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Archive for October, 2020

Some years ago I thought it would be fun to keep photos of all the beds I sleep in. I called the blog 100 beds.

Little did I know it would eventually exceed 100 by a huge margin ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”

My job as a Carer takes me all over the country, although not as far afield since 2019 as it used to…..a certain little boy put paid to my extended travels.

Of course Covid-19 has reared its ugly head and I was away for 7 weeks in March and April and from 9th November I’ll be away for another 6 weeks.

Every time I work away I get to sleep in a different bed….and the variety of beds is amazing. Some beds are lush with memory foam mattresses and luxurious linen and superb pillows. Others are single beds (my pet hate) with a mattress that was old during the time of Noah’s Ark ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช

Inbetween jobs I stay in either a B&B or Guest House and occasionally I use Airbnb….these all offer a similar variety of beds and you just never know what you’re going to get.

Up until last month I was staying at a B&B that was a 5 minute walk from my daughter and her family, but they moved house and the host of the B&B went down the road of ‘familiarity breeds contempt’ and the last day I stayed there she gave me a stale hot cross bun and tepid tea and a cup that was less than clean at breakfast. Ergo time to part company.

So I looked around and found a Guest House in a good location and a 20 minute walk to the family.

So for the last 3 weeks I slept here

And for the next 7 nights, I’m sleeping here

For fun I created a short video of some of the beds I’ve slept in over the years

I have an amazing bed at the next job, tucked away at the back of the house, a room with a view, in a quiet courtyard and a lovely big comfy bed and that’s where I’ll be sleeping for 6 weeks.

And since it looks like I’ll be working for at least another 8 years, I’m guessing I’m going to be sleeping in quite a few beds more…..๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ›๐Ÿ˜ด๐Ÿ›

I get to sleep around quite a lot ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”๐Ÿคซ

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I forgot to tell you about Lewes Castle!! How remiss of me. Only one of the most amazing attractions of the town..

When I first arrived in Lewes my attention was drawn to the fantastic 14th and 15th century buildings in the high street and I didn’t even notice the castle….probably also because I was sitting on the left hand side of the taxi ๐Ÿ˜‰ and despite what I used to tell my daughter, I don’t have eyes in the back of my head, so I missed it altogether.

And unusually for me…..as with Newhaven, I didn’t do my research prior to visiting.

On my first Saturday here, during my break, I set off to explore and whoaaa, there’s a castle.

My first glimpse of Lewes Castle

But as mentioned in a previous post, I had neither mask nor money with me ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช Never mind, I’ll come back next week (the castle is only open on Saturday atm due to Covid-19). But of course next Saturday was raining. So no castle.

However this Saturday last, I had to visit regardless of the weather because I leave Lewes on Friday.

Saturday dawned rainy and windy but with an occasional blue sky sunshine, so off I went. They have a really good system set up. You’re greeted at the door by a lovely lady who takes all your test and trace details, you sanitise your hands, then she sends you off on a one-way system through the museum first, after which you can buy your ticket for a visit to the castle. Ergo, the museum is free to visit (I think).ย  And visit you must.

The museum is not large, 2 rooms downstairs and 2 rooms upstairs, but they have a most amazing set up depicting the history of the area and the many artefacts that have been found in Sussex. An intimate little museum with just enough information to read and look at without being overwhelmed. My favourite artifacts were the swords. Wowww.

I had a good read, took some photos, bought a few items from the gift shop for my grandson, paid for my entry and another lovely lady guided me across to the gate and let me in.

I love castles ๐ŸคŽ๐ŸคŽ There’s a massive shortage of castles in South Africa and the only castle I’d had experience of before coming to the UK was Cape Town Castle which isn’t really, but is rather a fort with grand ideas masquerading as a castle. It also has a history as a prison and is still a symbol of European oppression. Although to be fair, I guess most castles here have the same sort of background.

Anyway, back to Lewes Castle…

Like many castles today, this too is just a shadow of its former glory, but its fabulous. I climbed innumerable stairs to the top, sadly not the very top of the towers, which is where I really wanted to go, but the remains of the Great Hall will have to suffice.

