Jul
2020

I want to walk the world!

 

I aspire to walk the world across the hilltops! 

My plan was to start with a hillwalking course in Scotland. I wanted to develop my hillwalking skills and   Learn more about the great outdoors;  map reading and the geography of the area. My desire to walk the world has gone on hold. It will have to wait! 

The retreat I had planned to go was called Dhanasoka  It is a Buddhist retreat, and located in an old hotel facing a loch. it is a beautiful and tranquil spot.

Beautiful Lake

Increasingly frustrated from all of the cancelled events of the year, I looked for walks closer to home but wanted to walk somewhere new.

 One of the walk leaders in The South Bank Walking Group suggested a route I could do which was not off-limits. A manageable distance from Brixton/Herne hill.

 

Walking from Eynsford to Shoreham (Kent)

Walking from Eynsford to Shoreham Kent.

 

The walk started at Eynsford which is a pretty village in Kent, with a river running through it.

My first observation was that it was popular for cyclists.  One of the Ramblers had emailed me a  summary of the walk-in hand.  The first part was straightforward enough, we found the Roman Villa.Then forged ahead and came to Lullingstone Castle.

I’m not a big fan of visiting castles but will mention it anyway.  It is a historic family mansion frequented by Henry V11 (he got everywhere that one!) and Queen Anne, it also home of the World of Garden of Plants.

http://www.lullingstonecastle.co.uk

 

Following the walk ‘instructions’! left us perplexed at times.

 

‘follow the path from the centre by going near a hedge, to begin with!’Which path, what hedge? 

We backtracked to Lullingstone Park where we saw the Lavender fields.  At this point, I knew from my brief research that we were about two miles to Shoreham Station. We got there in the end and very lovely it was too. https://www.castlefarmkent.co.uk/pages/visit-us

East Dean to Seaford

Arriving at East Dean village, I headed to the Tiger Inn to use the available loo. The sign in the toilets read, 

“Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday and all is well.” 

I thought it was apt, as my anxiety had been difficult managing and I wasn’t sure about coming down to the coast.  Should I be doing this, aren’t we still in a pandemic? I don’t know anymore, I wore my mask on the train and sat alone.

Walking from East Dean to Cuckmere Valley is the easiest route which includes the Seven Sisters. I still clocked up over 8 miles. The downs were fairly empty, compared to the parks of London anyway. That was a welcome sight 

Sheep far up on the hilltop among the clouds.

Three sitting looking at the view out at the Seven Sisters

 

 It’s an easy walk from East Dean Village to Cuckmere Valley, and the walk includes the ups and downs of The Seven Sisters.

I always feel happy when I have reached Malcolm’s gate, the gateway to the seven sisters cliffs.

 

More Coastal walks

A good stretch for the old legs, and a view for the eyes

Heading back towards Cuckmere Valley

Cuckmere Valley

 

EXCEAT

I have been walking in this area for some years and always been confused as to why some people call the area around Cuckmere Valley, Exceat. Now I understand what they are referring to.  I eventually did my research to see what the story was.

Exceat as a village in East Sussex no longer exists but was located by the Seven Sisters Visitors centre in the Cuckmere Valley, between Friston and Seaford.

Some people still say Exceat for the area where The Seven Sisters Visitors centre! is situated. The village was founded in Saxon times hidden away from the weather in the valleys. The black death & subsequent raids by the French, led to the village being abandoned  & the area became part of West Dean. For more info on the area start with the link below.:

 https://www.sevensisters.org.uk

In my neighborhood

At last some sense from Lambeth council regarding the traffic in my neighborhood.  It has been officially recognised that there has been a 300% increase in speed since COVID 19compared to last year

The council has set up a low traffic neighborhood scheme diverting traffic away from Railton Road and adjourning roads off it. Anyone living in the area is being encouraged to join the action group. This is for a trial period of only 9-18 months and to make it permanent the council must by law, consult with all of us.www.LowTrafficActionGroup.org to join(highly recommended if you want to live in a great area: email: hello@LowActionTrafficGroup.org


I am looking into raising funds for Alzheimer’s, The organisation is underfunded & more money needs to be raised to help pay for research into this disease. I hope to manage to get that together this year if possible. I managed to raise £550.00 for War child last year, so I’m sure I can do something again.

Until then I should do at least one coastal walk in August.

Until then keep on keeping on.

 

 

 

 

Jun
2020

Newhaven to Cuckmere Haven

Venturing out into an eerie uncertain future, starting at Newhaven, we were faced with open space and sea.

We Walked from Newhaven to Cuckmere Haven. Newhaven is an old port town, from there you can take a ferry which crosses the channel daily, over to  Dieppe in France.

As we got to Newhaven Port we came across some very serious looking building work and thought it must be something to do with the ferry service.There is little else there, it is a rundown, industrial port, but I’m sure that is set to change.  I often have to travel to France, and this route might be an option. 

https://www.dfds.com/en-gb/passenger-ferries/ferry-crossings/ferries-to-france/newhaven-dieppe

It wasn’t long before we were at the sea.

 

solo person walks alone

Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away!

I think this is some sort of Sea Lavender, a very vibrant colour.

This yellow plant I’m not too sure about but could be Horseshoe Vetch, or bird’s foot trefoil. After this day, I eventually found an app that can detect the names of flowers, so soon I shall be an expert.

 

Sea kale, I do know of, and I love its strength and beauty; remote and wild.

 

I’m enjoying browsing through the collins complete guide to British Wild Flowers too, it is one of my book choices from last year. See my Reading section

Good Reads

I had to do a double-take here, as from afar I thought it was a monument, the ball of wool is loose with the scissors in the middle! 

 

monument to a knitter!

 

Cuckmere where the river meets the sea.

We walked onwards up to Seaford Point, where we came across a man playing the bagpipes, which is somewhat unusual.!

More usual and not something I was pleased to see was golfers playing up on Seaford Point. I will say no more on that subject for now. 

walking across Seaford cliffs towards Cuckmere Haven

 

After our climb to the top, We then headed down to Cuckmere Haven. At this point, you see The coastguard cottages facing the seven Sisters.

This was an important place for smuggling many years ago. Now it is a few walkers, appreciating the scenery. On this occasion, I gave the Seven Sisters a miss. It is a walk I have done on many occasions but just didn’t feel up to it.

Instead, I spent more time exploring the Cuckmere nature reserve. We saw wild birds such as the grey heron; as well as spring bunnies hopping over the fields surrounding the valley.

Apart from the wind blowing on our face the day out was a well needed welcome escape from the Corona Virus nightmare.

DRYING OUT DOWN AT THE VALLEY;
CUCKMERE

 

I only once tried to cross the foot of the river from Cuckmere beach up to Seaford side The tide was going out, & the water was deceptively fast.

I was leading a group at the time and we had walked down from the Seven Sisters and decided to try the river crossing. We endured walking on loads of stones with fast gushing water whipping our calves, making us lose our balance, stumbling on foot with the stones piercing under our feet, ouch!.

 That was a tough crossing. I have yet to find out what time of day is best to cross! I guess I have to study the tides!! is there no end to my learning?

Cuckmere Valley, the meandering river

 

Returning to London, ‘gas masks’ in hand, made for a strange journey back. Lockdown has released some scary demons but at the same time, reminded me how to slow down and keep it real. 

Until next time, keep on keeping on, however you can.

 

 

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 Lakehttps://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 I did this brilliant walk.

Rye to Hastings walk

Hastings

Up and down near Hastings

Fairlight cliffs

 

I await with bated breath for news of a return to normality.

 

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.