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I’ll say it right up front…I live in a stunning part of the world. The town itself is a bit of a rats ass and some days I despair at the human race, but the seashore….now that’s another story.

I set off quite early this morning to join my family for tea and buns and spend a few minutes with my BooBee before he went to school. I’m not sure it was such a good idea coz then he didn’t want to go πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„

The other reason for such an early visit is that my daughter, who is a photographer and videographer had arranged for me to be ‘interviewed’. She’s working on a project to record the grandparents life stories for posterity and so that future generations can know who we were.

It’s such a good idea. My Mum died when she was 52, I was just on 29 years old at the time, the oldest of her 4 daughters, the youngest just 13. Although we spoke a lot and she told us stories about her life, now that I’m older I have so many questions, that will never be answered.

My daughter is keen for us to leave a record of our lives, and so today we started what will be the first of I guess 6 interviews…1 for each decade.

The questions she asked were simple, but good and some of them really generated a lot of emotion… occasionally surprising even me. It took just on 2 hours and then I walked to Broadstairs to get my vaccine card laminated and some photos printed.

It was a sublime day…blues skies, fluffy white clouds, sunny but with a stiff breeze and warm. I was overdressed for a long walk.

Ramsgate beach looking towards Broadstairs
Looking back from Dumpton Gap

The tide was still high when I left at just on 1pm, but receding. This meant I had to take the high road and walk across the clifftop to Broadstairs, but coming back I pushed the boundaries a little and walked along the beach to see how far I could get – I’m delighted to say that I managed to walk just about all the way back from Broadstairs to Ramsgate with just one tiny diversion to avoid some still high waves.

A new bench has been added on the cliffs near Dumpton Gap – a sad little memorial
Broadstairs Beach
Raided by the Vikings
Viking Bay
Milky white from the chalk
Which country am I in??
The tide was receding, so I pushed through from Dumpton Gap
Looking back from the promenade at Ramsgate
A fishing boat returns to harbour trailing a swarm of seagulls

The walk was so beautiful and for all the world I could have been in the Caribbean. It took me just over 2 hours there and back and approximately 12kms.

I had a brief stop off at home for a cup of tea, and then I went to fetch my BooBee from the childminder and take him to the park. He rode the whole say up high on my shoulders, sat ever so still and chattered away about the day’s events.

Daddy met us at the park and took him home after some running about. I picked a few dandelions that had gone to seed and I showed him how to blow them so the ‘fairies’ could fly away. πŸ₯°πŸ₯°πŸ₯° what a joy.

Now I’m preparing for tomorrow’s walk from Faversham to Sittingbourne along the Saxon Shore Way. I can’t pin the distance down and the sites I read had different distances….9 miles or 17 miles…take your pick??? so I’m just going to go and see how far I get. I’ve checked for railway stations in case I need to cut my walk short, and I’m hoping the tide isn’t too high along The Swale, or if the tide is high, that the pathway isn’t affected. If it is, I could have a repeat of my last walk along The Swale, albeit a different reason.

I was clean when I left home πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

The weather forecast is good…hoorah.

I guess I’ll find out tomorrow πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ

Oh, and I also started writing up another stage of my Thames Path walk…I’m getting there.

I had to go for my 2nd covid-19 inoculation today, so to give the parentals a break, and especially Mummy who is beyond tired but needs to work on her business, I asked if I could take the Jam with me to Deal….so straight after his gymnastics class, Mummy rushed us to the station. We cut it awfully close to the time and had to run like crazy through the station, down in the lift, raced along the tunnel where Granny yelled at someone at the top of the stairs to tell them to hold the train….up in the lift, onto the platform and onto the train…..10:25:10 – the train was due to leave at 10:25 and they held it for us LOL Thankfully I had bought the ticket in the morning or we would never had made it.

And we were on our way to Deal. He was ever so excited and talked non-stop about the beach and the castle.

