Sep
2022

Two walks in Sussex

Two walks in Sussex to celebrate the end of summer.

 

What better way to end the summer than with two walks in Sussex. Both magnificent.

Firstly another Lewes circular walk via Southease which turned into a 16-mile walk. Followed by a 14-mile hike from Seaford to Eastbourne, one of the most spectacular Sussex walks. I led this walk and around 13 turned up. A couple weren’t quite fit enough for the hikes and dropped out when there was a chance.  Admittedly I had to speed up my walk, to keep in front, as an elder Japanese woman, who joined my group marched fiercely across the downs. I had to show her who was boss and walk much faster than my usual pace.!!

Simplicity, walking up in The Downs.

 

Big skies, soft downs

 

More sky, More space, More nature more sanity, please.

 

Wildflowers along the River Ouse, Lewes. Did you know that Ouse is the Celtic name for a large natural stream of water?

 

Sussex is probably my most go-to place. In terms of the ease of getting there from London. It has to be the best place for clearing the head & doing some amazing walks with the added bonus of fantastic landscapes. It is a painter’s or even a poet’s dream. The first walk was partly using a guide. walks for each Season by Julia Smith.

See my Inspirational reads for further info.

Inspired Reads

We kind of diverted from the long walk, which had more hills in it, but still managed to walk 16 miles, from Lewes, via Glynde to Southease, and back to Lewes along the river.

The second walk is my old tried and tested Seaford to Eastbourne

They followed me without fear!!!

 

There we go, see those sisters over yonder?

 

 

Down from Seaford Head to the Valley below.

Purple water Heather. looked spectacular & not seen this plant before.

 

looking back to Seaford from the foot of The Seven Sisters

 

As we start a clip up the cliff tops, we come across ponies, something I haven’t come across before on the South Downs.

 

Had a tea break and loo break at Birling Gap Cafe. will we make the next part of the journey, looking back at how far we have come.

 

Beachy Head here we come, as I try to walk quickly uphill, to limit my experience of pain!

Beachy Head- hold on tight now.

 

we are up and away from the trouble & strife, the air is clean and the sea is calm.

 

Eastbourne Here we come.

 

Eastbourne Knows how to put on a good sunset.

We arrive around 5.30 pm, since we didn’t start until 11.30 am, and had 2 breaks we did pretty well. A group of us went for a meal and a drink afterwards and eventually took the train back to London getting back at about 10 pm.

Invest in a Network Rail Card it’s so worth it, you only need to do two trips and you have covered the costs. https://www.network-railcard.co.uk/

 

Until next time, keep on Keeping on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aug
2022

Walking from Faversham to Whitstable

Walking from Faversham to Whistable is an easy flat walk

 

This is the 3rd time walking from Faversham to Whistable. On this walk, my partner in crime spotted a pathway that led to a quicker route. The walk is very flat so can be a bit boring, but with the shortcut, it was just perfect. Still, it clocked up over 12 miles or more. The first stop on this walk from Faversham to Whistable was the Apothecary store in Faversham town. https://www.apothecashop.co.uk

Faversham 

I was after some CBD /Hemp tea, which is not an illegal substance that makes you high. Previously I had purchased a pack from The Apothecary store. I had a great chat with the saleswoman who told me of her up-and-coming venture to India. It was great to just chat and swap stories. She gave me the details so I could do mail order at a later date. When chatting I mentioned I would like to stay over a night at some point and she recommended the Sun Inn for accommodation.https://www.sunfaversham.co.uk

 

It was nice to just pass the time of day relaxing with a cup of tea in the marketplace before heading off for the walk. Another very hot day, so, it was essential to take it easy. As I sat sipping tea,  I watched a group of tourists being led into a town hall-type building on some historic tour. While walking through the town we passed the shop where the brewery tours are booked. This prompted me to consider another day out in Faversham.

