Into the grounds

walking through the grounds


I would recommend the tour led by an artist once a patient there himself. He is a friendly laid back chap, with many a tale to tell.

He walked us through the grounds known as, The Monks Orchard estates, which are vast; and at one time had lakes in the grounds. Unfortunately, they were covered up, as it was considered too dangerous for the in patients, thought to be at risk from falling in or jumping in if left alone.

Lakes have since been covered up, yet still... winter landscape of The Royal Bethlem Hospital Grounds.

Vast grounds at Bethlem Hospital


For some time I have been meaning to go on this historical walk, at the Bethlem Royal Hospital. I have a fascination with the history of psychology and cures and I’m deeply interested in the  history of medicine, especially herbal and nutritional,
The guided tour /walk was educational. A slow meander around the grounds, with many tales of the historical background.

Plants as medicine

A place where diverse nature exists, plant 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 such as ” Red Admiral, Peacock, and dragonflies are some of the other inhabitants to be found in the grounds.

Getting There

Obviously depending on where you live will depend on how easy it is to get there, but the nearest train station is Eden Park and to get to Monks Orchard Road from there is about a ten-minute walk.


Woodland at Bethlem Hospital.

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



Bedlam was the alternative name given to the Asylum for ‘lunatics’ many centuries ago. We use it in jest today, to describe scenes of chaos or riotous behaviour! The hospital is still functioning today.


Calius Gabriel Cibber iconic statue

Caius Gabriel Bibber


It was founded in 1247 as The Priory of St Mary of Bethlehem, which lies beneath Liverpool Street Station now. The second site was 1/2 a mile to the west of Moorfields then moved to the Imperial War Museum where a building was designed especially for the hospital and was there until it moved to Beckenham in 1927.


statue named 'Melancholy Madness'

Photo of the iconic statue named ‘Melancholy


Art at the Bethlem Hospital

Coming up to Christmas some of the residents were displaying artwork to sell, and a workshop was being run while we were there. We were given free mince pies while we waited for the next part of the tour.

Museum of the Mind

The museum showcases the collections in its permanent and temporary exhibition galleries. They also hold a collection of art including works by Louis Wain, who I have always loved but until now was unknown to me that he had been a resident at Bethlem.

Alongside the permanent displays, the museum has a dedicated temporary exhibition space, offering a changing and thought-provoking seasonal programme.

There are plenty of artefacts and interactive media displays in which you can read about patients journeys from madness to cure.
I would thoroughly recommend a visit to the museum of the mind

To book tickets go onto

For the rest of the winter, I will be looking for some new walks that I can do in a day.


Until next time keep on, keeping on.



Revisiting Camden

Walking in & around Camden, finding new places.

picture of me taking a picture

I drink, therefore I am, a pun on JPS I think therefore I am


Some time ago I decided to start a Meet Up Group and lead some of my Urban Walks, I felt Camden would be a good place to start.

I have been enjoying revisiting Camden a lot and I have been getting loads of books from the Chelsea library; reading up about the history of Camden.  A haven for Artists, Writers, Musicians, Historians; Camden has the lot.

Fascinating & somewhat mysterious historical characters, such as Walter Sickert, part 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.


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 1940’s, virtually desolate in the early 1970’s 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.

The main difficulty was what to keep in the walk and what to leave for another occasion

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.






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. Tonight she will be at Eltham Library to talk about her book. (see page 29 on link below)

My next Meet up Group should be the 18/11 see below for new walks.


My new Meet up Group details are below.

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 →

Last Saturday of November I will be joining in the Bedlam Walk. More on that next blog.

Until then, keep putting one foot in front of the other……




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.

We had one more for the road at the end of ocean road, and eventually found some room for a sandwich back at the hotel


On 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.

shadow on wall


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 →


What to give, up, When to give up & What’s worth fighting for



Last month I was walking along the cliff tops in Northumberland and had not processed this film, until a couple of weeks later in Islington. A lot has happened since then. Looking at these pictures makes me feel very happy. I wish I was there now.