Snacking on the train
Snacking on the train

When we got there I went for my jab first and he came in with me and watched them stick the needle in while I gritted my teeth and tried not to flinch LOL…..actually it was pretty painless, just a small pinch. But he got a sticker afterwards and when we got home later, the first thing he did was tell Mummy and Daddy all about ‘Anny having an injection, and that he got a sticker. His memory of events is amazing.

After the jab we walked to the seafront and stopped off on the beach. I think he was surprised that it was all stones. I think he was expecting sand like we have at home. But he loves stones and proceeded to collect as many as he could. My fault of course because I’m always picking stuff up on the beach and taking it home…like sea-glass and bits of wood for our future projects.

granny and jamies adventure to Deal
half of Deal beach in the bottom of the pram

Once the bottom of the pram was suitably filled with stones, we walked to the castle, but unfortunately it was still closed. We were both disappointed. I guess we have to wait till May?

We stopped off for lunch which he enjoyed, and of course we had some seagulls hovering around, so he shouted “go away that one seagull”….and eventually it did….flew off and we never saw it again. πŸ™‚

From there we took a stroll along the ECP towards Walmer. He ran along with wild abandon, and then got tired and insisted he wanted to ride on my shoulders. So there I was, pushing the pram with one hand and hanging onto his leg with the other. It was terribly windy and walking into the wind wasn’t much fun.

But then I spied a wooden boat on the beach so we went to have a look and that kept him occupied for a while. Of course he unpacked all the stones, which I then had to pack back again.

Afterwards I took some photos then we strolled some more but the wind was so fierce it was knocking him off his feet and I couldn’t keep up with him running helter skelter, the pram going off with the wind, and his bag taking wings and flying off. So I made an executive decision, popped him back in his pram and we headed back towards the pier.

He got really excited when he saw the sculpture of the fisherman and the ‘big fish’ Anny!!! so we stopped to have a look at that. He spotted some people sitting on a bench with Costa cups in their hands and immediately ran over to a free bench and said “hot chocolate Anny” – hahahaha branding works!! How could I refuse.

But first we had a run along the pier, but not on the level like normal people, oh no, he wanted to run along the benches that line the pier; so there I was, holding his hand with one hand and running while pushing the pram with the other, which he thought was hilarious. Oh boy, the wind was so strong I could barely cope, so once again…into the pram and we strolled into the town centre for the hot chocolate. He was pretty much ready to go home by then and kept saying “Mamie home….Mummy Daddy home” – which is his signal to go home.

So we did. Took the earlier train and thanks very much Jamie, he delivered a massive poop!! As we got to the station he said “Mamie poop!” Nice one!!! He hadn’t pooped for the last 2 days, and voila….he saved it for me! So there we were, on the train, changing his nappy. Thankfully he lay still or we could have had a disaster LOL And just as well the carriage was empty on our side….I’m not sure the other passengers would have coped hahahaha.

All too soon we were back in Ramsgate and on our way home. When we got there, Daddy had just got back from his driving lesson, and the Jam wanted to go to the park, so off we went.

He loves the park with all that lovely space to run around….swings, and the slide, the climbing frame, the climbing wall and the obstacle course. I taught him how to slide forwards…and smooossh face-plant LOL I refrained from walking along the chains this time LOL so he did the balancing and jumping and then home for bath and dinner. Thankfully Daddy carried him this time.

face-plant!!! LOL have to give him credit for picking up and carrying on…

I just got a whatsapp photo of him fast asleep….tired out after his big adventure.

Sunday I’m taking him to London to Spitalfields to see the bronze elephant sculptures; Herd of Hope – a family ofΒ 21 life-sized bronze elephantsΒ embarking on the journey of a lifetime as they migrate across London. Leading the herd is our matriarch, symbolic of the mother and family each of the infant elephants, in the care of the Sheldrick Trust, lost when they became orphaned. She represents our Keepers, our team and you, our wider family who help to give these elephants a second chance at life. Read more about the Sheldrick Trust and the Herd of Hope

I love travelling and I mostly enjoy my job; especially if the client is nice and we get along well together for the period of mu booking. I’m very lucky that my job as a Carer takes me all over the UK, although mostly in England now that I have my beloved grandson to spend time with. But I always enjoy coming home and it is a joy to be have my time to myself and to take my BooBee on outings; either to the park or the beach, or on a train trip.

