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Archive for the ‘around the UK’ Category

The area that I’m working in is very near to a designated Dark Sky area….and it lives up to its name. Its DARK at night. So dark that if I’m standing outside I can barely see my hand in front of my face.

Its super cool for a restful sleep (I like it pitch dark when I sleep), but it’s not super cool when you have to drive in this dark, which I had to do last night.

Just after my break yesterday I realised that my face was swelling up again; same place as last time. That pesky parotid gland again ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ™„ And remembering that I ended up in hospital for 3/4 days the last time because I ignored it, yesterday I went into a bit of a panic.

I still have 10 days of my assignment to complete and I cannot afford to lose that much money. Besides which the agency wouldn’t be able to find a replacement for a few days. So I immediately got onto Google and did a search, found a surgery, cajoled the receptionist to get me an appointment and to her absolute credit she booked me in immediately.

And thus it came about that I had to drive in what can only be described as a black hole. The only benefit is that on the obscured turns, you would see a cars lights for miles. But on unfamiliar roads, with nothing to show landmarks, it was a bit nerve-wracking.

However, I’m glad I did, because the doctor put me onto some kickass antibiotics and that seems to have held the infection at bay…for now. At least it hasn’t gotten worse. As for the dark sky, just maybe before I leave we could have at least one night of clear skies, I might just get to see the stars ๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿ˜‰ Do you think the universe might comply with my wish?!!

Meanwhile, the grey skies continue and the forecast is for much the same for the next week

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I was watching The One Show on BBC1 a couple of nights ago and they featured a small snippet about the Painted Ladies; our favourite butterfly.

Their arrival in the UK is awaited each year with much anticipation and there is much competition between butterfly lovers as to who will see the first one and where!

a painted lady – borrowed from the butterfly conservation website credited to Iain H Leach

I remember some years ago, quite some years ago, I was working in Suffolk, right next to a farmers field surrounded by hedgerows and trees.

It was Painted Lady season and to my delight it was one of the best years for their numbers and one day, seemingly out of nowhere, suddenly there were thousands of these exquisitely ethereal creatures alighting on every branch, along every hedge and flowers everywhere. A plethora of fantasy as far as the eye could see.

The interesting thing about these butterflies is of course that they are a long-distance migrant, which causes the most spectacular butterfly migrations observed in Britain and Ireland. Each year, it spreads northwards from the desert fringes of North Africa, the Middle East, and central Asia, recolonising mainland Europe and reaching Britain and Ireland.

Now, in my ignorance I assumed (mistakenly) that it was the same individual butterfly that started it’s migration, flying hundreds, if not thousands of miles across land and sea and then arrived here, to our delight.

But no. Apparently the butterfly that lands on our hedges and flowers and trees is in fact the 6th generation…..well, now that is to quote; ‘gob-smacking’. LOL I have learned much since arriving across thousands of miles across land and sea myself ๐Ÿ˜‰ although I flew via SA Airways.

It seems that the first butterfly flies as far as it’s going to fly, it then lays it’s eggs and eventually dies, the next butterfly eventually emerges and sets off, the pattern is repeated and in due course (up to) the 6th generation is what we see here, and they are seen as far as northern Scotland, albeit the majority alight in England.

I was amazed. It’s one of those little snippets of information that is so incredible and previously so unknown that it sticks forever in your memory.

For more information about the Painted Lady (always reminds me of Geishas when I read that term) visit the Butterfly Conservation website

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Since I logged off Twitter (3 months ago) and Facebook (last month) I’ve had time to do some proper reading (as opposed to scrolling) and have rediscovered the joys of WordPress. Whilst searching for interesting blogs to read, I followed the tag ‘Saxons’ and came across this blog, a blog that has turned out to be absolutely fascinating.

The writer transports you back in history to the time of the Saxons with just enough information to keep you interested, written in an easy to read format, you’re left intrigued and wanting to learn more.

After reading about the Mercian king; Penda, I’ve gone right back to the beginning of 2017 and am making my way through history.

The history of England and the UK is nothing if not varied and the allegiances are like the tides that surround our fair isle, they flow back and forth, with waves that violently crash or lap gently on the shore, with whirlpools and hidden depths to trap the unwary.

