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Archive for February, 2011

So a couple of weeks ago my daughter asked me to prepare 4 x 750 word articles & 2 photos, and 8 x 250 word articles and 1 photo, of my favourite blogs off my 3DaysInLondon.info website!!!

Easier said than done coz most of them are somewhat verbose!! and I do tend to ramble.   But after a kick in the pants as a reminder…….I finally got them down on ‘paper’, edited as best I could and duly sent said articles and photos, not having a clue what she was up to. On receipt of said articles by the “NMA’ I got a message via text to ask if I can count?….  What!!!?? anyhow it seems I had not edited enough and they were longer than required and asked for! urgh.

Since I could not edit them any further myself I told her to go ahead and chop out what she thought fit. So that was that.  Then I asked what it was for, but she kept *MUM*….and told me I had to be patient…  hahaha!!
Yesterday I got a very excited message that read “HEEHEEHEHEE OOOOOOOOOOO HEEHEE” and then a 2nd message that read “HOLY ? I DONT THINK I HAVE BEEN THIS EXCITED ABOUT SOMETHING FOR YEARS!” and yes, it was all in CAPS!!!

So I phoned to find out what was what and coz she was that excited, going away this weekend (lucky fish is in Norfolk) and could not wait for next week Wednesday (when were scheduled to meet), I said “come on over and sleep at my place tonight!” which she duly did.
Well blow me down with a feather dears!!! This little treasure  of mine presented me with a book. Not just any old book, but a fully fledged, dust cover,

3 days in london all about london

my first real book 🙂 .....published

hardback book and not only did the cover feature one of my photos, but inside it had my blogs and my photos!!!

self published all about london

my blogs and photos

how awesome is that!  She has created a book: ‘All About London’ from my blogs!   my blogs and my photos!!! how awesome is that!

This is the official start of being a published author. I know I had the ebook online some time ago…which will eventually go back up, but, this is for the 3 Days In London business that is coming along so well and at just the right pace for me. I am over the moon with sheer delight and would like to say a HUGE and MASSIVE “thank you honey” for this wonderful gift!

all about london 3 days in london

the credits and front photo

Further plans are afoot……so watch this space 🙂

“Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” Goethe

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If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say?
And why are you waiting? 

Have you ever watched kids playing on a merry go round or listened to the rain lapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
Do you run through each day on the fly?
When you ask ‘How are you?’  Do you hear the reply? 

When the day is done, do you lie in your bed with the next hundred chores running through your head?
Ever told your child, ‘We’ll do it tomorrow.’ And in your haste, not see her sorrow?
Ever lost touch?
Let a good friendship die?  Just call to say ‘Hi’? 

When you worry and hurry through your day, it is like an unopened gift….Thrown away…. Life is not a race. Take it slower.
Hear the music before the song is over. 

Cherish all those around you, be they friends, family or colleagues
and appreciate all they do. 

‘Life may not be a total bed of roses…  but in amongst the thorns, there is a beautiful bud waiting to bloom!’ 

“All that really belongs to us is time, even they who have nothing else, have that” Baltasar Gracian

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a snippet from the past:

On this day in 1804, Richard Trevithick’s ‘unnamed’ locomotive hauled five wagons, 70 men and 10 tons of iron 9.75 miles in 4hrs5mins on the world’s very first laden train journey.

Richard Trevithick (13 April 1771 – 22 April 1833) was a British inventor and mining engineer. His most significant success was the high pressure steam engine and he also built the first full-scale working railway steam locomotive. On 21 February 1804 the world’s first locomotive-hauled railway journey took place as Trevithick’s unnamed steam locomotive hauled a train along the tramway of the Penydarren Ironworks, near Merthyr Tydfil in Wales. (ref wikipedia).

The "Pen-y-Darren" locomotive

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ok, so the idea for this post came about this morning whilst I was lying in bed, busting for the loo but determined not to get up even 1 minute before the alarm went off!!! daft!  As I lay there chastising myself for being so daft, I thought to myself…..”What I really need is a potty”! hahahahaha. and no I don’t mean potty as in daft, I mean a good old fashioned porcelain potty,

a potty - pic via antiques-now.co.uk

the kind that in the ‘olden days’ we put under our beds at night and used if we needed the loo……saved a long trip out in the dark of night to the ‘outhouse‘.