Dozens of stairs
The Great Hall

The views across the valley to the hills are absolutely stunning, especially beautiful with the autumn colours. From here as well the view looks back in time to the 1264 Battle of Lewes.

A good view too of what used to be the Tilting Ground, now a bowling green, and in the distance I could see the windmill I passed a few days ago on my walk to Kingston. Awesome.

The Tilting Ground

The wind was blowing a gale and howling in my ears, flicking leaves and branches here and there….just brilliant. It was wild. Yes, there’s a couple of trees growing out the side of the building and there’s a tree slap bang in the middle of what was the Great Hall…now that’s wild!!

Nature takes over…

As you can imagine with the unpleasant weather, there were not many people up there, so it was easy to explore, although there really wasn’t that much to explore. Shame about the towers – closed atm due to Covid-19. Geez, I just realised reading that sentence back, that I used the word ‘there’ 3 times ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค” English eh.

Coming back down the stairs you have fantastic views across the town and to the cliffs, and travelling from across country the castle can be seen from miles away….the position is brilliant.

Views for miles around

In the courtyard is a fantastic Russian cannon and some wooden stocks

A bit of history:

A work in progress like most castles in England, Lewes Castle, originally known as Bray Castle, follows a motte and bailey design but unusually, has two mottes and was built on and added to over a few centuries.

The first motte, known as Brack Mount was completed shortly after the 1066 Norman conquest of England.

Both of the mottes were built byย William de Warenne, 1st Earl of Surrey, who also, along with his wife Gundrada, built the nearbyย  Priory of St. Pancras.

The mottes would originally have been surmounted by wooden palisades.

The second motte, known as the Keep, was completed in the late 11th century.
Both of which were built by William de Warenne, 1st Earl of Surrey.

Soldiers from the King’s army, set out from the castle to engage with Simon de Montfort at the Battle of Lewes in 1264.

Towers were added to one of the shell keeps in the 13th century.

The barbican gate was added in the 14th century.

Certainly not as enormous as some of the castles I’ve visited in the last 19 years, but no less impressive, it stands guard over a gap in the South Downs overlooking the towns of Lewes and Cliffe and the River Ouse that winds it’s way between the 2 towns.

In the distance…it looks far, but it’s only about a 10 minute walk

Lewes castle has the distinction of being the 49th castle I’ve visited as part of Project 101.

I’ve compiled a short video of some of the exhibits in the museum

I can highly recommend a visit to Lewes Castle if you’re in the area. At the moment they’re only open on Saturdays, but that might change in the future.

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Weirdly I’m so enjoying this book.

A fascinating look at the machinations of government, political campaigns and what goes on behind closed doors, our famous Number 10 in this instance, and how incredibly quickly it can all go very wrong…

What’s quite exciting about this book too, is that I can remember most of these events; the campaigning, Blair handing over to Brown, Brown subsequently throwing in the towel, seeing Samantha heavily pregnant in the glare of her husband’s narrow victory. The palaver and calamitous headlines when Cameron formed a coalition government with Clegg – christ, you’d be forgiven for thinking a great big black hole had opened up on planet earth!!! ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช

I also remember the smug expressions in the Rose Garden ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”

I’m about a quarter of the way through and I’m enthralled. I’m not a fan of DC or his party, but I ‘almost’ feel sorry for him ๐Ÿคซ๐Ÿคซ๐Ÿคซ

I was never into politics in South Africa. We had 1 party and that was the Nationalist Party. You reached voting age and voted for the Nationalist Party. Actually there were other parties of course but for decades the NP dominated. And then in 1994 things changed and the ANC came into power. And so that party has since dominated..again for decades, and even though there are other parties, its really a 1 party country.

But in the UK, its a different story. I’m constantly fascinated by the political scene and how it all works, even though I’m avoiding anything related to politics atm. This book is easy to read, not a pedantic tome but it cuts to the chase.

