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Archive for the ‘gratitude’ Category

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 😀😀😀👶🏻💙❣️

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Getting off to a good start yesterday, today I left it a little late to start my walk so only got as far as Dumpton Gap before I headed back home. The weather has been so mild it’s almost difficult to believe its mid-winter. However there was a storm brewing across the channel and the sea was a completely different animal today with wild waves smashing up against the harbour wall and sending spray in every direction including over the gathering observers! It’s fascinating to see how these waves attract more and more people, it seems we cant resist a bit of wildness in our lives.

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super waves

As usual I was unable to resist and so before I set off for Dumpton Gap, I walked down to the harbour to watch and film the wave action. That sounds when the water hits the wall is so thrilling….a loud wwhump that sends shivers through the ground and up your spine.

walk 1000 miles, english coast, isle of thanet, walks in england, winter waves at high tide, broadstairs harbour

stormy weather

I spent ages just watching and filming, getting wet by a rouge wave that crept up from behind and splashed me with icy water. Not the first time and probably won’t be the last!

walk 1000 miles, english coast, isle of thanet, walks in england, winter waves at high tide, broadstairs harbour

waves smashing against the harbour wall

A brisk walk across the beach towards Louisa Bay and as the tide was coming in I had to walk along the concrete walkway rather than continue along the beach. I love this wild kind of weather, it’s so exhilarating and vibrant and energetic…make me feel so alive!

I find the chalk cliffs along the coastline to be endlessly fascinating. It’s incredible to think that these cliffs were once beneath the seas and formed from the skeletal remains of minute planktonic green algae that lived floating in the upper levels of the ocean. It’s sad to realise how quickly they are disintegrating and wearing away from sea erosion. The lumps of chalk left behind have hardened into rocks forming an alien landscape.

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chalk cliffs on the Isle of Thanet

walk 1000 miles, english coast, isle of thanet, walks in england, winter waves at high tide, broadstairs harbour

Dumpton Gap – the rocks from the worn away chalk cliffs look like an alien landscape

Coming back the clouds had moved on and the sky was a vibrant blue with puffy clouds here and there.

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reflections at Dumpton Gap, Isle of Thanet

walk 1000 miles, english coast, isle of thanet, walks in england, winter waves at high tide, broadstairs harbour

beautiful Broadstairs, a sight that always lifts my spirits

Once I got home, my daughter and I sat on the couch chatting about the baby and the different options she has now been left with since baby is presenting as breech. Little blighter….oh well. We’ll see.

Besides walking, I’ve been finishing off some of the little cardigans and matinee jackets I’ve been knitting for my grandson. His arrival is now well and truly imminent and we are waiting with bated breath for him to start his incredible journey, the first of many.

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a cardigan for Peanut

I’ve also been reading the 2nd of the books I bought for myself for Xmas: ‘Arabia’ – Levison Wood. It’s really hard going. Not from the reading aspect because he is a very descriptive author and it’s so interesting, but rather it’s the appalling history of the area and the terrible horrors perpetrated against the Syrians that I’m finding so hard to contemplate. I won’t go into too much detail here because I want to write a proper review, suffice to say it’s mind-numbing and shocking stuff.

Day 2 /365 – Broadstairs to Dumpton Gap : 4.68 kms, 8008 steps

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Viking bay to Dumpton Gap

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As 2018 draws to a close, and with less than ??? days to go I’m getting really excited now about meeting my first grandchild….it’s not as if I wasn’t excited before…..LOL

I first learned that I had a grandchild on the way in May on the 12th to be exact. To say I was over the moon would be an understatement. The scan shows him as a tiny wee round dot…

As mentioned in a previous blog post I immediately downloaded the ovia app which allowed me to keep track of the baby’s progress. I started downloading the weekly progress images and in the space of 34 weeks baby has gone from the size of a poppy seed to a spagetti melon

….the progress of the size of his feet and hands has been the most fascinating of all, from a tiny tiny little hand you could barely see, his hands are now almost full size.

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progress from 8 weeks to 38 weeks

Not long after that amazing news, on 28th May, they, my daughter and her fiance got married…a joyful occasion that one day Peanut will be able to enjoy…..he was there 🙂

getting married

Cémanthe and Simon – married 🙂

On the 28th June they had their first ultrasound and I got a picture of our wee Peanut 🙂 What a beautiful baby 🙂

ultrasound

28.06.2018 and yes, it’s a real baby 🙂 Peanut is on the way

On the 9th July I had the sheer joy and incredulity of seeing baby on the big screen for myself. My daughter surprised me with a trip the the Ultrasound department where we not only got to see the wee bambino on the screen but got to hear the heartbeat for the first time. It was sheer magic.