Blimey! can you even begin to imagine that in my lifetime (and despite the obvious, I am not actually that old) hahahaha, we didn’t have inside toilets. Truly. I remember when I was in boarding school back in 1964, when I was 9 years old, and I went home for the weekend with a chum from school to her farm.  Their toilet was outside; a corrugated iron shack,

outside loo - pic via fotolibra.com

 just like you see in the movies of that period, across the outside pathway that led past the kitchen and up 4 steps.  So at night if you wanted to use the loo you had to get up out of bed (horrors), light a candle, put on your boots (in case of snakes – seriously…think Africa!!), walk down a long passage through the kitchen which was filled with all manner of spooky looking objects that came alive in the dark, a fridge that always chose to shudder and groan as you came through the door, open the backdoor that creaked on it’s hinges and with every ounce of your courage step out into the inky black night, with only a tiny candle to light the way.

a tiny candle to light the way - pic via flickr.com

So my first night there I, to my utmost dismay, needed the loo.  I waited for as long as I could before actually wetting my panties, then I endured all of the above and ventured outside to the loo.  I can tell you that never in my life (up until that stage) had I been so terrified.  All manner of evil creatures with bad intent on their minds followed me down that passage, waiting at every corner to pounce and carry me off!!! And the worst of it was that you could’nt even run there and back, coz if you even walked too fast….the candle would go out!!!!!!!   Anyhow, since I am still here…….

ooopsss and I have gone completely off ‘piste’ (duh! bad pun 🙂 ) so back to Grandma’s house.  My grandparents lived in a massive, rambling house that had little passages and rooms going off in all directions.  It was marvellous for small children and made an awesome place for hide-and-seek.  My grandmother had a tiny room on one side of the house and next to that was a huge room (well it seemed huge to a 6year old), with 3 beds where I, my sister, my brother and my 2 cousins used to sleep when we visited.  Oh! the tales I could tell you about those times……brilliant!  Anyways, since the grandparents did not have a loo in the house at that stage we used to have potties that lived under the beds.   They had lids that fit snug into the rim and when you lifted the lid to ‘go’, you almost passed out from the sulphuric fumes!!!  Which in retrospect was probably a good thing since it took your mind off the spiders that used to lurk in the bowl. 🙂 hahahahahaha, just thinking about that is making me LOL!!!

Now bearing in mind, we were just littlies at that stage and getting out of bed in the dark for any reason was a nerve-wracking ordeal….you just never knew what had taken up residence beneath the bedsprings! To get out of bed to use the potty at night………mind-boggling!  So you hung on for as long as you could, tossing and turning from the discomfort and just when you could bear it no more, you sprang out from under the sheets, grabbed the potty, lifted the lid…..had a squizz, slammed the lid back on and scuttled back onto and into and under the covers as fast as you could….shivers running up and down your spine, hairs standing up on the back of your neck and all the nights horrors escaped by a whisker!!!  and in the morning, said potty had to bed emptied!!!! geez!

Thank heavens for indoor toilets.  Not that it’s made much difference to my urge to get out of bed any sooner than I absolutely have to!!!

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….following in the footsteps of Geoffrey Chaucer (c1340-1400), I embarked on the first leg of my pilgrim’s route. As mentioned in my previous blog, after discovering that Chaucer followed the Pilgrim’s route from Southwark to Canterbury, I have decided to as much as possible follow the route that he took.  It is my plan to follow the English route (or one of them anyway) from London to Santiago.  Once I reach Canterbury it will be a case of, do I go via Portugal (which I am inclined to do) or via Spain? A lot will hinge on whether or not I have my British Passport by that stage (means I don’t have to apply for a visa).

So to begin at the beginning, I set off  from London Bridge Station, Saturday 12th February at about 4.30pm to explore Southwark more fully and to visit the places that were around in Chaucers day.  In the Middle Ages the area hereabouts was known as the Liberty of the Clink and owned by the Bishops of Winchester.   After some research (google) I discovered that not only was

1) London Bridge around, but so was

london bridge

London Bridge - 1st bridge across the Thames as it is today

2) Southwark Cathedral (circa 606AD)

southwark cathedral and geoffrey chaucer

southwark Cathedral - a place of worship since 606AD

inside there is a beautiful stained glass window with the words ‘To the Glory of God and in honour of Geoffrey Chaucer’,

3) Winchester Palace (only a small section of which remains) – Great Hall of Winchester Palace, originally built in 1109, the residence of the powerful Bishops of Winchester.

winchester palace and the rose window

remains of Winchester Palace showing the famous Rose window

4) The Clink Prison (now a museum)

the clink prison museum london

The Clink Prison Museum - a debtor perhaps!!!

Although a prison was probably established within the palace in the 12th century, the first mention of the clink was in 1509. John Stow (1525 -1605) in his Survey of London (publ 1598), states that the prison was kept for those that broke the peace in the Bankside brothels.   In 1761 the prison was described as ‘a very dismal hole where debtors are sometimes confined’. It later burned down in the Gordon Riots of 1780.

and of course

5)  The George Inn (albeit restored after a fire)

the george inn london national trust

The George Inn - the last surviving galleried inn in London

 and I also discovered

6) St George the Martyr – a church that was in existence during the 14th Century and before.

st george the martyr london

St George the Martyr Church - Southwark

These buildings have all gone through different experiences and many are restored after fires that have raged through the area, so although they were about in Chaucer’s day, they were most likely in a slightly different form.  Although I have to say that the UK is very good at endeavouring to restore their ancient, heritage to what it was before any disaster that may have devestated the original.  There were also some remains of the Bermondsey palace, but I could not quite figure out where it was, so will leave that for another time.