The problem with the history of this country is that learning one piece of history leaves you wanting more, and I am never satisfied. One of my favourite TV programmes is of course Time Team with Coast a very close second. I can watch them over and over.

http://lasmithwriter.comย  ย Reading this blog is like following a treasure hunt, with links to fascinating people, places and events. I’ve seen many references to places and people I already know, with titles waiting to draw me in. Cuthbert in particular since I’m planning to walk St Cuthbert’s Way in the near future. As well as which there’s a post about my favourite king; Alfred the Great and Winchester. Winchester was the 2nd city I visited after London in 2002 shortly after arriving in England proper. It’s still my 2nd favourite, after London LOL, and I’ve been back many times.

Meanwhile, I have a lot of reading to do ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š but it is all so very interesting…..

If like me, you enjoy the history of the Dark Ages (seriously? Its probably one of the most fascinating periods) and in particular Saxon history, then do yourself a favour and click on the link above, I’m sure you will enjoy her posts.

The Dark Ages according to Britannica.com : Dark Ages or Early Middle Ages, the early medieval period of western European historyโ€”specifically, the time (476โ€“800 CE) when there was no Roman (or Holy Roman) emperor in the West or, more generally, the period between about 500 and 1000, which was marked by frequent warfare and a virtual disappearance of urban life.ย 

The Middle Ages, or medieval time, is generally believed to have started with the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 and to have lasted about 1,000 years until about 1450. The beginning of the Middle Ages is called the Dark Ages because the great civilizations of Rome and Greece had been conquered. Ref https://westernreservepublicmedia.org/middleages/big_intro.htm

Personally I find this to be one of the most intriguing and fascinating periods of history and if the Sutton Hoo treasures and various similar treasure troves discovered over the years are anything to go by, then dark it was not…….

Happy reading.

the saxon monastery

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UK Elections 2019

So the UK elections are in full swing and once again we are subjected to loads of promises about how the relevant party will spend our hard earned taxes…..

My question is this: does anyone actually believe anything they say?

Considering past history and how very quickly they change their tune and how often their memory fails after they get into power….is there any use believing one single campaign promise? Of any party?

And since this is being touted as the ‘Brexit’ election….Let’s remember, if you will, just how many lies Boris Johnson told in order to get himself into the position of Prime Minister (and still does). Does anyone in this country still believe any electioneering promises he makes?

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As part of my ongoing pledge to do better by this world and help save the planet, leaving it in as much a decent condition as is possible for future generations, I’ve taken the XR52 (extinction rebellion) pledge to not buy any new clothes for the next 52 weeks. The programme actually started on 30th April 2019, but since I’ve been working over this last 2 weeks, I’ve not bought anything anyway.

Not that I’m either a follower of ‘fast fashion’ or a prolific clothes buyer, my last purchase was a light top for summer on 8th March 2019 LOL- so no fear of me being a follower of fashion…..I usually have to be dragged off to the store kicking and screaming. I simply can’t be bothered. For me clothes are merely a way of covering my body, avoiding arrest for indecent exposure and keeping warm. Buying clothes is tedious in the extreme and I can’t be bothered with looking through a rack of items that for one reason or another do not excite me much, usually don’t fit for one reason or another, whilst looking at myself naked in front of a full length mirror is not for the faint-hearted LOL

Prior to March, the last time I bought anything was in December 2018 when I took a pair of harem pants and slippers off my daughter…she had bought them but they didn’t fit comfortably, so rather than her ditching or giving them away, I bought them from her. Besides these few items, the last major purchase I made was in March 2018 when I bought an outfit for their May wedding. I’m still wearing shoes (very seldom I might add since they have heels) I bought about 15 years ago. They’re almost brand new as I only wear them about once every 3 years.

My only major purchases are trainers and hiking pants. I go through a pair of trainers every 1500miles or so and my hiking pants were bought in 2016 when I started training for the Camino in 2017.

So, am I a follower of ‘fast fashion’? I think the answer to that is obvious ๐Ÿ˜‰ When I do buy any leisure clothes they are invariably from a charity shop and when I’m done with them, I return it to a charity shop.

Nothing goes in the bin except my underwear and socks, and usually only when I have worn them through. However, going forward, I’m going to see how I can recycle those items as well.