Today was one such day…it was bliss to be able to just get up when it suited me and so I made the most of it and stayed in bed till 11am, drinking tea and faffing around on social media, and of course keeping a beady eye on my dogecoins!! When to buy? Or sell? That is the eternal question LOL Sometimes I get it right, others not so much!!

When I eventually roused myself from my cosy nest, I logged straight onto my computer to continue writing about my recent Thames Path walk….well I didn’t quite get that far LOL Instead I spent the rest of the day updating my budget spreadsheets, planning my future walks along the SSW, the ECP, further stages of WTP….and calculating the relevant costing. Oh and planning a trip to Malta for a week in November (depending on and further lockdown and covid-19 issues).

At about 5pm I walked over to the family for tea and hot-cross buns and then the 4 of us walked over to the park as requested by the BooBee. He decided he wanted to ride on my shoulders, and so for a short way we jogged along. It’s a good thing I can still carry him on my shoulders and it’s good fun…he loves it.

travels with Granny
Riding on ‘Anny’s shoulders – isn’t his hair glorious!!

He had loads of fun at the park. First we stopped to look at the cherry blossom tree which was abundantly covered in blossoms, much of which was already carpeting the ground.

Anny & Mamie inspecting the cherry blossom tree
Anny & Mamie inspecting the cherry blossom tree
my joy
inspecting the blossoms
inspecting the blossoms

He is still so tiny. I often forget that he’s only just gone two, because he is so intelligent with extraordinary levels of comprehension and understanding, that he always seems so much older to me.

Then we meandered over to the climbing frames where ‘Anny (me) reverted to her childhood and decided to walk along the chains….and that ended as well as what you would expect LOL

Anny really should know better LOL

Then we went over to the swings where he made friends with another little boy, climbed the rock-wall, had a few slides…I showed him how to go down on his tummy. He really is up for anything, and is so trusting that we won’t let him come to harm. He got all sad when the little boy left and lay down on the ground to indicate his dismay…

at the park
so sad his little friend left 😦

Time for a quick family selfie

the joy of family
the joy of family

A storm was brewing on the horizon with big black clouds building, so before it started to rain we left for home….and decided to order in so Mummy didn’t have to cook. There was a marvellous thunderstorm with the accompanying thunder and lightening and so I played him some AC DC ‘Thunderstruck’….seemed like a good idea LOL and I gave him a headbanging demonstration. Not my finest hour….he looked on in amazement…poor kid; growing up with a loon for a Granny. He did however enjoy the AC DC – clever kid!!

Now I’m home, preparing for a trip to Deal tomorrow for my 2nd vaccine jab and I’m taking the BooBee with me to make it an outing for the day, then he and I can take a stroll along the English Coast Path and he can make that the start of his #travelswithGranny although we have had quite a few adventures already…

walking the English Coast Path at Deal
walking the English Coast Path at Deal

as a footnote, in case you are unaware: SSW = Saxon Shore Way. ECP = English Coast Path and of course WTP = Walking the Thames Path….but you may have guessed that.

One of my favourite and most prolific categories in Project 101 is visiting places named in the 1066 Domesday Book; a survey undertaken by William the Conqueror after he invaded England and defeated King Harold and his forces during the Battle of Hastings in 1066.

The Norman Conquest (or the Conquest) was the 11th-century invasion and occupation of England by an army made up of Normans, Bretons, Flemish, and men from other French provinces, all led by the Duke of Normandy later styled William the Conqueror. Ref wikipedia

Usually I find that the towns and villages especially, have some way of advertising their links with 1066, either in the form of a village sign or remnants of their links are noted in a book or some historical objects.

