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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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This morning I finished reading the book; Arabia, A Journey Through the Heart of the Middle East by Levison Wood – curled up in bed, snug and warm with a cup of tea (me that is , not the author haha), I settled in to finish the last 100 pages of this incredible story….and from that, you can deduce that I did not go walking today…it’s cold and grey out and I’m still shattered after all the stress and trauma of yesterday’s morning visit to the labour ward…more about that in a separate article.

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Viking Bay, Broadstairs after lunch

As with Walking the Nile I am left feeling just a little bit bereft at reaching the end of this particular journey. Even if the book had been a massive tome of 900 pages or more, I would still be feeling sad that I’d read the last page…. this time even the acknowledgements had to be pored over – their names all bear witness! Of the many characters met along the way, their personalities briefly revealed, the one I liked the most is Nada. My kind of fiesty lady. Whereas the name of Khaled al-Assad left me in tears. I remember reading about this amazing man at the time…over 3 years ago already 😦 My heart aches for him and his family. My heart aches for us.

I feel as if there is a story waiting to be told for each country visited. Delving deeper into the lives of people met, the places they live and the fabric of their lives. Imagine what a collection that would make on the bookshelf!! I feel as if I would like to meet each and every one of them – even the bat-shit crazy ones, linger over a meal and learn more about who they are and where they live. After all, regardless of location, race, colour, creed, religion, beliefs or values, at the end of the day we are ALL just people living our lives with hopes and dreams.

I am left both inspired and saddened by this journey through Arabia – A Journey Through the Heart of the Middle East. I have learned SO much and it infuriates me that we in the West are fed so much misinformation. It FRUSTRATES and angers me that there are so many factions, and frictions, old betrayals and new. That we, the UK, have even had a part to play in this over the centuries is both heart-breaking and sickening. I’m not going to delve into my political thoughts and feelings, since it’s not appropriate for this particular article, suffice to say that my eyes are just a little more open and I can’t imagine the conflicting emotions the author must have felt at certain times considering his background.

I am inspired to learn more about the adventurer TE Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia), who travelled those paths before Levison. To learn more about the Victorian explorer Richard Burton and Wilfred Thesiger, and to visit some of the places mentioned in the book; Jericho, Bethlehem and Damascus  in particular, as well as the many, many wondrous and ancient places he visited, to stand on top of those mountains and see the verdant valleys below in Lebanon and to spend a few days in the desert with a Bedouin tribe. Petra has always been high on my list of places I want to go…..

The Middle East seems to be a real contrast of expectations and reality, and there is so much more waiting to be discovered just below the surface. I was left bemused, terrified and exalted at various points along the way. I also cried at times….tears of despair and joy – the event in Bethlehem in particular brought me to tears…in a good way. The risks the author took in order to follow through with his journey and to reach his destination were extraordinary. The people who helped him along the way, sometimes at great risk to their own personal safety are extraordinary. Where there is a will, there is indeed a way. And how lucky are we, the reader, that they all did take those risks.

This particular book; Arabia, is not your usual travel journey that paints a pretty picture of places explored. No, it’s gritty and harsh and at times you are left feeling devastated at the destruction of a people and a place…and I’m talking in particular of Syria and Palestine. (p.s. if you have myopic views about the situation in either of these two countries please do NOT feel the need to express them in the comments).

If you have read this far, then I can highly recommend both these books; Arabia and Walking the Nile. So what’s next? Well I guess I am going to have to track down Walking the Himalayas….no pun intended LOL and Walking the Americas and make a plan to watch the Channel 4 documentaries.

Unfortunately for them, the charity shops won’t be seeing either of these books, Arabia or Walking the Nile from me LOL. Instead I shall treasure them and encourage my grandson to read them when he is ready; hopefully to inspire him to travel the world. I will most certainly be delving into them again….hopefully at a slower pace next time. As with all journeys, I’m sad it’s over.

I am left with the words of the John Lennon song in my mind; IMAGINE – all the people living life in peace….

I can highly recommend this book as a damn good read; Arabia; A Journey Through the Heart of the Middle East and while you’re at it….why not read Walking the Nile. Author: Levison Wood.book reviews, book recommendations, walking the nile levison wood, arabia levison wood, travel adventures

Meanwhile back at Planet Thanet, I have the book I’m writing for my grandson to complete. He’s due within the next 2 weeks and I’d like to complete it before he arrives. The Incredible Journey of James Alexander McKenzie-Hoult aka Jamie aka Peanut 🙂 I am SO looking forward to saying for real….. #Peanutisontheway

And I have An Evening with Levison Wood to look forward to next week…my tickets have been purchased and I’m ‘praying’ that Peanut doesn’t decide to arrive on that day…..before would be good and after just as well. LOL We’re focusing on the 18th…..

