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Archive for February, 2018

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-42982959#

I recently read this very disconcerting and worrying article. Please read it and share. Along with other major cities in the world, London will run out of water in the not too distant future. Water is probably the MOST precious commodity next to air, and yet people waste it like its an unending supply. Only 3% of the water on the planet is drinkable and yet its poured away without thought. Of the 7 billion people on the planet, 2.7 billion have no proper access to fresh drinking water.

Just a few ways in which we waste water every day:

Boiling a full kettle for one cup = wasting water.

Gushing taps =wasting water.

Standing in the shower for ages =wasted water.

Filling a swimming pool =horrendous waste of water.

Washing a car with a hose pipe =horrendous waste of water.

Not planting a water retaining garden =waste of water.

Using sprinklers on the lawn during the day =waste of water.

Not retaining rainwater in a drum =waste of water.

Producing the hundreds of single use PLASTIC bottles of water =obscene waste of water.

Recycling that plastic = unnecessary waste of water.

Ice bucket challenge =waste of water….yes they raised money for charity, but millions of liters of water went to waste.

The list of how water is wasted is endless. Please do consider that #waterisprecious and think about how you can #savewater and #stopwaste

A good place to start would be #nomoreplastic #nosingleuseplastic #noplasticbottles

#conservewaterdontwasteit

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Stepping up and showing the way to all those food outlets that are STILL dragging their heels.

There is no time for mucking about anymore. Drastic action must be taken by ALL food suppliers and producers ; farmers across all genres, fishermen, suppliers, supermarkets etc etc.

3 years is too long. Drastic action needs to be taken NOW to reduce plastic in the system.

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The article I’ve shared here is a long read. It may be worth your time to read it through. I left Facebook earlier this year, (although I haven’t yet deleted my profile), because it was making me feel uncomfortable and I noticed that I was being manipulated by what I was seeing. My daughter sent me this article and having read it, I see now that my thoughts and feelings of unease were correct. I realise that some will of course say they already ‘knew’ all of this. I’ll leave it to you to decide whether to read it or not, but in case you don’t, everyone on social media is being mass manipulated and Facebook is one of the worst perpetrators. : “They have created billions of individual channels, each of which can be pushed further into negativity and extremism without the risk of alienating other audience members. To the contrary: the platforms help people self-segregate into like-minded filter bubbles, reducing the risk of exposure to challenging ideas.” https://washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/january-february-march-2018/how-to-fix-facebook-before-it-fixes-us/

I’ve kept my profile open simply so that I can pop in from time to time to contact friends whose phone numbers I don’t have, particularly those who live on different continents, and because I have never downloaded the Facebook messenger app since I didn’t and still don’t trust them or the app. I don’t see messages or tags anymore because I literally go onto my profile for a few minutes and off again. I won’t ever again be an active user.
I’ll still use instagram because I enjoy sharing my images and love seeing all the wonderful images of places around the world. It’s also useful to compile lists of where I want to go. WhatsApp has unfortunately become a necessity.. for now, but that will change in time. And Google is Google, a useful tool for research. Fortunately I’m not a very good consumer, so that’s their bad luck.

Anyway, I’d suggest you take the time to read this article, so that you can be aware of how we’re all being manipulated. Knowledge, as they say, is power.

https://www.wired.com/story/inside-facebook-mark-zuckerberg-2-years-of-hell/amp?__twitter_impression=true

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It is my dream and goal to visit as many places in the UK as I possibly can, especially places relative to my Project 101.

If I could spend every day travelling and going to new places I surely would…in between visiting home and my family of course 😉 I’m looking forward to the day I buy my motor home.

A few weeks ago I contacted the agency I get my assignments from and asked if they could send me farther afield than Kent…I’ve been to so many places in Kent already as well as many in the neighbouring counties, and I really wanted to extend my range again. Since Nottingham is on my list of places to go, so when they suggested a position in the city for 2 weeks I jumped at the chance.

After a long day of travel I finally arrived at Nottingham Station. It’s a long way from Broadstairs to Nottingham…5.5 hours and 3 train changes.

The Nottingham Canal that I crossed over on my way from the station to the B&B opened in 1796. I love seeing canal boats on a river, they always look so quaint and intriguing.

This is my first visit to Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, which is really exciting, as I’m now able to add this visit to a few categories on my Project 101: Domesday Book town, walled city, a major river, a castle, a cathedral city, a cathedral…which remarkably is linked to the Architect Augustus Pugin and ties in to the walk I did last year : The Way of St Augustine.