Nettlestone, Isle of Wight

In the case of Stoke Gabriel, its a tree – a first! I initially noticed this on Google when I was researching the village prior to my visit a few months ago.

Domesday Book tree – alive before the 1066 Norman Invasion
Domesday Book tree, St Mary & St Gabriel Church, Stoke Gabriel
Domesday Book tree

Of course as soon as I could, I made haste to see this for myself. Its quite extraordinary to be in the same proximity as a living, breathing creature that was already well established before the invasion even took place nearly 1000 years ago.

How you might wonder is it that much a thing remains….so

Domesday Book tree

Why does every churchyard have a Yew tree? The answer has to be that the early Christians built their churches on the ancient Druid and Pagan sites of worship and the planting of yew trees in modern churchyards reflects the early assimilation of the old religions into the new religion.

I’m guessing that because they live in churchyards they’ve survived progress by living on sacred grounds. I found a fascinating article about yew trees that you might enjoy, and from which I noted the information above in italics : why does every churchyard have a yew tree Their contemporaries were not as lucky…and as usual were destroyed by progress….

The longbow (so called because it is 6’ in length) was the premier weapon of the middle ages and made from yew. The volume of yew wood needed for war archery from the early 13th to the late 16th century was far too great to be supplied by from trees grown in churchyards. After all of the yew stands in Britain and Ireland had been depleted, the English crown began to import yew wood from all over Europe including Austria, Poland and Russia.

Nevertheless, this marvellous creature remains to remind us of history and our mortality…whether it does or does not thrive on the bones of the dead is irrelevant, its here for us to enjoy and be amazed.

Domesday Book tree – arms spread wide
Domesday Book tree, thriving on the bones of the dead ☠☠

Some of the events this tree has lived through:

Domesday Book tree – it has seen historical events come and go

I followed the instructions, but unfortunately no-one was there to witness my endeavour

Walk ye backward round about me 7 times…

In fact the tree is even older than the church by a few centuries…

The interior of the church was no less interesting

Church of St Mary and St Gabriel, Stoke Gabriel
Beautiful carving on the pulpit
Church of St Mary and St Gabriel, Stoke Gabriel
Church of St Mary and St Gabriel, Stoke Gabriel, Devon

The church building was originally constructed in the early 13th century, of which only the Norman tower survives today. In 1268, Bishop Bronescombe of Exeter dedicated the church to St Gabriel, resulting in the name change of the parish from β€œStoke” to the more distinctive β€œStoke Gabriel”.

I often included the churchyard in my many daily walks around Stoke Gabriel and occassionally I forgot about adding kms to my virtual challenges and instead I just sat on one of the benches or under that glorious, ancient tree and enjoyed the peace and quiet.

And I shall once again include it in my walks when I return to SG later this month…

I love visiting old churches and one of the first things I usually do having started a new booking is visit the local church; they are rich repositories of history.

You will inevitably find beautiful interiors, occassionally you will find remnants of prior Saxon or Norman churches and if you’re lucky enough there many even be enough to feast your eyes upon. The stained glass windows are always wonderful and sometimes you may be lucky enough to find remnants of painted glass windows.

There has been a church on this same site for more than 900 years. The first record of a church here dates from 1154 in the rolls of a tithe dispute. Apart from the tower, construction of which began in 1440, the present church building dates from the late Victorian period, having been rebuilt in 1880–1 by Sir Arthur Blomfield.

Thankfully the doors were open, so mask on, hands suitably sterilised I entered. There were only 2 people in the church; the minister and possibly a secretary.

