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I saw this graph going around the various Camino pages on Facebook and thought I’d share it with you.

How interesting to see where people are from, and which routes they walk.

Camino statistics 2017

Camino statistics 2017

I must admit that I was surprised at how few people were from the UK.

It’s also useful to note that not all pilgrims register for a Compostela on arrival at Santiago. I met quite a few pilgrims who were walking their 3rd or 4th Camino and weren’t bothered about getting a Compostela (certificate). So I guess the numbers are higher than shown here.

As for myself, I’ll be sure to obtain a Compostela for every Camino I complete 😊😊

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After a few months of excitement and anticipation, on the 26th April, just a few days after my birthday, I finally experienced a flight in a Spitfire.

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just before the victory roll, which was absolutely amazing

My wonderful daughter had booked me on a full-on Spitfire flight for my birthday. What an extraordinary experience.

flight in a spitfire, biggin hill heritage hangar, ww2 spitfire, flying in a spitfire

coming back down to earth…my wonderful daughter

From the time we arrived till we left a few hours later, the on-site staff were welcoming, cheerful, helpful and informative…clearly love what they do.

Don, the pilot, was absolutely terrific and made my flight so special; from the time I climbed on board till I disembarked, totally exhilarated, he ensured that my flight was interesting and informed – talking me through the take off process, pointing out landmarks and executing that ‘freaking amazing’ Victory Roll. We saw so many amazing sights from the air; flying from Biggin Hill across Kent to Folkestone, then along the coast past Dover – a fantastic view of Dover Castle, Deal – another castle, Sandwich, Ramsgate, Broadstairs (I could see our house from the air 🙂 ), Margate and finally Whitstable, where we turned back inland.

The coastline is stunningly beautiful and I thrilled at the views. I could even see Calais in the distance!!!

We flew over Leeds Castle which looks as amazing from the air as on the ground, past Canterbury; the cathedral standing out like a beacon, and as we approached the Medway I could see Rochester Cathedral and Castle in the distance. One thing that did surprise me was how close the River Thames is to the River Medway!!! In the far distance I could distinctly see Canary Wharf and the City of London! amazing.

flight in a spitfire, biggin hill heritage hangar, ww2 spitfire, flying in a spitfire

Don the pilot and me

 

The whole flight was absolutely thrilling and if there were a 100 star rating, I would give it 100 stars. Don, the pilot, made the flight so special by pointing out landmarks….I felt safe and comfortable throughout the whole flight. I loved the victory roll and wish I had asked if we could do it again!!! LOL I was so trepidatious beforehand but oh my word….it was so much fun.

flight in a spitfire, biggin hill heritage hangar, ww2 spitfire, flying in a spitfire

safe landing

After I reluctantly landed, and came back down to earth again, we were treated to a tour of the hangars – it was absolutely thrilling to see so many of these beautiful craft at close quarters, as well as many others.

flight in a spitfire, biggin hill heritage hangar, ww2 spitfire, flying in a spitfire

hello! we’ve landed

This truly was a unique experience, something I will never forget. The in-flight videos that were provided as part of the package were a fantastic bonus and so far we’ve watched them a number of times LOL It certainly brought back all the thrill of the flight for me. I’ve made a short compilation of photos and videos. Needless to say…I did cry LOL… it was either that or scream from sheer exhilaration.

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What a superb image. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of the RAF, and in just 24 days, thanks to my incredible, amazing daughter, I’ll be flying in one of these gorgeous machines celebrating my 63rd birthday 😊😊😊 (altho I’d appreciate it if you don’t tell anyone how ‘old’ I am 😁). Talking of which, I’ve decided to switch the numbers around and make it 36!! 🤣🤣🤣 Age is but a number after all 🤔

raf centenary, spitfires, royal air force, the daily express

image cut out from The Daily Express newspaper. I’ll have to keep this in my diary 🙂

So wow, Spitfires eh. Aren’t they just beautiful. My favourite flying machine ahead of the Red Arrows. I can’t wait now to fly over the White Cliffs of Dover, I’m going to be a tearful mess 🙄🙄 Hope the pilot can cope!! I’m reminded of the Battle of Britain Airshow last year at Headcorn. What a joy to watch these superb little craft flypast

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The Supermarine Spitfire P FX seen at the Battle of Britain Airshow at Headcorn 08/07/2017

I remember seeing this advertised at the entrance and thinking how much I would love to have a flight….and now I will be…in just 24 days whoo hoo. Although the flight my daughter has paid for is well over 10 times more than the one advertised here, and I’ll be flying from Biggin Hill not Headcorn.