Alhamdulillah and RIP Khaled al-Assad may you truly have found peace, I’m sure you will never be forgotten.

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Today marks one of Peanut’s ‘due dates’…..and nope, he has not arrived. Not sure how I feel about that! On one hand I’m pleased because he will arrive when he is good and ready and not because the NHS are still working on calculations that were first established in 1744 (?) I mean seriously…..we’re now in the 21st century, we’ve put a man on the moon (apparently), we’ve sent rockets into space countless times, we sent astronauts into space to live on a space station; the International Space Station that circumnavigates the planet on a daily basis, we have invented phones that can do just about anything you want it to except eat for you, and yet the NHS are still working on a calculation made by a Dutch doctor in 1744. If you could see me now, I’d be rolling my eyes!! LOL

On the other hand I am impatient….after 34 weeks of excitement at the thought of becoming a Granny, I am now waiting impatiently. However, either way and whichever day, by at least the 19th he should be here. 🙂

Meanwhile I am making the most of every day to get out and walk. I want to be sure to have a photo of the sunrise on the day he is born…I hope it’s a spectacular one and not grey like today!! I’m making a book; The Incredible Journey of James Alexander aka Jamie aka Peanut and would really love the photo to be of a stunning sunrise!! 🙂

I left rather late just after 9.15, opting to linger a bit longer in bed with a cup of tea after peeking out the window and seeing the grey clouds. It is definitely getting colder and today my hands were red by the time I got back. I also didn’t venture very far since I am the nominated driver for when my daughter does go into labour and I do not want to panic about getting back from a walk if I’m miles away. I’ll get back to the long walks once baby is here.

Grey and grizzly as it may be, the view from the clifftop across Viking Bay is still beautiful.

walk 1000 miles, walks along the coastal path england, walks on the isle of thanet, map my walk

tis a grey day on the Isle of Thanet

I didn’t get to walk along the beach since the tide was well and truly in by the time I got going so I walked along the promenade to Louisa Bay and walked down to the concrete path along the sea wall and made my way to Dumpton Gap again.

walk 1000 miles, walks along the coastal path england, walks on the isle of thanet, map my walk

the tide is in – looking back towards Viking Bay

walk 1000 miles, walks along the coastal path england, walks on the isle of thanet, map my walk

the tide is in – Dumpton Gap : looking south along the coast towards Ramsgate

There were a couple of labrador dogs running about and investigating; they are such happy animals with their wagging tails. I should have taken a photo, they were that cute. But instead I just photographed the seas and then headed back home.

walk 1000 miles, walks along the coastal path england, walks on the isle of thanet, map my walk

the tide is in at Dumpton Gap, no chance of getting through there today

walk 1000 miles, walks along the coastal path england, walks on the isle of thanet, map my walk

the tide is in at Dumpton Gap and soon my footprints will be washed away

It was a bit windy today too and the seas were rough and wild. I had planned to head down to the harbour later on to photograph the waves, but with one thing and another, I never quite made it that far.

After a breakfast of croissants from the Old Bake House

the old bake house broadstairs, walk 1000 miles, walking the isle of thanet

The Old Bake House on the corner of Serene Place and the High Street is where I buy our croissants; the most delicious you can imagine, always fresh, never burned with a delicious spongy interior. My favourite are the almond fillings. Bradstow House, the building on the corner of Serene Place and the High Street, is early 18th century and was originally constructed as a single house but is now a house and the Old Bake House and cafe. The shop front that you can see was constructed in the 19th century.

and a cup of hot steaming tea, I strolled along to Toffs and Tarts Hairdresser in Albion Road and had my hair cut. I finally found a hairdresser who knows how to feather cut hair using a razor! Hoorah. It feels so much lighter now and he did a really good job.

Day 5/365 and today I walked 3.79 kms and 5713 steps and we are 5 days closer to Peanut’s arrival 🙂 Soon I hope to be taking him on my daily perambulations to Ramsgate!

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Viking bay to Dumpton Gap

 

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Had a fantastic walk this morning. I set off much earlier than usual today….even before the sun rose above the horizon!!

walk 1000 miles, coastal walks of england, walks on the isle of thanet, broadstairs to ramsgate, walking for health

Viking Bay at 07:46 on the 4th January 2019

There’s a distinct difference in temperature between yesterday and today… I almost needed gloves 🧤

The tide was still out but on it’s way in, so I walked down to the harbour and set off across the beach at Viking Bay and chased the incoming tide to Ramsgate.