I quietly went about my business and enjoyed the tranquil atmosphere. Here are some images of the exterior and interior of the church and a couple of the churchyard

All Saints Church, Fulham
Painted glass. The memorial on the left was for a 3 year-old πŸ₯ΊπŸ₯ΊπŸ˜ͺ
The forget-me-nots are stunning this year

Don’t you think they’re the perfect flower for a graveyard? Forget me not.πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’™πŸ’š

Alms Houses, All Saints Church, Fulham
A heron fishing

I’m finishing off at this booking today and heading home for 10 days before I go back to the Devon booking for 2 weeks. I’m SOOOO looking forward to seeing my grandson and spending time with my daughter.

It’s a cold rainy day in greater London, so travelling is going to be challenging β˜”β˜”β˜”β˜”πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ

Have a fab day folks, catch you on the other side. Hopefully I’ll be able to get my Thames Path posts completed while I’m home, I’m making progress but time is limited.

I wasn’t up for walking today so instead I explored the gardens and found a lovely little hideaway tucked into the corner overlooking the river.

So that is where I spent my break reading. Tonight is my last night here till next month.

Its been a lovely booking, and my client and I have gotten on really well, but I’m looking forward to seeing my grandson on Sunday πŸ’™

Yes!!! I did it again! Signed up for the next Conqueror Challenge! πŸ€­πŸ€­πŸ€·β€β™€οΈ

This one is set in Germany; The Romantic Road – awesome. The medal is of course, beautiful as always. πŸ’™πŸ’š

conqueror challenges
Romantic Road, Germany – Conqueror Challenges

I just couldn’t get online quick enough to bag the number 1 vest, so I guess #42 will have to suffice. Damn!! πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ I’m always ready, finger poised above the keyboard, card at the ready….but for some peculiar reason, I just couldn’t get the link to activate….but finally I got there.

ο»Ώthe conqueror challenges
ο»ΏThe Conqueror Challenges – Romantic Road, Germany 431 km

So here it is. Looking at the challenge map on the app, I can see that a number of people have already started the challenge. Wow. Impressive! I’ve got another 5 waiting in line before I can start this one, so probably only in 2022. But if I do enough walking I ‘may’ just be able to start this one in 2021….we’ll see.

Walking the Conqueror Virtual Challenges,
Romantic Road, Germany – Conqueror Virtual Challenges

I’m currently walking The Ring Road, Iceland alongside my Conquer 2021 challenge for my daily perambulations, and updating The Cabot Trail with my specified walks….like walking the Thames Path, and coming soon; continuing along the Saxon Shore Way. πŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈ Got my latest postcard on The Ring Road yesterday

conqueror virtual challenges
Ring Road, Iceland – Conqueror Virtual Challenge

I’ve got an extra 2 days at home in June before I return to this booking, so I’ll make the most of them and get some mileage in.

Anyway, in other news (and no surprise really) this is the 18th challenge I’ve signed up for!! Addicted? nahhhh

Living with Alexa

My client has a lady by the name of ‘Alexa’ living in her house πŸ˜„πŸ˜„

Although I don’t entirely trust the girl, and I’m sure she listens in on our conversations, I’ve been asking her to play some of my favourite tunes; listened to Mozart while preparing supper last night. 🎼🎼🎼

I’ve also asked her to play some of my Mother’s favourite pieces of music/songs; Moon River, Talk to the Trees, What a Wonderful World, and of course the Elizabethan Serenade which apparently was so named in honour of the new Queen; Elizabeth II. I absolutely adore the paintings that accompany this version, the original

https://youtu.be/u4XgbIhlOvk

Finally after talking about it for years, and planning for the last few months, I started Walking the Thames Path – in honour of reaching my OAP status; I’m now officially a Pensioner!! Best part of that…free bus pass. Oh and my pension pay-outs, although I won’t be retiring anytime soon on that!! But it will be good to get some of my hard-earned money back from HMRC

As mentioned in a previous post, due to current Covid-19 lockdown restrictions I was unable to proceed with my original plans to walk the whole of the Thames Path over a period of 3 weeks. So instead I took Rishi’s advice and pivoted LOL. Not that I want to take advice from a CONservative government representative, but nonetheless, I had to re-plan my plans….so to that end I decided to walk the first 5 stages as day trips…

I will, going forward, write in detail and share images from each day’s walk but for now I thought I’d give you a progress report, showing where I started and ended and how far I walked each day. I did 5 stages and make super progress reaching my target of walking from Erith in Kent to Staines-Upon-Thames in Surrey.

