Archive for December 5th, 2020

I’ve had some amazing walks the last few years since moving to the east coast. The scenery along the Thanet coastline is really beautiful, especially at sunrise on a clear day, and then sunset. You can catch a gorgeous sunrise from Broadstairs or Ramsgate, and if it’s a good day, an equally gorgeous sunset from Pegwell Bay or Margate. I’ve been known to rush over to Margate to catch the sunset or a quick walk to the cliffs above Pegwell Bay.

Sunrise in Broadstairs
Sunset over Pegwell Bay

I’ve always loved walking. As a young girl, in my 20s’ when I lived in Hillbrow Johannesburg, I used to spend the whole of Sundays just walking around the suburbs for hours on end. I used to walk to work every day, up the hill and down the other side….right up until I was 8 months pregnant, and then my boss wouldn’t allow me to walk anymore and insisted one of the staff take me home by car and collect me the next day.

I lost my walking after my daughter was born and my husband bought me a car. By then it wasn’t that safe to walk alone anyway and I got lazy.

When I arrived in the UK, my love of walking was reignited. I lived in Dublin, Rep. Of Ireland for 6 months and my sister, brother-in-law and I used to walk everywhere, especially on weekends when we’d head out to DΓΊn Laoghaire or Glendalough and the Wicklow mountains. In fact we travelled to so many places, I’ve quite forgotten all but the most memorable. I do remember though being able to walk home from Dublin to Monkstown late at night and never feel unsafe….and my love walking,  freedom really, was reborn.

I remember one weekend when we walked across country from Waterford city to PassageEast in the County of Waterford, took the ferry across the River Barrow to Ballyhack Lower in County Wexford, then walked to Arthurstown and onto Duncannon…and in reverse the next day. One of the many fun excursions from my 6 months there.

A walk across country in Rep. Of Ireland

On most of my overseas trips since, I’ve invariably planned a 10 day stayΒ  and walked….everywhere, and included a day trip to another destination. When I visited Venice I literally walked around all the accessible islands and usually started at 8am and walked till late at night exploring every nook and cranny. Actually, after Ireland, Venice was my very first trip to Europe and albeit terrified, I loved every minute.

I’ve since walked 80%+ of the streets in the City of London….much of my free time was spent exploring every court, lane and street, and I walked a fair amount of the City of Westminster too. When we still lived in Richmond, I often walked along the Thames riverbank, either downstream to Kew Gardens or upstream to Kingston and even Hampton Court. Even in the snow πŸ˜‰

When we moved to Broadstairs we used to walk along the beach to Ramsgate. I always thought it was quite far, but its actually only just over 3kms. Now that I frequently walk in excess of 20kms and occasionally as much as 35kms, it seems absurd that I thought 3kms was far 😁😁

During my last stay, I walked along the beach from Ramsgate to Stone Bay and back, and one morning I enjoyed a sunrise walk to Viking Bay…of course I stopped off at The Old Bake House and bought a take-away coffee and my favourite pastry; an almond croissant then sat on a bench on the promenade to enjoy my treat.

Its such a stunning section of the coast and offers much of interest to see. Stretch your legs and walk to Margate… fantastic route, especially along the beach.

No hardship walking in this environment

A few weeks ago I decided to walk to Sandwich (for the 3rd time) in order to increase my mileage for the Conqueror 2020 Challenge.Β  Somewhere along the way I hatched the insane idea of walking the whole of the English coastline….I know…bring on the strait jacket. I blame it on the moon 🀭🀭🀭 I’ve walked as far as Dover so far. Of course Covid-19 has held back my horizons, but I’m hoping to get out more frequently in 2021.

Crossing the White Cliffs of Dover

I love walking and one of the benefits of my job is that I get to travel all over England, often times to places I’d never heard of…and then I walk…

Old disused railway line in Lewes

But my walking got a real sense of seriousness when I started training for the Portuguese Camino in 2017, and started following the #walk1000miles challenge in 2016. That really got me going. I struggled at first to get into walking daily, bought my first pair of walking poles (still have them πŸ˜„), a decent pair of walking shoes (asics) and I’ve never looked back, now I find it difficult to not get out for a walk on a daily basis and get quite tetchy if my walking is interrupted ….πŸ˜‰

Stunning coastline between Deal and Walmer.

Show me a path and I’ll walk it….

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But words will never harm me.

I was chatting to my daughter and grandson last night via WhatsApp video, always an absolute joy when I’m away. I miss them so much….

My daughter was telling me that she took him to the park in the afternoon which he loves.

There were some other children there, older than him by about a couple of years, playing with the bark and play pretending it was ice-cream.

My grandson (not yet 2 years old) trotted over and tried to make friends. He picked up some bark too and offered it to the little boy, who rejected it and dismissed him with a snarky comment πŸ˜”πŸ˜”

His little face crumpled with disappointment and hurt. He wanted to join in and be friends. He’s such a sweet little soul and so generous.

My daughter related how her heart contracted with the pain of his rejection, the expression on his face.

And I knew exactly how she was feeling. My heart contracted with imagining how he felt and remembering how I used to feel when she was rejected at school and at any other time in her life. It pains me greatly to know that he’s going to go through these times as he grows up.

It reminded me of the little ditty my Mother taught me when I used to get bullied at school : ‘sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me’.

I recall chanting that ditty many times over the years, until my daughter some years ago said that actually it’s not true. Wounds from sticks and stones do heal in time and you tend to forget about them. But the words remain stuck in your head to go endlessly round and round, sometimes interminably as you grapple to make sense of why someone has said such hurtful things.

My heart ached for this little boy, just starting out on his journey through life and it brings tears to my eyes thinking about the painful times he is going to have to contend with.

I wish I could teach him how to not take the nasty things people say to heart, but I’m useless at that coz I’m still struggling with something my sister said to me at my daughter’s wedding nearly 3 years ago….

My daughter said she’s going to teach him to “not give a shit what people say”, but ultimately some barbs hit hard and go deep and the pain never goes away.

My grandson truly is a sweet, gentle, caring, generous little boy, and it pains me greatly to know that along his journey in life he too is going to feel the pain of nasty words. I do hope his Mummy can teach him how to not let them affect him too much.

To learn that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but I won’t let your words harm me”. To learn that words deliberately or carelessly directed at you are more about the person saying them than about you.

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