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My daughter and I attended a 2 day Investment Trading Course in London this weekend.

It wasn’t, thank goodness, one of those rah rah happy clappy ‘guru’ type courses where they spend the weekend showing you snippets of how they made their millions and all the consumeristic tat they’ve bought with said millions, and then at the end of it all they tell you that in order to learn more, you need to buy their next course….a bit like the courses I attended ; Tony Robbins, Roger Hamilton, Christopher Howard and their ilk. All very deceitful. I won’t go into the details here, except to say that they always have a caveat that let’s them off the hook.

Or like the Jill Fielding course we did…provided just enough of the strategy and steps required to get you excited, then ended off with…if you want to learn more, sign up for my next course. They also don’t tell you beforehand that you need a lump sum to get started. If I’d known that, I wouldn’t have signed up for a very expensive course. It irks me a great deal that these ‘professionals’ never give you the full picture, but get you excited about the possibility, then sign you up, and you only find out the reality once you’ve signed up.

No, this was a down-to-earth practical course showing you the actual steps and strategies used in her investing portfolio.

Our heads were not filled with ‘oh look how wonderful I am with my millions’, but rather we were shown a realistic presentation of this is what I’ve done over the last 10/15 years to gain financial freedom. There are no millions involved, no fancy lifestyle of big cars, mansions, motorbikes bigger than a small car, jet-set trips blah blah blah.

No, what I really appreciated about this course is that it was kept simple and straightforward with practical ‘this is what you do’ steps to investing over the long term.

Yes, you do need a decent lump sum to get started in order to gain that financial goal over 10 or even 15 years, but you can equally start with £100. You’re not going to be a millionaire overnight or even in 10 years time (if that’s what you’re looking for then buy a lottery ticket).

It’s even better than that….it’s an easy way to get started on investing money following a system that over the long term uses a simple strategy and takes advantage of compound interest, along with two other strategies that she shows you.

My daughter and I learned so much this weekend, and not just about investing, but also about the mindset you need in order to be able to invest regularly and sensibly. There’s no high-risk fast-gain strategy. But there is a simple honest way to invest and gain financial independence.

We were talking about the strategies on the train afterwards, and as my daughter said, if they taught this in schools, they could eradicate poverty within a generation. We are taught all sorts of shit in school that we never need again and nothing at all about financial planning. Rather the expectation is to leave school and either get a low-paying job or go onto benefits, or nothing at all in some cases. Of course this doesn’t apply to everyone, but the majority of people do fall into the cycle of financial poverty. And while it’s good to have a job, people are mostly not taught how to budget and how to invest, and so they fall into a cycle of never-ending debt.

It doesn’t need a huge investment to get started and if kids are taught how to budget and how to invest a small amount every month, by the time they’re adults, they could have a decent nest-egg to get started in life.

After a yummy meal, but tired we got home, relaxing on the couch and chatting, we happened to start watching a programme on minimalism which opened up a whole new train of thought.

We are influenced on a minute by minute basis, especially since the advent of TV advertising, and now social media platform advertising, that we are only happy when we spend spend spend : fancy cars, big houses, the latest technology, flat screen 55 inch tvs, holidays here there and everywhere, the ‘latest’ fashion, jewellery and high-end watches with lots of friends milling about the swimming pool in our garden sipping cocktails or beer and smoking… The height of fashion. This the advertisers say, will make you happy.

But it doesn’t. Besides that, it comes at a massive cost; to your family, your health, the health of developing nations and to the planet. Think plastic. One of the things they mentioned in the programme was how in the past, you had 4 seasons of fashion, but now they have 52 weeks of changing fashions. Consumers are constantly bombarded with messages that unless you buy the ‘latest’ this that or the other, you’ll be out of fashion and unhappy and a failure for not keeping up with the Joneses. Think Apple. What they don’t tell you is the massive, negative impact of buying all this stuff is having on the planet. It’s cheap designed to break down quickly and forces you to buy another. Of course I realise the latest Apple phones are not cheap, but they don’t last and every year they persuade millions of people to buy the latest model. They get nauseatingly wealthy and you don’t.

And are you happy?

So, after much discussion we’re now looking at serious minimisation. I’ve been downsizing anyway coz I’m tired of all my possessions that don’t serve me or bring me joy, but instead weigh me down with having to store them and restrict my freedom. But now, I’m going to be brutal. That jacket I love but never wear….out. The dozens of cds I never have time to listen to….out.

I have boxes and boxes of stuff I’ve accumulated over the years that I never look at or need…. Out!!!