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2018.07.09 My first ultrasound view of Peanut, my grandson

As soon as we got home that afternoon I set about, with help from my son-in-law to get the nursery started 🙂 It has all come together beautifully and a few weeks ago they completed the set up.

nursery

Peanut’s nursery

And on the 23rd July at the next ultrasound they announced the gender…. it’s a BOY!!! Hoorah! Oh my gosh, what an adventure this is going to be….a grandson. Oh joy! I immediately started planning our first Camino LOL

On the 13th August we enjoyed the treat of another ultrasound and 3D scan – baby is now getting bigger….baby is very active with a strong heartbeat…..all the bits are there and his organs; brain, heart, liver, kidneys etc are developing and show no health problems.

ultrasound, peanut is on the way

2018.08.13 hello Peanut 🙂 – look how big you’ve grown

On the 4th September, while on a day trip to Canterbury, I got to feel Peanut kicking for the first time. Wowwww….totally awesome. I think the delight shows on my face.

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feeling my grandchild kicking for the first time

My daughter started keeping a record of the development of her belly and although a few weeks have been missed out, it’s been so amazing to see how her belly has grown and grown as baby gets bigger and bigger…

On the 13th September, with huge delight, she wore the ‘baby on board’ badge for the first time on a trip to London 🙂baby on board, first baby

And I….starting off the very next day on 13 May, with a blanket for the pram and I haven’t stopped since….there are still 4 new little outfits waiting to be sewn up….

knitting for babies, baby layette

I got straight onto the knitting….started with a blanket

Over the months I knitted….more and more little items…bootees, cardigans and matinee jackets. It’s been so much fun creating these little items and dreaming about my grandson wearing them.

knitting for babies, baby layette

an absolute delight

Oh and let’s not forget the shopping…..I have bought loads of outfits and this baby has enough clothing to see him through from birth to 24 months as well as items beyond… right up until he is 5 years old. One of the best places I’ve bought clothes from has been off instagram from a lady who sells lovedB4 baby clothes…some of the most delightful little items you can imagine, many of them brand new, and all for next to nothing.

The 1st October brought another 3D scan and ultrasound…I could get used to this 🙂

ultrasound scan

01.10.2018 baby Peanut growing bigger by the day

And another 3D scan and ultrasound on the 15th October with both sets of Grandparents.

ultrasound

2018.10.15 – 27 weeks – a beautiful little boy

The 3D scan and ultrasound was followed up with tea and cake with the in-laws and to our delight my daughter and her husband announced baby’s name; James Alexander aka Jamie. ❤ ❤ ❤ What a fantastic name.

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Jamie

In October we went to a baby show in London..wow, so much stuff!! We bought various items and got some good bargains…..they also shopped for the pram.

25th October and another trip to London; my daughter was exhibiting in a photo exhibition. The whole family were there to support her.

photo exhibition

Jamie attends his first photo exhibition 😉

On 10th November we had the Baby Shower….and delighted everyone with the news that it’s a BOY!! They had the event at a wonderful venue in Broadstairs and with family and friends gathered round, we had a fantastic day.

On the 5th December his first coin arrived; a commemorative coin for the 40th anniversary of The Snowman.

the snowman 40th anniversary coin

The Snowman; a commemorative coin. The little boy’s name in the story is…..James 🙂

6th December brought a visit to Eastry to meet with a friend and I got to practice at being a Granny

babies

practising at being a Granny

On the 12th December we had a tour of the MLU unit at the hospital where she is due to give birth….but currently baby is in the breech position, same as Mummy was at term, so we are hoping and urging the little fella to turn head down as his Mummy would like to have her labour in the MLU (midwife led unit), but so long as he is breech, they have said no!! and she is not pleased!!

pregnancy

so pretty and colourful

And so the weeks have marched on. As Christmas neared Mummy’s belly filled out her Christmas jumper to perfection LOL

christmas jumper, pregnancy

filled that jumper to perfection

19 December and suddenly she is considered to be at ‘term’. Wow how did that happen so fast!! It is quite extraordinary to be the Mother of a daughter who is expecting her first baby. I feel so privileged and so very lucky.

knitting for babies, baby layette

week 37: the baby bump is big and beautiful

My daughter is now so heavy and cumbersome and has great difficulty with walking, sleeping and sitting, she’s suffering from heartburn and cramps….poor child, and is now very much looking forward to the birth and having her first baby in her arms. They are both excited and trepidatious, there is much still to be done.