I remember with the last election, I was eligible to vote and so I took a keen interest and read everything I could lay my hands on. I read all the different editorials and some of the rags, depending on the political leanings of the current client.

I’ve always had a leaning towards conservatism, with a massive dash of liberal, but I liked the policies of the Labour and Green parties. Right then? Or left? Go figure!! One day I decided to do one of those stupid polls on Facebook to determine which party I should vote for. ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฑ๐Ÿ˜ฑ wtaf???

It came up as UKIP!!!! Excuse me while I die laughing ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ™‰๐Ÿ™Šโ˜ ๐Ÿ’€ UKIP???? I loathe that party, I loathe what they stand for and I PARTICULARLY loathe and despise the leader of that particular party at the time. (I’ve seen him in action in person, and he’s vile, a loathsome creature). So when the results came back for UKIP ๐Ÿ˜ ๐Ÿ˜  ๐Ÿคฎ๐Ÿคฎ Bloody Facebook. I’m sure the poll was rigged ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ and I definitely didn’t vote for UKIP.

Anywayyyyy, back to the book. Its fascinating and since the weather today was so horrible; raining and windy and I’m really tired (coming to the end of a particularly stressful assignment), I decided to curl up in bed and read. I don’t care how much money they get, or how much they make afterwards, but that is one job I would not like….

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My very 1st postcard along the Ring of Kerry arrived yesterday ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

This is one of the features about the Conqueror Virtual Challenges that I enjoy the most….

Charlie Chaplin- Waterville, Ireland

Waterville

Between Ballinskelligs Bay and Lough Currane (lake) on a narrow isthmus lies the coastal village of Waterville. Flanked by two championship 18-hole golf courses, one to the north and the other to the south, this small town of 496 residents is a bundle of surprises.

Waterville began as a village in the 1800s and although it remains a small village, you will never be short of something outdoorsy to do. There’s a plethora of walking and cycling routes with both easy and difficult levels. The Equestrian Centre conducts pony camps, horsemanship courses and beach rides. The Sea Synergy is a marine awareness and activity centre, with their main objective to educate about marine life and ocean conservation. Operated by marine biologist and ecologists, the organisation runs educational adventure tours and summer camps for kids and teens.

A walk on the promenade will bring you to a statue of Charlie Chaplin who enjoyed Waterville so much that for a decade he returned every year for holidays with his family. Obtaining permission from the Charlie Chaplin estate, Waterville hosts the annual Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival.

When the first transatlantic cable was installed in 1858 between Newfoundland Canada and Valentia Island near Waterville it didn’t come without its problems. Working for a mere three weeks due to weak cables, it took five further attempts across nine years to eventually succeed in maintaining a lasting connection. The Atlantic Telegraph Co. had a monopoly over the industry and as a result the Commercial Cable Company from New York was established to break the monopoly and reduce prices by successfully installing cables in 1884 from Waterville to Nova Scotia. This brought a hive of activity into the village and the need for more housing to accommodate company personnel who settled in the area. Waterville became the European hub for the Company and at its peak was the largest cable station in the world.

Its so interesting to read about places on the actual route of the virtual route I’m following. I lived in Ireland for 6 months back in 2001/2002 and we travelled the country extensively. It helped that my sister and her husband lived there at the time, and loved travelling as much as I did. I went back a few years later (one of 8 trips) and we travelled to Galway and Conamarra where we enjoyed a fantastic holiday. Afterwards my friend and I hired a car and travelled right along the west coast, the south coast and the east coast back to Dublin over 7 days. Along the way we drove along part of the Ring of Kerry and it is stunning. I’d love to go back now, or as soon as, and walk the actual route.

But for now I shall content myself with the virtual postcards and the information that accompanies it, while I explore and walk around England.

If you’d like to join me on these virtual challenges, you can sign up here via my link.

https://www.theconqueror.events/r/CE1474

This is not an affiliate link and I don’t make any money from people signing up, but you get a 10% discount on any walks you sign up for and I think I get a 10% discount as well….which is a moot point really since I’ve already signed up for all the walks I want to do ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

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With just 4 days left in Lewes, today I was determined to find and follow the Egrets Way.