spitfire flights, battle of britain headcorn, biggin hill battle of britain

The Spitfire Flight Experience at Headcorn. Although I’ll be flying from Biggin Hill which is just awesome

I was a tad disappointed with the various news coverage and programmes celebrating the 100th anniversary, since none of them mentioned the esteemed South African Statesman Jan Smuts, who was after all responsible for the founding of the RAF. So I’m mentioning it here. Hats off to one of my heroes. You are remembered. If you’re interested to read more about the founding father of the RAF, here’s the link to the relevant article

https://samilhistory.com/2018/04/01/the-royal-air-forces-100th-birthday-and-its-founder-jan-smuts/

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I’ve often seen posts where people do a round up of the places they’ve been in any particular month or year, so I thought I’d do a first quarter round up of the places I’ve been since January 1st. I saw in the New Year in front of the telly at home with my daughter and future son-in-law LOL Although I used to love going into London to watch the New Year fireworks live, since they introduced the £10 admittance fee and having to queue for hours before getting in, I’ve decided….no more!

As part of the #walk1000 miles challenge for 2018, I’ve kept note of the km’s/miles covered on my various excursions, via mapmywalk. Some of the walks look like a drunken spider has been let loose! But what fun to look at the maps afterwards and see the places I walked through.

January 2018 – walked 41 miles

chirbury, project 101, travel in the uk, places of the uk, montgomery wales, not just a granny travels, montgomery castle,

London’s New Year fireworks on the telly. Key to the Kingdom; Montgomery, Wales and Chirbury, Shropshire

February 2018 – walked 48 miles

nottingham, nottingham castle, greens windmilll, project 101, not just a granny travels, places of the uk, domesday book towns

Nottingham

March 2019 – walked 63 miles

chester, eastgate clock, project 101, not just a granny travels, places of the uk, domesday book towns

Chester

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a walk along the Chester Canal to Christleton, a Domesday Book Village

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Quex Park and a tour of the towers

places of the uk, explore england, domesday book villages, fordham, wicken, soham

Fordham, Wicken, Soham

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Ely

ely, ship of the fens, exexning, domeday book towns, explore ely, project 101, Exning; birthplace of St Etheldreda and home of Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni

Exning; birthplace of St Etheldreda and home of Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni

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Ely Cathedral

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Oliver Cromwell’s House, Ely

And there it is; my first quarter round up of places I’ve been in January, February and March of 2018, and 152 miles from 01/01/18-31/03/2018 – I’m slacking and need to get out more if I want to reach my 1000 mile target. I had thought I’d stretch myself this year and aim for 2018 miles (LOL – yeah right) but most of the jobs I’ve had so far haven’t been conducive to much time for walking. I haven’t kept track of every step I’ve taken, and only count #bootson walks where I specifically set off to ‘have a walk’. My pilgrimage from Winchester to Canterbury in August/September will add at least 133 miles to the total, but even so…..

I wonder what April, May and June will bring. I know that most of May will be spent at home, what with my daughter’s impending wedding and everything involved with that, as well as which I’ll be flying in a Spitfire from Biggin Hill for my birthday later on this month….watch this space 🙂 I wonder if I can add ‘flying’ to my miles hahaha. I’m also planning a walk from Broadstairs to Folkestone later this month and a trip ‘up noooth’ for 3 days which will add a substantial mileage as I explore the city, however I shall have to motivate myself to get out more inbetween times.

 

 

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How pretty is this! 💗💗

I’ve been wanting to make the jump from vegetarian to vegan for quite some time now but due to laziness (food enjoyment) and convenience, as well as the complications of cooking 2 separate meals every day when I’m working, and all the issues many of my clients have just with me being vegetarian never mind vegan, I haven’t quite made the jump, although I have cut out a lot of processed food stuff and focussed on buying organic foods etc. On Tuesday the week before last, after arriving at my next assignment, I got horribly horribly ill during the night and spent virtually the whole of the next day in bed, virtually comotose and incapable of getting up, never mind actually working. Fortunately the situation on the day meant I could just stay in bed, but by the next day it was decided I should leave, which I did. Ironically it was the foil wrapped baked potato I had for lunch at the client that made me ill.

After getting so ill, I just couldn’t bear to eat anything with dairy or anything processed so I went out and bought myself a whole pile of fresh vegetables to make a thick soup.