If you’re not familiar with extinction rebellion, they are a protest movement that recently brought London to a standstill and upset a few commuters and of course the government (no bad thing that). Ironically, the Government had just declared a ‘climate emergency’ but nonetheless, they were seriously pissed at the protesters. Many of the people who were ‘inconvenienced’ by the protests are likely people from 1 of 2 camps: 1. people who are trying to make changes by reducing their plastic waste and being active in reducing their carbon footprint, and supported the protests, despite being inconvenienced. 2. people who don’t give a shit so long as they can continue to buy their pretentious takeaway Starbucks latte and their Evian pure spring water, and really couldn’t care less one way or the other about the state of the planet. Now before you breathe flames, I have no doubt that a lot of people were inconvenienced going to work or business meetings or whatever it is that people get up to daily, but consider this…..

We are in a dire situation. The latest UN report is the stuff of nightmares…..100 million species are on the brink of extinction!!! This is besides the thousands, if not millions of species already extinct due to mankind’s exploitation of the planet and her resources. The Amazon forest is reduced by 50 football pitches every SECOND!!! Not year, month, week or day…but SECONDS. Read that again… Seconds!!! The Amazon, along with other forests in places like Indonesia are the planet’s lungs, and we are destroying it by the second!! Billions of trees are razed to the ground for agriculture, for feed for beef, for palm oil plantations (and don’t even get me started on that).

Extract from the report : “PARIS, 6 May โ€“ Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history โ€“ and the rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely, warns a landmark new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the summary of which was approved at the 7th session of the IPBES Plenary, meeting last week (29 April โ€“ 4 May) in Paris.” you can read the full report here. The last mass extinction was 66 million years ago. fck sakes. It’s insane. This folks, is happening on OUR watch.

It’s terrifying and if anyone is not afraid, then they have not been paying attention.

So back to ‘fast fashion’ and my XR52 pledge. For me it’s an easy one. I have a grandson now whose future is of vital importance to me. This pledge is just another cog in my determination to make a difference and reduce my impact on the planet and her ecosystems. I signed a pledge to never use plastic straws again in 2016. I’ve persuaded our chippy to change to a more sustainable container for take-aways. I persuaded a local restaurant to ditch plastic straws. I litter pick as often as possible when I’m home. It’s tiring, it’s hard and I incur a fair amount of abuse. But, and it’s a HUGE but, I have to try and make a difference for my grandson’s future.

If you’d like to learn more about extinction rebellion, you can read more here

Join me, come on board the XR52 campaign and reduce your impact on the planet.

Oh and if you were wondering about the impact that fast fashion has on the planet, then I can recommend that you watch the Stacey Dooley documentary. It’s is quite frankly just shocking and terrifying. “A sea half the size of England has dried up because of the horrific impact of fast fashion.”

If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch it here.

The garment industry is the 2nd largest polluter in the world, whilst the UK, Europe and the US are the largest consumers of ‘fast’ fashion. These days clothing chains bring out a new ‘range’ every week. I remember when I was young/er the fashion industry had ‘seasons’. You waited a full 3 months for the next season. The clothes were invariably well made, stood the test of time and didn’t choke landfill and end up in the ocean by way of plastic micro-fibres.ย  Lots of people think that donating the items made today; threadbare, badly made, last a few weeks (if you’re lucky) to charity is a good idea…well it’s not. The charities are beginning to have to dump tons of old clothes because they are not fit for purpose and because they have too much. Africa is fed up with our cast-offs and some countries are beginning to reject the charitable donations made by the west in favour of encouraging home-grown, local businesses to produce cultural and traditional garments. Bravo to them.

I could go on and on about the terrible impact the ‘fashion’ industry is having on the planet, the animals that live on it, our water systems, and people’s lives, but……

Instead I’m inviting you to join me and take the XR52 challenge and NOT buy any clothing till 30th April 2020. Follow extinction rebellion on instagram

Would you be prepared to take this challenge?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I haven’t updated my bio on my various social media sites for a few months/years so this morning while drinking my tea I thought I’d give it a go.

Of course we are limited in the number of characters we can use, but in summary, on instagram, this is what I wrote.

‘Granny to Jamie 19.01 ๐Ÿ’•๐Ÿ’™ Firewalker. Long-distance walker. Amateur photographer. Pro-remain. Anti-plastic Activist. Litter Picker. Vegetarian/Vegan’

In my head I can picture myself from those words, although it’s only a small synopsis of who I am and what my interests are/things I’ve done. I wonder what conclusions a stranger would make of the description?

