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Who can resist capturing the beauty of these delightful spring flowers

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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

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

February 2018 – walked 48 miles

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Nottingham

March 2019 – walked 63 miles

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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

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Fordham, Wicken, Soham

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Ely

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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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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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A few nights ago ITV aired “Britain’s Favourite Walks: Top 100”, as voted for by more than 8,000 walking enthusiasts. If seeing these walks didn’t convince you that the UK is a most stunning country with every kind of landscape and terrain you could wish for or imagine…then you weren’t watching 😉

I had initially tuned in to BBC1 to watch Winterwatch so only changed channels part of the way through; wow, what fantastic walks and the scenery is astounding and breath-taking. Watching snippets of all these fantastic places made me want to set off immediately with Pepe and Gemini and just walk….never mind walk 1000 miles, I could quite easily just walk forever.

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my trusty companions; Pepe (backpack) and Gemini (Nordic walking poles) – 10.166 km to Santiago

To my delight, after gasping with envy and drooling my way through the last 50 or so walks, after the programme ended I clicked through to one of the links provided on twitter and was astonished and delighted to note that #100 featured The Stacks near Margate….after closer investigation, I found that not only is this a walk I’ve done dozens of times, but the day before the show aired I had in fact walked from Broadstairs to Ramsgate and onto Cliffs End a couple of days before and I had walked from Broadstairs to Margate just the day before 🙂 http://theoutdoorguide.co.uk/britains-favourite-walks/ramsgate-to-margate-kent/

My first question is how did I miss them filming this? And why didn’t they just ask me? LOL I could have told them all about this walk…one of my favourites!!

I frequently use both those routes for my Camino practice walks, they’re manageable distances and the scenery is absolutely stunning; it never gets boring.

Starting off from Broadstairs Harbour, I either turn right and walk to Ramsgate and Cliffsend or left and walk to Margate.

broadstairs, viking bay, isle of thanet, english coast, seaside towns of britain

a winter’s sunrise – Viking Bay, Isle of Thanet

On a good day and if the tide is out, there is nothing better than striding along the beach from Viking Bay, past Louisa Bay, Dumpton Gap and onto Ramgate Royal Harbour. If the tide is in then I walk along the concrete promenade from Viking Bay to Dumpton Gap, then up to the cliff tops and walk through King George VI Memorial Park then down the steps leading to the promenade, past the Ramsgate Tunnels and onto Ramsgate Harbour.

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Dumpton Gap – clifftop walk when the tide is in

Sometimes I walk further onto Cliffsend where you can see the Hugin Viking Ship and from there it’s a short walk down to Pegwell Bay.

100 walks, rileys ramsgate, walk 1000 miles, 100 walks uk, not just a granny, walk uk, broadstairs to ramsgate, england coast path

Ramsgate to Cliffsend and Pegwell Bay

100 walks, rileys ramsgate, walk 1000 miles, 100 walks uk, not just a granny, walk uk, broadstairs to ramsgate, england coast path

The Hugin Viking Ship, Cliffsend

If I’m planning a walk to Cliffsend and Pegwell Bay, then I usually stop off at Rileys in Ramsgate first for a hot chocolate with lashings of cream and marshmallows for sustenance.

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Hot Chocolate with cream and marshmallows at Riley’s

If I decide to walk to Margate there are two options:

a) if the tide is out, from Viking Bay I walk along the beach to the far end of Stone Bay, up the steps to Stone Road, turn right and walk along the North Foreland Road to North Foreland Lighthouse, past the fields of crops to Joss Bay where I again descend to the beach and round the cliffs to Kingsgate Bay (you can walk along the beach but this particular area is very rocky and I don’t enjoy walking across this section). On the top of the cliffs at Kingsgate Bay is the Captain Digby Pub where I always stop for a pot of tea on the terrace. From there I head back down to the beach and walk through or around the Kingsbay Sea Arch and past the Stacks to Botany Bay, Palm Bay, Walpole Bay, and so to Margate Bay. Always be aware of the tidal times….the tides come in very fast along these stretches.

100 walks, rileys ramsgate, walk 1000 miles, 100 walks uk, not just a granny, walk uk, broadstairs to ramsgate, england coast path

Broadstairs to Margate

b) if the tide is in I walk along the promenade from Viking Bay to Stone Bay, up the steps to the cliff tops turn right and walk along the North Foreland Road to North Foreland Lighthouse, past the fields of crops to Joss Bay and instead of descending to the beach I follow the pedestrian path next to the golf course, then cross over the road where it ends and follow the road past the Kingsgate Castle complex and along the cliff top to the Captain Digby Pub, then follow the path across the cliff top alongside the golf course, past the folly ‘Fort Kings Bay’ to Botany Bay, and staying on the cliff tops I follow the pedestrian path past Botany Bay, Palm Bay, Walpole Bay, and so to Margate Bay. The views are fantastic and on a clear day up until Joss Bay you can right across the English Channel to Belgium, and once you round the corner and head north you can see across estuary of the River Thames to Essex. Once your’e in Margate you can see as far as Reculver, and if you time it right, you can see some of the most magnificent sunsets.