I have listed these buildings or the remains of or the current form of those that were definitely around in Chaucer’s day.

I enjoyed a very happy 5 hours meandering the alleys, lanes and streets (*) of Southwark, starting off of course from London Bridge, I walked through the grounds of Southwark Cathedral past Winchester Palace along narrow, darkened lanes to The Clink Prison Museum (where I met the goaler man),

the clink prison museum

the goaler man at The Clink Prison (museum)

 back through Borough Market which looked bereft and kinda spooky, nothing like it does on market days when the market stalls are set up and there is the hustle and bustle of shoppers and marketers, thence along Borough High Street which being a route from Southwark, London to Dover was of course also a main thoroughfare in Chaucers day.  I visited St George the Martyr church and had a quick peek inside, then made my way back up to The George Inn for my evening meal.  The George Inn is the last remaining galleried inn in London and has gone through many changes, almost lost to fire at one stage and frequented by the likes of Dickens, Shakespeare and of course Chaucer and me! 🙂

the george inn london national trust

a new proprietor at The George Inn

So although he did not set out from this particular Inn I decided to have my ‘pilgrim’s’ meal and pretend that he did 🙂  I enjoyed a good old-fashioned plate of battered-fish and chips with mushy peas (that were a psychedelic green),

the george inn london national trust

my pilgrim's meal - battered fish, chips and psychedelic mushy peas

 washed down with a beverage that I am positive was not around in his day: Bailey’s Cream…..on ice 🙂  The Tabard Inn,  that Chaucer set off from has long since disappeared.

By now it was getting kinda late but since I was in no hurry I made my way back to London Bridge and set off along the Queen’s Walk which makes up part of the Thames Path that follows the whole of the 215miles of the Thames from source to sea, with a few diversions.  What a delight.  It was interesting to see London Bridge all lit up in red (fire!!!)

london bridge

London Bridge lit up at night

 and a bit further along I discovered Cotton’s Centre which is a monstrous glass edifice and just marvellous, I also re-discovered Hays’ Galleria and on venturing inside the huge cavern found a most amazing and fantastical water-fountain!  A metal boat like something out of the movie ‘A League of Extraordinary Men’.  All I can say is that if you have not seen it yet…..treat yourself, it is fantastic.

the navigators a water fountain in hays galleria

'The Navigators' by sculptor David Kemp, 1987

From there I meandered along the bankside passing HMS Belfast on the way, admiring all the new and beautiful modern buildings that have grown up along that side of the river till I reached Potters Field, City Hall and The Scoop and thence to Tower Bridge.  The night was perfect, and the river sparkeled and shone with the lights from the buildings lining her banks, their reflections dancing on the swirls and eddies of the tide.

I tarried a while and gazed, entranced at the beauty of the evening. The Tower of London, sitting squat and ominous, her turrets and towers underlit with spotlights, seemed to glow in the night with an eerie, and ghostly life of their own.

the tower of london

The Tower of London

Tower Bridge; an amazing spectacle of colour at night, with light shining out so bright I am sure it could be seen from space.

tower bridge london

Tower Bridge lit up at night

Around me citizens strolled arm in arm, pushed buggys or walked in groups along the path, bursts of laughter echoed across the water and the shrieks of children rushing through the fountains that decorate the square filled the night with sound.

water glass and light

water glass and light at More London Riverside

Eventually, mindful of my intended early start the next day for my walk from Southwark to Greenwich, I strolled back via More London Riverside through this vast concrete jungle, towering giants of glass, steel and concrete; alien space-ships on ancient land.

I once heard someone say that they always thought of London as being grey!!!! Well, never could you be so wrong.  London is a vibrant collage of colours….just take a walk along the banks of the Thames at night and you will see what I mean.

More London Riverside by night

I also wondered what it must have been like in Chaucer’s day when the lanes and alleys were frequented by the likes of tars, thieves, prostitutes and pirates…..a dark and dangerous place indeed.

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….and that is how I started my career.  I read post a few days ago by a young lass who was wondering what work life must have been like before the advent of the internet…..I left a comment and that got me to thinking!!  How things have changed and what it was like when I started my first job in 1972!! Yeah believe it or not, I was not only alive in that far back time (aeons ago) but I was actually of an age to go out and get a job!

I recall my very unauspicious start in my ‘career’ aka ‘a job’ in those days. Only Doctors, Directors and such like had a ‘career’. I had left school the year before and initially got a job in a supermarket, but my mother was determined that I would get an office job despite that I wanted to work as a nursery school teacher (love babies), so she sent me off to college to learn shorthand and typing.  Guuuggg!!! I was hopeless at shorthand and despite having passed my typing exams at school I could only type with two fingers! hahaha. useless.  Anyhow after a couple of weeks of sheer misery I quit college and told my mother I was not going back.   She conceded defeat and advised me to get out and get a job.  I spent a couple of weeks traipsing round Johannesburg, (South Africa) dejectedly looking for work of any kind….so long as I earned some money.

