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This is a very timely and useful article. It definitely pertains to me in that climate change and the effect that plastic is having on the oceans has  been causing extreme anxiety, especially since I learned that my daughter is expecting a baby…her first child; my first grandchild. Since her and her husband announced the baby’s pending arrival, my stress levels have gone up quite a lot #understatement

I’m doing as much as I can to negate my impact on the climate, but as they say in the article, individually we can only do so much. But if our governments are not taking responsibility or massive action then that in itself will cause more stress, and I can well imagine the scientists must be under extreme stress. Just the very fact that the UK government has allowed fracking to go ahead tells us the story of their interest in their citizens and community. Of course we know that they’re going to make money off it, and not necessarily for the public purse… #justsaying

There are people who will continue to deny it…. “It’s the people who don’t seem bothered by environmental crisis who need therapy the most, to figure out why they are so numb and in denial,’ he tells us.”

The article suggests joining local community based groups who are also environmental activists in order to keep sane. I have already joined a number of community groups on instagram and Facebook and its encouraging to see how much they are doing, it keeps me focused, as well as which I do what I can. But quite honestly, it does keep me awake at night 🌃

Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2018/10/18/climate-change-is-causing-ecoanxiety-and-damaging-our-mental-health-what-can-we-do-8047167/?ito=cbshare

Actions I already take

Converting to veganism – an ongoing process and I do fall down occasionally when it comes to dairy products, although I have now finally converted to soya milk in my tea. 🙂

Saying no to plastic straws – I took a pledge nearly 2 years ago to never again use a plastic straw and I haven’t. Someone at a local coffee shop put a plastic straw in an avocado drink I was having and as my daughter said to the waitron “take it away before she goes into meltdown”. LOL

Saying no to plastic water bottles – I stopped this a long time ago. It’s bloody ridiculous to sell us water in plastic bottles that take thousands of litres to produce. We have tap water. We live in a 1st word country. We don’t draw water from an infected well. fck!! This is the one thing above all else that irks me the most.

Saying no to plastic bags – yup. makes sense. It’s seriously ironic that 3rd world countries like Rwanda, Kenya and Botswana as well as others have banned them. As usual the UK and USA and EU are WAY BEHIND.

Buying products in glass where available, even if its more expensive.

Buying products in cardboard where possible.

Not buying for fashion, but rather as I need it. Have you seen Stacey Dooley’s documentaries about the fashion industry?

Conserving water 💦 and being mindful of my usage.

Changes made by others due to my persistent requests:

Our local milkshake bar changed from plastic straws to biodegradable.

Our local chip shop changed from polystyrene boxes to compostable.

As individuals there is so much we can do, without experiencing overwhelm. I love the #2minutecleanup campaign on instagram

I share the devastating images of dead seabirds and other sea creatures from @balloonsblow in facebook

I am constantly alert as to what more I can do to make a difference and reduce my carbon footprint, and mindful of what I buy and why I buy it.

I try and set an example by modifying my behaviour

I try to share information for others to be aware of the catastrophic effects our throw-away plastic lifestyle is having on the planet.

I realise that we can’t live a life completely without plastic in the immediate future, but we can drastically reduce our consumption of the product by avoiding it wherever possible. – I used the word consumption, because as you know, microscopic plastic fibres are now in our water supply and our food chain….even in salt.

Regards going vegan, I get mocked by family members who feel comfortable with sending me what they see as humorous images of what is tantamount to cruelty to animals. Friends come up with the old bullshit of vegetables having feelings too and how they feel pain. That is throwback to when people who were going vegan were regarded as nutters or veganism was considered a fad. Its not. Try watching ‘What The Health’ on Netflix then come talk to me again.

The biggest impact you can have on saving this planet for future generations is to cut back on plastic, stop buying bottled water and if you can’t become vegan, at least try being vegetarian or flexitarian.

 

I am currently attending a course on becoming an End of Life Doula. It fits in with my job and is something I have been interested in for quite a few years. It has been a very interesting journey so far. As part of our homework for the 2nd part of the course this weekend, we had to complete a few exercises relative to what we learned/experienced at the first weekend, so the first place I started was at http://kristiewest.com/aboutkristiewest/

Kristie is a long-standing friend of mine and I have always admired her approach to life and death. We actually met at an event where her path in life changed course, and took her on the journey that was to lead her to where she is now, and to specialising in her field of expertise. I’d like to share this with you because I fully believe that what she shares can have a profound affect on how we view or approach death and grief.