I had the most superb weather on 4 days of 5 and had a wonderful time just walking and exploring. My distances are not accurate to the mile according to measured distances because I tend to go off-piste and explore a church or building I may spot along the way, I also head off the path to take photos of things I may see in the distance, and for the sake of my ‘boots on’ walking challenges, I start measuring my kms from the minute my feet hit the platform at the relevant station/s, as well as my walk from home to the station (1.25kms each way). I’d love to measure just how much walking I do in transit, but that would just get too complicated….suffice to say that the walk from the platform at St Pancras via the Victoria Line underground passage, would I’m sure, add another couple of kms.

The timings too are not at all related to anything you may find in a guide book or online, because firstly I’m a slow stroller (although my daughter would contest that!!), I stop frequently to take photos of things that may interest me or I wish to share, and I stop quite often to rest my feet for 10-15 minutes a time or even 30 minutes if the mood takes me and I don’t have a deadline to meet. Or it’s a sunny day and I feel like just lying in the sun.

Planning the day trips wasn’t necessarily the easiest way of doing this because I had to take account of train times so I could get home before midnight LOL and also calculate the cheapest way to do the walk….e.g. buy a return ticket from point A to B after morning peak time, and then work out to which station I had to buy a single ticket to fill the gap between point C and point B. This was not only for timings but budgets as well. Although I did originally budget to use the cheaper train routes, I decided by day 2 that speed of transport was more important than food, so I increased my travel budget and reduced my food budget, and took sandwiches plus nibbles and fruit and a flask of tea with me. There’s also the issue of battery life on my phone. It seems to reduce rather rapidly because of all the photos I take….and the highspeed train has charging points. Also I’m not a great ‘staring out the window’ traveller and prefer to actually ‘do something’ while I’m travelling. So I move photos to dropbox and edit those I want to share….

So, in all I did 5 stages starting at Erith on 17th and reached Staines on the 24th. I didn’t walk consecutive days but had a 2 day break in between to rest and take my grandson out, and a one day break to spend with the family to celebrate my birthday. We had awesome fun – went to The Old Bake House in Broadstairs for breakfast, then a ramble on the beach, and a game of mini-golf which was hilarious…my grandson went crazy with his stick, whacking the ball all over. This was followed by crepes and fruit juice. Delicious, and a fantastic day.

without further ado…

Stage 1 : Erith to Greenwich. 17.04.2021 – 27.08 kms – 6 hours 47 min – 41,812 steps – elevation: 46 meters

I had originally planned to walk as far as the Thames Barrier which is the official starting point of the long-distance Thames Path route, but it was a beautiful day and I was having such a good time that I decided to push on to Greenwich, and thereby shorten my next day’s walking. This section was new to me. Although I have in the past walked from the Thames Barrier to Greenwich, the path from Erith to the barrier was completely new ground. The original section from Erith to the barrier was not the most scenic and there are a lot of really ugly industrial buildings and a sewerage plant (yes it smelled), but the path was amazingly straightforward, albeit bloody boring concrete a lot of the way.

walking the thames path
Stage 1 – Erith to the Thames Barrier – Walking the Thames Path
walking the thames path
Stage 1 – Thames Barrier to Greenwich – Walking the Thames Path

Stage 2 : Greenwich to Battersea Park 18.04.2021 – 24.51 kms – 6 hours 20 min – 38,376 steps – elevation 102 meters

