Archive for June, 2017

With just 73 days to go till I start walking the Camino I’m now getting impatient, I feel ready, both mentally and physically.

Titsey Hill

I’ve no doubt that once I start I’ll be tested like never before, regardless of how ready I feel…is anyone ever 100% ready? 

I had some extra time off today so took myself off for a final push for June, adding to my total for the #walk1000miles challenge. I got in 13.30kms/8.31 miles meandering around Titsey Hill, which brings my total walked to 658 boots on miles since 01/01/17.

 I managed quite well with the extra weight of the backpack; now at 6.35 kgs, although my knees and toes are not happy. With my upcoming 60+ mile walk from Southwark Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral in just over a week’s time,

Geoffrey Chaucer’s route to Canterbury

 I’m guessing I’ll be finding out just what it’s like to walk for 6-8 hours (approximately 20 kms) a day for 4 days in a row with a fully loaded backpack.

Some of my gear…

I’m really grateful for this opportunity as it will give me a peek into what to expect for September. It’ll also give me an idea of how my feet cope and whether or not I need to consider new shoes.
I’ve bought a good supply of the FLP MSM with glucosamine & chondroitin drink which I’ll be quaffing in substantial quantities from next week till I leave for Portugal as well as their amazing Heat Lotion that works absolute wonders on my achy feet.

I thoroughly enjoyed my walk about on Titsey Hill today, mostly in my own, I only saw 2 people in 3.5 hours.

To climb, or not to climb…that was the question…I didn’t 😉

Here’s to my #Camino2017 as the days race by!!! 73 days and counting…

 👏👏👏💃💃💃👣👣👣 I took this photo on my birthday in San Gimignano. Can’t believe that was over 2 months ago!!! 💖💖 

If you’d like to follow along on instagram; @notjustagranny – these are some of the hashtags I’ll be using. #PostcardsfromPortugal #walk1000miles #caminoportuguese #PortugueseCoastalRoute #SantiagodeCompostela #SouthwarktoCanterbury #inthefootstepsofChaucer #practicewalk #pilgrimsway #traveldiaries #ospreypacks #MysticMagenta 

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One of the more unfortunate aspects of walking as a solo woman on the Camino is the perception that you’re easy game. I’ve read recently on the Facebook forums that I follow of women being harassed by men; naked men who chase after these women whilst masturbating, men waiting under secluded bridges till a woman comes along then yanks his pants down to expose himself. Men follow along behind the pilgrims and make lewd comments, or just hang around making a general pest of themselves.

Many of the women quite understandably get quite frightened, or as in one case was so badly upset by the whole thing that she packed up and went home. It’s a real issue and seems to be escalating somewhat. There are often discussions about how to deal with these incidents with some folks suggesting pepper spray which is banned in Spain, or whistles, and various other suggestions, none of which are really acceptable and could lead to further problems.

I recently read an interesting article about the escalating harassment of women in the Middle East regions, that although not specifically about the Camino, does talk about the harassment of women in middle east countries. Interesting, although unfortunately they don’t mention the biggest factor in these countries; women are viewed as 2nd class citizens…ergo men can do what they like coz they’re superior. Perhaps they should look at the cultural issues from the cradle up….men treat their wives in an appalling fashion, often abusive. Boys witness this and think its okay to be abusive towards women. Its pretty much the same in every patriarchal society. It won’t change till parents teach their kids about respect.  Reading this article I get the distinct impression that the author/researcher is making excuses for why boys harass girls. These young men “have high aspirations for themselves and aren’t able to meet them,” he says. “So they [harass women] to put them in their place. They feel like the world owes them.”

Harassing women is not a new phenomena in the Western world; its as bad and has been for decades in our society where morals are loose and again, men are disrespectful towards their wives. Frankly those men’s magazines and light pornographic magazines, sexually explicit films, advertisements with half naked women spread across cars et al, all play a part in the sexual harassment of women. I remember with clarity, as a young girl developing breasts and having to start wearing a bra, the boys, would come up behind me or my school mates and snap our bra-straps or try to undo the hooks – behaviour they STILL indulge in 50 years later. We were always, without fail told to ‘just ignore it’. In fact I recall very clearly telling my daughter much the same thing 25 years later….either that or wallop the boy in question….which of course would then lead to her being punished for ‘assaulting’ the little shit.

However, there has been as is a shift being made in this area. I recently read where a Mother was called into the Headmaster’s office because her daughter had punched the boy who snapped her bra-strap. The Headmaster and the parents of the boy tried to make an issue of it, but the Mother neatly turned the tables by reminding them that what he had done is actually sexual harassment and that she would be happy to call the Police and lay a charge. Problem solved. Frankly I wish I had done that for my daughter, how much more empowering it would have been.

But, and here’s the thing…..it is sexual harassment, and the problem begins at home. Until all of society begins to see women as equals and deserving of respect, until parents unanimously teach their sons about the boundaries and how to treat a woman with respect, women will continue to be harassed on the streets….no matter which country we live in. I, however, am not holding my breath.

And if any man, young or otherwise even attempts to give me grief while I’m walking the Camino, he will live to regret it.