After a few weeks of rejection and dejection and no job, my mother got fed-up and to my parting back one day said these immortal words “Don’t come home till you have a job!”.   What???   Boy, did that galvanise me.  I shot off into town and once again walked the streets knocking on doors and almost pleading for someone to hire me! 🙂  Boy, if I could go back to that girl, I would give her a hearty slap! Silly girl. Anyways……….. I walked and walked and walked from place to place, but I either did not have enough experience (no sh*t; I just left school yesterday!!!) or the right skills or whatever….perhaps I just went to the wrong companies.

Finally on that awful day, at about 2pm I got back on the train and decided to try closer to home which in those days was a town called Germiston! yuck what a horrible name. Anyhow, once again I knocked on doors… to no avail.  At just before 4pm on impulse I walked through the doors of a building society called S A Permanent (hopefully not!).   So I sat in the reception area looking totally bereft, knowing my time was running out and wondering where I was going to sleep that night (my mother was not to be messed with and I had taken her words seriously).

A gentleman by the name of Mr Cunningham (bless you dear, you saved my life) came through to reception and showed me through to his office.  I sat there terrified and waiting for his words of rejection…..when sure enough he said ‘Sorry but we are not hiring at the moment!’….that was it…..I burst into tears and sobbed and sobbed, unable to even speak and tell him why I was crying.  After lots of tissues and a cup of tea I calmed down enough to tell him my sad story.   I started work the next day!

A typist who could only type with two fingers, I made so many mistakes that eventually they gave me other work to do!  The head of the department, a real dragon of a woman who terrified the daylights out of me, was SO! not impressed with the Boss.  She had me transferred to another department as soon as she could and was pleased to see the back of me.  🙂

In those days we had typewriters that clanged and pinged when you reached the end of a row,

typewriters circa 1972

the type of typewriter I had when I first started work

had a handle that you pulled to move the carriage back to start, with keys that clattered and banged, got stuck together and hashed things up, carbon paper that if you used it too often wore out, black & red typewriter ribbon that ran out right in the middle of a long letter and you ended up with red ink all over the paper and had to start again. We eventually evolved to ‘golf-ball’ keys!

golf-ball keys.. pic via sciencephoto.com

ibm selectric typewriter ribbon

IBM Selectric typewriter ribbon..pic via ecw.com

This pic shows the ribbon in a cartridge, but in the early days they were two loose metal bobbins with the ribbon wound round that had to be inserted into the machine!! More often than not the ribbon would get tangled and you had to practically take the whole machine apart to sort it out. Then we progressed to something a little more compact and fancier but didn’t make any difference to my typing!

ibm selectric typewriter

progress............IBM Selectric pic via brandflakesforbreakfast.com

It’s been kinda weird thinking of that again, coz in those days we greeted the Boss as ‘Sir’ as in ‘Goodmorning Sir’ with a little dip of the head, the Typing pool’s dragon was addressed as Miss (& her surname) or Ma’am, there was no such thing as flexi-time, you did not dare be late or you had the time deducted from your month end salary, which was pathetic to start with – in today’s currency it would equate to £7.50 or R75.00 PER MONTH!!!! not per day or per hour, but per month! hahahaha. Doesn’t pay for more than 2 cuppachino’s and a cupcake today! And then my mother took 50% for Board and Lodging! I hardly had enough left to pay for busfare and had to fix ladders (holes) in my stockings with nail varnish!

When you went for an interview you did not tell the interviewer that you were thinking of getting married, because as the man put it: “I don’t want to waste money on training a woman who is going to go off and get married and have babies” – talk about sexual discrimination! I could sue him today! We were also required to dress in very smart suits, no trainers, jeans, t-shirts or cropped tops and you never ever EVER went to work with coloured hair, dangly earrings, bright nailpolish or swanky jewellery.  I got sent home one day for coming to work in trousers! no kidding.  I was told that I was a woman and as such should wear a dress or skirt.  You were NEVER allowed to use the phone for private use and forbidden to accept personal calls. And of course in those days we did not have mobile/cell phones! You had a lunch break from 1pm-2pm and did not dare come back late!

I eventually moved onto another position in another company and expanded my skills by learning how to do filing, be a receptionist and answer a switchboard that had plugs and cords and you answered in a bright chirpy voice, yes Sir, no Sir 3 bags full Sir, I also learned how to open the mail and sort it into important and not so important (lord knows why they thought I had enough brain in those days to know the difference), and type letters without too many mistakes.  I was also saved by the advent of ‘Tippex’ “every secretary’s life-saver!”

tippex

every secretary's life-saver! pic via freeimages.co.uk

I learned how to file from A-Z, and how to prepare an invoice, which stood me in good stead for my next job which was as a Girl-Friday.  This was the job I loved the most.  I learned how to prepare wages and invoices and statements….whoo hoo!!! Going UP!!! hahahaha.

