walk more so than the meet up itself.

I had created a walk which was about 1 hour and a half.  Starting at Mornington Crescent, with what I lovingly knew as the Music Machine, where I spent a lot of time in my early 20’s.

Five minutes from there,  round the corner, we stopped at Walter Sickert’s `old digs’-He was a famous Victorian artist, who had painted for a living and was part of the Camden Collective. see my blog, A week in politics is a very long timeSPENCER -GORE

His name has been slandered by Patricia Cornwell the crime writer, as she has spent millions to prove he was Jack the Ripper. The top crime experts dispute this claim.
PIC OF TOWN CRIER IN FULL OUTFIT

OLD FASHIONED TOWN CRIER

mural of Amy Winehouse

AMY WINEHOUSE mural at Camden Market Entrance see my post Revisiting Camden

Revisiting Camden

By August I had given up on the Urban Led Walks as a Meet Up Group.

I carried on walking along the river and embankment on Sundays,  It’s surprisingly quiet along Chelsea embankment and Pimlico.

Hungry Seagulls coming in-land for food

Seagulls along the embankment

 

Another intriguing day was The walk to the house that Grayson Perry designed.  

Manningtree was mostly in the countryside, we also walked along the estuary which was eerily serene. Storm Hannah was there in the distance, at times kicking the sand up into our faces and giving the trees a good shake. No serious damage was done.

The mural at the train station near Grayson perry’s house MANNING TREE

Grayson Perry designed this house and can be rented out by signing up for a lottery. My name came up a couple of times, but unfortunately, I did not have a couple of thousand pounds to spare to treat my loved ones!

The house that Grayson Perry built

Another place I have been revisiting is the North East; born in South Shields and I  moved to Newcastle upon Tyne aged four; then left for London at 17. I never get tired of taking pictures of the magnificent bridges.

The Magnificent Tyne Bridge, view at night.

 

This bird picture, somewhat out of focus is one of my favorite pictures. The Cormorant birds are making a comeback. Only recently I saw a flock of them hanging out on a barge at the Chelsea Embankment. Previously I knew little of this bird and when I looked it up, it stated they loved fishing. That’s why this is one of my favorite pictures.
The cormorant

No fishing allowed!

 

The last of the Summer wine.!

These thistles stood out to me when walking in Kent, it was towards the end of the summer and a very hot day.  We were lucky to have a little breeze, the apples were bright red, good enough to pick from the tree and eat.  Walking through the orchards they looked beautiful. We walked about 10 miles that day in the heat.

Wild, n dry Thistle, Oare, Kent.

MAKE HAY WHILE THE SUN SHINES

Last but not least. THE ISLE OF WIGHT in September -my other favorite month for being outdoors

I eventually had a few days out in September in The Isle of Wight. It was worth the wait, we had four days of blue sky and warm enough to be out all day. I would visit again for sure.

 

Coming out from a 4-mile walk  in the woods, this was the first sight at Ventnor

Near Freshwater Isle of Wight

Hammersmith Mid week.

Back to reality. Work has taken over and after a dismal job interview, I decided to treat myself to lunch by the river. The sky was vast & the river wide. It felt great to sit upstairs out on a balcony looking out at the scenery.

The year is now over and more adventures to start again in 2020

I’m up for the challenge of Dry January. See the Blog Post here if you are interested.

Until then Happy New Year 2020.