100 walks, rileys ramsgate, walk 1000 miles, 100 walks uk, not just a granny, walk uk, broadstairs to ramsgate, england coast path

Sunset at Margate

If you happen to walk along the beach as you near Margate, there is the Antony Gormley sculpture ‘Another Time’ which is located on the chalk bed of the shoreline in front of the Turner Contemporary. The sculpture invites the observer to “reflect upon the fundamental experience of being human, of inhabiting a human body… To bear witness to what it is like to be alive and alone in space and time”

100 walks, rileys ramsgate, walk 1000 miles, 100 walks uk, not just a granny, walk uk, broadstairs to ramsgate, england coast path

the Antony Gormley sculpture ‘Another Time’ which is located on the chalk bed of the shoreline in front of the Turner Contemporary. The sculpture invites the observer to “reflect upon the fundamental experience of being human, of inhabiting a human body… To bear witness to what it is like to be alive and alone in space and time”

Those are two of my favourite walks on the Isle of Thanet.

I’ve also walked to Sandwich during my Camino 2017 training

my camino; the journey so far

28.06.2016 Broadstairs to Sandwich

and completed the Way of St Augustine in July 2017

The Isle of Thanet and the Wantsum Channel.

The Isle of Thanet and the Wantsum Channel.

I travel quite comprehensively around the UK and make the most of my travels to walk in new areas…..follow me on instagram for images from around the UK.

For more about Britain’s favourite walks http://theoutdoorguide.co.uk/britains-favourite-walks/ramsgate-to-margate-kent/

and as they say on their website: Remember to prepare properly before heading out on any type of walk or outdoor activity. Tell people where you are going and what time you are expected back. As Wainwright says “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing”.

 

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One of the hardest aspects of my job is when the client has a pet that I get to love while looking after them.

I don’t often get to look after pets, and I very seldom form an attachment to them for obvious reasons.

But this wee cat, Charlie, has stolen my heart. He’s such a sassy little boy, and despite the fact that he bites and scratches, I love him to bits….he’s so cheeky and such a clever little fella. I don’t mind the biting and scratching because he’s still a toddler, although I do discourage him. “no Charlie!! Gently now!”

I absolutely love it in the morning when I go down to the kitchen to make my tea. As my slippers hit the linoleum floor I can hear him drop from his bed onto the floor in the room above, hear his feet padding hastily across the room, and down the stairs… Chirruping away “good morning good morning”. Of course what he’s really saying is “yayyyyyyyy food!!”

I pick him up for a cuddle and a love. He lies draped across my shoulder and with my head against his body so I can listen to the rumble of him purring, we stand quietly for a few minutes, then I get bitten and it’s time for ‘food please’.

Those are such precious moments in my day.

But as always, good things come to an end. I finished my assignment today, and as much as I’d love to take him home with me, it’s time to say goodbye. He curled himself up in suitcase last night and oh, how wonderful it would be to take him home with me.

I may never see him again, although I did tell my client he has to bequeath Charlie to me. 🙂

My heart aches with the probability that I won’t see him again. But, all being well, I’m scheduled to return in July.. So hopefully I’ll see him again.

In the meantime I’ll have to content myself with Elsie, my daughter’s cat who hisses and growls at me when I return home… “who tf are you?” LOL I do love her though, even if she is so rude.

Ahhh Elsie, such a short memory

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As mentioned in an earlier post I’ve been planning my summer pilgrimage from Winchester to Canterbury, prior to flying to Spain for the Camino Inglés. One of the best aspects of planning a pilgrimage is the research. I’ve uncovered so many wonderful places to see and visit; castles, Roman villas, ancient churches, Domesday villages. I’ll be walking along two ancient routes; St Swithun’s Way and the North Downs Way that combine to make The Pilgrim’s Way.

pilgrims way, the pilgrims way winchester to canterbury, walking the pilgrims way, pilgrimage to canterbury, domeday vbook villages, long distance walks in england, national trail england,

I’m sure to see a few of these along the Pilgrim’s Way

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The chalk landscape along the Pilgrim’s Way in Surrey – North Downs

The Pilgrim’s Way, an ancient trackway, is an historical route followed by medieval and modern pilgrims from Winchester in Hampshire to the shrine of St Thomas Becket at Canterbury Cathedral in Kent.

From medieval cathedral to medieval cathedral, winding its way through the English counties of Hampshire, Surrey and Kent, the track takes the pilgrim along both Roman and modern roads, through ancient towns and cities, taking in historical castles and ancient churches, Roman villas, past numerous ‘tumulus’, through fields and forests, over chalk hills that offer picturesque vistas of the English countryside, alongside and over flowing rivers.