Everything was written by hand and I took great pride in sending out invoices that were pristine and month end statements that were beautifully hand-written and 100% accurate.  I was in my element. This is still something that thrills me today and even though I no longer work in an office, I now prepare my own spread-sheets and reconcile my bank statements to the penny, albeit on my computer.  There was (still is) something beautiful about a row of figures that marched in neat rows down the page, all hand-written with no crossing out (errors).  I took great pride in being able to present my Boss with a beautiful set of ledgers and accounts at the end of the month.

And then we got a computer!  That was in 1975! Blimey!  We converted to this new fangled system and to my absolute pride the Computer guy said that we were the first company that had made such a smooth transition with no errors.  And that was the end of handwritten invoices and statements 😦   Although I loved learning to process the accounts via a computer, I missed being able to write them up. Of course it also meant that letters could now be processed on a ‘word-processor’

micro-computer/wordprocessor - pic via 80sactual.com

and that was an unadulterated joy!!!! No more tippex, no more wasted paper, no more carbon that left blue ink on your fingers, no more black/red ribbons to be changed…..and yet I missed the ‘ping’ of the carriage reaching the end of the row, the clack-clack of the keys against the roll and the satisfaction of typing a letter from beginning to end with no mistakes!!! No challenge anymore! I also had to go on a 6 week course to learn how to use it! 🙂

wikipedia’s description of tippex – which pretty much says it all!! 🙂

“The first product was an innovative correction paper for use with typewriters. The name “Tipp-Ex” given both to the company and the product was based on the use of this product — “Tipp” is the German word for “type”, and “ex” is Latin for “no more”.

As a result of the invention of Tipp-Ex, it became possible to erase a typographical error typed with a typewriter. The typewriter would be backspaced to the letter that was to be changed, the correction paper would be placed in front of the ribbon, and the mistyped letter would be re-typed. The system only worked if the typewriter repositioned the re-typed letter in exactly the same place as originally typed, which could be problematic if returning to a previous line. (Ha! no kidding!!)

In 1965, Tipp-Ex launched a correction fluid and quickly developed a full range of correction fluids for different uses. Sold in more than 150 countries, Tipp-Ex became a unique European brand.”

Bear in mind that South Africa was always as least 10 years behind in getting anything that was launched in Europe.  I also recall that when it was first launched in South Africa, we were forbidden to use it by the Boss!  I even recall that as late as 1993 when I was working at a Courier company; XPS in Isando, we got a new accounts manager who in his first week with the company, went through all the accounts ladies desk drawers and threw out the tippex!! FORBIDDEN! hahahaha. How funny.

And that is how my office ‘career’ started. I am sure there are plenty more things I could write about from those early days, but I think this is long enough and I am sure you got the gist of it!

All I can say in conclusion is………HOORAY!!!! for the internet. I love it and I am addicted to google. you can find out anything at all that you need or want to know.

Long live the internet!

and in closing, a quote from twitter – On the keyboard of life, always keep one finger on the escape key – anon

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For attractive lips, speak words of kindness.
For lovely eyes, seek out the good in people.
For a slim figure, share your food with the hungry.
For beautiful hair, let a child run his/her fingers through it once a day.
For poise, walk with the knowledge that you never walk alone.
People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone.

Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms.
As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.

Audrey Hepburn

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….ok, so not quite yet, but certainly in the future! I had such a brilliant time on Saturday night and Sunday that despite my initial wtf am I doing……? I had a brilliant time. So my thanks to Geoffrey Chaucer for following the pilgrims route and to my employer for the London Walks cards via which I stumbled across this fact during my research for the pilgrims route for which I have to thank my Dad (this is beginning to sound like I have won an award at the BAFTA’S or something!) hahaha 🙂

So where to start……..? I saw and did so much that I could probably write a book (ok, ok family!!! I will…in time 🙂 ). Meanwhile, here is what was the penultimate experience I had on the journey!  Standing on the meridian line.  I cannot tell you what a thrill I get each time I get to stand on the meridian line, that I am seriously thinking how awesome it would be to live in Greenwich in a house that has the 0 degrees 0′ 0″ line running through it.

greenwich and the meridian line

0 degrees 0' 0" the meridian line

I could wake up in the morning, get out of bed on the east side (makes sense, doesn’t it), have breakfast in the kitchen which will also be in the east and then walk to the sitting room or my office in the west! at night I would go back to bed and climb in via the west side. 🙂

greenwich and the meridian line

standing on the meridian line...where east meets west

……..the rest will follow in due course.  Am writing a number of guest blogs for other travel sites at the mo and have a tall order from my daughter who has something up her sleeve: she wants 4 x 700 word blogs and 8 x 350 word blogs on London!! and photos to go with them.  I am dying to know why? But, thankfully, coz I have already produced hundreds of blogs on London I have loads of material, so am currently editing those I have chosen and will be back to my Canterbury Tales in due course.

btw, did I ever mention just how fantastically brilliant London is.  I cannot even begin to tell you what a treasure trove it is. As a taster of what’s to come……..I passed the 1620 Mayflower Inn (orig. the Shippe) and the church of St Mary’s in Rotherhithe (c14 rebuilt 1715) with links to the captain of the Mayflower Capt. Christopher Jones.

the mayflower and christopher jones

Capt. Christopher Jones of the Mayflower. (this sculpture is in the churchyard)

  “From a Rotherhithe quayside, near a pub called the Shippe, the Mayflower set sail for America.”