We are now in week 38 and the ‘apparent’ due date is 5th or 7th January, depending on who we believe…but since neither of them are correct, baby will likely arrive a bit later. Mummy got more beautiful and Peanut got some little toys from Santa and more clothes LOL. I have a serious addiction to buying baby clothes; they are all sooooo cute.

week 38

with just days to go…week 38 and looking gorgeous 

I started a tradition earlier in the year whilst on my pilgrimage from Winchester to Canterbury; postcards to Peanut. I sent a postcard from each of the towns and villages I passed through. This one is of St Augustine’s Abbey in Canterbury.

postcards, first grandchild

postcards to Jamie

Since we are now literally just days away, I have bought a door bell alarm…the buzzer is next to her bed and the ding dong is next to mine!!! When she goes into labour all she has to do is press the buzzer and I shall be ‘on duty’!! LOL We chose the tune ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ since it is so sparky and chirpy….anything else and I’m liable to chuck it out the window.

And so we, Daddy, Mummy and Granny wait with bated breath for the day he is born 🙂

My grandson, Jamie aka Peanut, is on the way!

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mapmywalk, the pilgrims way, walking the pilgrims way, long distance walks england, backpacking, women walking soloTuesday 28th August 2018 Day 8 – Merstham to Oxted : 20.75 kms / 45,608 steps    elevation 309 meters

My early morning instagram post: Merstham: Morning all. I’m still alive LOL Had a really good sleep, feeling refreshed. Atm I’m relaxing in bed with a cup of tea. My hosts at this AirBnB are/were amazing, they’ve even left breakfast for me 😊😊 These images are from when I was at Shere where I ended my journey on Sunday. We didn’t have network or WiFi at Tanners Hatch so couldn’t share. Shere is gorgeous and definitely bears a return visit on a sunny day. I had lunch at the Dabbling Duck which was lovely, albeit very busy and they initially forgot to take my order. Shere is a Domesday Book village. As you can see it was just raining. I lost about 12 kms of the route on that day. Not a lot, but enough to irk me. I’ll have to come back another day and walk that stage again and probably break it down into 2. And I definitely must have more time to explore Shere.

It amazes me how quickly my body recovers with a good nights rest and a hot shower. My leg and coccyx were however still rather tender, but I wasn’t about to let them stop my pilgrimage. While enjoying my lie-in and cuppa, after posting some photos from the day before, I consulted the guide to see what lay ahead of me for the day.  Apparently “the original route from Mertsham to the top of the North Downs has been changed by the arrival of two motorways and two railway lines“.  So my slight guilt at not following the guide yesterday was dispersed hah!!

But first…Quality Street; once the main road to Brighton, is named after JM Barries’s play Quality Street in 1902.

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the famous Quality Street in Merstham

The famous tin of sweets, launched in 1936 by Mackintosh’s of Halifax to coincide with the release of the Quality Street film, had a bow-fronted shop on the lid similar to houses in the street, which include 17th and 18th century buildings. Merstham, is also, to my delight, a Domesday Book village of 1086 as Merstan; Its name was recorded in 947 as Mearsætham, which seems to be Anglo-Saxon Mearþ-sǣt-hām = “Homestead near a trap set for martens or weasels”. courtesy of wikipedia

I passed the Old Forge, a Grade II listed building, unfortunately partially blocked by a van, but nonethless quite awesome to see, as well as some other amazing houses.

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The Old Forge, Merstham

After crossing the motorway I reached St Katharine’s Church which dates from c. 1220 and replaced an earlier church built c. 1100, it is however believed that there has been a church of some form on the site since c. 675 AD. In the grounds I met 2 ladies from Germany who were walking the North Downs Way. Before progressing, I popped into the church for a visit. Quiet by accident I discovered some fabulous brasses cleverly concealed by carpets…hah! I have a nose for these things.

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The route crossed a motorway, took me through a suburb and then into thick undergrowth, beneath the motorway (not decorated like the one yesterday), through some open fields anddddd….up the first of the hills I was to encounter today! A notice urged me to please keep to the North Downs Way…my pleasure 🙂

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the only selfie I took on the whole 8 days LOL and I obeyed the request 🙂

my instagram post – Redhill: What was that they said about the way flattening out?? Just climbed 2 steep hills in quick succession. Urgh 🙄🙄 mind you the view is fantastic. So today I’ve packed the guide book away since the route from Merstham to Oxted follows the North Downs Way. Hoorah. Much better.

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North Downs Way

After reaching the crest of the hill, I met a lovely old gentleman and stopped for a wee chat, after which I stopped in a field for a few minutes of respite and then a lovely long lane beneath a tunnel of beautiful trees…..in the distance I could see the two ladies I had seen earlier at the church.

