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I’ve been seeing so many posts recently about this walk… I guess I’m just going to have to do it 😂 😂 😂 😂

The South West Coast Path

After 3 trips across the “pond” my wife and I finally completed the South West Coast Path in October 2017. Originally we were just looking for something a little more civilised than our usual trips on our native Vancouver Island, where thick bush, ice and snow, heavy packs, rotten food and smelly tents are the norm. However, it didn’t take more than a few hours out of our original start point at Port Isaac in 2013 before we knew that we were in this for the duration. All those endless seascapes, impossibly lovely coves and fishing villages, comfy digs and good food are not a difficult sell, especially after the rigours of Island hiking.

Photo 2015-09-26, 9 54 58 AM Ann and Martin at the start of the Path in Minehead

Altogether it took us 55 days and 3 visits to get from Minehead to South Haven Point including some rest and short days. For those…

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No need to add anything more.

Pride's Purge

Theresa May’s kowtowing to the hard Brexiters in her party may have just cost the UK $1.7 Trillion of access to international projects after Brexit.

The U.S., New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Ukraine, Israel and Moldova have all blocked Britain’s post-Brexit entry into the World Trade Organization’s Government Procurement Agreement, a market worth $1.7 Trillion.

And while the first six big players on that list may eventually (after perhaps years of hard negotiations) give in with separate trade deals, with the last one – the small country of Moldova – it’s unlikely.

Because it’s personal.

This is because Theresa May – in an effort to look tough on immigration – made the inexplicable and utterly disastrous decision last year to deny visas to a Moldovan government delegation who wanted to visit the UK on a trade mission.

Corina Cojocaru – a government adviser to the Moldova government – and her…

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Step by Step

I’m going to have to start getting up earlier in the morning if I want to catch the sunrise 🌅 Got to the promenade at just before 8am but the sun was already above the horizon albeit behind the clouds.

The weather is amazing once again, its so mild out. And we’re still waiting to say #Peanutisontheway❣️ 👶🏻 💙 This lad is surely taking his own sweet time…. although actually it’s exactly 40 weeks tomorrow, so perhaps will arrive he is ready and not when the NHS say he should arrive.

I went to see the film ‘Wildlife’ last night. Its an incredibly weird film and the jury is out on whether or not I actually enjoyed it… I didn’t. 🤔🙄

It was such a mild evening I decided to take a short walk along the beach… What a blessing to live so near to the sea.

I could hear the crashing of the waves behind the harbour wall so walked over to see what I could ‘sea’… Which wasn’t much, but I could hear it and that sound is like music to my ears.

Afterwards my daughter (the very pregnant soon to be Mummy), her hubby and I took a slow midnight stroll along the promenade in the hope it might encourage baby to start his journey…

The evening air, albeit only 2 degrees out, was perfectly still with a 3/4 moon and a canopy of ✨ crispy clear and really mild.

This morning, although I was tempted to stay in bed, I made the effort to get out to capture the sunrise. I really want to be sure to have a photo for Peanut’s book…on the day that he is born. I hope that’s soon 😀👶🏻💙❣️

Meanwhile I’ve started reading Simon Reeve’s book Step by Step. He’s my favourite travel presenter and I’ve watched all his travel documentaries which are a real eye-opener. By page 33 I’ve concluded he was a naughty little shit 😂 😂 😂 which explains the ever present twinkle in his eye and the quirky smile.  I also discovered quite weirdly that his Dad’s name was Alan which is my middle name. His Mum’s name is Cindy 🤔🤔 and his brothers’s name is James (my grandson’s name). Totally weird.

Meanwhile I shall get back to the book I’m compiling for said grandson and hold thumbs that soon I can say with absolute certainty that Peanut is on the way 😀😀😀👶🏻💙❣️

Looking gorgeous and very pregnant my gorgeous daughter looks like a a tousled wood-nymph. And here we are, still waiting with bated breath for Peanut to arrive. Although the caption reads 41 weeks, that is by the NHS calculations which reluctantly they’ve agreed are probably incorrect as they measured baby later than usual. So, instead we’re going on insider knowledge, in which case baby is not due till the 19th.