More to follow……..and now since my break is almost over and I am back to work in 1.5 hours, it’s time for me to go!

Oh! and p.s. another wee gem to whet your appetite….I also made the acquaintance of Peter the Great 🙂 and sat on this throne!

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so what does the heading actually mean? Well here’s the thing.  I do a lot of research for my new business 3 Days In London, which as the name says, is about London.  It has been a great journey so far and during my endeavours and my London #walkabouts I have uncovered and discovered some amazing facts and places.  I am learning stuff I never knew and it is all fascinating.  London is like an onion, as you peel each layer away, so another becomes exposed.  My head is full of facts, and figures and photos and places.  It is the best fun I have had and I am delighting in all that I find.

I also have a two day break coming up this weekend.

One of the things I discovered whilst doing one of the London Walks (the cards I got for Xmas), is the ancient George Inn in Southwark.  Chaucer is mentioned as having frequented an Inn similar to this one during his lifetime in the 14th Century and certainly at the beginning of his what I have now discovered was his spiritual journey on the Pilgrims Route of the Camino to Canterbury.  The Camino is a world-famous pilgrimage and Geoffrey Chaucer travelled from London to Canterbury via this ancient route, and subsequently wrote: The Canterbury Tales.  This has intrigued me no end and I will now have to investigate further :).  My education continues.

So, getting back to the subject at hand (sorry you know my mind goes all over), I wanted to do the Camino last year with my Dad and my daughter, but circumstances did not allow. (self created?)  The Camino de Santiago  pilgrims route/s of which there are many start from many places in the world and all end at Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain.   Whilst doing research for the trip last year I discovered that there is a route that starts in…………….yes!!!! London!!!! hooray!  I only just recently discovered that in fact Geoffrey Chaucer also, as mentioned before, followed a pilgrims route to Canterbury.  I am not sure if his intention was to go to Spain but he certainly wanted to get to Canterbury Cathedral (see the details on the wiki link). Because of Chaucer, the road from London to Canterbury is by far the most famous pilgrimage route in Britain.

So, here’s the thing…..I still want to do the ‘Camino’ for all sorts of reasons, and my daughter also wants to do it.  However, since this is my London/UK year I have no real plans (yet) to go overseas till 2012.  But, I do want to start the journey, so it is my plan to start this on……..Saturday 12th February!  ah ha! you might say and what will you be doing? Well on Saturday 12th I will be venturing into Southwark to start my journey by eating a late meal at the George Inn,

the george inn national trust

The George Inn Southwark - National Trust

 much as I am sure Chaucer would have done before he set out.  I will be walking the streets of Southwark and taking photos of places in the area that may well have been there during his lifetime (like the Inn), having a meal at the Inn and then very early the next day (Sunday) I will venture into Southwark once again and follow the route he followed for the first part of his journey to Canterbury, the details of which I discovered on the web 🙂  I will also visit  St James Garlickythe a unique 17th century City Church, and a sacred place since 1100 AD.

Chaucer’s second stop on the route was Greenwich, so I will make my way to Greenwich and assuming I actually get that far…..explore the area for the day, perhaps sleep over at an ‘Inn’ aka a B&B 🙂 and then make my way back home on Monday morning.  I have been wanting to explore Greenwich again anyway to gather material for my blogs, so this will be a golden opportunity to ‘kill two birds with one stone’ or not! Perhaps instead of killing birds I will just take photos!

Then it is my plan to take a couple of days each month and pick up where I left off the last time and walk the whole route till I eventually reach Canterbury.  This may take a while!  But, I reckon that once I have reached Canterbury it should be almost the end of the year and I will be well ready to plan the next stage of the journey and venture overseas to Portugal or Spain to follow one of the many routes there.   And I will of course document my journeys on my blog! 🙂

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I am not sure how this came about, but in the last few days I have been thinking a lot about things I miss.  I think it had a lot to do with an email I got with pictures of different cats.  I adore cats and right before I left South Africa in 2001 (gosh that long ago!) I had 5 of god’s beautiful creatures living with us; me and my daughter (another of god’s beautiful creatures).  And thinking about that got me to thinking about how much I miss the sound of a cat purring in my ear while it sleeps soundly and I am lying on the couch with the beauty lying stretched out along my body, fast asleep and purring loudly in my ear…and all the while I am dying to go pee but don’t want to disturb the cat!! 🙂 hahaha. that happened too many times to remember!