Can’t wait to explore, although proper exploration will have to wait till the assignment is finished, to which end I’ve booked to stay for a couple of days after. However there is no reason why I couldn’t pop out for a short walk around the city even though it was already dark out.

Nottingham is mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book as “Snotingeham” and “Snotingham”. Named for a Saxon Chieftain ‘Snot’, it was dubbed “Snotingaham” meaning literally, “the homestead of Snot’s people” (Inga = the people of; Ham = homestead).

First on the agenda was a visit to Nottingham Castle. I’d walked past it on my way to the B&B and seriously it was quite simply amazing…..

Nottingham Castle was constructed in the 11th century on a sandstone outcrop by the River Trent. I have never seen any such location for a castle in my life. The outcrop appears to be pock marked with caves and holes…and apparently, after reading the storyboard nearby, it seems that there are in fact tunnels and caves below the castle…..now I’m really intrigued and excited. The opening time is March which means my timing is perfect…thankfully. At the side of the castle is a fab statue of Robin Hood, he of Nottingham Forest and Maid Marion fame…..steal from the rich to feed the poor. Remember the film Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves… I wonder if he looked anything like Kevin Costner 😉

On the way there I passed Ye Olde trip to Jerusalem Inn which according to the blurb, is the oldest inn in England. Apparently this too has tunnels running beneath so of course I absolutely have to go back for a tour.

From there I took a stroll through the streets passing a fab little Tudor style house. I didn’t see many medieval style houses – I must try to find out if there are any.

The pedestrianised area is lined with the usual high street shops and stores…it look so familiar to many places I’ve been I could have been almost anywhere. Is there a template?

I did enjoy seeing the electrified trams…reminded me of Amsterdam and Dublin.

I stopped for a quick bite at Five Guys, I haven’t ever eaten there before, and probably won’t again. The sandwich I had was okay, and the fries edible but nothing to write home about.

Since it was was already very dark I decided to head back to the B&B and settle in for a nice hot bath, some T.V. – one of my favourite shows: Call the Midwife and then an early night is in order.

I’m looking forward to when the assignment is over and I can explore more thoroughly. I enjoyed finding these coats of arms and of course a door is always intriguing..

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Planning, planning, planning. What fun it’s been planning my 2 big 2018 pilgrimages; The Pilgrim’s Way from Winchester to Canterbury and Camino Ingles from Ferrol to Santiago and from there on the Camino Finisterre with a final journey to Muxia; the now agreed furthermost point of mainland Europe and an ancient pilgrims destination.

As mentioned in a previous blog, I’ve had hours of fun with researching what to see, reading the respective pilgrimage guides, studying the route on google maps, scanning airbnb and booking.com for suitable and not bank-breaking accommodation rates, then calculating the cost of these pilgrimages……and therein lies the rub…..or should I say months of hard work LOL. Ouch. It’s going to be a lot more expensive than I anticipated…especially the UK pilgrimage.

Accommodation in the UK does NOT come cheap. Unlike the albergues and hostels on the various Camino routes in Spain which cater for pilgrims, the best price I’ve managed to book for the UK is at one of the YHA locations – at £16 for the night, it’s very comparable to the accommodations in Spain.

AirBnB! How did we do without it before? It’s a gem, although not necessarily cheap, you can find some lovely accommodations and I have found a number of very suitable places along The Pilgrim’s Way. I had planned on staying the first 2 nights in Winchester, but after trying various places in Winchester, oh my gosh, talk about exorbitant…..as I said to the one lady I spoke to, I’m walking as a pilgrim, not visiting as a tourist. If I want to pay so much money, I’ll stay at a hotel. Winchester does not come cheap!!

But there it is. So instead I’ve altered my plans and have found some lovely accommodation in Southampton, which is brilliant since Southampton is a famous sailing off point for pilgrims travelling to distant shores; namely the point of departure for the Pilgrim Fathers aboard Mayflower in 1620, as well as many pilgrims from the UK departing to follow the way of St James in Spain. I’ve wanted to visit Southampton anyway, so this will give me the chance to add a day of exploration to the itinerary and explore the city for a day and there is MUCH to see 🙂

I’ve booked 9 of 18 nights for the UK….the rest will have to wait while I work some more and save up some more LOL ….the joys of travel. I’ve also booked 7 of 21 days in Spain and plan to make the most of the traditional alburgues and hostels along the routes on a ‘phone ahead and hope for the best plan’.