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going upppppp

walking the pilgrims way, the pilgrims way winchester to canterbury, long distance walks england, women walking solo, merstham to oxted, the north downs way

and uppppp

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goodbye friend 🙂 looking back downhill towards Merstham

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fellow pilgrims in the ditance

I had just reached a junction in the road when I looked to my left (for oncoming traffic) and saw to my delight a signboard for…….’Chaldon 1086′, whoo hoo.

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Chaldon AD 1086 – 🙂 a Domesday Book village

Another Domesday Book village. I had a quick look on mapmywalk to see how far the church/village was, and found to my dismay that it was a good long walk from The Pilgrim’s Way/NDW. But, since these villages are part of my Project 101, I decided to make the diversion (just on 1 mile away) and suck it up! LOL And boy am I glad I did. The church was FANTASTIC. I stepped through the door and found the breath-taking medieval painting; Ladder of Salvation, featuring a drunken naked pilgrim holding an empty wine bottle

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The Ladder of Salvation – a medieval painting in the church of Chaldon

– painted c. 1200, 30 years after the murder of Becket, when the church was in the care of Merton Abbey where the saint had been a pupil. On a pillar near the door there is a pilgrim mark in the shape of a T for Thomas.

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T – Thomas Becket – Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul, Chaldon

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As I walked around the church I thought to myself…”Oh I wonder if someone would be able to give me a lift to the top of the hill?” As I thought this 2 people entered the church. I said hello and carried on out the door. After strolling about the graveyard, I walked through the gate at just about the same time as the couple who arrived earlier. There was a blue van just in front of me…..the couple made for the van, and totally on impulse, the words popped out my mouth “any chance you could give me lift to the top of the hill?”…and what did they say?? Yes!!!! Oh my gosh. I was delighted. I hopped into the back of the van and sat on the floor amongst the detritus of a working man, grinning from ear to ear. The Universe delivered…big time LOL We had a lovely chat all the way up the hill, they were really interested in my journey. Wished me well & goodbye 🙂

My instagram post: Chaldon: Making good progress today . After climbing that hill earlier the way has indeed flattened out. I took a small diversion to visit Chaldon, a 1086 Domesday Book village and the parish church. Walking down the road I questioned my sanity…..going down usually means going back up again. Nonetheless, what an extraordinary church. The west end of Chaldon Church, dating from 1086, is covered with the Ladder of Salvation painted about 1200, thirty years after the murder of Thomas Becket, when the church was in the care of Merton Abbey, where Becket had been a student. While walking around the church, in my mind I was thinking “I hope someone with a vehicle visits while I’m here so I can ask for a lift back up the hill.” as I was leaving a couple in a van drew up, briefly popped in at the church (turns out they’re checking the lightening conductors in the county churches), so I asked them for a lift back to my route….. 😅😅😅 Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say. A charming couple, we chatted as we drove and they saved me the long walk back. My prayers were answered and thank you to the Universe 🌌 😍 Where I rejoined the route I saw the very first Pilgrim’s Way sign 👏👏👏 which I would have missed if I hadn’t made the diversion. atm I’m sitting at the Harrow Pub and just about to tuck into a huge baked potato. I’m enjoying today 😊

They dropped off one very grateful pilgrim back at the junction and I set off once again, well pleased that I had indeed made the diversion. As I set off I looked up and noticed the sign board…..PILGRIM’S WAY Hoorah. One of the very FEW markings for the route, I would have missed this if I hadn’t decided to visit the church.

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one of the very few route markers for the Pilgrim’s Way that I saw the whole 8 days

If nothing else the route is varied!!! I passed the house mentioned in the guide: After Hilltop (left with a clock and a view) the way is alongside woodland and fields where I met a lady and her dog….we commiserated with each other as we tried to navigate the mud….the ‘way’ is not always conducive to an easy walk.

Not much further along, at a junction where I had to cross the road again, I spotted The Harrow pub and on impulse decided to stop for lunch. It was already 13.20 and I was HUNGRY!!! I ordered a baked potato with a peppery filling… it was delicious, albeit very spicy hot. wheww. My mouth was on fire. Oh and I had a beer 🙂

Refreshed and replenished I set off once again and passed a rather odd looking folly (probably why it’s called a ‘folly’). The way now took me along a tarmac road and along some lovely shady woodland paths.

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So beautiful. I didn’t see a soul for ages until just before 3pm when I met a young woman out walking her dog. We chatted briefly and then she went on ahead while I strolled along, just enjoying the peace and quiet.

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shady paths – a good place to rest for a while

The path once again was rustic, taking me through woodland and up hill and down dale…and then in a sheltered meadow I spotted a weathered wooden bench. Time for a rest me thinks. I offloaded Pepe and took off my socks and shoes, and lay down on the bench in the sun and just chilled. Bliss. Once again I hadn’t seen anyone for ages.