I miss our cats and how when they were kittens we used to laugh till we were hysterical at their antics. And then I got to thinking about other stuff I miss and coz my minds wanders as much as my ramblings on my blog, the range of things I miss are vast and across the years and miles.

I miss my Mother. I miss the sound of her laughter as she enjoyed something that had amused her. I miss her famous ham and pea soup and the cheese scones she used to make. I miss the smell of her and walking into the bathroom whilst she was in the bath and her hair was hanging loose  (she had hair down to her waist).  I miss how she always took so much pleasure in her grandchildren and how she used to help us (when we were little) and then the grandkids, to make christmas pudding – (she always made them in September so they could mature by Xmas). I miss watching her with her grandchildren.  I miss watching her ‘put her face on’….as someone who never wears make-up I never really got that! But I enjoyed watching her do it. I miss how as an adult, when I came to visit, she used to take me round her garden to see her plants and the roses that she loved so much…..and I know now how much I did not appreciate that at the time. (Sorry Ma!) I miss how I could call her anytime I had a problem or felt sad and needed a shoulder to cry on…..she was always there. I miss that I am not able to ask her all the questions I have now that my daughter is an adult.

I miss the time before she met her 2nd husband, the person she was before.  I miss walking to the shops with my sister; me 7 and her 4 years old, to buy bread and milk for my mother. I miss that we were really safe in those days and could get there and back without fear.  I miss how my sister and I used to buy hot white bread at the shop and the shopkeeper put it into a brown paper bag and on the way home we would eat the crusts off the end of the loaf and along the edges….never really recognising that putting the loaf back into the packet so you could not see where we had eaten it, did not mean that my Mother would not notice that we had eaten it when we got home. 🙂  I miss the days before lost innocence. I miss walking in the rain with my mother and her letting us splash in all the puddles, not minding that we got soaked.

I miss the anticipation of the holidays with my father in Cape Town, holidays that never lived up to my expectations but were treasured anyway coz I loved my Dad desperately in those days.  I miss my brother who died many, many years ago. I miss his mad ideas and his crazy, zany laughter that used to burst from his mouth.   I miss the nonsense we used to get up to and the secrets we had.

I miss my grandmother and how it was before she died.  I miss the great big rambling house she had where we could hide away with a book and never be found unless we wanted to. I miss visiting her on a sunday and being allowed to open the window-seat and choose a toy or a puzzle to play with. I miss her pantry and the knowledge that there were yummy cakes in there that we used to eat the icing off of! (this drove her to distraction and to us having our bottoms heated regularly). Boy she had a heavy hand did Grandma. I miss crawling into her bed in the mornings when I was little and having tea with her.  I miss brushing her hair (also down to her waist) and how she smelt of lavender.

I miss having my own home. I miss the feeling of knowing that I was secure in this space and that I could just be if I wanted to. I miss that it was our home where we had cats and dogs and hamsters and fish.  I miss the days when my daughter used to climb into my bed in the morning for a cuddle. I miss how we used to lie in bed together on the nights it rained and stormed and listen to the hail crashing down on the roof  and the racket it made (we had a tin roof – an old mining house).  I miss mowing the lawn. I miss my car…which is absurd since I love walking.

I miss the days when I could fix whatever was hurting my daughter with a cuddle and ‘a kiss to make it better’.  I miss the days before she became sad from disappointment.  I miss that I was able to make things better and give her hope. I miss how I could plan her birthdays and make them fun and exciting.  I miss the days we used to drive from one side of the country to the other on holiday, a journey of 1,600 km’s and how we would put the radio on full-blast and sing at full volume to the songs. I miss watching her sleep as I drove and the feelings of protection I used to have. Not that I don’t have those feelings anymore, just that they are different.

I miss my sisters……they are all zany and all completely different characters and I miss their funny ways.  I miss my great-niece and nephews, who are growing up fast and have no idea who I am. Ok, so they know about me, but if I walked towards them in a mall they would have no idea it was me!

I miss who I was before I got sucked into the personal development world.  I miss how I was able to just live and be.  Now I question everything I think and do, second guessing everything I feel and experience.  I miss that I didn’t know that what you resist persists. I miss that I could just go off and be who I was.   I miss what I had….total freedom.  Which is quite odd since it was working through the processes at one of the PD courses that I discovered that my highest value is freedom.  I miss that I didn’t know all that I know now.  I have no idea if that makes any sense, but it does to me.  I miss who I was before I got involved with MLM.  I miss that I didn’t feel like a failure before I started and now after 8 different attempts I have to concede defeat and acknowledge that it’s not for me. “If at first you don’t succeed, before you try again, stop to figure out what you did wrong” — Leo Rosten  Shame I can’t wish away the debt that came with it!!  I miss how excited I was at this new discovery and how brilliant I thought the whole concept was, till I learned the secret!  It’s a numbers game……..