The last visit to Faversham was around December last year and it was still sort of partially in lockdown or post-lockdown. I forget now as it was all so confusing. The gist is I aim to go back there for a day and spend a night there when everything is open. There is a great market there and hundreds of years of history. I think a day there would be easy.

After a visit to the Apothecary store and a cup of tea, we headed through the town centre past all of the old townhouses and other historic buildings. In less than 10 minutes we were Up the creek.!

 

The walk is flat and open, THE CREEK is a nature resort and there aren’t many people or dogs, but a few cyclists use part of this route.

 

After the creek there is a chance to turn right and take the cyclist route carry on and turn left going the long way round.

On this hot day, we trudged past the open fields and wild flours and then we found an even shorter cut through the wheat field, where a footpath had been created then turn left onto the sea wall.

I love open spaces and wild  flowers

 

It doesn’t take long before we are at the sea wall that runs towards Sea Salter.

From Seasalter the path leads to Whistable.

We head away from the beach huts and posh houses owned by millionaires and head over a railway bridge into the back of Whistable and find a lovely cafe to get a cool drink.

Open sea space and a gate to the beach.

An unusual gate where you pull the metal poles apart. For the full video go to my You Tube channel. JUST GOOGLE icantexplainmyfeet/youtube.

 

I eventually had my swim nearer Herne Bay. The water was warmish and the water isn’t deep so no need to be scared. My new sea shoes worked a treat. The beach wasn’t as pebbly as Newhaven but still pebbly.

Wild Swimming

I have always loved swimming but for some reason got out of the habit and I think since I stopped visiting Cornwall so often, I lost the love of the sea.  I’m not sure when I will get another chance but did manage to go swimming at the woman’s pond in Hampstead a week later.

You have to book in advance but it’s less than a fiver so well worth it. I met a friend at Kentish Town and we took a bus that drops you off at the bottom of the lane that takes you straight to the pond. Another soaring hot day.

Swimming is back on the agenda. As is Hill Walking next year. Plans are back on the menu generally. After the dreaded pandemic, it’s taken some time to feel that normality is back.!

 

Whitstable

There was a procession in Whistable through the main street. Whistable is tiny and crammed but does have some lovely independent shops. I would prefer to go there alone mid week to have a real wander about and browse. The famous fish and chip shop has gone but has been replaced with another eating place.

The harbour was thriving with lots of stall and  a live brass band playing We headed onwards for a cool beer and cheap food at the Peter Cushings’ pub. It is an old cinema named after the famous actor;the interior is amazing, it was an old cinema. The ceilings are high,dangling down are massive Art Decor lampshades as well as posters and other memorabilia.

It is owned by Wetherspoons . Peter Cushings’ lived in one of the houses along the seafront Another WordPress writer explores more in the below link.

https://admitonefilmandtv.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/peter-cushing-used-to-live-in-whitstable/

After a swift half and food, we headed to Sam the cats micro brewery for another half and to watch the procession before heading to get the train back to London. A great day out.

 

Go to my good reads page for more inspiring walks to read about.

Inspired Reads

 

Watch this space

 

Jul
2022

walking in the heat

 

Walking in the heat in London

 

Charing Cross Road

Walking in the heat from Victoria to Charing Cross. is about 30 minutes but intense in the temperatures reading 35c at lunchtime. Anyone who knows Charing Cross Road knows how busy it is. Lately, I have started using the public library in Charing Cross. Since my Mac air book died and my I Mac needs some restoration, I thought I would do a bit of my back cataloging in Charing Cross library.

Using your library.

The noise is immense but they do have air conditioning. I have used Libraries since I was around 10 and have worked in various Libraries including Waterloo and Pimlico, and I still, enjoy using them. It really is worth keeping them open by becoming a member. I’m a member of Westminster Library and can use any area in Westminster as well as Chelsea. https://www.westminster.gov.uk/leisure-libraries-and-community/libraries/how-join-library

walking from Lewes to Seaford

 

Thistles enduring the heat.