Again this day was longer than I originally planned, but I wanted to push through as far as possible and thereby get further along and also shorten a later day’s journey. I’ve walked this whole route dozens of times over the years, different sections at different times and absolutely love (almost) every inch of it. I did NOT like the diversions…..it’s so inconsiderate of developers to buy up property that runs alongside the river and build bloody apartments, thereby blocking people from walking along the riverside. This section also runs through the centre of London and has the most bridges, so I stopped a lot for photos. LOL Also in London’s past the riverside was very industrial as since the Thames is a marine hotbed, there are a lot of old buildings and wharves etc that hog the riverside. hmmm.

walking the thames path
Stage 2 – Greenwich to Battersea Park – Walking the Thames Path

Stage 3 : Battersea Park to Richmond 21.04.2021 – 27.02 kms – 6 hours 24 min – 40,316 steps – elevation 82 meters

This day nearly bloody killed me LOL. It was much further than I calculated, or perhaps it felt like it because I started off already tired, and had a deadline for my train back home. It was though, one of the best days, walking familiar paths and passing familiar places where I spent many a happy hour walking in the past, and I got to meet a friend from instagram for a brief hello in Richmond. And despite my plans, I missed my train at St Pancras by literally 1 minute…as I got to the ticket barriers, I heard the doors being locked – ho hum!! ‘Hold that train!’ LOL

walking the thames path
Stage 3 – Battersea Park to Richmond – Walking the Thames Path

Stage 4 : Richmond to Hampton Court 23.04.2021 – 18.14 kms – 4 hours 47 min – 28,390 steps – elevation 40 meters

This day I had planned in celebration of my birthday. We used to live in St Margarets near Richmond and as with the previous stage, I often walked along sections of the Thames Path at different times; and in every season, including in the snow from Twickenham Bridge to Kew… πŸ™‚ I also wanted to reach Hampton Court Palace on my birthday because it is my absolute favourite palace in the world and although I wouldn’t have time to actually visit, just walking past would make me happy. It was a belting hot day, so I had 2 ice-creams on the way…one in Richmond as I started and one in Hampton Court as I finished. Just because. My daughter had given me Β£5 to buy a tea and cake along the way, but I felt ice-creams were more appropriate…also I could eat and walk!

walking the thames path
Stage 4 – Richmond to Hampton Court – Walking the Thames Path

Stage 5 : Hampton Court to Staines-Upon-Thames 24.04.2021 – 25.16 kms – 6 hours 47 min – 40,560 steps – elevation 43 meters

Staines is infamous for being the ‘hometown’ of Ali G (Sacha Cohen Baron for those who don’t know, who was actually born in Hammersmith). Again this was a long day and because I only had 6 hours to walk this stretch, I really had to push myself. I was also quite tired by then and found the final stretch between Shepperton and Staines really difficult. I was tempted to quit at Shepperton , but I loathe quitting and felt like I would be letting myself down if I did and it would mean either an extra day later on, or longer sections going forward. This section was new territory for me and I decided to take the guide book along…just in case – I didn’t need it. The path is well marked all the way from Erith. The stretch from Richmond to Staines is quite rural and if you didn’t know there were towns nearby, you’d think you were right out in the countryside. I missed my deadline by 47 minutes, but still managed to get an earlier train from STP

walking the thames path
Stage 5 – Hampton Court to Staines-Upon-Thames – Walking the Thames Path

