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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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Planning, planning, planning. What fun it’s been planning my 2 big 2018 pilgrimages; The Pilgrim’s Way from Winchester to Canterbury and Camino Ingles from Ferrol to Santiago and from there on the Camino Finisterre with a final journey to Muxia; the now agreed furthermost point of mainland Europe and an ancient pilgrims destination.

As mentioned in a previous blog, I’ve had hours of fun with researching what to see, reading the respective pilgrimage guides, studying the route on google maps, scanning airbnb and booking.com for suitable and not bank-breaking accommodation rates, then calculating the cost of these pilgrimages……and therein lies the rub…..or should I say months of hard work LOL. Ouch. It’s going to be a lot more expensive than I anticipated…especially the UK pilgrimage.

Accommodation in the UK does NOT come cheap. Unlike the albergues and hostels on the various Camino routes in Spain which cater for pilgrims, the best price I’ve managed to book for the UK is at one of the YHA locations – at £16 for the night, it’s very comparable to the accommodations in Spain.

AirBnB! How did we do without it before? It’s a gem, although not necessarily cheap, you can find some lovely accommodations and I have found a number of very suitable places along The Pilgrim’s Way. I had planned on staying the first 2 nights in Winchester, but after trying various places in Winchester, oh my gosh, talk about exorbitant…..as I said to the one lady I spoke to, I’m walking as a pilgrim, not visiting as a tourist. If I want to pay so much money, I’ll stay at a hotel. Winchester does not come cheap!!

But there it is. So instead I’ve altered my plans and have found some lovely accommodation in Southampton, which is brilliant since Southampton is a famous sailing off point for pilgrims travelling to distant shores; namely the point of departure for the Pilgrim Fathers aboard Mayflower in 1620, as well as many pilgrims from the UK departing to follow the way of St James in Spain. I’ve wanted to visit Southampton anyway, so this will give me the chance to add a day of exploration to the itinerary and explore the city for a day and there is MUCH to see 🙂

I’ve booked 9 of 18 nights for the UK….the rest will have to wait while I work some more and save up some more LOL ….the joys of travel. I’ve also booked 7 of 21 days in Spain and plan to make the most of the traditional alburgues and hostels along the routes on a ‘phone ahead and hope for the best plan’.

Besides planning when to start my pilgrimages and how many days to walk each route, I’ve had to do a budget projection right through to end October to ensure I can in fact earn sufficient income to pay for them, as well as calculate exactly how much I can squeeze out of my monthly budgets towards the main aspects of expected expenses; travel, food, accommodation, mementos and of course most importantly travel insurance. It’s going to be a hectic balancing act and my accounting background and love of spreadsheets is coming in well handy LOL

I can barely believe that I’ll finally be walking one of the long-distance pilgrimage routes in the UK. I have already followed Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales route from Southwark to Canterbury and the Way of St Augustine from Ramsgate to Canterbury, but neither of those routes was in excess of 100 miles. I have walked the Camino Portuguese from Porto to Santiago which was 150 miles, so that was quite good…..the Pilgrim’s Way from Winchester to Canterbury is 133+ miles and the 3 Camino routes in Spain will equal approx 135 miles. Although neither of them come anywhere close to the Camino Norte which is over 515 miles, and which I’m planning (hoping) to walk in 2019. Whew, wipe the sweat from my brow LOL

There are quite a few websites that I’ve frequented whilst planning these trips and I have found 2 of them to be most useful.

The Pilgrims Way Canterbury http://www.pilgrimswaycanterbury.org/

Confraternity of St James https://www.csj.org.uk/

I also purchased 3 Pilgrim guides that have been a mine of information:

The Pilgrim’s Way; Leigh Hatts – Cicerone

Camino Ingles; Johnnie Walker – Confraternity of St James

Camino Finisterre; Alison Raju – Confraternity of St James

Follow me on instagram as I travel along pilgrimage and others routes in the UK and Europe https://www.instagram.com/notjustagranny/

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I saw this update on a friend’s Facebook profile a few days ago.  At this time of year it’s a timeous reminder that, as many people celebrate Christmas and the birth of Christ, he grew up to say that we should love all mankind, not just those we deem worthy. This is her post: “I was just reading a comment on a thread where people seeking refugee were referred to as a burden on the host countries welcoming them.
There is such a fundamental issue here with how we perceive and define people who are in so many ways just like you or I. This issue holds us back as societies and is detrimental to those seeking refuge within our borders. If we see people as burdens and handle them as such, we not only take away their dignity, but we don’t see their potential or industriousness and empower them to reach it, to the betterment of the whole of society.
These are human beings. One of them is my partner. Some are his family or our friends.

What the hell is wrong with this world – we have such a sense of privilege and entitlement. It’s nothing more than geographical lottery that we were born in countries which aren’t currently torn apart by war or famine. We have no right to deny that right to peace and safety to those who weren’t so lucky in the geographical lottery.
What right do we dare to think we have to consider others as a burden, when it is nothing more than luck… geographical lottery… which means that we are not seeking refuge within their shores at this time? We are all human. It’s about time we remembered it and started treating one another with more kindness and humility. God knows our world needs it. God knows we all need it.”

Let us remember that Jesus too was a refugee. That he was born in a stable with lowly cattle in attendance. He wasn’t born in a fancy palace to wealthy white European parents. He preached love of mankind. He didn’t say you had to be a Christian to be loved, in fact he was an Aramic  Jew and not a Christian. His disciples and followers are known as Christians and shared his beliefs and philosophy around the world, he didn’t say only preach to those people living in nice houses, with lots of money.

Refugees fall under the category of humankind, of humanity. Refugees are people. Not a burden. Hopefully at this time of year, in a ‘Christian’ country, we can remember that.

Let us be grateful for what we have, and that we are not refugees being considered a burden.

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I just read this beautifully written post about reentry after a Camino. Whilst I haven’t had major depression, I have been so frustrated at having to work and not being able to just go walk. My reentry into the hurly-burly of ‘normal’ life was a shock to my system and I was lucky to be able to spend a few weeks in a quiet place, albeit working. My senses are assaulted every time I’m in a busy place. This article describes so much of how I feel. Mourning the ease of soulful living.

Wondering Heart Wandering Sole

I have been back home for almost two months now. Two long, hard, melancholic months. Reentry has led me down a dark rabbit hole of depression. At first I thought my fatigue was due to jet lag, after all I had been in Italy for two months. Then I figured it was due to a strong pain in my hips that limited my physical activity, which meant I could not work; after no income for two months the lack of incoming funds was stressing me out. The physical pain inhibited me from taking long walks which was the healthy rhythm I had grown so accustomed to since last year’s pilgrimage. Walking was a large part of my mental health routine and without it I was swimming in unchartered waters. I was heartbroken from my situation. Depression saw the newly open cracks with somewhat jagged edges, and worked its way into…

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