 

cows huddling together against the gate. Luckily there was a sheep pen with gates on either side we could use that to get through to avoid confronting the cows!!

 

Came across this unusual sculpture with a verse written and taped onto it.

The verse reads

I do not come her to sing of death, Open mouthed above the turbulent water, instead to float, immense in birdsong, hear them join with them. The warblers, finches, Linnet and Wren and the seaward flying oystercatcher, peep, pip hue, Peep Pip, hue, with breath enough to go….

 

Blue skies, open gates, and no one around for miles.

Across the river towards Newhaven Port.

 

The end of the river Ouse-  now to navigate by the industrial Newhaven to the Port.

First time I have seen the Ferry so close up. It goes to Dieppe daily.

Delightful plant: you can see this all over the South East Coast.

 

What is Kale?

Sea kale is a perennial known by a variety of interesting names, including sea-colewort and scurvy grass.  The plant was pickled for long sea voyages when it was used to prevent scurvy. Its use extends back hundreds of years.

 

Swimming on the South East Coast.

I managed to bring my costume, and Birkenstock sandals but unfortunately they only got me so far. The pebbled beach was painful to walk on. I managed to get to the water’s edge and dip my feet in the cool water, I just couldn’t balance on the stones after hiking 12 miles or so in the heat.   I am now investing in swimming shoes, I hope to try those out on my next walk from Faversham to Whitstable. Hopefully, it will be warm enough. It’s an easy enough walK.  see the post below about a previous walk.

Faversham to Whitstable

It’s a long way to the coast from London, and I mean to spend a bit more time there but always seems to be too much work to do. I haven’t had a holiday for at least 3 years. That was the Isle of Wight and it was the month of September it was nice and sunny but I don’t think hot enough to swim. It’s been a very long time since I swam in the sea. Back in the day, I was mad about swimming especially in Cornwall.

Another walk to try is Berwick (Sussex) to Seaford or Eastbourne. A walk I did many years ago with my old walking group The South Bank Ramblers.

Coming up

 

On September 2nd I will be leading a walk from Seaford to Eastbourne. It’s been a couple of years since I have led a group. Join me if you can. If you book in advance you can get a return ticket to Eastbourne for a reasonable price. (£11 with the South East Network Card.)

 

Until Next Time Keep on Keeping on.

 

 

 

Jun
2022

Frequently visited places

London to Montcuq -Newcastle Upon Tyne are among my frequent visited places    

Like my bookmarks there are certain places I frequent. London I live in so it is on the top of my list of frequently visited places, as is Montcuq which I  visit on a regular basis. Newcastle Upon Tyne is another of my go to places. This month I have visited all three. Montcuq earlier in the month I noticed has been giving its self a promotion.! I noticed new trendy shops that have opened and of course the fantastic bookshop/cafe; now putting live music on.

Add Paris, New York, Tokyo, !making up my dream/fantasy of frequently visited places. 

Montcuq is promoting it’s self and I do love it when a town speaks up and puts itself on the map. The new tourist office in Montcuq are promoting aprons with the slogan, Paris, New York, Tokyo Montcuq! they  are setting themselves up there, with the big boys.! It’s cute but I couldn’t bring myself to waste 35 euros on an apron!. At least they are putting Montcuq firmly on the map of somewhere worth visiting

Do we all have frequently visited places?

A door a fern, and a wall, Simplicity is art to me.

A single flower, against a wall. Taken near the bottom of the tower in Montcuq

I have since been informed this gold plate thing is practical and serves as some kind of joint to hold the building. I just thought it looked nice!

 

He knows someone will spot him soon! One of the local cats of Montcuq hanging out.

 

Of course an empty road to who knows where. Well I do know where but I’m not telling!

 

View of the vines at the back of my sisters house 20 minutes from Montcuq.

 

OF COURSE THE TRENDY/WONDERFUL /BEAUTIFUL BOOKSHOP they play cool cool jazz in the afternoon here.