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 always 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.

Just walking from My house to Herne Hill and Farringdon to the Unite Office, situated somewhere between The Angel  Tube & Farringdon mainline station. ‘Popping’ up to Upper Street Islington for lunch and back to Farringdon at the end of the day clocked up about 5 miles a day. As well as walking at the weekend from Victoria to Blackfriars to the TATE MODERN ended up walking 8 miles. 

five minutes from Angel Station

                                                                            Islington Canal

Dave a Unite Rep told me this story

“I love my walk to work. It’s about 7 kilometres and takes just over an hour  (I allow 1 hour 10 minutes ). The first part of the trail is through the quiet back roads, then through a park, then, a local area city centre  (Woolwich ) where I can jump on a bus if running late, then to work. It’s the highlight of my day. I take a bag of peanuts to feed the squirrels in the park. I get my best ideas when walking, and quite often fire off messages on the move. I arrive at work with my mind fully charged with oxygen and ideas that have already been started.”



a chair a bridge an old boat and a cancal

Away from the main street was this little spot


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.

Continue reading


Another Green World

Everything’s gone Green

I managed to escape a bit of the heatwave.

Spending time in Newcastle,  South Shields& Northumberland.

The heat there was more durable due to a breeze from the Tyne or the sea.

Fewer buildings & people does help but the heat was still intense. The green shots were taken along the rugged coastline Smugglers Bay, just passed South Shields.

Not quite sure why they came out like that but consider it an art installation moment. Art is anything you want it to be.! A vision!  I’m looking forward to the 250th RA summer exhibition next month,

The Cluny, one of my favourite music venues situated in the  Ouse Valley, tucked in at the edge of Newcastle City Centre, away from the Bars and usual clubs.

I just managed to make the gig on time, due to my train from London being one a half hour late. (the heat wave!)

It was an acoustic evening, so therefore seated. The opening act Fred Abong sang his own quirky very short songs but flowed well. Headlining was Kristen Hersh who I can only describe as understated perfection! It’s all about the synergy twisting the words to fit the rhythm.


I visited Alnwick where my tour guide (old flatmate) led me through  Hulne Park

two women painting in Hulme Park

A painters paradise, lush green trees, with a gentle running river flowing by


Hardly a soul about we walked for about 6 miles before lunch in Alnwick Centre.

The following day we did a circular walk around  Craster, my favourite area. Last time I had visited it was pouring with rain, whereas this visit at the end of June, it was hot enough to swim.  I discovered that behind the castle a five-minute walk to the beach was in sight, sandy beaches for miles.

I had some spare film left over from NYC & decided to use it up, as yet the film is not developed, so my Craster pictures will be developed later. Only took one with the I PHONE.Gateway to the sea View from outside pub at Craster. A beautiful day, I could have stayed there all day.

Newcastle upon Tyne

Meeting up with an old friend and visiting the Baltic on a hot summers day was a highlight for me. We loved this picture of our shadows.


The Baltic

We came across a project from 2018 called Ceremony

Presented as a large-scale film installation. It follows the artist’s search for a decommissioned 1970’s statue of German philosopher Friedrich Engels. As the film tracks the statue’s journey from one side of Europe to the other on a flat-bed truck, it starts showing the bewildered faces of the older generation some not understanding why they have to remove it. It shifts from one sense of history to another. In parallel, it cuts to stories of Collins’ collaborators in Manchester, including a young dancer who struggles to make ends meets, a factory worker who had to go back to work straight after a stroke.

The statue ends its journey in the centre of Manchester, among the towering new glass and steel buildings that act as alternative monuments to corporate wealth an aspiration for some by no means all.  What would Engels think now?


Also showing was series of displays and projects, questioning What is the North, to quote Paul Morley in his book The North, “the North that is written is a hallucination as much as it is a history, a non-fiction dream of what might have been rather than a documented expression of the definite” 

Always a lot to think about in the Baltic.

No pre-planned walks at present, but who knows what will come up, Next post end of August.