Atm Mummy is still not 100% well with a horrible cough and extremely painful ribs from the coughing. So lots of Olbas baths and rest with lots of yummy food are on the menu and hopefully she’ll be well and baby will be here soon.

We had a very traumatic and bloody useless visit with one of (the MANY) consultants at the hospital on Tuesday. It was a completely unnecessary appointment anyway and the person we were meant to see wasn’t available…the ONLY registrar who actually made any sense and who actually LISTENED to my daughter and her questions, wishes and fears, was not available for an appointment she suggested and set up. We were really disappointed that she wasn’t available. Oh well.

As for the rest, their determination to deliver this baby by caesarean section is astounding and frankly subtly bullying. They are very pushy and use statistics and trauma descriptions to push the mothers into having an induction if baby is cephalic or caesarean if breech. We all left the appointment feeling traumatised by that man’s attitude and frankly I was ready to end the ‘consultation’ after 10 minutes of listening to him. My daughter said afterwards that she wished I had because the meeting left her sobbing with grief afterwards, and she should be happy and excited at this time and not upset to the point of grief.

I have great respect for the NHS and I’m sure the consultants are very medically experienced, but 90% of the time their ‘bedside’ manner is completely shit. The many midwives, with only 1 exception, have been superb. So luckily, before we left the hospital after the evening’s appointment with the caesarean team my daughter managed to secure a meeting with the Head midwife and after a very long discussion we now have an agreement that my daughter CAN have a water birth, can deliver naturally albeit in the labour ward and not the MLU and her birthing will be led by the midwives. NO consultants or registrars will be admitted. The only change to that will be if its absolutely medically necessary.

Sadly the whole birthing experience has become very medicalised and is seldom viewed as a ‘natural’ process, but rather as a medical process. In the last few decades women have been subtly moved from birthing at home to being admitted to hospital as a patient. Yes, of course there are instances where its necessary, but not in every case. I remember in the 80’s there was a a term coined for this… ‘golf babies’ The gynaecologists or consultants etc would book mothers in for elective caesareans so as to be able to go on their golfing holidays. Its shocking.

I realise that money is an issue and that the training of nurses changed in 2001 and that the NHS is horribly understaffed and they need mothers to rather be in the hospital than home, but in that case they have to make it a pleasant if not wonderful experience. The MLU unit is amazing with massive rooms, big birthing pools, a state of the art bed, soft lighting, place to hook up music….and on the night we had our tour, the labour ward was packed and the MLU unit had one room out of 6 being used. The rooms in the labour ward bar one are bloody horrible and look like they should be in a lock up facility for offenders rather than a place where mothers are expected to birth their babies.

Meanwhile, the room my daughter would like to birth in is Room 8. So atm we are focussing on the Number 8 and willing the Universe to ensure it’s free on ‘the day’ 🙂

having a baby, positive birthing movement

trusting in the Universe

My daughter has been reading the Positive Birthing book which is a relatively new movement geared towards bringing mothers back into the equation as humans rather than statistics. To helping them realise they have options and can say no. Encouraging the to take back control and do what is best for them and not to suit the doctors schedules. To encourage them to decide what kind of birth they want and using hypno birthing to relieve pain and be present at the same time. In other words to have a POSITIVE experience for the mother and their partner rather than focussing on ensuring the doctors have a good day. Which is pretty much what the consultant told us on Tuesday….”I like to go home and tell my wife I had an uneventful day”.