 

I love this mural, and came across it while mooching around the train station at Toulouse . Taken at Boulevard Pierre Sarmard.

 

My Apron would be London, New York, Brixton Newcastle.

I remember a shop in Brixton, which had the tag, New York, Paris, Milan, Brixton!!! ha ha, it sold street clothes, sequenced tight leggings etc for the very young, & skinny fashion conscious types. It did tickle me at the time and Brixton is now firmly on the map.

When I first moved to Brixton, it was empty and taxis would not go there! it was considered too dangerous! Yes it’s famous for riots, but as well as historically, it has a rich musical/theatrical heritage. It is rocking with street markets & vibrant mixed communities. Not forgetting the music venue The Academy where some of the top musicians and bands have played, including Bob Dylan, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, The Clash, Lou Reed to name a few. You can listen to cool jazz at The Effra Tavern for free midweek. Numerous bars, are packed, as are, cafes, and restaurants. Brixton is thriving.

 

Euston Bloomsbury area and a guided tour

As an employee and Unite Rep I was invited to an event at the Headquarters of the NEU  off the Euston Road. Not a regular thing I do on a sunny Saturday afternoon, but enticed by the free lunch and Guided Walking tour with award winning tour guide Rachel Kelsey I couldn’t resist. While walking up the Euston road I was met with hordes of Sunderland supporters down for the day. Euston Road is always busy it is a hub of activity 24/7.

I feel at home in North London and was Happy to participate in the conversations about workplace issues and chatted  with a woman from Middlesborough who led a workshop on disability and women in the workplace. We had a good old catch up about going to Middlesbrough Rock Garden back in the days, (around 1978-70) and she and I had seen many of the same bands, The Damned 999, Skids, Adam and the Ants etc.

There was also a snazzy duo called Florence Joelle singing some old classics while we had lunch.

The event was  well organised; not a great turn out though. It does seem Unions aren’t fashionable and there was a no show from Sharon Graham general secretary of Unite.  I did enjoy hearing Sally Alexander feminist, activist and author who organised the first women liberation meeting at Ruskin College and we watched some great footage from the 70’s of women’s protests in Trafalgar Square. For anyone born in the 90’s or later, you might be surprised that women weren’t born with rights!

 

The Blue Badge Guided tour

Around Euston and Bloomsbury Square is a miss mash of institutions. The tour was dedicated to pioneering  women who had influenced the area.  Mary ward https://www.marywardhouse.com/history a social reformer who in particular championed the cause of women of poor means, promoting education for them. There is the Mary Ward House in Euston, which hosts conferences and the Mary Ward Centre off Russel Square near Holborn, where there are many courses available and they do discounted rates for persons on low income.

Virginia Woolf was also a famous writer and part of The Bloomsbury set; of women she said

women must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction”

How very true, at least some money and most definitely a room!.

 

Bloomsbury a place where writers & artists thrived.

 

The tour guide Rachel Kelsey is a blue badge guide and is a first class guide, check her out on Go London tours

http://www.golondontours.com

Among many themes she talks about women & her talks include: London from suffering to salvation, including Bloomsbury Babes. Cosmopolitan London -Brixton Notting hill, Jewish London the list goes on. Well worth checking out her walks and books.

IS THERE LIFE IN PECKHAM?

It’s ridiculous but true I bought the single by Alexis Sayle in the early 80’s “Allo John got a new motor,”  One of the lyrics, was “is there life in Peckham, is there life on Mars!! It was early 80’s and I was living in New Cross South East London, not far from the fearless Peckham. I always think of that when I think of Peckham.

Walking from East Dulwich to Peckham on a sunny Sunday afternoon, and settling for a half in Beer Revolution Peckham. There was a spectacle on the main road. Watching in marvel as a young guy on a bike gave the police the runaround; the guy did full 360 spins in the middle of the road then scooted off and reappeared again.