At least now I know where it starts, I didn’t waste 3/4 of my break trying to find the route.

But first I stopped off at Trinity Church, Southover. I’d been past it a number of times but it was always closed – today it was open ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ There’s quite a history attached; “The church of Southover originated as a ‘hospitium’ or guest house to serve the nearby Priory of Saint Pancras founded by William de Warenne and his wife Gundrada in 1077 AD.

The tower was built in stages between 1714 and 1738, after the collapse of the earlier tower with spire in 1698. This may have been caused by hanging a ‘Great Bell’ in the previous year, which proved too much for the earlier structure. The location of the earlier tower is not certainly known,
but from what evidence is available probably stood where the Gundrada Chapel is built now.

I was delighted to find a scallop shell in one of the glass windows with St James right above it โคโค

After my brief visit to the church I walked down St James’s Street to have a closer look at the house at the end of the cul de sac – it looked like a gingerbread house. Imagine my amusement when on closer inspection I discovered the name of the house; The Gingerbread House โ˜บโ˜บ Just perfect!!

The Gingerbread House โ˜บโ˜บ

I made my way towards the river via the carpark and soon picked up the Egrets Way. I’m dead keen to walk along the riverside to the little village of Southease, also a Domesday Book village and near to where Virginia Woolf, who at the time lived in nearby Rodmell, committed suicide in 1941 in the River Ouse.

Of course with all the rain over the last few days, and boy has it rained, the river is in full tumultuous flow and the riverside path is mostly a muddy quagmire, placing obstacles of watery pools in the way.

Fast flowing River Ouse

But I trudged along, determined to get as far as I could, zig-zagging from one side of the path to the other trying to find the least squelchy and muddy bits to traverse. Thanks be for my walking poles, as always they kept me upright when the mud was determined to see me on my bottom.

I arrived at one gate to find a pool of water right in the middle surrounded by mud, so balancing precariously on the wooden edges and hugging the upright struts I sort of swung my way around and through the gate….but I didn’t get very much further since the path at the next gate was just too muddy; and so I said “no, just no!”.

I beat a retreat and returned the way I had come.

Once past all the muddy puddles et al, I crossed a grassy patch and picked up the cycle/walking path that is sensibly gravelled and continued on my way.

The riverside path will have to wait for another time – perhaps when I eventually walk the South Downs Way that passes through Lewes, I may just divert for a few days and actually walk along the river to Southease….if it hasn’t been raining!!

Time will tell.

Meanwhile I followed the path, beneath the grim and dreary railway underpass, through a fine, new wooden gate and before too long I recognised the place I had originally seen the signpost for the Egrets Way, near the recycling centre. It also gave me the opportunity to see where I had gone so very wrong at my last attempt

Dreary underpass, fine wooden gate

Once I realized the error of my ways, the what and why became apparent. Instead of turning left, I was endeavouring to find a way through to the right ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช๐Ÿ‘‰โŒ๐Ÿ‘ˆ which of course would have taken me onto the railway line….clearly I need to do a map reading course ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ Even with the help of Google maps I still went wrong. How have I managed to not get lost on previous walks! Luck, I guess ๐Ÿคญ๐Ÿคญ๐Ÿคž๐Ÿคž

So now that I  know my daft mistake, it doesn’t really matter since its unlikely I’ll walk that way again while here…but I’m glad I resolved the issue.

So whizzing along I made my way back into town, passing some interesting houses, the only surviving section of the Franciscan Friary

Amazing relic from 1224!!

and while chatting on the phone to the relief carer who’d just left due to issues at the house, I once again went off piste….I had planned to go to Tesco for a packet of my secret vice, but since I was so completely not going in the right direction, I gave up and went back to the house.

On the way I passed the castle for another look and more photos ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜…wish the weather had been this fine on Saturday!!