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And so here we are, once again at the polls, voting for our hopes and dreams and passions. Hoping whoever gets in doesn’t make a complete hash of things, dreaming of a better future for our children and grandchildren, and from some of the Facebook shares and Twitter tweets I’ve seen, many people are really passionate (vicious) about their given party.

It’s a nightmare quite frankly and I’ve been having sleepless nights over ‘who to vote for?’  I’ve been living in this country now for nigh on 16 years and have seen the UK swing from a Labour Government (trashed by the media and the Tories), to a Tory/Lib Dem Coalition Government (trashed by the media and Labour) to a Tory Government…likewise trashed by Labour & the media. So it seems that no matter what party you are affiliated to, you’re going to have some passionate opinions, as well as some really nasty ones.

Yesterday I responded to a Facebook share, and made the comment that ‘she isn’t cutting it atm or is Corbyn using strategy?’ apropos of his replacing Diane Abbott in her post subsequent to a few really bad T.V. interviews. And then I read the blog that I shared earlier today and…….

I’m sharing this and eating humble pie right now and quite embarrassed I didn’t do more research before being critical of her performance on t.v. besides the bulldog approach of the political interviewers, I can’t imagine the relentless horror of the abuse this woman has suffered on twitter (have a read, you’ll be shocked), and most likely in her real life too. Diane Abbott has been in politics, against massive odds, twice as long as what I’ve even been in the country. Besides that, the writer of this article is quite right, I’m certainly not in any way even remotely as qualified as what she is. This is one of the reasons that despite loving social media, I also really loathe it. We get our news in sound bites these days. We read the headlines, very often just click-bait, don’t read/research the full article and forget the twisted, self-serving bias of the paper barons who have their own agenda. Clearly I must avoid mainstream media since they can no longer be trusted. Other than that I retract the comment I made in response to an article shared by one of my friends, in which I suggested the Jeremy Corbyn made the right decision by replacing her since Diane Abbott wasn’t cutting it anymore.

I have really become to hate the politics in this country and how it brings out a really really nasty streak in some people. I said to my daughter just a few weeks ago that I loathe how angry I get whenever I’m on Facebook for too long.

If it’s not Trump that I’m raging at, it’s our Government for the chaos that is the NHS right now, for the lack of sufficient policing in our neighbourhoods, at the nasty bigotry and racism I see every day about one culture that’s not white or another. I get enraged about the terrible situation in Syria and the thousands of needless deaths, at the fact that Britain is now the 2nd biggest arms dealer in the world??? wtf!!! Seriously!!

“Since 2010 Britain has also sold arms to 39 of the 51 countries ranked “not free” on the Freedom House “Freedom in the world” report, and 22 of the 30 countries on the UK Government’s own human rights watch list.” ref independent.

I have to ask: What the hell are they doing? And then we have the terrorist attacks on Manchester, London; Westminster Bridge recently and just this last weekend on London Bridge. Besides that we’ve had numerous terrorist attacks on other countries and cities; Nice, Berlin, Paris, Stockholm, Brussels, Afghanistan, Libya, and then there’s Syria with an almost daily bombardment. Sometimes we don’t even get to hear about them except on social media.

Since the start of 2017, there have been 535 attacks, with 3,635 fatalities (at the time of writing) across the globe.

And then there’s the very real fact that we can NO LONGER trust the newspapers or the media. They all have their own agenda, they support whoever’s the flavour of the month, or whoever cuts them favours….and you read one angle/bias in one paper and another angle/bias in some other…but so very seldom does truth ever come into it.

I try to log off and stay off Facebook, but it’s like an addiction…I log off and after a few days feel compelled to log back in. I try to read only positive stuff, but the negative pulls me back in again and before I know it, I’m ranting and getting angry. So I guess it’s time for me to bow out once again.

Meanwhile I hope you read this article. I also hope that someday politics can be less nasty and aggressive and our so-called leaders can set a better example for the population and stop slandering each other.  I absolutely despair of listening to their campaign slander. It seems like decency goes right out the window and anything nasty can be thrown at whoever they feel like trashing atm.

How on earth are we a) supposed to respect these people b) how can we trust our leaders when we know they lie about just about everything to suit their own agenda c) who do we look to for leadership? The very real fact of the matter is that no which party gets in, they all make mistakes, they all have their own agenda, they all lie and make promises they have no intention of keeping, they say things that inflame the electorate and then expect us all to settle down in our little boxes in front of the smaller boxes in the lounge and suck it up. And when the shit hits the fan and we have terrorist attacks or MP’s murdered on their doorstep…they say ‘sorry’. Really? You’re sorry.

I’ve pretty much had it. I’m tired, I can’t bear to see any more mutilated children, battered wives, abused animals, trump’s atrocities/smug face, our Government’s failures and feel fearful, for the first time in nigh on 16 years about my future in the U.K. The country I was so proud to become a citizen of just last year 😦 My heart aches.

Maybe like Rip Van Winkle, I’ll wake up in 100 years time and it will all be over….or we’ll have been blown to smithereens by our feckless world leaders.

Meanwhile, my sincere apologies to Diane Abbott for being critical of her mistakes, I certainly am not perfect and actually have no right to judge.

I’m going back to Instagram to post my photos and dream of all the lovely places I want to see and travel to before it all disintegrates.

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