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a wonderfully peaceful place to rest

After a short rest I set off and shortly encountered the first set of steps (urgh).

The route took me through some beautiful woodland, England’s counties sure are pretty

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I love these benches; they offer stunning views of the countryside

and then…..I took to instagram again…Woldingham: And suddenly I’m on familiar territory. After lots of ups and downs and flats and twists and turns, I can see Oxted ☺️☺️ in the distance and to the left I can see the fields I used to walk along while training for last year’s Camino and briefly, for this years walk. Its been a hard day again, but thats mostly coz after 7 days of walking I’m now very tired, and not because it was just hell. Rest day tomorrow, albeit for End of Life training in Tonbridge. So, none too soon, I’m almost at the end of today’s stage. Show. Me. The. Bed!!! 😂😂😂

Just before heading down to the lower paths on the downs, I stopped off to rest on a bench I spotted about halfway down another flights of steps.

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I’ll be really glad to leave the steps behind. When I did reach the lower footpath I regretted my thoughts almost immediately….the path was very narrow and lined with scratchy prickly brambles.

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not a pleasant section of the route

The sun was beginning to sink behind the ridge and I needed to get a move on. From the guide book: “The path now goes downhill to a hidden kissing gate.” Hidden?? Hidden?? It’s bloody grown over with a thick bush of brambles. I had to bend over double just to get under the brambles. Getting through the gate, bent over double with a backpack on my back was not fun at all. I ended up with scratches all along my arms. Urgh.

Now I was on familiar territory. I had walked these oaths dozens of times before when working in Oxted. It was lovely to see these paths and fields again. I crossed the road leading into Oxted and then followed a familiar route up a short hill with the idea of sitting on the bench where I used to sit on my Camino practice walks. When I got to the top I was absolutely dismayed to discover that some vandals had destroyed it completely

It was so lovely to walk along paths I had so often walked along before. The fields are so lovely and I had seen them at different times of the year

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familiar fields….it felt so good to back walking this path

Oxted: Whoo hoo and hoorah. I’m standing on the Greenwich Meridian Line, ergo I’m just about to cross from the western hemisphere to the eastern hemisphere 😁😁😁👏👏

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crossing the Greenwich Meridian Line

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standing with one foot in the west and one foot in the east

I’m almost at my journey end, and now standing in the fields I could see in my earlier photo. I’m well ahead of time, so I’m going to walk part of Thursdays route just to save some time on that day, coz it’ll be a late start and nearly 20km day. – okay so this was not one of my brighter ideas. I followed the rutted road past Titsey Place

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walking past Titsey Estate – I’ve walked along here a number of times

and had to navigate a swamped area, passed under the M25 motorway and reached the B269. Under the best of times this is not a good road to walk along and I had in fact forgotten that this waited at the end of the route past Titsey Place. Nonetheless, there I was. It was busy. I spent the next 15 minutes dodging cars and trucks by jumping into the hedgerows lining the road. Finally, unscathed, I arrived in Limpsfield village

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Limpsfield, Surrey – a 1086 Domesday Book village

….my destination: St Peter’s Church.

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I love this little church and it holds fond memories…..it was the place where I got my very first Pilgrim’s stamp earlier in 2017 before my Camino along the Portugues Coastal Route to Santiago. I stopped off at the church to look around and stamp my passport and then walked back into Oxted. There are some stunning old houses in Detillens Lane.

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Limpsfield appears in Domesday Book of 1086 as Limenesfeld

I soon reached Oxted Station and hopped on the next train to Hurst Green where I was to stay for the night at another AirBnb venue. After a short walk I reached the house, had a lovely cup of tea, some hot soup and bread, a long conversation with the host and then a shower and into bed. Hoorah.

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my bed…..hoorah

As soon as I was in bed I headed over to instagram for my update: Hurst Green: After 7 days of walking, here is my pilgrim’s passport and the stamps I have managed to obtain. Its very different to the Camino where just about every establishment, restaurant, cafe and refreshments stall (even ice-cream stands) have a ‘sello’. Most of the churches I visited along The Pilgrim’s Way don’t have pilgrim passport stamps. I left a message in their visitor books saying how nice it would be to find one when visiting. Most businesses don’t have them either…I guess email has made them obsolete. However, I’m happy with what I have so far 😊😊😊 a record of my journey

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My Pilgrim’s Passport – Day 1 – Day 8 🙂 Sadly not all the churches I visited had pilgrim stamps

From Merstham to Oxted along The Pilgrim’s Way. A good day. I met some lovely people along the route and enjoyed a number of interesting albeit short conversations. At the church in Limpsfield I saw in the visitors book that a lady from Greenwich passed this way on the 19th, also following the Pilgrim’s Way. 🙂 How cool is that!! That’s the 2nd person whose details I’ve seen in the visitors book in a church. And at journey’s end, a lovely host, good conversation, a cup of tea , a hot shower and a comfy bed….what more could I ask for? A leg that wasn’t absolutely aching, would be a start….urgh. I think that pushing that last few km’s along the Pilgrim’s Way past Titsey Place and onto St Peter’s Church was 4 kms too many. My leg was in agony and very swollen. I applied loads of my aloe vera heat lotion and took 2 paracetamol. With my leg raised against the wall, I lay back on the bed and contemplated just how far I had come.