I’m going to become even more of what I’ve been for the last few years….every companies worst nightmare : a non-consumer. I experienced so much freedom on the Camino I walked last year with everything I needed in a backpack. It had a massive impact on my life.

Getting back to the Investing Course, as I mentioned earlier, it’s not one of those £5,0000.00 courses where the presenter promises you that you’ll be a millionaire in no time at all (it never happens), and it’s not a ‘fake it till you make it’ type of course (think of any big name in the Personal Development arena), but it is a simple, straightforward, no bullshit, this is what you can do to invest your money and using a simple strategy gain financial security for the long-term.

If like me, you’re already ‘over the hill and still travelling’ then unless you have a large lump sum to invest, you’re not going to be wealthy overnight, but you can secure a decent amount of money to provide a boost to your pension. It is a long-term strategy…..Minimum 10 years, but at the end of it, if you stick with the strategy you should see a decent financial gain.

If you’re still young, 40 and less, then you can, with due diligence and discipline, be able to secure a decent amount of money for a more secure lifestyle.

Let’s face it, unless you earn megabucks (which the vast majority only dream about but never attain) then your pension is going to be shit. Mine will be £65 per week. Rah rah.

So consider your future and think about investing and give yourself a better chance of a decent financial lifestyle.

For me, financial freedom would mean being able to buy my motor home and having sufficient funds to travel and not work. It would be about having just enough money to sustain me while I walk along all the routes I want to do, take decent photos and have the time to blog about my adventures.

I don’t need a big house, fancy car, latest fashion or any of the latest fads. I just want to walk and live a simple lifestyle.

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As I’m sure you well know by now, there’s a massive problem with discarded plastic in our rivers, seas and oceans.

I recently connected with a company called Making Waves Clothing on instagram.

Their clothes are made from 100% recycled products: Salvaged waste cuttings from organic cotton clothing, shredded and blended with recycled plastic bottles. The end result is this fantastic top, so soft and silky which belies the product used to make it.

Rocking my new @makingwavesclothing sweater.

Love it. I got 2 t-shirts as well. They are going to be perfect for my long-distance UK walks, and the colour I chose for the t-shirts fits with my Camino colour scheme.

“They said I was trash, But now I’m fashionable”. 😁😁😁😁 Genius

If you’d like to order some for yourself, they’re a UK based company and here is the link. Please note this is not an affiliate link, but goes directly to their website

https://www.makingwavesclothing.co.uk/

#makingwaves #makingwavesclothing #recycled #repurposed #reducewaste #reduceplasticwaste #ambassador

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This is one of the most visually powerful images of the destruction caused by plastic that I have seen to date. Shared via Instagram @balloonsblow and @kayak4kuwait

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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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We all know by now the damage being done to the planet with our perpetual use of plastic, seen the horror of a defenceless turtle with the plastic straw stuck up it’s nose, watched with shudders of horror as the blood poured while the rescuers tried to remove it, seen dead seabirds of all species lying on the rocky shores their guts filled with our plastic non-decomposing bits of waste while their chicks are starving to death, seen the whales and dolphins washed up on the beaches gasping their last breath as they lie there waiting to die from starvation caused by swallowing our plastic waste, and knowing that straws perforate the stomachs of penguins. Massive islands of plastic trash floating in the oceans, rivers and streams dead spaces clogged with plastic trash; our plastic trash.

We have to stop it somehow, but it seems insurmountable. Everything is either made with plastic in the process, contains plastic in the fabric or is simply a plastic container. Packaging manufacturers are slow to develop alternative materials that can genuinely compete with traditional plastics because there’s no real market for it. And there’s no market for it because there is not enough demand from consumers.

The supermarkets and production corporations don’t help with their perpetual insistence on using reams of plastic; vegetable wrapped in plastic, fish and meat wrapped in plastic. All because we are a throw-away species with only convenience on our minds.

Slowly but surely though, the message seems to be seeping into our brains and our consciousness; PLASTIC KILLS. And it’s not only killing off the planets wildlife and sea-life but it’s now in our food chain and in the fullness of time, we too will die of plastic related illness and cancers. Or starvation.

no straw november, ocean guardians, single use plasticBut there is so much we can do…..and #nostrawnovember is a very tiny action but it will save a massive amount of plastic from ending up in the oceans, rivers, streams and ultimately killing off the planet. And commit to avoiding single-use plastic water bottles

FYI: Just Americans ALONE use 500 million drinking straws EVERY DAY. To understand just how many straws 500 million really is, this would fill over 125 school buses with straws every day. That’s 46,400 school buses every year! Americans use these disposable utensils at an average rate of 1.6 straws per person per day.