Lewes Castle

Next a brief stop to take a few more photos of the 15th centuryย  bookshop windows….and spotted another book I would dearly love to buy – bad luck, the shop won’t be open again till Friday afternoon and by then I’ll be on my way….

I’m on the home straight. Hoorah!!

A little video with some more images from my walkabout today. The weather was fantastic

Lewes

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One of the very first buildings I noticed from the taxi when I arrived in Lewes 2 weeks ago, was this amazing place

I’m totally smitten with this place
The 15th century bookshop ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

I only caught a glimpse of it as we rode past but that was enough to tickle my fancy…..and the very next day, during my break I set out to explore. And I’ve had plenty of adventures….

But I determined that I simply had to visit this bookshop, only open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at least once while I was here.  So yesterday, after visiting the Lewes Castle and the Martyrs Memorial, I popped in for a visit on my way back to the house.

Bought by the current owner in 1986, the stock consists of thousands of second-hand and collectors’ books, from rare and collectable to recent over a wide range of topics and interests. Its amazing that the same person has owned the shop over 30 years!! Wowww.

The interior of the shop, smelt musty with the dust of aeons. It was deliciously cramped with books overflowing their shelves and stacked high on the floor. Books from decades ago piled up in a kaleidoscope of ancient dust jackets and calligraphy.
Sheer heaven for a book worm; metaphorically and I’m pretty certain…actually. How the owner ever finds a requested copy is anyone’s guess, but I’m willing to bet she knows where everything is.
I had the audacity to ask if she had a particular book from 2019, and in a very dour voice she replied “I only sell old books”.  Brilliant. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‰ Of course…2019 is so last year…

And of course you can’t visit a 15th century bookshop and not buy some books… Obviously I had to buy a couple for himself who loves books, although lord knows he already has a massive collection. The Rupert Bear book is a 1984 edition, and the Bobbsey Twins from 1959!! I could have bought another 15 at least, but reason prevailed, I’d have to lug them all back to Ramsgate next week…

However if I ever find myself in Lewes again, I will be sure to pop in and buy a few more. Delicious. I love books and really wish I could have spent a few hours there looking through the shelves. But with Covid-19, and only 3 customers in the shop at a time, there was a young man waiting patiently outside…

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You know how sometimes you feel like you want to visit a place and it seems like a good idea, then you go and it’s not …..๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ

Well yesterday I did just that..

Mistake #1 I didn’t do any research

Mistake #2 I got off the train at Newhaven Harbour

Mistake #3 I didn’t do any research

So the lessons I learned: do my research and get off at Newhaven Town stop not the harbour.

Anywayyyyy…..I went, I saw, I can tick it off my list – I didn’t get the t-shirt ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช

So, Newhaven. If I’d done my research, this is what I would have learned.

1. Newhaven Harbour is a grim industrial area, and on the wrong side of the river. In my imagination I pictured a lovely pretty harbour with colourful boats and twee huts. It isn’t. I couldn’t even bear to take a photo it’s so depressing. There is a boat marina on the opposite side.

Found some colourful boats, but obscured

2. It’s a 10 minute walk back to Newhaven Town. Which to be fair, except for the interesting wooden houses close to the riverside, is almost as depressing. I normally like a bit of decay and love old Victorian houses, but seriously…

These houses near the riverside were quite interesting

3. Even town centre is depressing.

Town Centre

4. Ho Chi Minh landed here in 1913? He was a Vietnamese revolutionary and politician. He served as Prime Minister of North Vietnam from 1945 to 1955 and President from 1945 to 1969. 

After I returned last night I ‘did some research’ ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช and this is what I found:

Newhaven: A channel ferry port in East Sussex.

Looking downstream of the River Ouse

There was a Bronze Age fort on what is now Castle Hill.

In about 480 AD the Saxons established a village near to where Newhaven now stands; named “Meeching” aka known as “Myching” or “Mitching”.
The settlement began to be known as the “new haven”.