I felt really good at how much ground I had covered, how many obstacles I had overcome, at the number of steps I climbed at Box Hill (for the record = 275 steps!!!) felt more like 27500!!! LOL I was looking forward to the training at head office the next day in Tonbridge, and a day off from lengthy walking and most especially from the bloody guide book. Other than that, I felt good. So glad to be walking the Pilgrim’s Way…a long held dream.

Goodnight.

read about Day 7 of my pilgrimage along The Pilgrim’s Way click here
I made a short video you may enjoy

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mapmywalk, the pilgrims way, walking the pilgrims way, long distance walks england, backpacking, women walking soloSunday 26th August 2018 Day 6 – Guildford to Tanners Hatch : 9.73 kms / 21155 steps    elevation 216

after a fairly good night’s sleep I started off fairly early after a solid breakfast. Walking along the main road, I was wishing it wasn’t Sunday so I could take the bus back to St Catherine’s village LOL

I reached Ye Olde Ship Inn fairly quickly. First stop was St Catherine’s Chapel;

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St Catherine’s Chapel, Guildford

built around 1317 as a chapel of ease for St Nicholas Church in Guildford, the building was abandoned during the reformation. A lovely little kitty visited me for a chat while I was exploring. The views from the hill were amazing.

Trotting back the first of MANY a downhill over the day, I walked along Ferry Lane passing some super houses towards the River Wey where I discovered this lovely little poem alongside the stream.

I crossed the bridge over the river and walked through a really beautiful nature reserve.

I reached a large green; Shalford Park and following the guide crossed the road and into one of the very few references to the Pilgrims Way I saw along the whole way. Not all roads are pretty.

Passing a pretty cottage that looks like it has the best location ever,

walking the pilgrims way, the pilgrims way winchester to canterbury, long distance walks england, women walking solo

my ideal location

I followed the sandy lane and soon entered Chantry Wood….now this is more like it. Dappled sunlight shone through the leafy trees, with a breath-taking view across the fields. I stopped for a short while for food etc and watched the world go by…everyone and their uncle cycled past! Weird.

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Chantry Wood, the Pilgrim’s Way

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fantastic views across Surrey

Just after I pulled my backpack on and started walking again, it started to rain and that’s where my troubles began…the ground is very rutted and very sandy in some areas, and walking in the rain along slippy gravel roads was no fun at all, albeit very beautiful. I had by now lost one of the feet off Gemini (my walking poles) and was walking with only one pole, so it was quite tricky to keep my balance. Beside that I couldn’t walk with a pole and carry a guide book in my hand at the same time LOL

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The Pilgrim’s Way

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The Pilgrim’s Way – many feet have passed this way…

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my ideal environment, along the Pilgrim’s Way – flat!!!

I eventually reached St Martha’s Hill about an hour and half after leaving St Catherine’s Chapel and set about climbing and climbing and climbing. Jeepers….I knew from the guide that it was a hill, but holy moly, it’s one thing seeing a hill on a map to actually climbing it with a heavy backpack in the rain. But twas sooo well worth the effort for the views.

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Sometimes called Martyr’s Hill after Thomas Becket, the hill rises 570 feet above sea level giving a view of 7 counties…on a clear day. Today was NOT a clear day, but the view was still amazing. The church; Church of St Martha on the Hill, dating from about 1100, is the church the old man that I met had mentioned the day before near Seale.

The church stands at 573 feet above sea-level and the views are extraordinary. It’s traditionally believed that the original name of the hill was Saints and Martyrs Hill, the martyr being St Thomas of Canterbury.  It is the only church in Surrey to be right on the Pilgrims’ Way.  I stepped through the door to explore and managed a few minutes visit before the morning service began. The Verger kindly signed my pilgrim’s passport and showed me around, pointing out a few of the more significant features. There’s a stained glass window featuring St Thomas Becket.