The course I’m doing has so far been very interesting and surprisingly the first section didn’t actually deal with death at all, but rather about our, the participants, beliefs and values. The exercises we did all revolved around us, the potential Doula and about how we think of death and relate to people.

We delved into subjects like confidentiality, communication skills, about our attitudes, ethics and most importantly about our listening skills. We spoke abut the types of listening and then we had to share a story from our lives to one of the group while they practised effective listening as another person observed how they ‘listened’. We explored our ideas and again beliefs on a range of subjects from euthanasia, keeping secrets, involving family, about a dying person’s last wishes, rituals about the role we would take and what we would find acceptable in that role or not.

I’m looking forward to the this weekend where we participate in another 2 days of training.

 

Be like Andy

Our local coffee machine at the station; Andy of the Red Bean Machine has gone ‘green’ 👏👏👏👏💚💚♻️♻️♻️♻️♻️ He’s now using fully biodegradable cups and lids made from starch, making them compostable. I’m well impressed at these small independent coffee shops/vans making a difference NOW and not PHASING it out by whatever date the large corporations and our governments come up with as a pathetic excuse to try impress us. THIS is impressive, time ⌚ for the big coffee chains to step up and BE THE CHANGE we want to see. There is no longer any excuse, alternatives to PLASTIC are available @starbucks @costacoffee @caffenero @pretamangeruk etc etc #bansingleuseplastic #nomoresingleuseplastic #nomoreplastic #bethechange #saveourplanet 🌏🌎🌍 #saveouroceans🌊 #saveourwildlife #stepup #BeLikeAndy #beaplanethero

Higham

After 9 days in the area my assignment ends tomorrow so this morning I took the poopster for one last ‘wander where you want to’ walk…the last till when I return in December.

We passed the church along the way so I quickly popped in for a look. Charles Dickens lived at Gads Hill Place in Higham, so its imminently possible he worshipped at this church in his day. The marshlands around the area lent itself to the opening of Great Expectations.

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St John’s Church is Victorian, but a church would have existed here in Saxon times. Higham is also listed in the 1086 Domesday Book as having a 56 households: 24 villagers, 12 smallholdings, 20 slaves. Tenant-in-chief in 1086: Bishop Odo of Bayeux.

I remember visiting this church on my Canterbury Tales walk last year from Southwark to Canterbury. I do love exploring this country 🙂

 

Leaving on a jet plane and I don’t know when I’ll be back again……as it turns out…I never did return – not permanently anyway.

relocating to the uk, travel over 40, arriving in the uk, solo travel for women

taken on the day I landed after my Spitfire flight on 26 April this year – seems apt for my journey

Today marks the 17th anniversary of my arrival in the Northern Hemisphere and the UK then Ireland for the first time.

All three happened on the same day in the space of a few hours.

I left South Africa on the 8th October 2001 bouncing with excitement and joy. At age 46, although I had travelled extensively throughout RSA and lived in any number of places, I had never left the borders of South Africa except for a brief weekend sojourn to Swaziland in my misspent youth.

I flew from South Africa on the evening of the 8th October landing in Zurich on the 9th. After an hour or so at Zurich airport where I had my first European pastry and hot chocolate and searched for the ‘red’ post box which turned out to be green LOL (a learning curve for sure), from there it was an emotional flight across Europe and the skies in which WW2 was fought. I am fascinated by the history of the 2nd WW and it gave me both the chills and a thrill that I was flying through the same airspace that our pilots flew all those decades ago…as a result I spent nearly the whole flight just crying….I couldn’t believe I was actually in the same airspace.

Soon, as we came in to land at London Airport I had my first view of the city I was to come to love so much; suddenly I was on UK soil. I could hardly believe it.

relocating to the uk, solo travel,

Lovely London – my soul city

A short nerve-wracking bus-ride later I took my first ever tube ride – first on the Jubilee line and then the Piccadilly line to Heathrow. I remember how terrified I was of getting lost, of not finding my way to the airport, and a total wreck with all the stories I had heard of how big Heathrow airport was….wasn’t. It was easy to navigate.