Peckham is a funny old place,

It’s full of life and hosting plenty of cafes and bars. Joolz does a great vlog about Peckham and well worth a

watch Joolz Blog here. 

Walking up towards Nunhead (famous for it’s cemetery) and Peckham Rye alongside the young uns heading towards a festival near Goose Green. We oldies then went the opposite way.

A big festival was also going on in Herne Hill. In the words of David Bowie, “Don’t lean on me man coz I can’t afford a ticket.  That’s just the way it is. I just keep on walking, admiring the flowers .

 

Black Down & The Temple of the Winds via The Sussex Border Path.

It had been years since I went out hiking with a Meet up Group but this invite, sort of appeared in my junk and I knew I had a spare day and needed to do something different, so I booked  a return ticket to Haslemere (near Guildford) and met up with 20 others and off we went.

SURREY HILLS ON TOP OF THE WORLD

We avoided getting too close to these prize cows ,but I had to try and get a picture, they were beautiful .

 

It was a tough walk, with many ascents and descents and what I feared the most, mud! I was wearing somewhat inappropriate footwear more suitable for city strolling than climbing uneven hills followed by sinking into mud!

My feet were killing me afterwards and I spent a fair time cleaning the mud off shoes; but fair doos to my  Clarkes trainers that I wore for NYC in 2017  are still going strong after 2 washes..

Muddy shoes aside it was a great day out good to meet new people, I was so busy chatting and listening to peoples stories I didn’t really bother taking many pictures. We walked at a fair pace as well so there wasn’t too much time for that.

check Toms Uk explorer group here.

If you don’t fancy joining a meet up group and are adventurous enough to strike out alone or with a friend or two, there is a tourist office right outside Haslemere Station. It’s on the Guildford line and a well known trail called The Serpent trail can be explored, over 65 miles of South Downs National Park. Some of the walks will be in the free pamphlet you can pick up from the office. Otherwise consider joining a group, they are friendly enough and Tom is a good leader so save you from having to think too much!

TO SEE a very old post I wrote some years ago, out in The Peak District with The Meet Up Group.the link is Exploring & walking in the UK

I managed a two day trip to Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Meeting up with an old friend, we went along to see a play called We are the best. I guess it was about youngsters trying to form a band and hating the system. It could have been much better. I don’t like to give anyone bad press, but we weren’t impressed. That’s not to say Live Theatre hasn’t got anything to offer. This isn’t a music/theatre review blog so I will leave it at that.

https://www.live.org.uk

 

 

The following day we took a metro to South Shields and walked up the coast for about 10 miles to Whitburn.

 

Out on the Tyne

Time goes too quickly and before I knew it I was back in London getting ready for work again.  I have a couple of planned walks to go on in August but as yet, undecided about July.

As well I’m struggling to decided whether to lead a walk or not this year. I haven’t done one since before lockdown. If I do it will be Seaford to Eastbourne probably and in September. I have until the 15th July to decide.

Until next time keep on keeping on. Feel free to comment, like or share.

 

 

 

May
2022

spring to summer

spring into  summer

 

 It was the hottest day of the year so far when my walking partner and I opted for a cheap day out and visited Walthamstow Wetlands Nature Resort. The April frost finally gone, we glimpsed the potential of summer arriving. As Spring merges into summer, going out walking further afield becomes more attractive.

Spring merges into the light

May and June are special months. the weather is nicer and the dark nights have gone. The trees have blossomed and the flowers have bloomed.  AS we head out we can feel lighthearted. The Dark nights have faded away.

There are a few very special birthdays in May and June the month of Gemini, which in the Zodiac, symbolises  the twins. In Astrology this represents the personality that has both duality and flexibility!  Gemini is an air sign, as is libra my sign. We share the traits of living in a world of ideas. Idealists and dreamers, think John Lennon (libra)& Paul McCartney.(Gemini)

That’s my mystic meg interpretation out of the way!!

This machine picks up a twig every now & then I’m sure these waters were muddy and filthy some years ago. The fact that it only managed a wee twig is a good sign. 