I miss going to the drive-in (outdoor big-screen cinemas) and how we used to run wild about the grounds while my mother and her partner watched the movie.  I miss how we could watch movies like Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music and it wasn’t considered corny and pathetic. I miss how we used to gather together, all the family in one place to watch Dallas. Awful programme, but we were addicted to it. hahahaha. I miss when my sisters were babies and I could play with them……big dolls they were. I miss how I used to dream about having a happy marriage and a big house.

I miss the days before I knew I would get old and appendages would begin to ache.  I miss the days before I knew that I was not immortal.   I miss going out for ice-cream with my Dad and how we always disagreed on which flavour was the best….chocolate or strawberry. I miss being able to wear a bikini 🙂 God knows no-one else would miss that now!!! hahaha.  I miss the days when I was a credit-controller and how much I loved my job.  I miss the days when I ate what I enjoyed and didn’t have the word cholesterol in my life….although my figure looks better for it 🙂 HAHA!  I miss the days when I could sit down and read a book right through without stopping and not fall asleep after the first 3 pages (like I do now).  I miss the days before I had to start wearing glasses and the panic I have when I can’t read the bloody words on anything without them.

I miss the days I used to dance with wild abandon, and didn’t look like an old fart who should know better, how I could head-bang to my hearts content and not wonder if folks around me thought I was mad (I only do that when I am alone now) heehee. I miss LP’s (long-playing records) and the feel and smell of them. The anticipation of choosing a record, slipping it out it’s sleeve and putting it onto the turntable and the thrill of waiting for the first strains to fill the air.  I miss the days when you could go shopping and fill a trolley to the brim, and it didn’t put you into debt!  I miss watching the delight on my daughter’s face when she used to ride on the mechanical horses at the supermarket. I miss how I used to sit at the back of the bus on the way home from school with my best friend and laugh till I wet my knickers (gross I know), but I loved how she used to wind me up and how we got thrown off the bus for making a racket.

I miss how my daughter and I used to lie on the lawn in our garden and watch the planes come in to land at the airport that was not too far away, and how between planes we would find shapes in the clouds. I miss how when I was a teenager, my mother and her partner took us girls to the end of the runway at Jan Smuts airport for a picnic and gave us lessons on how to drive; the joy of being able to hop in the car and just drive regardless of the crashed gears and dents.  You can’t do that anymore coz of security issues; either park at the end of the runway or drive without a license!  I miss reading bedtime stories to my daughter when she was little, and the excitement on her face as we chose that nights reading. How she used be awake and I fell asleep while reading the book.  I miss how she thought I had all the answers. I miss our little secret signal that she invented as code for during times of uncertainty; that we could use to say it was alright.

I miss being able to just have a sunday snooze if I felt like it!  I miss Ireland and the fun times I had with my sister and brother-in-law while they still lived there, the excitement of planning a trip across the Irish sea.  I miss the days when I could just miss things and remininesce without thinking about what Tony R said……you can’t go thought life looking in the rearview mirror.  I miss the days when I could just look back and remember stuff without thinking of that and worrying if I should or should not be looking back! and if my reasons for looking back were good or bad! I miss the days when I didn’t question my every thought and wonder if they are ‘personal development’ correct or not!

I miss the days when I used to sit and knit and watch TV without worrying about other stuff I should be doing.  I wonder if I can even remember how to knit 🙂   I miss the days when I used to sit with my mother and sister and play scrabble, drinking copious cups of tea, how we used to play the glassy glassy game and scare ourselves almost to death when the blasted glass used to move!!!  I miss the braais (barbeques) we used to have at my sister’s house.  Not that I eat meat, but I enjoyed the laughter and the jokes and the nonsense we got up to!  I miss how I used to jump into a swimming pool fully clothed and not worry about it.  I miss how when we were kids my sister and I used to have to ‘stamp’ the washing in the bath on a Friday afternoon.  We didn’t have a washing machine so my mother used to put the washing into the bath to soak during the day and after school we would have to ‘stamp’ the washing to remove the dirt. I am not really sure how effective it was but we had the cleanest feet in the neighbourhood. 🙂

I miss how on a Saturday afternoon when I was a teenager I would head on over to my best friend’s house to listen to the ‘Top of the Pops’ and how we would lie on the grass trying to guess which song would be TOTP’s and how we would shriek with delight when our choice came first.   I miss how when my daughter was a little girl a box of smarties really did cure all ills.  And how she knew what I was up to, even thought I tried to do it in secret,  when I wrapped 20 little boxes of smarties into her clothes before she left to go to America the first time.

There are many things I miss, and there is a heck of a lot I don’t miss but if you have managed to read this far….I commend you and won’t go into the long list of things I don’t miss 🙂 ……so in closing……..

……..at the moment I miss the sunshine……..please come back, all is forgiven.

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