Part of the Holmstrow hundred until the abolition of hundreds in the 19th c but not mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book ๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿ˜’๐Ÿ˜’


Lies at the mouth of the River Ouse, westward from Seaford, one of the Cinque Ports formed by Henry VIII.

In 1848, the exiled French King Louis Philippe I landed here in disguise after abdicating his throne.

The village was of little maritime importance until the opening of the railway line to Lewes in 1847.
The railway reached the port in 1847.

Dredging of the channel and other improvements to the harbour between 1850 and 1878, enabled the port to be used by cross channel ferries.
In 1863 the LB&SCR and the Chemin de Fer de l’Ouest introduced the Newhaven-Dieppe passenger service.

The most colourful part of Newhaven was in a pedestrian underpass

The London Brighton and South Coast Railway (LB&SCR) constructed their own wharf and facilities on the east side of the river, and opened the Newhaven harbour railway station.
The area then became known as the ‘new haven’, and officially recognised as ‘The Port of Newhaven’ in 1882.

Imports then included French farm products and manufactures, timber, granite and slates.

The present breakwater was built in 1890.

Newhaven harbour was designated as the principal port for the movement of men and material to the European continent during World War I.
Between 22 September 1916 and 2 December 1918, the port and town of Newhaven were designated a ‘Special Military Area’ under the ‘Defence of the Realm Regulations’, and the Harbour station was closed to the public.

During World War II, large numbers of Canadian troops were stationed at Newhaven, and the ill-fated Dieppe Raid in 1942 was largely launched from the harbour.

A Poppy Trail

When Lord Lucan vanished in 1974, his car was found in Newhaven, in Norman Road, with two types of blood in it.

Newhaven offers regular passenger services to Dieppe.

All the above research ref wikipedia

I did my best and walked in a huge circle trying to find something really interesting, and some of the little sculptures came to the party, but in all honesty, it didn’t have the magic….that thrill of exploring a new place. In retrospect I could rather have gone to Seaford. Maybe next week. Meanwhile I cut my visit short by an hour and went back to Lewes.

If you can bear it here’s a short video

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https://www.instagram.com/tv/CGrmOHAB10C/?igshid=1ooi9l1506x0s

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Hoorah! Today’s walk was fruitful albeit shorter than usual. Not only did I finally find the blessed Egrets Way path after going off in COMPLETELY the wrong direction ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช and wasting 45 minutes of my break in the process (Passing the railway station should have been a clue…๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”),

But I am once again a ‘Trail blazer’ However, whilst it may appear that I’m a trail blazer, I wish I could tell them how useless I am at reading Google maps, especially when the map moves as I turn my phone to see which way to go๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿ˜ 

And my mileage reached 40% on the Ring of Kerry virtual challenge and so another tree will be planted.

As for the toads crossing, I wonder what happened to the fast toads… ๐Ÿธ๐Ÿธ๐Ÿธ

Alls well that ends well…and another day bites the dust. I only have 7.5 days to go and I’m off, back to Ramsgate. Can’t wait to see my Boobee

This adorable, funny, gorgeous little guy who holds my heart in his hands – my Boobee

His nickname came about from 2 sources….he has loved playing peek-a-boo from when he was tiny, so I started calling him Boo, and now he says “boo” which is just so cute I could eat him…. Meanwhile his parents have been teaching him sign language as a tool for better communication with people who have no hearing. He learned the sign for bee ๐Ÿ and it was so cute I kept asking him to sign it….and one day, I got all muddled when playing with him and called him ‘Boobee’. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚โ˜บโ˜บ so now he’s my special special Boobee…..aka The Blur because he’s never still for one second and I can seldom get a photo of him that isn’t blurred….his Mummy, who sent me this photo, has the same problem…our phone cameras are just not fast enough to capture him in one place โ˜บโ˜บ

He’s a charm; funny, smart, cute, humorous, outgoing, friendly, loves Peppa Pig madly and is just adorable. I am so blessed to have him in my life.

Some other random photos from today, not as interesting as usual as my 6.84km walk wasn’t either….

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