After watching that awful video with the turtle I decided to not use plastic straws anymore. I saw a website where you sign a pledge to never use plastic straws ever again and signed immediately. My daughter bought me a packet of paper straws for Xmas.

So what you do to help reduce the number of plastic straws ending up killing off our wildlife and sea-life? #bestrawfree – join the campaign, be a super hero – and besides saving the planet, save yourself  https://www.ecocycle.org/bestrawfree Join the #nostrawnovember campaign and make it for life.

“In the UK alone, on average 3.5 million McDonalds customers per day buy a drink with a straw. That means 3.5 million straws a day are discarded” #strawwars

Of course it’s not just straws, it’s plastic bags, single use plastic bottles, cling-wrap, plastic ear-buds etc etc etc. The list just goes on. But, if we collectively just stop using those 5 items (amongst others), it will massively reduce the amount of plastic destroying the planet. We are meant to be the Guardians of Planet Earth, but sadly, on the contrary, we are the harbingers of it’s destruction. Our 20 minutes of convenience have major hidden consequences.

Other items you can stop using include: plastic cutlery, plastic plates, plastic cups, plastic coffee pods.

Landfill is not the answer, Recycling is not the absolute answer (you just make it someone else’s problem with that route). Most plastic packaging items are used only once before being discarded, and globally only 14% of plastic packaging is collected for recycling.

Instead we must stop using plastic wherever we can and urge our supermarkets and politicians to help us clean up our Earth.

Leaders in this field:

Wetherspoon to ban single-use plastic ones from its 900 pubs across Britain and Ireland in war on waste.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4919604/Wetherspoon-ban-single-use-plastic-straws.html#ixzz4yW7sJtqS
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

Do you realise:

PLASTICS:

Number of years to decompose
PLASTICS:
-plastic bag: 10-500 years
-plastic straw: up to 200 years
-plastic water bottle: 450 years
-plastic beverage container: 500+ years
-plastic 6 pack holder: 450 years

Support Brita’s #SwapForGood campaign, commit to avoiding single-use plastic water bottles and carrying around a reusable bottle instead. It really is that easy. If you can carry a single-use plastic bottle; you can surely carry a reusable plastic bottle.

OTHER THROW-AWAY PRODUCTS WE USE ON A DAILY BASIS:

FOAMS/ECT.:
-styrofoam cup – will never decompose – NEVER!!!! Made from styrene; a known animal and probably human carcinogen. That is horrendous. Go #foamfree

foamfree, styrofoam, single use plastic, no straw november, no single use plastic
-wax milk carton- up to 50 years
-tinfoil- will never decompose – NEVER!!!! That is horrendous.
-cardboard- 2 months

Other articles to read:

https://www.plasticoceans.org/

https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/jul/30/retailers-manufacturers-reduce-plastic-use-waste-lily-cole-ellen-macarthur

https://www.cottonbudproject.org.uk/

We read so many articles about practising ‘mindfulness’ and yet we are the throw-away generation…..of all ages.

Make the straw you last used the last plastic straw you use  https://thelastplasticstraw.org/resources-2/

 

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Day 2: From Gravesend to Rochester – 7.1 miles – again this proved to be inaccurate 😉 and in fact I walked 21.96 kms / 13.72 miles…give or take a few detours LOL

The second day was from Gravesend to Rochester where apparently Chaucer and his ‘press’ gang of hardy souls spent the night. Again I searched and searched and although I did find one very likely ‘inn’, after leaving 3 messages on their answering machine about wanting to book for a night, with no reply…I said “oh to heck with it ‘off with ye heads, ye daft bugas” and booked at another location that was close to the Cathedral.

Day 2 was without doubt hard. Although a much shorter distance, I was tired from the day before and really struggled to get my act together in the morning, and yes, EVERYTHING HURTS.

everything hurts

my daughter bought this t-shirt for me some months ago….apt! LOL

I had decided I wanted to get some more stamps in my Pilgrim’s Passport before setting off, so at 07:30 I walked back down into the town to look for an open church….the first 2 were a washout, but to be fair they were Anglican so their reply “we don’t have pilgrim stamps” was in retrospect, not surprising. After that I gave up and spent a few minutes walking around taking photos of the town whilst it was still quiet, bought a bowl of cherries and some bananas. The history of these towns is extraordinary and the more layers you peel back, the more you discover….I mean seriously 1568!!! Just wow.