The colours of the clouds and the sea were absolutely stunning as always and I stopped often to take photos….when do I not?

walk 1000 miles, coastal walks of england, walks on the isle of thanet, broadstairs to ramsgate, walking for health

Viking Bay at 07:53 on the 4th January 2019 – a different perspective from the clifftop to the beach

And occasionally I get photo-bombed LOL

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photo-bombed by a mad dog

When I got to Dumpton Gap, I realised that the tide had made considerable progress and if I was to reach the Ramsgate walkway which I could see in the distance I needed to get a move on. The sun was now peeping through the clouds and in the distance across the waves I could see one of the Coast Guard boats that regularly patrol this section of the channel

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sunrise on the Isle of Thanet and the Coast Guard patrol

It’s a fair distance from Dumpton Gap to Ramsgate and I  covered it very quickly without stopping to take any photos!! It’s quite exhilarating to race the tide…. lapping at my feet and making me take detours across the rocks to avoid the waves that were rushing closer and closer, and getting my feet wet. LOL

walk 1000 miles, coastal walks of england, walks on the isle of thanet, broadstairs to ramsgate, walking for health

reaching Ramsgate before the tide came in: Dumpton Gap in the distance

Once on the concrete walkway at Ramsgate, I again stopped briefly to look more closely at the chalk cliffs which I find totally fascinating. In particular the layers of flint stones are so amazing. I popped across to wikipedia to find out more: “Certain types of flint, such as that from the south coast of England, contain trapped fossilised marine flora. Pieces of coral and vegetation have been found preserved like amber inside the flint. Thin slices of the stone often reveal this effect.”

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the chalk cliffs interspersed with flint stones

Besides history, geography and geology are two of my favourite interests. Flint is commonly used in buildings along the coast and Broadstairs can boast a great number of houses, chapels, walls and this seaside pub; The Tartar Frigate, built with flint.

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The historic Tartar Frigate is one of the only 18th century flint restaurants in Kent.

It’s incredible to think that they mostly contain fossils of sea creatures, insects and vegetation that is millions of years old.

viking bay broadstairs, walk 1000 miles, coastal walks of england, walks on the isle of thanet, broadstairs to ramsgate, walking for health

back to Broadstairs just before 9am and still the sun lingers behind the clouds

And of course the section where I’m standing for this amazing view, is right on top of the chalk cliffs…now tamed by man, and hollowed out with a network of smugglers tunnels!!

chalk cliffs kent, the tartar frigate pub broadstairs, walks of england, coastal walks of england

a network of smugglers tunnels wind their way below ground in Broadstairs

Day 4/365 In total I got in a decent 6.32kms & 9554 steps from Broadstairs to Ramsgate

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it’s a lovely stretch of coastline

 

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After having to cut my pilgrimage from Winchester to Canterbury short due to an injury, I went home to rest & recuperate. However, I still had a booking in Canterbury that needed to be picked up. Unfortunately I couldn’t cancel the booking since I had already moved it once from 2017 to 2018….

But, staying in Canterbury is no hardship, so even though I was disappointed at not being able to arrive as a completing pilgrim, I still had my booking at the Falstaff to look forward to.

So on the afternoon of the 4th September, my daughter and I took the train to Canterbury. I checked in at the Falstaff and although it was disappointing to not be sleeping in a room in the older, more historic part of the hotel, to my delight I had the most amazing room you could imagine. It was huge!!!

the falstaff inn canterbury, walking the pilgrims way, the pilgrims way from winchester to canterbury

my room at The Falstaff Inn, Canterbury – can I just move in and stay?

My daughter and I immediately made ourselves comfortable on the bed LOL

We had tea and chatted about life, my short pilgrimage, Canterbury and the baby.

To my absolute joy, the baby was very active that day and for the first time I got to feel my grandchild kicking away. I could enjoy that every day!!! 🙂 It’s such an extraordinary feeling. I’m so excited to be a Granny.

After resting for a while we walked into the centre of the city and went shopping. We found a fantastic baby carrier and I bought a lovely little puzzle for the baby. I love puzzles, baby’s Daddy loves puzzles , so I guess this little bambino will be learning how to build puzzles as soon as old enough to be able to puzzle them out.

I also bought a baby grow 🙂 too cute

We had a lovely afternoon meandering about the city…it’s so beautiful, then popped in at our favourite eatery….Eleto Chocolate Café for pancakes and tea.

pancakes

this is one of the most heavenly pancakes I have ever tasted. clearly we do this fairly often LOL taken on another trip to Canterbury

After that I walked my daughter back to the station where we said our goodbyes…I felt sad at leaving her coz she was meant to have not only walked the last day of my pilgrimage with me, but was to stay the night in Canterbury. However, with her being pregnant and all, our plans changed.