I won’t go into this too much here, but if you’re interested https://thepositivebirthcompany.co.uk/

This morning I finished reading the book; Arabia, A Journey Through the Heart of the Middle East by Levison Wood – curled up in bed, snug and warm with a cup of tea (me that is , not the author haha), I settled in to finish the last 100 pages of this incredible story….and from that, you can deduce that I did not go walking today…it’s cold and grey out and I’m still shattered after all the stress and trauma of yesterday’s morning visit to the labour ward…more about that in a separate article.

book reviews, book recommendations, walking the nile levison wood, arabia levison wood, travel adventures

Viking Bay, Broadstairs after lunch

As with Walking the Nile I am left feeling just a little bit bereft at reaching the end of this particular journey. Even if the book had been a massive tome of 900 pages or more, I would still be feeling sad that I’d read the last page…. this time even the acknowledgements had to be pored over – their names all bear witness! Of the many characters met along the way, their personalities briefly revealed, the one I liked the most is Nada. My kind of fiesty lady. Whereas the name of Khaled al-Assad left me in tears. I remember reading about this amazing man at the time…over 3 years ago already 😦 My heart aches for him and his family. My heart aches for us.

I feel as if there is a story waiting to be told for each country visited. Delving deeper into the lives of people met, the places they live and the fabric of their lives. Imagine what a collection that would make on the bookshelf!! I feel as if I would like to meet each and every one of them – even the bat-shit crazy ones, linger over a meal and learn more about who they are and where they live. After all, regardless of location, race, colour, creed, religion, beliefs or values, at the end of the day we are ALL just people living our lives with hopes and dreams.

I am left both inspired and saddened by this journey through Arabia – A Journey Through the Heart of the Middle East. I have learned SO much and it infuriates me that we in the West are fed so much misinformation. It FRUSTRATES and angers me that there are so many factions, and frictions, old betrayals and new. That we, the UK, have even had a part to play in this over the centuries is both heart-breaking and sickening. I’m not going to delve into my political thoughts and feelings, since it’s not appropriate for this particular article, suffice to say that my eyes are just a little more open and I can’t imagine the conflicting emotions the author must have felt at certain times considering his background.

I am inspired to learn more about the adventurer TE Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia), who travelled those paths before Levison. To learn more about the Victorian explorer Richard Burton and Wilfred Thesiger, and to visit some of the places mentioned in the book; Jericho, Bethlehem and Damascus  in particular, as well as the many, many wondrous and ancient places he visited, to stand on top of those mountains and see the verdant valleys below in Lebanon and to spend a few days in the desert with a Bedouin tribe. Petra has always been high on my list of places I want to go…..

The Middle East seems to be a real contrast of expectations and reality, and there is so much more waiting to be discovered just below the surface. I was left bemused, terrified and exalted at various points along the way. I also cried at times….tears of despair and joy – the event in Bethlehem in particular brought me to tears…in a good way. The risks the author took in order to follow through with his journey and to reach his destination were extraordinary. The people who helped him along the way, sometimes at great risk to their own personal safety are extraordinary. Where there is a will, there is indeed a way. And how lucky are we, the reader, that they all did take those risks.

This particular book; Arabia, is not your usual travel journey that paints a pretty picture of places explored. No, it’s gritty and harsh and at times you are left feeling devastated at the destruction of a people and a place…and I’m talking in particular of Syria and Palestine. (p.s. if you have myopic views about the situation in either of these two countries please do NOT feel the need to express them in the comments).

If you have read this far, then I can highly recommend both these books; Arabia and Walking the Nile. So what’s next? Well I guess I am going to have to track down Walking the Himalayas….no pun intended LOL and Walking the Americas and make a plan to watch the Channel 4 documentaries.

Unfortunately for them, the charity shops won’t be seeing either of these books, Arabia or Walking the Nile from me LOL. Instead I shall treasure them and encourage my grandson to read them when he is ready; hopefully to inspire him to travel the world. I will most certainly be delving into them again….hopefully at a slower pace next time. As with all journeys, I’m sad it’s over.

I am left with the words of the John Lennon song in my mind; IMAGINE – all the people living life in peace….

