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I’ve been seeing so many posts recently about this walk… I guess I’m just going to have to do it 😂 😂 😂 😂

The South West Coast Path

After 3 trips across the “pond” my wife and I finally completed the South West Coast Path in October 2017. Originally we were just looking for something a little more civilised than our usual trips on our native Vancouver Island, where thick bush, ice and snow, heavy packs, rotten food and smelly tents are the norm. However, it didn’t take more than a few hours out of our original start point at Port Isaac in 2013 before we knew that we were in this for the duration. All those endless seascapes, impossibly lovely coves and fishing villages, comfy digs and good food are not a difficult sell, especially after the rigours of Island hiking.

Photo 2015-09-26, 9 54 58 AM Ann and Martin at the start of the Path in Minehead

Altogether it took us 55 days and 3 visits to get from Minehead to South Haven Point including some rest and short days. For those…

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No need to add anything more.

Pride's Purge

Theresa May’s kowtowing to the hard Brexiters in her party may have just cost the UK $1.7 Trillion of access to international projects after Brexit.

The U.S., New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Ukraine, Israel and Moldova have all blocked Britain’s post-Brexit entry into the World Trade Organization’s Government Procurement Agreement, a market worth $1.7 Trillion.

And while the first six big players on that list may eventually (after perhaps years of hard negotiations) give in with separate trade deals, with the last one – the small country of Moldova – it’s unlikely.

Because it’s personal.

This is because Theresa May – in an effort to look tough on immigration – made the inexplicable and utterly disastrous decision last year to deny visas to a Moldovan government delegation who wanted to visit the UK on a trade mission.

Corina Cojocaru – a government adviser to the Moldova government – and her…

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Gosh, I can hardly believe it’s already a month gone since my daughter and her husband had their baby shower and gender reveal party. Finally after what seemed like months, but in reality was only weeks, of waiting, we had the gender reveal.

My daughter and her husband hosted a Baby Shower on Saturday 10th November for close family and friends.

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter nursery broadstairs

The happy parents; Cémanthe and Simon

They chose the delightful Helter Skelter Play Nursery in Broadstairs. It had a fantastic play area for the children ( and adults as it turned out), with slides, climbing ropes, plastic ball pool and many other wonderful play areas. Colourful is the name of the game at Helter Skelter…the walls are decorated in bright colourful paintings and children’s drawing adorn the walls.

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter nursery broadstairs

Helter Skelter Nursery, Broadstairs

We had a wonderful day with lots of laughter, a gathering of special people to share a special day of fun and good food.

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter nursery broadstairs

guests; family and friends

When the guests arrived they had to cast their vote on whether they thought it was a girl or a boy….interestingly it was a tie: 15 for a girl and 15 for a boy 🙂 In the corner the gifts piled up; colourful and interesting bags and packages.baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter nursery

Tea and cake was served, introductions made and soon there was a happy buzz of chatter and conversation…some of the adults had just about as much fun on the slides as the kids.

A fantastic spread of snacks, the food provided by the lovely ladies at Helter Skelter was scrumptious, colourful, varied and mindful of various diets and allergies. We all ate ourselves to satisfaction and no-one went hungry.

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter nursery broadstairs

an amazing spread

We had a face-painter which everyone loved, especially the grownups LOL

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter nursery broadstairs

face painting

Teams were selected and given colour markers and plain white baby grows to decorate – a splendid array of colourful pictures onto baby grows.

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter

baby grow decorating

The cake, a family affair, was baked by Daddy, iced by Granny, decorated by Mummy. The cake was cut by Emily and Matt…baby’s cousins 🙂

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter

the cake 🙂

And then it was time for the gender reveal……anddddd IT’S A BOY!!! hoorah….I have a grandson on the way 🙂  Hoorah!! In just a few weeks, approx 3-4 (from today), I shall be the Granny to a wee baby boy!!

How absolutely marvellous is that. I am so excited to meet this baby boy, my Grandson. Daddy looks pleased and Mummy looks gleeful. 🙂

The guests were asked to guess the baby’s name and nursery theme to win a prize.

The theme of the nursery….space!!! 🙂

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter

the theme of space was inspired by this baby grow

The name reveal : James Alexander McKenzie-Hoult – forthwith to be known as Jamie……what a fantastic name for a boy, so strong. Of course I shall still call him Peanut….at least until he’s 21 LOL

The expectant parents received some absolutely wonderful gifts with a gorgeous array of wooden toys, cute books, much needed toiletries and nappies, some treats for Mum and some beautiful baby clothes.

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter

some of the gorgeous gifts they received

We had a videographer, also a Jamie, there to capture the day for posterity and everyone agreed that it was a fantastic day and how delighted they were to share it with the happy Mum and Dad to be….and little Peanut, who will now be known as Jamie 🙂

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter nursery

Jamie ….. he already has my heart in the palm of his hand

 

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Damage Done

This is a really shocking state of affairs and completely unacceptable. What is this Tory Government doing to our country

policecommander

Another week.