I strolled back into the city centre, photographing things I have photographed many times before LOL….I can never resist. The cathedral grounds were open now and I walked around just enjoying the sheer beauty of such an extraordinary building. I hope to return sooner rather than later after completing my walk along The Pilgrim’s Way.

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As soon as it was too dark for photos. it was back to the room…time for a long hot shower, tea and biscuits and into bed to watch tv.

I had a wonderful sleep – The bed was so comfy I could have stayed there for a week. Bliss. After a lovely cup of tea and a lazy morning, I went down for breakfast and then packed up to leave……homeward bound.

And so ended my first attempt at walking The Pilgrim’s Way. I hope/plan to finish the walk in April 2019, but I am quite keen to actually just walk the whole length again from Winchester…..insanity!!! Have I forgotten Boxhill already???

In case you missed the start of my pilgrimage from Winchester to …….Oxted (as it turned out) – my journey started here:

Revisiting the City of Winchester

Exploring Southampton

Day 1 – Winchester to Alresford

Day 2 – Alresford to Four Marks

Day 3 – Alton to Farnham

Day 4 – Farnham to Guildford

Day 5 – Exploring Guildford

Day 6 – Guildford to Shere & Tanners Hatch

Day 7 – Tanners Hatch to Merstham

Day 8 – Merstham to Oxted

Day 9 – My journey endeth – Homeward bound

 

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Today I set off much earlier that the 2 previous days and had the joy and privilege of watching the sun rise. Sunrise was at 07:59 and I reached the promenade at 08:03. It is such a pleasure to be taking winter walks along this section of the Kentish coast, the views truly are just stunning and I enjoy it anew each and every time. When the time comes it is going to be very hard to leave this area….

walk 1000 miles, walks along the english coast, coastal walks of england, the isle of thanet, long distance walks uk

Viking Bay…….what a glorious view

Still very overcast and cloudy the colours of the sun against the cloudscape were breathtaking. The sea was almost, but not quite like pond today, the colour of mercury and because I was a lot earlier the tide was right in and I had to walk most of the way along the clifftops. I got as far as the Ramsgate Tunnels and then turned back for home. This section of the east coast is so beautiful and I feel so lucky to live here.

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a beautiful sunrise on the Isle of Thanet

walk 1000 miles, walks along the english coast, walks in england, english channel , sunrise

stunning light on the sea

walk 1000 miles, walks along the english coast, walks in england, english channel , sunrise

Ramsgate, Isle of Thanet

As usual most of the people out at this time of day were walking their dogs and I got to say hello to any number of happy little fellows, one of which was a gorgeous Labrador puppy…I got lots of wet nose kisses and muddy paw hugs from him. So cute I wanted to take him home with me LOL

I spent the rest of the day helping my daughter to sort out her laundry cupboard and part of her office. She’s so heavily pregnant now that any sort of exertion is just too much for her. Besides which she’s picked up a nasty cold that is making her so tired with the coughing and stuffy nose. She was at an event a few days ago and one of the women there had a heavy cold and had the audacity to say “Oh I get colds but I don’t pass them on”… Fuck. I do wish people would be more considerate and stay at home when they are ill. All they do is pass on their nasty germs to those who are more vulnerable and less able to cope with a cold. My daughter is banning anyone from visiting the baby if they have even so much as a sniffle.

Day 3/365 – Broadstairs to Ramsgate : 8.33 kms, 12823 steps

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Broadstairs to Ramsgate Steps

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Thursday Day 10 – 30th August 2018 : Tonbridge to Broadstairs

Well here we are, Pepe, Gemini and I, on the train heading home.

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

on my way home

My leg is no better and when I lifted Pepe onto my back this morning I experienced that kind of red hot pain that leaves you breathless. So yes, time to head home to recuperate. Damaged but not defeated. I’m already scheming ways of completing this walk in the not too distant future. 😉😁

Ironically my sleeping bag arrived home today too. It was in the stars. One thing for certain, I am going to repack Pepe and anything that I didn’t use last week is coming OUT!!! I’m a bit of a ‘just in case’ packer, but I don’t think it served me well on this walk. Learning curve, I guess. But, on the plus side, I met a lovely Carer at the house last night and I’m certain we’ll become good friends. We have a lot in common and had so much to talk about. 😊😊 So onwards.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my journey along The Pilgrim’s Way; from Winchester to Oxted – hopefully to complete the journey in 2019. I may even redo the section I’ve already walked LOL – or not!!! In case you missed my previous posts…..

Setting off on my pilgrimage

Revisiting the City of Winchester

Exploring Southampton

Day 1 – Winchester to Alresford

Keep your eye on this space……I’m planning (hoping) to finalise my pilgrimage in April 2019

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