 

A stones throw away from the city, peace and quite can be found.

https://www.wildlondon.org.uk/walthamstow-wetlands-nature-reserve

Blue sky all day today. Spring is most certainly here.

 

 

Beam of light along the way in Walthamstow.

 

The peace and quiet was short lived.

WALKING BACK FROM BLACK PRINCE ROAD TO WALTHAMSTOW we came across this mural near James overground station.

 

There was a large ethnic community selling all sorts and the market went on for miles it reminded me a bit of the market at East Street off the Old Kent Road South London. We walked about half way up the mile, but we had done our walk and trudging slowly in a crowd wasn’t really something I wanted to do.

 

Getting back to Brixton overground then underground ,the crowding was intense.

One thing i have to say is about any walk in a beautiful, or tranquil place is that getting back from that to my usual place of abode can feel very jarring! It is my aim to find a place to live/stay often that is nearer nature. I have come across a few places in my time but not sure at this stage of life I could afford to live in those places. The search is on.

A man a map out in the south Downs starting at Lewes.

It’s always nice to let someone else lead as it gives me more time to admire the scenery and take pictures. This is a place I could live, near a river close to the South Downs and not far from the sea,The walk we did started at Lewes.

We had been fortunate to pick up a special offer from national rail and got a return ticket for £5.50

 

We didn’t have any instructions this time, but my partner had decided he was going to lead the way and even take a map! What got into him I don’t know, maybe the spring air!.  I’m glad he appreciates the thought that goes into planning a day out and leading a walk. The day went well I have to say and  we did a kind of circular walk via Rodmell and Kingston.

My partner estimated the walk would be about 7-8 miles which was a bit of an under estimation. We somehow got a glimpse of the sea up in the downs as we had gone a little too far the wrong way. Getting lost, is all part of learning. Still was nice to see the sea in the distance. Next walk will be to the sea from either Berwick in Sussex, or Lewes.

I had my man with the map and we went for it over 14 miles walking that day. I can see why people might want to just call it a weekend, as those downs are massive. After a long hike all day, a meal at the end of it, a nice place to stay would be welcome.

It’s always disappointing to have to go back to London after a lovely day like that. Although Lewes is only 1 hour 20 minutes out of London. It probably took as long getting back overground from Walthamstow the previous week.

 

 

We got some very hot sun at the very beginning of the walk then the clouds appeared. Luckily there was a sprinkle of rain lasting a few minutes so all was well.

An abandoned old wreck. I have an affinity with old wrecks! (being one myself!)

 

further along the river away from Lewes we follow the river.

What have we got here? The poor old sheep were stranded. They just stood there not even bleating. Fortunately a local with a dog had spotted them before us and called for help. It took about an hour for the help to arrive. Their little hooves were sinking in the mud., they lifted them occasionally to reposition.

3 lost sheep. Further along we met the farmer who said he had lost 10 and asked us if we had we seen anymore.

 

How she got in we weren’t sure but she wasn’t going anyway until the farmer gets there. We had a quick chat with him, and it was great to see him rescue this one as she went running back to her gang. Dunno where the other 6 went!

Bales of Hay always look serene to me.

 

This was a fantastic walk and I’m well pleased we are eventually making use of the maps purchased years ago. Also nowadays if you buy a map you can also get the digital version on your phone.Don’t forget to download it before you go out!

Dusty road Up high on the South Downs

Amazing contrast of colour in this picture.  The sandy white chalky pathway merged with the wild plants and BIG BLACK CLOUDS. A bit further down we could see the sea and knew we had missed a turning.

 

 

Windmill near Kingston near Lewes.

Walking away from the Black Clouds towards Lewes .

 

Farewell merry month of May  A blog from last year in the month of May.

 

As June arrives I  have more reason to be happy , as I finally reduce my hours at work with more free time to explore.

 

 

 

Until then keep on keeping on