I was saying to my (wonderful) daughter just a few days ago, whilst going out of my mind with boredom at work, that I need to sit down and draw up a new list of the things I’ve done and my achievements in life, as a reminder that I’ve had a rich, varied and full life (especially the last 18 years) for those days when I feel trapped by my need to earn money to pay the bills.

There’s this personal development mantra that gets bandied about the Internet that comes to mind…. “If you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life” – at first glance it seems quite benign and holds out hope, but what does it actually mean? I mostly love my job, on the whole I get enormous satisfaction from it, but hey ho….I ‘work’ every day I’m in each assignment. Does that mean I don’t ‘love’ the job enough. I also don’t earn very much which requires me to work more to pay the bills to have a marginally decent living standard….not extravagant by any means and I do without a lot in order to get by.

So, who am I? Do I love my job?

I know what I’d love to be doing (see, there’s that word again). Perhaps I should change it to ‘what I would prefer to be doing….

Spending more time with my grandson ๐Ÿค— ๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿป โฃ๏ธ ๐Ÿ‘ต๐Ÿป

grandchildren, being a granny

my wonderful, heavenly, delightful, precious little grandson.

Travelling ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿ—บ๏ธโณ

porto to santiago, padron to santiago, osprey tempest 40 mystic magenta, walking the camino, nordic walking poles.

my trusty companions; Pepe (backpack) and Gemini (Nordic walking poles) – 10.166 km to Santiago

Taking photos

photography, mobile phone photography, travel

I’m absolutely loving my walks for the #walk1000miles 2017 challenge. It certainly gets me out of bed and out the house, making sure I don’t lag behind. I love walking anyway so it’s no hardship, and what fun it is to see different scenes while I’m out. It also gives me the opportunity to get fit for my Camino. The #mapmywalk app is perfect for my needs.#walking #walkbritain #exploreengland #englishcoast #VikingBay #StoneBay #Kingsgate #isleofthanet #traveldiaries #Camino2017 #cindystravels #viewsofengland

and campaigning against plastic, especially single use plastic.img_20190505_200251163268184.jpg

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I’m going to have to start getting up earlier in the morning if I want to catch the sunrise ๐ŸŒ… Got to the promenade at just before 8am but the sun was already above the horizon albeit behind the clouds.

The weather is amazing once again, its so mild out. And we’re still waiting to say #Peanutisonthewayโฃ๏ธ ๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿป ๐Ÿ’™ This lad is surely taking his own sweet time…. although actually it’s exactly 40 weeks tomorrow, so perhaps will arrive he is ready and not when the NHS say he should arrive.

I went to see the film ‘Wildlife’ last night. Its an incredibly weird film and the jury is out on whether or not I actually enjoyed it… I didn’t. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ™„

It was such a mild evening I decided to take a short walk along the beach… What a blessing to live so near to the sea.

I could hear the crashing of the waves behind the harbour wall so walked over to see what I could ‘sea’… Which wasn’t much, but I could hear it and that sound is like music to my ears.

Afterwards my daughter (the very pregnant soon to be Mummy), her hubby and I took a slow midnight stroll along the promenade in the hope it might encourage baby to start his journey…

The evening air, albeit only 2 degrees out, was perfectly still with a 3/4 moon and a canopy of โœจ crispy clear and really mild.

This morning, although I was tempted to stay in bed, I made the effort to get out to capture the sunrise. I really want to be sure to have a photo for Peanut’s book…on the day that he is born. I hope that’s soon ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ’™โฃ๏ธ

Meanwhile I’ve started reading Simon Reeve’s book Step by Step. He’s my favourite travel presenter and I’ve watched all his travel documentaries which are a real eye-opener. By page 33 I’ve concluded he was a naughty little shit ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚ย whichย explains the ever present twinkle in his eye and the quirky smile.ย  I also discovered quite weirdly that his Dad’s name was Alan which is my middle name. His Mum’s name is Cindy ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค” and his brothers’s name is James (my grandson’s name). Totally weird.

Meanwhile I shall get back to the book I’m compiling for said grandson and hold thumbs that soon I can say with absolute certainty that Peanut is on the way ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ’™โฃ๏ธ

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