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I left the church and set off downhill as per the guide. It was raining quite solidly by now and the ground was very wet and slippery. I went down down down and down some more…hanging onto the roots of trees and anything else I could get my hands onto, I slipped and slid down a very steep and most unpleasant pathway; almost vertical. A few people passed me going up..possibly to the church. As I walked I kept referring to the guide for the landmarks, but wasn’t seeing them. I was becoming a tad concerned that I may well be going the wrong way. Suddenly and without any warning I slipped and fell….really hard, onto my bottom. It took the wind out of my sails. I decided to check my walking app and yes, I was definitely not going in the right direction….now, in pain, and slipping on the wet sand, I had to climb back up this blasted hill. It turns out I had been heading downhill towards Chilworth Manor….which was not my destination. urgh.

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going the wrong way… downhill

Finally I got myself back up, reached the crest of the hill and tried to decipher the instructions in the guide, and after much head scratching I realised where I had gone wrong. “Walk through the churchyard and on the far side follow the sandy path which soon veers slightly to the right to go downhill”. Which is what I had done in the first place. What he doesn’t say is that the correct side is directly behind the church (going east) and not to the side (going south). While doing my research on the history of the church, I noticed this information: (The knoll is crossed east-to-west by the Pilgrims’ Way, which is otherwise on the North Downs.) Now THAT would have been useful information in the guide!!!

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leaving St Martha on the Hill church through the EAST gate, not the south LOL

I was totally unimpressed and in quite a lot of pain by now.  But I pulled up my big girl panties and made my way down what was a very sandy path, but a lot less steep and somewhat easier to navigate. the writer may want to rethink his description for this section (amongst others). I now saw the landmarks mentioned in the guide…hoorah! I was on the right track, albeit still very steep and very slippery and it was still raining. I was getting more and more wet, despite the rain poncho, and wasn’t very happy.

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although I’m on the right track, this was almost as bad as the wrong track..slippery and wet

The promised landmarks were now visible and accounted for….

I trudged on but somehow I was totally off course and ended up walking along the very busy A25 motorway, with cars rushing past. I managed to criss-cross the duel carriageway according to where it was safe to walk, and eventually I reached The Silent Pool just on 12.40. Beyond arriving at The Silent Pool I really had no idea which way I was meant to go. I had packed the guide away because it was getting soaked in the rain and besides which I couldn’t see through my misted up glasses.

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The Silent Pool…..a really beautiful place….and it’s still raining

My planned accommodation for the night was YHA Tanners Hatch on Ranmore Common which was well off the Pilgrim’s Way route. Since I had no idea where I was in relation to the YHA, was soaking wet and totally dispirited and totally so not in the mood for any further walking, I made the difficult decision to quit for the day. However, being a Sunday, none of the taxis would come out for less than £20, so since I did have to continue on to Shere…only another 2 miles they said, I continued walking. 😦

My instagram post revealed just how dispirited I was feeling : “The Dabbling Duck, Shere: Well I’ve had to concede defeat and quit for today. Its been raining since 10.15, I’m soaked to the skin, I can’t see out my glasses to read the guide book, which is a moot point since the book is so wet I cant see the words. 😢😢😢 I’ve stopped in a village called Shere which is roughly halfway, having lunch of lovely hot tomato soup and a pot of tea. I’ve organised a cab to pick me up and take me to my accommodation for tonight. The paths are treacherous and slippery or just puddles of water and I’ve already had a fall walking THE WRONG way down a virtually vertical path down St Martha’s Hill, nothing damaged except my dignity. Except I then had to climb back up again, at which point I surveyed the landscape more thoroughly and found the right way. One of those slightly obscure instructions again. By the bottom of the hill I abandoned the guide book and put my glasses in my pouch and followed my nose, finally arriving by luck at Silent Pool. From there they guided me to Shere where my walking for today must end. From here its on to my accommodation for tonight, a hot shower and bed. I believe tomorrow will be better weather. Hmm 🙄🙄🙄😜😜 So onwards.

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The Dabbling Duck; a hot bowl of red pepper soup and rustic bread. delicious

Shere…oh my gosh…what a stunning village. Despite the rain, I was enchanted by the architecture. One of those villages that you wish you could live in; Shere is your quintessential English village with picturesque ancient houses, quaint beyond words. It’s featured in Bridget Jones’s Diary amongst other films. I am definitely going to visit again. Delighted to discover that Shere is mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book 🙂

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By now, being wet and very cold and as mentioned before (LOL), I had to sit in a tiny corner of the restaurant to avoid dripping water all over the place. I was absolutely not in the mood for walking. So I gave up and arranged for a cab to take me the final distance to the YHA. I enjoyed the soup at the Dabbling Duck and the tea warmed me up. It was a very good idea to have a meal since there was nothing at the YHA and I didn’t have any food on me besides dried pasta (which I had for breakfast the next day).