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along the Pilgrim’s Way

With an archaeological age of between 600-450 BC dated by finds along the route, the course has been dictated by natural geological contours and causeways, and is now a culmination of various routes followed over the aeons from as far back as the Stone Age. Although I doubt the stone age dudes were on a pilgrimage!

The names of the towns, villages and cities roll off the tongue like a lesson in history; Winchester, Abbots Worthy, Martyr Worthy, Itchen Abbas, Bishops Sutton, Four Marks, Holybourne, Upper Froyle, Lower Froyle, Farnham, Seale, Puttenham, Guildford, Shere, Oxted, Limpsfield, Otford, Kemsing, Trottisford, Detling, Thurnham, Lenham, Boughton Lees, Old Wives Lees, Chilham and then hoorah…Canterbury.

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Limpsfield – Domesday Book village

The chalk landscape along the Pilgrim's Way in Surrey - North Downs

Tatsfield – Domesday Book village

Along the way I’ll pass places like Avington Park, Jane Austen’s house, Farnham Castle, Guildford Castle, the Silent Pool, Kit’s Coty House, the White Horse Stones and the Black Prince’s Well before reaching the historical walled city of Canterbury and thus to my ultimate destination; Canterbury Cathedral.

pilgrims way, the pilgrims way winchester to canterbury, walking the pilgrims way, pilgrimage to canterbury, domeday vbook villages, long distance walks in england, national trail england,

The Silent Pool

It’s been really tricky trying to work out the most conducive distance between towns. I really don’t want to walk more than 20kms a day. Besides the distances, I have to consider whether or not I’ll find suitable accommodation. I’m seriously considering taking my sleeping bag along just in case there are some days I am without something suitable….I can always sleep on a church porch! Although there are a lot of venues listed on the Pilgrim’s Way UK website, many of them are in the region of £100+p.n. which frankly is ludicrous and I’m certainly not prepared to pay that much. Unlike the European Camino routes that have hostels or albergues in virtually every hamlet, village or town, the accommodation along the Pilgrim’s Way is sketchy to say the least. I’m sure there are loads of places to stay, but as mentioned earlier, the prices are exorbitant.

the pilgrims way winchester to canterbury, the pilgrims way uk, walking the pilgrims way, walking the camino, pilgrimage to canterburym

 

I’ve ordered the guide book; ‘The Pilgrim’s Way To Canterbury from Winchester and London’ by Leigh Hatts, recommended on their site. I’m hoping it will be at home waiting for me when I return this weekend 🙂 Can’t wait to start digging into it. (*update! It’s arrived!! Happy dance.)

I’ve spent hours on their site reviewing the map, calculating distances, checking ‘places to see along the way’, reviewing the churches…I’m only looking at the churches that actually provide a pilgrim’s passport stamp. If I have time and happen across any others that look interesting, of course I’ll pop in, but I won’t be going out of my way.

 

When reviewing the map on their website I noticed I’ll be walking sections of the Pilgrim’s Way that I’ve walked in the past, so it will be quite exciting to walk those again.

I’m trying to decide what I should pack in Pepe (my rucksack). I’ll be leaving for Spain 2 days after I reach Canterbury, so won’t have much time to repack….I’m going to keep it as light as possible and of course I won’t be taking my flip flops LOL According to the weather website, the best months to travel in England are May, June, September and October. These months generally have the most pleasant temperatures and less rain. July and August are the warmest months, but are also the wettest…. which is not what I want to read!!!! Does this mean I’ll need my rain poncho? I hope my shoes can handle the mud LOL

pilgrims way, the pilgrims way winchester to canterbury, walking the pilgrims way, pilgrimage to canterbury, domeday vbook villages, long distance walks in england, national trail england,

my walking poles will definitely be helping me along the Pilgrim’s Way

Thankfully I don’t have to buy the rucksack, shoes, walking poles and all the paraphernalia that I had to buy in 2016/17 for my Portuguese Camino. So hopefully it will be a lot less costly than that trip. However, I’ve been investigating the prices and boy, it’s not cheap to fly to Spain anymore. No surprise there I guess.

There’s quite a lot to be considered when planning these walks. I’m not one of those people that can just sling on a rucksack, head out and start walking….I like to plan things. If I decide to do something impulsive along the way, then that’s fine. But I like to know where I’m going and how I’m going to get there. So atm I’m researching, listing, checking venues, and deciding on dates et al.  Anyway, I just enjoy creating spreadsheets, and to the truth of that, my daughter would testify. LOL

pilgrims way, the pilgrims way winchester to canterbury, walking the pilgrims way, pilgrimage to canterbury, domeday vbook villages, long distance walks in england, national trail england,

The Pilgrim’s Way Lenham – Domesday Book village

Onwards…….along The Pilgrim’s Way

 

 

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