I can highly recommend this book as a damn good read; Arabia; A Journey Through the Heart of the Middle East and while you’re at it….why not read Walking the Nile. Author: Levison Wood.book reviews, book recommendations, walking the nile levison wood, arabia levison wood, travel adventures

Meanwhile back at Planet Thanet, I have the book I’m writing for my grandson to complete. He’s due within the next 2 weeks and I’d like to complete it before he arrives. The Incredible Journey of James Alexander McKenzie-Hoult aka Jamie aka Peanut 🙂 I am SO looking forward to saying for real….. #Peanutisontheway

And I have An Evening with Levison Wood to look forward to next week…my tickets have been purchased and I’m ‘praying’ that Peanut doesn’t decide to arrive on that day…..before would be good and after just as well. LOL We’re focusing on the 18th…..

Alhamdulillah and RIP Khaled al-Assad may you truly have found peace, I’m sure you will never be forgotten.

….or not. LOL Well the days are slowly but inexorably going by, one by one and still our wee Peanut has not put in an appearance. His ‘due dates’ of 5th and 7th have come and gone and he is still snug in his cosy (albeit noisy) little cocoon.

waiting for peanut, peanut is on the way, first pregnancy, being pregnant

40 weeks and looking gorgeous

I say noisy because his poor Mother (my daughter) has had the most awful cold and subsequent cough for well over a week now and it is causing her a tremendous amount of stress, pain and discomfort. She is almost literally ‘coughing her lungs out’. She is alternatively bunged up with thick mucus or streaming snot. Both of which are causing her a lot of pain and discomfort with the accompanying coughing…that just goes unremittingly on and on. The doctor checked her over earlier last week on another visit and said there was no infection, so just to keep warm and rest.

A couple of days ago, actually last week Thursday, I was downstairs cleaning and she was upstairs resting (or trying to) when I heard a tiny little voice come wafting down in desperation “Mummy, can you come upstairs please”. My initial heart reaction was “omg the baby is on the way!!” to “omg what the hell is wrong?” when I got upstairs and found her doubled over in pain. She thought that with the coughing and the very uncomfortable positions she had been lying in in bed may have pinched a nerve in her shoulder when coughing. I tried massaging the area, to no avail and with no relief, it got steadily worse till she was screaming with pain, coughing and unable to stand up. Suddenly her left arm started going numb right down to her fingers…and she started crying in earnest thinking she might be having a heart attack with the pain.

I tried phoning the GP but as usual they take so long to reply, you could be dead by the time they answer. So I phoned 999 – ‘ambulance please’ and within 45 minutes we were in A&E. Still screaming and in so much pain that they, the medical staff in A&E, were all convinced she was in labour….despite her saying that you don’t get labour pains in your shoulder!!! *rolls eyes*.

After a quick examination the doctor prescribed some morphine to dull the pain….it took the edge off but didn’t really make a huge difference, and transferred her to the maternity labour ward. *rolls eyes* again!! Pass the buck eh! Or in this case the very pregnant Mummy-to-be.

After quite a few examinations that involved prodding her ribs and facilitated a lot of screaming and swearing, they gave her some coedine and strapped her up to the baby monitor. Although baby wasn’t at all happy with the noise and discomfort he was experiencing from both the coughing and the screaming, his heartbeat was strong and healthy and he was moving around like no-one’s business. It’s so amazing how the sound of the monitor changes as he moves and the graph goes crazy. At least this room was a bit more cheerful than the others we’ve been in. This is not the first time we’ve visited the labour ward, and mostly the rooms are dull, and grim with crappy paintwork and all the horrible sterile equipment.

We spent a few hours there while they did various tests and checks, doctors and midwives came and went and finally after about 5 hours they discharged her and we all went home….my poor child….still in pain and feeling somewhat spaced out from the medications.

And here we are, the weekend has come and gone, Mummy is still coughing and spluttering, her ribs are still very painful, and now her whole body is aching from the strain of the coughing and still no sign of baby making an appearance any time soon, which is probably a good thing since my daughter is in no condition to take the strain of labour right now.