This gave me the nudge that I needed to reassess my dietary habits. So, inspired by people on instagram with whom I’ve been connected for some time now, as well as the profiles @fieldsoffreedom and @minovalleyfarmsanctuary who’ve really opened my eyes (soul) to the reality of my contribution to the suffering of factory farmed animals and intensive dairy farming, I’ve finally crossed the rubicon. So, the vegan recipe magazine my beloved daughter gave me at Christmas, has now been dusted off ready to be examined,

and a huge pot of vegetable soup, which I absolutely love anyway, simmered on the stove (it smelt delicious). I know the journey is going to have its twists and turns, challenges (walking the Camino) and temptations (afternoon tea – which y’all know I love 🤨🤨🤨), but after all the above, linked to having just watched the documentary, Before the Flood, for me, it’s now become a must rather than a desire. Even if my little contribution goes unnoticed in the wider scheme of things, I want my legacy, even a tiny one, to be something that will make a difference for future generations. So I hereby declare that I am now on the path and starting the journey to becoming 100% vegan. 😀😀😀

I’m not sure where this journey will take me going forward, but I do hope that I can make the conversion easier by reminding myself of the reasons why I want to do this….especially when temptation knocks at my door. Wish me luck.

02/04/2018 Update. I was really heartened to read this article in the Guardian this morning. I guess this means that people can no longer poo poo veganism as a ‘trend’ for weirdos and hippy types. Not that I mind being classified as a weirdo if it means that I no longer subscribe to cruelty to animals (think intensive farming and slaughter houses) and by becoming vegan I can contribute to the reduction in climate change (albeit a very very tiny reduction from just me), and contribute towards the eventual health of the planet. Now if only more people would get on board, imagine the difference we could make; our legacy for future generations. Hope you enjoy the article.

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/apr/01/vegans-are-coming-millennials-health-climate-change-animal-welfare

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Whoo hoo, my Camino map arrived. It shows all the different Camino routes in Spain and from beyond the borders ; its stunning.

Looking at the map I’m made aware of the fact that despite having walked 240kms from Porto in Portugal to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, my route really was just a very very short distance in comparison to many of the others.

Wise Pilgrim's Guide map

Wise Pilgrim’s Guide map

My daughter joked that I should walk them all 😳😳😳🚶🚶🤣🤣🤣 Uhmm, yes, I’d need a 2nd life to do that!!!

Here’s the website if you’d like to buy a map or one of the guides. This is not an affiliate link

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Since I only had a few days in Chester, I set off really early the next morning to explore the city, wanting to see and do as much as possible in my allotted time (although setting off at 9.30am is not really that early LOL). Greeted by a mildly overcast day that promised to brighten up, I hastened into the city stopping first to photograph the clock again…of course. Just look at that date!! 1897. wow. I wonder if Queen Victoria even saw this magnificent clock?! Probably not.

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The famous Chester clock located on the East Gate of the city

Next stop the Chester High Cross located next to the Guild Church of St Peter

I then took a stroll along the galleried walkways of The Rows; Britain’s oldest shopping arcade. The history of these buildings is phenomenal and it felt quite weird and exhilarating to be walking along these corridors where thousands of people have walked for centuries.

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galleried walkways of Britain’s oldest shopping arcade

Next up a visit to the Guild Church of St Peter’s. As with all these wonderful ancient churches, the history is phenomenal and architecture beautiful with stunning stained glass windows telling the stories of the Bible, as well as a phenomenal edition of the Chester Breeches Bible.

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The Guild Church of St Peter, Chester where you can see the Chester Breeches Bible

From here I strolled around the streets photographing just about every building I passed and then some LOL they are all so gorgeous. I just wish that the councils of this historic towns & cities would ban shop signs. A discreet sign above the door should be sufficient.

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The Black & White style was part of a wider Tudor Revival in 19th-century architecture.

I spied the cathedral looming large at the end of one cobbled street so made my way over for a visit.

chester cathedral, explore chester, walled cities, roman cities, explore england, historic england, black and white architecture,

Chester Cathedral at the end of the street

Founded in 1092 as a Benedictine abbey dedicated to Saint Werburgh, the original church was built in the Romanesque or Norman style, some of which you can still see today. What an extraordinary building. I have visited over 30 cathedrals in various cities and countries and they are all so very different and so very beautiful.