I remember as if it happened yesterday; as we exited the underground near Hounslow I looked out the window and fell in love…..with the chimney pots on the houses around the green. I am a huge fan of the film Mary Poppins and it looked to me just like a scene from the film….the trees and the green surrounded by 3-storey brick houses, their roofs adorned with chimney pots.

“I could live here!” I thought…..

And now I am….I first spent 6 months in Ireland with my darling sister and her husband (her 30th birthday was the reason for my visit),

and then after my visa expired 6 months later I came over to the UK to collate the paperwork I would need in order to apply for and obtain my ancestral visa (my grandfather had the good sense to be born in London (Battersea). After securing letters from agencies to say they could employ me, I flew back to South Africa in March 2002 and by 22nd April 2002 I was back in Ireland; ancestral visa in hand. After a few months of gallivanting in Ireland, I once again flew back to the UK and started working and living first as a resident and then a citizen of the country.

I have never looked back, never had even one second of home-sickness and never longed for the country or yearned to ‘go back’ with all that that signifies. If I have missed anything it would be certain foods like OUMA rusks, or peppermint crisp chocloate LOL

I have grown to love the UK so much, albeit not the politics (or some of the parties), and I have had so many amazing adventures, learned so much, written a couple of books and immersed myself into the very fabric of this country. The history is phenomenal and it’s like peeling back an onion…one layer reveals another.

I used my ancestral visa/SA passport to good effect and and travelled to a number of European countries and a few states in the USA over the next 15 years (and back to Ireland 9 times).

visit ireland, trinity college dublin

Sphere Within Sphere is a bronze sculpture by Italian sculptor Arnaldo Pomodoro, located at Trinity College, Dublin

I also travelled far and wide throughout the UK and have probably visited more places than many British-born people….certainly I’m sure more Domesday Book places.

I then applied for and obtained my British Citizenship.

relocating to the uk, travel over 40, arriving in the uk, solo travel for women

it’s my 17th anniversary!!! this is from the day I got my new passport as a UK citizen 2 years ago

My daughter followed me in 2003 and she too is now a British citizen and married to an amazing man with a baby on the way…..the first baby in our family to be born in the UK since my Grandfather was born in Battersea in 1890. Our little Peanut aka my first grandchild. I’m so in love with this baby already…my heart swells when I see this. 🙂

peanut is on the way, first grandchild, 3d scan of baby in the womb, granny in waiting

my beautiful grandchild. a 3D scan taken yesterday…

It seems perfectly apt, albeit coincidentally, that we got this scan photo on the same date 08/10, as what I left SA 17 years ago. Never did I think on that day back in 2001 that I would be a granny-in-waiting at this time 17 years later.

The UK has always felt like ‘home’ to me and I have felt more at ‘home’ here than I ever did anywhere in RSA….except possibly Cape Town which I’ve always said was my heart city. Well London is my soul city, and my heart has followed me to the UK.

I’ve had an extraordinary journey since arriving here in 2001 and although it hasn’t always been easy, that’s mostly been due to my own bad decisions on various life aspects. But I have never regretted my decision to return and to stay…..

So today is my 17th anniversary and I am still ‘home’.

And Ireland is still my 2nd favourite country in the world.

If you are interested here is a link to some of the place I have visited since my arrival. My goal is to still travel even more extensively and visit as many places as I possibly can – Project 101

I’d never been to Southampton and as it’s on my Project 101 list, I thought that since I’d be close enough by train I may as well stay there for a couple of days and explore the city.  Besides which…it was also a whole lot cheaper than staying in Winchester LOL (I actually told one lady that I didn’t want to buy the house, just stay there for one night! – she wasn’t impressed hahahaha).

seaside square in southampton, southampton england, explore southampton, visit southampton (1)

tired after a day of exploring…take a seat why don’t you.

I had initially planned to explore Southampton on the 19th but instead decided to head over to Winchester instead. Most places appeared to be closed in Southampton on a Sunday, and since I was wanting to do the King Alfred walk in Winchester and the weather was going to be cloudy both days anyway, I decided to change plans. Benefit of being a solo traveller.

So, the day before I was due to start my walk along the Pilgrim’s Way, I had a super day exploring Southampton Old Town. I walked along sections of the old city walls; quite a thrill. I was delighted to find that there were still whole sections that you could walk along and I made the most of the opportunity.