My final instagram post for the day – Tanners Hatch: Just about the time that I was starting to despair, after having walked another 4 kms in the rain (after my cab dropped me at the post code but not the location  which is seriously remote and off the grid 🙄) I popped in at a farm for directions. I could see the YHA on my Google maps but not how to get there. 😢😢 Anyways eventually I found the place after stumbling about and almost caving in to despair, and after checking in, I have a bed for the night, a dry towel, dry clothes and a cup of lovely hot herbal tea. Atm I’m sitting in the lounge of the hostel and knitting the 2nd bootee of a pair while chatting to the other occupants.

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bootees for Peanut – I’m hoping these bootees will encourage my grandchild to be adventurous

There’s a marvellous fire burning brightly in the grate and its lovely and cosy. I’m almost dry and nearly warm 😊😊 So glad I decided to use my contingency fund towards a cab and get here earlier, I would never have found this place in the dark.😖😖 So this is me, signing out till tomorrow.

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our YHA host; Dave got a lovely hot raoring fire going…just the ticket

The area around the YHA is stunning, trees everywhere you look and so many shades of green. Although it was very wet, it was so beautiful I wished I could stay a few days. I’ll definitely have to go back.

yha tanners hatch, walking the pilgrims way, the pilgrims way winchester to canterbury, long distance walks england, women solo walking

tucked away amongst the trees; YHA Tanners Hatch

After chatting to the other hostelers over tea and the delicious warmth of the fire, I said goodnight and went to bed at about 9pm. Oh gosh I was soooo tired. Too many hills, too much rain, too cold and too hungry. Oh well….onwards LOL

For more about the history of St Martha’s Church http://www.parishofchilworth.org.uk/history/st-marthas/full-history/

In case you missed Day 5 of my walk along The Pilgrim’s Way – click here

A short video of the walk; scenes of the route

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Lest We Forgetsilent soldiers, silent silhouettes, world war one, blood swept lands and seas of red, centenary, lest we forget,

As part of the many events to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the First World War, a number of Silent Silhouettes were installed in different parts of the country.

I first saw these ghostly figures in London at St Pancras station one day as I was in transit from work to home.

silent soldiers, silent silhouettes, world war one centenary, lest we forget,

Silent Silhouettes

I saw a few more as I was walking The Pilgrim’s Way in August.

Puttenham –

silent soldiers, silent silhouettes, world war one centenary, lest we forget,

Silent Silhouette – Puttenham

Chaldon

silent soldiers, silent silhouettes, world war one centenary, lest we forget,

Silent Silhouette – Chaldon

Limpsfield

silent soldiers, silent silhouettes, world war one centenary, lest we forget,

Silent Silhouettes – Limpsfield

A poignant and fitting reminder of the huge sacrifice that was made by ordinary people; people who believed in freedom and King and country….and who can forget the extraordinary Poppy installation at the Tower of London in 2014, as people from around the country came together to plant over 803,000 ceramic poppies in a breath-taking vista; Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red

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Planting the final Poppy at the Tower of London 11.11.2014

Currently on at the Tower of London is the amazing ‘Deepening Shadows’ ritual; an evolving installation with the Tower moat gradually illuminated by individual flames. A powerful symbol of remembrance.

I’m planning on attending the Remembrance Sunday service on Whitehall at the Cenotaph this Sunday 11.11.2018 as we mark 100 years since Armistice Day in 1918…a day that officially, albeit not actually, brought The Great War to an end…the war to end all wars…..

except it didn’t and hasn’t.

 

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I was in London last week and decided to make a visit to the Imperial War Museum to see the Weeping Window…..a cascade of several thousand ceramic poppies created in 2014 for the Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation at the Tower of London.

Once the installation was uninstalled most of the poppies were sold off to the public and some went on tour around the country to various landmarks.

14-18 NOW is bringing the two sculptures Wave and Weeping Window to audiences across the UK as part of the Poppies Tour. The sculptures are free to view.

Sadly the tour is just about over but click here to see the various places they were installed between 2014 and now
https://www.wherearethepoppiesnow.org.uk/poppy-tour/

Seeing the poppies once again was so poignant and brought back memories of the day I helped to plant some of them at the Tower of London’s moat back in 2014, as well as the finale on November 11th when, during a very moving ceremony, they planted the final poppy after roll-call.

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Tower of London poppies

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Tower of London poppies (taken when I still did 3 days in London)

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Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red at the Tower of London 11.11.2014

The Weeping Window installation will be at the Imperial War Museum until the 18th November 2018

https://www.1418now.org.uk/commissions/poppies-weeping-window-iwm-london/

Nearest tube station: Lambeth North on the Bakerloo line

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