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Chester Cathedral

Although the site itself may have been used for Christian worship since Roman times, the current Grade I listed building, rebuilt from about 1250 in the Gothic style, which took 275 years to complete, the church as we see it today is a stunning structure with oodles of history; part of a heritage site that also includes the most complete set of monastic buildings in England with remains of Roman barracks on the Dean’s field. The original windows of the abbey were destroyed by Parliamentary troops and the current stained glass windows, dating mostly from the 19th and 20th centuries, are a sight to behold with some fabulous windows in the cloisters that contain the images of 130 saints.

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the cloister windows contain the images of 130 saints

After spending an hour or so exploring the church I booked myself on one of the free ground floor tours for the following day, after which the 60 minute Tower tour for £8.

After exploring the church I went walkabout in the city centre… what a cute little elephant sculpture, I would have loved to have a ride on that bus and I saw the ghost of a Roman soldier!!! Hmmmm, maybe not!

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Chester – so much to see!!!

From there I then set off for the North Gate to walk the City Walls. Oh my gosh, what a fantastic experience.

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Chester City Walls starting from the North Gate I passed the King Charles Tower (awesome!)

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along Chester’s City Walls and passed beneath the East Gate clock (more awesome)

Enroute I diverted slightly to visit the Roman Amphitheatre

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Chester’s Roman Amphitheatre

At the Bridge Gate I made another diversion to visit the river and stroll along in the sunshine, stopping off at the cafe tucked behind the bridge for tea & scones (pre-vegan).

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The River Dee flowing through Chester

Then headed back along the pathway past Chester Castle, founded by William the Conqueror in 1070. Someone told me its was a private residence and not open for tours so I didn’t bother to go in, but on further research I see it’s an English Heritage property ….I guess I’ll just HAVE to go back for another visit then LOL no hardship 😉 Also that will teach me to do proper research before visiting a place.

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Chester Castle and Water Tower Street

Then back onto the walls till I got back to the North Gate. There are so many things to see from the walls that I can seriously recommend you make the time to visit. Approximately an hours walk will take you around, unless like me, you stop for 100s of photos!

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along Chester’s City Walls

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The North Gate – currently sections of the wall near this gate are under reconstruction

Welcome to Chester. I used mapmywalk app to record my route around the city

There are so many wondrous things to see in Chester, so after my city wall excursion I went walkabout once again. This just fascinated me – 3 Old Arches 1297!! I mean seriously!

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Three Old Arches – 1274 AD – Three Old Arches, at 48 Bridge Street, incorporate part of the famous Chester Rows and is a Grade I listed building. The stone frontage at the street and row levels is considered to be the oldest surviving shop frontage in England.

After my marathon walkabout I strolled back through the city and along the canal back to the BB for a snooze and a meal.

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The Canal in Chester’s Industrial Heart and Chester’s Industrial Outskirts

After a short rest I once again headed back into the city centre; I simply couldn’t get my fill of the city walls so had another short stroll along from King Charles Tower, past the Eastgate Clock

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Chester at night

and onto the Bridge Gate where I disembarked and walked along the riverfront to the Queen’s Park Suspension Bridge

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Ye Olde Kings Head – built 1622 and the Queen’s Park Suspension Bridge built 1852 and my shadow alongside the city walls

after which I stopped for a second meal at Adam’s Fish and Chips. They were sensational and for the 2nd night they created a very clever cone for me to take away my fish cake and chips.

Adam's Fish and Chips Chester

Adam’s Fish and Chips Chester – best ever fish cake and chips

Meandering about the city, trailing a heavenly aroma, eating my chips and fish I eventually found myself back at the cathedral. I saw that the lights were on and could hear music from inside. So thinking it was some night-time service, I strolled around to the side door and walked in. There was a crowd of people milling about and no-one seemed to mind that I was there, so I just meandered about and took some more photos (it’s not like I didn’t already have enough) and then I left.

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Chester Cathedral at night

It seems I actually gate-crashed a private event, but not a soul said anything and the young man at the door even held it open and wished me a good evening when I departed. LOL marvellous. I was thrilled to see one of the 2014 Tower of London WW1 poppies on display…I wonder if it’s the one I planted!! Probably not LOL

I took some more photos of the buildings, looking ghostly in the dark

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The Rows at night

and then with one final photo (again) of the Eastgate Clock

chester cathedral, chester, roman fort, chesters clock, roman city walls chester, explore chester, things to do in chester, chester high cross, britains oldest shopping arcade. black and white buildings of chester, domesday book town

Chester’s Eastgate Clock – 20:30 and all is well

I took a slow stroll through the streets of Chester, along the canal and back to my B&B. What a marvellous day. I can say for sure that I am totally charmed with Chester.

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