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wonderful history of the UK…welcoming refugees

A little bit of history to tickle your fancy:

Southampton; located on a major estuary on the English Channel has been settled since the Stone Age.
Known as Clausentum in Roman times, Southampton was an important trading port, but abandoned circa 410 when the Romans up and left.
The settlement was known as Hamwic and or Hamtum during the Anglo-Saxon period
After defeating the Anglo-Saxon King Ethelred the Unready in 1014, the Viking King, Canute the Great, was crowned in Southampton.
Southampton became a major port of transit between Winchester (capital of England until early 12th C) and Normandy following the Norman Conquest in 1066.
The 1086 Domesday Book indicates that Southampton already had distinct French and English quarters at the time of the Norman Conquest.
The foundation of St. Michael’s Church has been dated at 1070.
Mary Magdalen Leperosy Hospital was established to the north of the town by 1173.
St Julians Hospital, also known as God’s House Hospital, was founded around 1196 by Gervase ‘le Riche’. A Franciscan friary was later built alongside God’s House hospital.
The Medieval Wool House was built in the 14th century to serve the wool trade and store wool for export to Italy. It’s been through various changes since then and served as a prison during the Napoleonic wars to house French prisoners of war “some of whose names may be seen carved on the beams of the roof”, the Maritime Museum circa 1966, a workshop; The Moonbeam Engineering Company Limited who built motor launches, Element Arts; a pop-up arts organisation – who used the space as a gallery and community arts venue featuring exhibitions and live events – music, dance, poetry, theatre, and now the Dancing Man Brewery a brewpub/restaurant.
Southampton was awarded City status by The Queen in 1964.

On my way towards the Old Town I passed the area of Holy Rood; a series of metal sculptures were erected around the estate in tribute to the area’s role in the Merchant Navy’s history of Southampton.
Holyrood Church, which was damaged in World War II, now serves as a memorial to the Merchant Navy.

I started off at the edge of the city walls, once the boundary of a Franciscan friary (settled in 1224). By the end of the 14th century, the town of Southampton was entirely enclosed by stone walls.

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then walked past the remains of God’s House Tower (protected the medieval town from attack),

from there I followed the perimeter of the old city walls, I discovered a link with Jane Austen 🙂 – Watergate & Quay – “Jane’s niece, 14 year old Fanny Knight, records in her diary of Tuesday 15 September 1807, that Jane and the rest of the family embarked from here to visit friends in Hythe for Afternoon Tea. Fanny writes; “Mama to everyone’s astonishment was of the party and not at all sick”.

the rear view of the Watergate ruins

the 12th century Duke of Wellington Pub

A short distance later I discovered the Wool House and popped in for a quick look (I didn’t see the prisoner’s inscriptions though) – The Medieval Wool House was built in the 14th century to serve the wool trade and store wool for export to Italy, and served as a prison during the Napoleonic wars to house French prisoners of war “some of whose names may be seen carved on the beams of the roof”

after which a short diversion took me along Bugle Street

first I passed the fabulous 12th century Duke of Wellington pub

strolling on along Bugle Street I discovered the amazing Tudor House – Restored 14th-c. Tudor house & remains of a 12th-c. Norman home, with 16th-century gardens & a cafe…where I enjoyed a superb lunch… Wow, what an extraordinary place.

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I spent ages exploring this fabulous house; a time capsule with some incredible artefacts. A visit to the cellar is a must – used as a WW2 shelter by the family who lived there at the time, there is a fantastic and spine-tingling audio that takes you right back to an air-raid.

Exploring the premises behind the house (where you find the café) I saw a canon made for Henry VIII, and the awesome ruins of King John’s Castle.

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Across the garden are some glass doors, step through…. there you will find a delightful exhibition worth having a look at

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After strolling back along Bugle Street I noticed another section of the city walls down an alley, so I climbed the steps and strolled along another section of the city walls and onto Cuckoo Lane…passing the Westgate Hall aka Tudor Merchants Hall on my way.