Besides planning when to start my pilgrimages and how many days to walk each route, I’ve had to do a budget projection right through to end October to ensure I can in fact earn sufficient income to pay for them, as well as calculate exactly how much I can squeeze out of my monthly budgets towards the main aspects of expected expenses; travel, food, accommodation, mementos and of course most importantly travel insurance. It’s going to be a hectic balancing act and my accounting background and love of spreadsheets is coming in well handy LOL

I can barely believe that I’ll finally be walking one of the long-distance pilgrimage routes in the UK. I have already followed Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales route from Southwark to Canterbury and the Way of St Augustine from Ramsgate to Canterbury, but neither of those routes was in excess of 100 miles. I have walked the Camino Portuguese from Porto to Santiago which was 150 miles, so that was quite good…..the Pilgrim’s Way from Winchester to Canterbury is 133+ miles and the 3 Camino routes in Spain will equal approx 135 miles. Although neither of them come anywhere close to the Camino Norte which is over 515 miles, and which I’m planning (hoping) to walk in 2019. Whew, wipe the sweat from my brow LOL

There are quite a few websites that I’ve frequented whilst planning these trips and I have found 2 of them to be most useful.

The Pilgrims Way Canterbury http://www.pilgrimswaycanterbury.org/

Confraternity of St James https://www.csj.org.uk/

I also purchased 3 Pilgrim guides that have been a mine of information:

The Pilgrim’s Way; Leigh Hatts – Cicerone

Camino Ingles; Johnnie Walker – Confraternity of St James

Camino Finisterre; Alison Raju – Confraternity of St James

Follow me on instagram as I travel along pilgrimage and others routes in the UK and Europe https://www.instagram.com/notjustagranny/

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Quite a few months ago my future son-in-law decided to bake a cake. Now, under normal circumstances there’s nothing remarkable about that at all….except that he had never before baked a cake 🙂

The end result was – delicious, albeit somewhat lopsided and needed refinement. In that regard there has been no problem, over the last few months he has progressed in leaps and bounds and now whips up a cake in the blink of an eye…with his secret recipe fillings that are to die for. Delicious. I have no problem at all eating as much as possible when I’m home…if there’s any left LOL…his fiancé quite likes them too!!

After a conversation with my daughter about what he’d like to do with this new-found enthusiasm for baking going forward, I decided that a talent like this needs to be encouraged and nurtured, and so, as an early birthday present, I sent him for cake icing lessons.

After some research on the internet I found a lovely young lass by the name of Billie who has her business in Deal, which is just a short train ride or drive away from home, and so I booked him in for a 3 hour lesson.

The big day came and off they went, my daughter drove them there in Fiona and they made a day of it with her going along to view the proceedings and capture the moments. What fun.

The lesson progressed exceedingly well and the comment I had from Billie is that she thought he’s a natural, was very steady and patient and she couldn’t quite believe he’d never iced a cake before.

The final result…looks remarkably like a wedding cake and I wonder if there’s a future career in that direction 😉 I’m well impressed at the end result. I used to do cake-icing myself in my younger days, and iced and decorated a few wedding cakes as well as sold a great number of occasion cakes, so to see this talent in our little family is marvellous.

So, here’s my future son-in-law; Simon….a possible future Bake Off 2019 contestant!!

bake off contestant 2019, cake icing lessons

getting started

bake off contestant 2019, cake icing lessons

making excellent progress

bake off contestant 2019, cake icing lessons

a future Bake Off contestant in the making

I wonder if I should enrol him? LOL

If you’re wanting to know more about Billie’s cake icing lessons, here is her website

 

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Following up on my post from a couple of days ago, these are a few more of my favourite villages in England. The Channel 4 programme, Village of the Year is absolutely fascinating. I shall have to watch them again…get some more ideas of places to go – as if I don’t already have a list longer than I could do in 2 lifetimes…but hey, I might live to be 100….LOL

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East Grinstead, West Sussex

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Farnham, Surrey

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Kennett, Suffolk

Kennett – Domesday Book village

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Kentford, Suffolk

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Lavenham, Suffolk

Lavenham – Domesday Book village

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Lower Bourne, Surrey

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Marston Magna, Somerset

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Midhurst, Sussex

Midhurst had it all….a castle, a mill, a river, and quintessentially English cottages

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Moulton, Suffolk

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Newton-Ferrers, Devon

Newton-Ferrers is probably in my Top Ten favourite village of England. It was so gorgeous and the views of the river were stunning. At night it was quiet and peaceful with skies so black and stars so bright, you can’t imagine.

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