History of Gravesend, Kent

History of Gravesend, Kent

Finally at just after 9am I set off along Old Road East towards Rochester 🙂 Hoorah! I was on my way. Shortly after setting off I reached a roundabout which had a mileage marker showing distances to various places; one of which was Rochester : 7.5 miles 🙂

Rochester 7.5 miles :)

Rochester 7.5 miles 🙂

Okay well that shouldn’t be too difficult….Hah!! famous last thoughts….it took bloody forever, but at that stage I wasn’t yet too tired, albeit still stiff from the day before and still excited about the walk. My post on instagram:

2017-07-10 08.58.33 1555696645857184093_231798962

Walked 4.21 kms and 80 minutes and I haven’t yet left Gravesend 😂😂😂
So just in case I hadn’t punished myself enough already, I decided I wanted to see my beautiful Thames one more time before I left and find some churches to get more stamps in my Pilgrim’s Passport.
Churches = 2
Stamps = 0
Cindy = 😡😢
Gravesend = fail!!! 😂😂😂 But oh the river, it is gorgeous. On my way I bought a bowl of cherries; it’s life after all, innit😉 
I’m now back from whence I started #OldPrinceofOrange and wishing I’d left Pepe at the pub and just checked out later 🤔🤔🤔🤔
The reason I’ve come back this way is coz the road I’ll be walking along; Old Road East, used to be the old road from London to Rochester, and I’m trying to be as authentic as possible 600 odd years later…I’ll pick up the Rochester road proper just a short way along. So I’m now on my way, I’ll try to not sit down anywhere coz by jove, it’s difficult to get back up again. And I’ve remembered why I wanted to leave early this morning….its already as humid as 🌋 Goodbye Gravesend, it’s been fun.’

I was hoping to arrive early enough to be able to visit the cathedral and obtain my pilgrim stamp and since Chaucer visited it would be entirely remiss of me if I didn’t!!! I was keen to see if I could find any traces of Bishops of the time or references to Chaucer.

My Pilgrim's Passport - duly stamped and a reference to Thomas Triller; Bishop of Rochester 1365-1372 who would have been Bishop at the time of Chaucer's pilgrimage

My Pilgrim’s Passport – duly stamped and a reference to Thomas Triller; Bishop of Rochester 1365-1372 who would have been Bishop at the time of Chaucer’s pilgrimage

I soon spotted another likely looking church, but no, it was not only locked, but they too didn’t have a Pilgrim’s stamp!! So a tad disappointed with the churches in Gravesend I mosied on and shortly reached what was a dual-carriageway and the real test of my resolve began…it’s horrible walking next to a busy road and by the 3rd day my throat was sore and scratchy from the care fumes. A young woman saw my backpack and asked me what I was doing 🙂 So lovely of her. We chatted for a while and then crossing the roundabout I saw what was the ONLY faint resemblance to a scallop shell that I was to see during my whole 3 days except for the sculpted glass doors at Rochester Cathedral.

Rochester Road.....the landscape at least was beautiful

Rochester Road…..the landscape at least was beautiful

The landscape across the fields and farmlands was really beautiful, the weather marvellous albeit already heating up considerably, and in the distance I could just make out the Thames estuary and shipping lane. Good to see so many windmills utilising natural resources.

A few kilometers later I saw a  sign for Chalk Village and decided to investigate.  Down Church Lane I found a scattering of houses and a church!! What a surprise 🙂 St Mary the Virgin aka Chalk Church was unfortunately closed but I decided that this would be a good place to rest a while.day 2 - higham The time was now just on 10am. The graveyard was, as most of them are, just lovely; restful and peaceful. I posted a couple of photos to instagram with these words ‘My current view; parish church Chalk Village – no pilgrims stamp 🤔🤔🤔 Today is about pain and endurance and endurance and pain, and energy sapping heat.
Bloody hell. It’s hot. I’m quite literally dragging my feet and just focusing on putting one in front of the other. I now know what it’s going to be like by day 3 on the Camino. It feels as if some gremlins have added another 10 kgs of bricks to the backpack; Pepe and I are not friends atm and I’d happily leave it right here if it wasn’t too expensive to buy another one 😆😆😆 Atm I really must rest. There’s no deadline. 5 miles to go 😐😐😓😓😓 The cherries taste good. 🍒🍒🍒’  and ‘Okay so I’ve caved in…decided to lie down in pastures green and have a proper rest; after all there’s no place like a graveyard for having a rest, right!! 😂😂😂 I shall commune with the souls of the dead for a wee bit 👻👻👻’

There has been a church in Chalk for well over a thousand years, but I stayed there only an hour; frankly I could have stayed right there the whole day!! About 30 minutes after setting off again I saw a welcome sign in the distance….food at The Copperfield!! I was famished by now, not yet having had breakfast besides the cherries.