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Heading back to the Tudor House, I walked past and turned left down along Blue Anchor Lane towards the previous town quay…now a road.blue anchor lane southampton england, explore southampton, visit southampton The Pilgrim Fathers embarked here from the West Quay on the Mayflower in August 15 1620. Passing through the Westgate (through the archway marched some of the some of the army of Henry V on their way to Agincourt in 1415) – stupendous. It gave me goosebumps walking through the arch.

walking through history southampton england, explore southampton, visit southampton (101)

walking through history; through this archway marched some of the some of the army of     Henry V on their way to Agincourt in 1415 – awesome

I strolled alongside the ancient walls, known as The Arcades, and found another section that could be walked (yes, I’m addicted to walking along old city walls LOL- also part of Project 101) I reached ‘Catchcold’ Tower (fortunately I didn’t catch a cold) – purpose built in the early 15th century to carry ordnance (cannon). Brilliant views of the old quay. During WW2 an anti-aircraft machine-gun was mounted on the tower.

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From there I walked along to Arundel Tower – said to be named after the magical horse of Sir Bevois, one of the founders of Southampton. Legend has it that Arundel was so fast he could out-fly swallows. When Sir Bevios died, the horse threw himself from the tower in sorrow.

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Leaving the ramparts I descended to ground level and walked across to the Bargate. Wow, just stunning. By walking through the Bargate’s grand entrance, you travel in the footsteps of generations of townspeople, visitors and kings and queens. A pair of lions has guarded the gate since the 1600s. The Jane Austen heritage trail starts at the Bargate.

Walking further I took a random turn and saw a beautiful pub and another link to Jane Austen ; Jane’s homes from 1807 to 1809 was sited here in Castle Square.

jane austen southampton england, explore southampton, visit southampton (124)

finding Jane Austen in Southampton

Then back past the fabulous Tudor House, opposite which was St Michael’s Square; once a busy fish market selling freshly caught eels, mackerel, whiting and oysters. Built in the 1070s, St Michael’s is the only surviving parish church in Southampton.

I then continued my walk along Castle Way where I passed the fantastic medieval Merchant’s timber house (sadly closed during the week) – what was that I said about places being closed yesterday….hmmm. .

the medieval timber house southampton england, explore southampton, visit southampton

The medieval Timber House, Castle Way, Southampton

The weather was brilliant and I even squeezed in a quick visit to the harbour. I noticed there was a ferry to the Isle of Wight and the temptation to just hop on and visit Cowes again was very strong LOL. But I resisted….I was due to start my walk the next day and it would have been awful if I hadn’t been able to get back to Southampton for some reason.

After a brilliant few hours of exploring I meandered through Queen’s Park then back along Queensway and through West (Watts) Park where I saw the plaque for the Mary Magdalen Leprosy Hospital which stood near this spot in medieval times.

Then back to the AirBnb to rest and prepare myself and Pepe for the start of The Pilgrim’s Way.

In all, a very satisfactory day full of history, surprises and delights. Visit Southampton and be sure to explore the Old Town, and prepare to be delighted at the Tudor House.

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a link with Jane Austen

As part of the End of Life Doula training I’m currently participating in, I’ve been researching information about various aspects of dying. One of the most important aspects is to be able to talk about it openly with family, friends, relatives, care givers, guardians and medical staff.

So often people push it away when an elderly relative raises the issue and an opportunity is missed to know their wishes; both the yes / no aspects.

We often had conversations with my Mother over the years, but even so, her death happened so young and so quickly with nothing in writing about what she wanted, that we were totally unprepared and were left floundering. The only thing we were certain of is that she wanted to be cremated and buried in the same burial plot as my paternal Grandmother. The rest was up to us.

One of the most important things that I’ve learned so far is to have a ‘death plan’.death and dying, having a death plan, lets talk about dying

Mostly people push death discussions away with “oh, you’re still young, you’ll be around for years yet”. That would be realistic if nobody died young ever. People are also very superstitious and suggest that if you talk about death, you’ll bring it on early. Its important to try move beyond those self-limiting beliefs and try to initiate a conversation with your family. It doesn’t have to be heavy or intense, but rather a light discussion to start with. Its inevitable, its the one thing in life that is absolutely guaranteed without doubt.

So many people have an unsatisfactory death because they’ve never conveyed their wishes to anyone. Often we associate discussions about death with just a will, but after all I’ve learnt recently, there is so much more to dying than meets the eye, and so oftentimes family are left struggling to know ‘the right thing to do’, which not only negates the possible wishes of the person who has died, but also causes a lot of unnecessary conflict and anxiety in those left behind.

Here’s a link to a useful little booklet you can download to get yourself prepared and perhaps initiate that all important conversation

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/relationships-family/end-of-life-issues/talking-death-dying/#

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