However, we thought for sure he was on the way last night due to what we thought might be a ‘show’ and a lot of fluid being passed. To be on the ‘safe side’ we decided to pop in at the labour ward and have them check things over…again we spent a couple of hours in the labour ward while they did a few tests and monitored baby’s heartbeat – the diagnosis is: no, baby is not yet on the way. Geez, this little scamp is taking his own sweet time. His heartbeat is strong and healthy, he is moving frequently and still breech.

And my poor child is still coughing and coughing. We have tried everything to no avail. It’s a virus and we just have to wait for it to pass……maybe Peanut is waiting for that too.

Meanwhile I went shopping again yesterday and bought some of the cutest little outfits you can imagine. I do so love the Peter Rabbit theme and even though baby really has more than enough Newborn babygrows, I could resist this one 🙂 It’s adorable. Of course if baby weighs more than 7 lbs, none of them are going to fit…. LOL

peanut is on the way, first grandchild, peter rabbit, baby layette

Peter Rabbit…one of my favourite characters

My daughter gave me the most delightful book for Christmas: FAMILY LONDON with the inscription – ‘to granny for all our adventures, love Jamie’. There are dozens of ideas and places to go with children of all ages: parks, playgrounds & secret gardens, museums & galleries, grand days out, where the wild things are, and teenage kicks…as well as places to eat…..oh and we’ll definitely be buying lots of ice-creams!!

peanut is on the way, first grandchild, family london, things to do with children in london

Jamie and Granny’s London adventures

So I’m already planning ahead and bought him some gorgeous Paddington Bear pyjamas, an adorable Paddington Bear dungaree and top ensemble

and a London jumper with a big red bus and a London t-shirt. All Aboard…first bus we shall ride will be the Number 15 from the Tower of London to Trafalgar Square.

These will all be kept aside for when Granny and Jamie go to London on an adventure.

I can’t wait for this wee lad to arrive now. 🙂

 

These photographs and this status was posted on Facebook by a law adviser on Christmas Eve: Please spare a thought for this 64 year old severely disabled client of mine? Please share this post to see if we can garner a response from the Tories although, I doubt we will. My client was thrown off […]

via Severely disabled 64-year old man found starving to death – while billionaires get tax cuts — Pride’s Purge

I cannot tell you how shocked I was to see this pass through my facebook timeline yesterday. That this was a cause and effect of the appalling DWP came as no surprise. Although I haven’t had direct dealings with them myself (thank you God), I know people who have….and it is shocking. If you are ill, disabled or due to no fault of your own, out of work or UNABLE to work in this Tory led country, you are less than nothing …something to be swept under the carpet, a bit of useless detritus.

I came to this country 17 years ago and fell in love with what I thought was a really fantastic place to stay, a truly open, inclusive and democratic country, that looked after it’s citizens, so much so that I gave up everything in my country of birth and moved here. At the time there was a Labour government. Now there is not…..and it’s showing.

17 years later and my rose-tinted glasses have been shattered. The last 10 years the human conditions have gone from bad to worse. This man’s case, as awful as it is, is not unique.

In 2018 the UN investigated the rising level of poverty in the UK…and made a damning report on the current and rising levels of poverty in the UK!!!

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2018/11/united-nations-investigating-poverty-united-kingdom/

The United Nations has condemned the British government’s “punitive, mean-spirited and often callous” treatment of the country’s poorest and most vulnerable, in a damning report.

When you see that 3-day emergency Foodbank supplies have risen by nearly half a MILLION in the last 4 years, you have to wonder what the hell is going on. There are hundreds of similar stories, of children going to school hungry, clothes unwashed and their parents unable to afford basic necessities, as well as disabled people denied support and elderly people actually wasting away due to Auschwitz type starvation …….you have to wonder what the hell is going on?

The United Kingdom is the 5th RICHEST – not poorest, but RICHEST country in the world and we have people who are starving to death.

What the hell is going on? Oh wait……we know what is going on…..

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