Another round of depressing headlines about Chief Constables stating that their Forces no longer have the resources they need to do all that is being asked and expected of them.

Another round of deeply disturbing headlines about police officers being attacked in the street. The accompanying film footage is too much for me to watch.

I have never known times remotely like these – and it set me thinking about all that has disappeared from policing in the last eight years. 

The list is staggering:

I. The loss of 44,000 police officers and staff in England & Wales.

Say that number out loud a couple of times and let it sink in.

II. The loss of neighbourhood policing.

  • London has more 600 local council wards. In 2010, each of those had its own dedicated Safer Neighbourhoods Team.
  • That meant a minimum of 1 Sergeant, 2 PCs and…

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Before setting off to Alton for the start of Day 3 along The Pilgrim’s Way, I visited Chawton to visit Jane Austen’s House Museum.

jane austens house museum, visit jane austens house chawton, walking the pilgrims way

Jane Austen’s House Museum seen from inside the garden

I left the AirBnB fairly early and since it was raining quite heavily I took the bus to Chawton. After a short walk I soon reached the village. The museum was still closed, so I walked through the village to see the church where Jane Austen worshipped and the house where her brother Edward lived after being adopted by the Knight family.

The church is quite a walk from the village centre, but certainly worth the walk. After he inherited the house he offered the cottage on the estate to Jane and her Mother and sister.

st nicholas church chawton, jane austens house museum, visit jane austens house chawton, walking the pilgrims way

St Nicholas Church, Chawton

Stepping through the door of the church was quite awesome….and rather weird to walk in the same space as what Jane Austen had walked all those years ago. The church is quite beautiful and I enjoyed my time there.

jane austens house museum, visit jane austens house chawton, walking the pilgrims way

St Nicholas Church, Chawton

Chawton House was unfortunately closed, so I retraced my steps to the village and visited the Austen house. I was the 2nd visitor of the day so was able to meander and enjoy the house in peace and able to take photos.

jane austens house museum, visit jane austens house chawton, walking the pilgrims way

Austen family tree

The house is so lovely. Jane lived here with her Mother and sister from 1809 till May 1817. To see the chair and desk where Jane sat to pen her novels was spine-tingling. In her bedroom is a replica bed of the one she slept in

jane austens house museum, visit jane austens house chawton, walking the pilgrims way

a replica of Jane’s bed

as well as many artefacts and poignant items from her life. There are letters

jane austens house museum, visit jane austens house chawton, walking the pilgrims way

copy of a letter written by Jane

and a beautiful quilt made by Jane, her Mother and her sister Cassandra. There are 3000 diamonds hand-stitched in all.

jane austens house museum, visit jane austens house chawton, walking the pilgrims way

the quilt made by Jane, her Mother and sister Cassandra

A visit to Jane Austen’s House, one of England’s historical houses is so very much worth the diversion

I’ve created a short video of my visit

Chawton is mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book as Celtone, so I was delighted to be able to add this to my list of Domesday Book villages visited for Project 101.

After I left the house I walked back to the bus stop….it was still raining. I soon reached Alton where Day 3 of my journey started.

In case you missed it, click the link to read about Day 2 of The Pilgrim’s Way

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Seriously? Look at how they’re making the plastic problem the consumers responsibility again!! 😤😤😤

Making the consumer re-think how we use plastic?? Ffs. Think about how to not keep PRODUCING plastic!! “Many companies, including Procter and Gamble, Coca-Cola and Asda, trade associations and campaigners have joined forces with the government to form the UK Plastics Pact. It’s aimed at making people re-think the way they use plastic and its dangerous impact on the environment if it’s not disposed of properly and recycled”.

There is no away!!! There is no way of disposing of plastic. It takes centuries to break down…and even then it doesn’t just ‘disappear’, it just morphs into microplastics, of which we are now eating a portion in our food and water.

This article is an advertising plug for solent plastics, however the information it contains (up until the advertising bit) is useful, albeit mostly old news.

https://www.solentplastics.co.uk/news/plastic-ocean:-the-clean-up/

“Statistics show each person in the UK creates an average of around 76kg, or 167lbs, of plastic waste per year. This compares with US citizens who produce around 120kg of plastic waste per person per year.”

UK annual plastic waste is now close to 5m tonnes, including enough single-use plastic to fill 1,000 Royal Albert Hallshttps://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/17/i-kept-all-my-plastic-year-4490-items-forced-rethink

Here are my thoughts on the plastic issue:

Why is the UK Government making it about the CONSUMER once again. We are always being blamed for the mess. But we are FORCED to buy our products in plastic and in 95% of cases have NO OPTION but to buy something we need DESPITE it being encased in plastic.