What an amazing journey so far. The history of the River Thames is quite extraordinary and I discovered that the Vikings actually sailed right up the river as far as Chertsey, possibly further. We tend to think of them as coastal raiders and certainly they raided London a fair bit, but to my surprise they went as far as Chertsey…to raid the abbey. It was wonderful to revisit places I’d been before but not seen for years. Discovering new places and sections of my beloved river was a real treat. So even though I was really disappointed to not be able to walk The Thames Path in one go, in retrospect this is as good a way to ‘walk the walk’ as any. Frankly, I was quite exhausted by the 5th stage, and grateful I didn’t have to walk again for a while….how long that while will be is anyone’s guess. I have a few work bookings coming up, a few babysitting commitments and of course time with my grandson is more important than anything else and I try to spend as much time with him as possible between bookings…also I have 3 big walks planned for August/September that will take me away for nearly 6 weeks and those need to be saved up for. I have diarised another few days into my calendar to possibly do another 2 or maybe 3 day trips and then I’ll complete the rest of the walk in April 2022. Mostly because the accommodation is thin on the ground and VERY expensive. In comparison to accommodation on the Camino, it’s actually quite extortionate, but I’m guessing they don’t have that many guests and walkers staying over, so to charge Β£120 per night is reasonable – but WELL out of my price range. I’ll save the overnight excursions for out of season.

I will endeavour to write up and share images from these 5 stages as soon as possible.

Meanwhile I’ve planned dates to continue walking sections of the Saxon Shore Way so I can get that under my belt, and of course my epic ‘walking the whole English Coast’ – I have a few dates diarised to fit some more days in for that as well this year. I hope to complete the Kent and Sussex coastline by end of 2021. I’ll still do small sections of other counties where and when I get the opportunity with work travel. Talking of which, I really must get to write up about the section of the South West Coast Path I recently walked….from Berry Head to Paignton and Paignton to Torquay. Super awesome walk and soooo beautiful. More on that later….

Hello!!! πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ yes I’m still alive….and walking. What’s new?? 😁😁

Sorry I’ve been so quiet lately, my only excuse is that I have been working and walking and enjoying time with my grandson.

I had a super couple of weeks in Devon recently where I got to visit 5 new places, revisit 1 and do a lot of walking and exploring, and added another section of the English Coast Path to my collection.

I got back home last week and as is usual I’ve spent as much time as possible taking my grandson to the beach and the park.

And yes, I started my Thames Path adventure πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒπŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈ

although I can’t walk the whole route as I originally planned, I’ve completed 2 sections; Erith to Greenwich

Cutty Sark, Greenwich

And Greenwich to Battersea Park. Super awesome. Tomorrow I’ll be walking Stage 3 from Battersea Park to Richmond and on Friday, Stage 4, Richmond to Hampton Court. The 5th and final stage for now, I’ll be walking on Saturday from Hampton Court to Staines. The rest of the walk? Who knows??

Not the route I’m following, but the river certainly is long 😁😁

As a result I’ve only managed 1 sunset walk at home and a couple of other sunsets I saw from the train on my way home from London. Sunrises = 0. The sun gets out of bed too early for me in summer πŸ˜†πŸ˜†

Seen from the train at Rochester station

So my blog has sadly been neglected. That’s not to say I haven’t been writing….I have quite a few posts sitting in drafts waiting to be completed, but I need to edit the photos that go with them.

I’ll get there.

Meanwhile, after taking my grandson to his 2nd gymnastics class yesterday I finally opened my computer again to update my budgets and plan my savings strategy for the next few years. Gosh I really do wish I had enough money to give me more time to do all the walks I’d like to do.

I completed the Giza Pyramids Conqueror Challenge while still in Stoke Gabriel so I should be seeing the medal in the mail soon.

I’ve started the Ring Road, Iceland challenge although that’s a long term challenge that I’ll flip in and out of over the next few months.

I’ve been dithering about which challenge to allocate the Thames Path walk ….Mt. Kilimanjaro (97.1kms) or The Cabot Trail (299.4kms)?? πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”

The Cabot Trail would have been perfect if I’d been able to walk the whole Thames Path route in one go and I’m reluctant to break it up…and Mt. Kilimanjaro will be completed in 4 days….or maybe 5 depending on my final tally on Saturday. See my quandary??

So anyway, now that I’ve blathered on for the last 10 minutes…here’s the promised sunset πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸŒ…

Interesting to note that the position of the sun set has changed in the last few weeks
Sunset Pegwell Bay
Hello πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ
And my favourite boat in the harbour

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