Full English at The Copperfield, Rochester Road, Gravesend...or thereabouts

Full English at The Copperfield, Rochester Road, Gravesend…or thereabouts

I ordered the full-english and the ice-cream sundae as per the billboard advert Hah! You never get what you ask for….but I was so hungry that I wolfed the food down in no time at all. A pot of tea and a pee later and I was once again on my way.

Next amazing village was Higham where I discovered to my delight that not only had Charles Dickens lived there, but it was a Domesday Book village!! Awesome 🙂 At that stage I continued along the A226 towards Rochester but as I got to the roundabouts my nerve failed. There were no grass verges or sidewalk for me to safely continue my journey, so with a quick look at map my walk I notice a lane; Crutches Lane going off to the left further back, that looked a much better idea. I had walked a fair distance from Higham by then and it was a real slog to walk back again. But, to my delight as I neared Higham I notice a sign ‘Ancient church’…what??? How could I have missed that?

Higham. Domesday Village and once home to Charles Dickens

Higham. Domesday Village and once home to Charles Dickens

I promptly set off to investigate and leaving the main road I walked in the general direction of the church. By this stage I was thoroughly sick of having Pepe on my back. It was hot and the backpack felt like it weighed a ton! So you can imagine my delight when I saw a post office! I immediately made the decision to post some of the items from my backpack home; sandals: 385 grams, rain poncho: 395 grams (I was to regret sending this away the next day!!)  a note-book, a set of keys and a couple of other odds and ends – 1.5kgs later and Pepe felt much lighter. Hoorah! Then it was off along Hermitage Lane (don’t you just love that name?) to find the ‘Ancient Church’. Well as it turns out the ‘Ancient Church’ was another 4 kms away and I was NOT in the mood to be adding another 8 kms to my journey, so instead I knocked on the door of St John’s Church…..hellloooo!! A wonderful lady answered my call and after telling her my story she graciously provided me with loads of information and pamphlets with the history of the church and let me take photos. She also signed my Pilgrim’s Passport 🙂  Wonderful!!

St Peter's Church, Higham - a wonderful discovery

St Peter’s Church, Higham – a wonderful discovery

And then it was time to go…Rochester beckons and my energy was slipping away. I made my way back to the A226 and onto Crutches Lane (the names of the lanes are terrific). Crutches Lane provided me with very welcomed shade and although quite a few cars and vans passed me by, it was quiet and green and just a lovely walk. Sadly though the amount of garbage littering the lane, the bushes and embankments was dreadful. We really are swimming in a sea of rubbish.

Crutches Lane from one end to the other was in fact swimming in rubbish...although the landscape was beautiful, the garbage really spoilt it

Crutches Lane from one end to the other was in fact swimming in rubbish…although the landscape was beautiful, the garbage really spoilt it

By 14:50 I was on the A289 to Rochester. But it was still a fair way to go and a full 55 minutes before I finally saw the Medway and reached the bridge crossing to Rochester! Just before that whilst walking downhill I spied Rochester Castle through the trees in the distance and promptly burst into tears LOL. I was so tired, and so overwhelmed to be within spitting distance of my destination that I cried all the way down the hill and across the bridge!!

Rochester and the River Medway

Rochester and the River Medway; on the opposite bank is Rochester Castle

I had noticed, on the many facebook pages and blogs I’ve been reading, how people say they break down and sob when they reach Santiago…I now had an inkling of why. It’s overwhelming. I had by then been on the road for 8 hours and walking for 6 of those. Whew. At least I now know more or less what to expect when I’m walking the Camino in September, which was partly the reason for doing this walk; to see if I could actually manage. Well I can, but by jove it’s hard work. I love walking and walk a lot…but it’s a completely different ball-game when you have a 7.5kg backpack on your shoulders!

I had found a lovely place; Greystones B&B via booking.com; a Victorian Terraced house on the hill, and although it’s not in the same league historically as the other venues, it looked nice, got great reviews and was most importantly only 8 minutes walk from the cathedral.

Greystone B&B Rochester.

Greystones B&B Rochester. A lovely Victorian Terraced house. The proprietor Bill was very welcoming….I really enjoyed my stay

Rochester. Oh how much I do love thee…..and I shall tell you more about lovely, wonderful, amazing, extraordinary Rochester in my next blog.

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