We’re told to recycle! Okay fine, except that every bloody council in the country has their own rules, and many are breaking the law!!  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45911794 >

Besides that no-one has YET EDUCATED the citizens of the UK how to recycle properly. I travel a lot in the UK due to the nature of my job. Every single place I go to has a different set of rules for recycling, and for what the council will or will not accept. Most of the people I work for are elderly and have NO IDEA how to recycle properly, what impact their incorrect recycling has on every load, and what can or cannot be recycled. I’ve worked for people who recycle their tissues, or soiled serviettes…because it’s paper!!! And paper is recyclable right?

Little did we know that not all of it would be recycled, instead getting dumped in landfills overseas.

Yes there are numbskulls who refuse to recycle, who chuck their trash any which where they please because they are as thick as the proverbial brick, people who dump stuff in the streets, parks, rivers, mountainsides etc etc but those are the minimum. The vast quantity of plastic, especially single-use plastic, is used in the home….

It doesn’t surprise me in the LEAST that companies like Coca-Cola and Proctor & Gamble are involved….what they want to do is make it OUR FAULT with the Government’s full support and make it about us being FECKLESS citizens and not recycling properly. The REAL ISSUE IS THEM!! They are the ones producing the plastic, they are the ones who are packaging their products in this pernicious shit in the first place, after that the SUPERMARKETS are not taking any responsibility because they then sell these products to us the consumer who then gets BLAMED for the plastic pollution, while they shrug their shoulders and continue to make obscene profits.

THE ONLY BLAME LIES FAIR AND SQUARE AT THE FEET OF THE PRODUCERS OF PLASTIC, THE CORPORATIONS AND COMPANIES THAT MAKE THE PLASTIC PRODUCTS AND THE COMPANIES THAT SELL IT ON TO THE CONSUMER WHO HAS NO OPTION BUT TO BUY THEIR FOOD AND NECESSITIES IN PLASTIC.

The UK Government are complicit in the waste issue and of course we know just why they are teamed up with these plastic waste criminals, it’s because they’re getting MONEY from them. It enables the corporations to continue producing plastic without recourse. It’s called CORRUPTION. End of. Stop producing the stuff. There are OTHER OPTIONS. Support the companies that are making packaging using other methods rather than PETROLEUM PLASTIC. Only when our governments, corporations, big businesses, manufacturers and suppliers/sellers stop being bribed by money and start employing some ethics in business will this plastic issue start being resolved. Now, if the government fined these corporations for the plastic they continue to produce, then they’ll start making the necessary changes.

AS I said in a previous article: Rwanda, Mauritania and Morocco all have bans in place and it’s worth noting that there is no such ban enforced in the UK, US or China, all of which have highly developed plastics industries; producing and exporting plastic bags across the globe – ergo we in the developed countries ARE TO BLAME!! It’s all about making money, the bottom line and obscene profits, and the manufacturers have no interest in the fact that it’s killing the planet.

But, hey….easy way out….keep producing plastic and blame the resulting pollution on the consumers/population.

This is what we need as a mater of urgency:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-45965605

Further information for education on plastic pollution:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45911794

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-45787712

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-45770358

An estimated 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic had been produced since the early 1950s, with 60% of it ending up in landfills or the natural environment.

 

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Day 3

Well what a day it was. The 3rd of 4 days of the Doula Course and turned out to be completely different to what I was anticipating or expecting. It was an emotional roller-coaster. I’d been surrounded by some amazing women and although it was an extraordinary day, I was emotionally shattered….in a good way. I was been surprised by some of the things people have said about me, how they see things I thought were well hidden. The exercises we did, that made us dig really deep and although in a safe space, it’s left us feeling very vulnerable…but safe.

Interestingly some of the women have said how doing this course has made them realise how unprepared they are for working in this field, and how they feel that perhaps its not for them, yet its left me feeling more empowered and ready to go (so to speak).

We also did some role playing (which I’ve always hated, and avoided at all costs), but weirdly I found it really easy to slip into another persona and surprised the group (apparently). It was actually good fun, and the prognosis is that I may appear to be all sweetness and light (uhmm really??) 😂 😂 but that I’m really good at shocking them with my ability to be someone else. Actually our group practically ended up on the floor with laughter (very inappropriate laughter) at some of the stuff that came out of my mouth 😂 😂 I actually threatened to send one client to hospital in an ambulance on a stretcher… In context of course. But it was hilarious. We were laughing so much that the facilitator came to find out what was going on and none of us could speak for laughing. They’re a brilliant group and its been truly enlightening. I love learning new stuff and exploring preconceptions and how our beliefs and values are shaped by society, expectations, outside influences and family dynamics. All good. But boy am I tired 😴 😴 😴 ready to sleep now. I didn’t even have the energy to watch Strictly Come Dancing. 🤔🤔🤔

In case you missed the original blog There’s more to dying than meets the eye

 

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