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Archive for the ‘book reviews’ Category

Just had to share this with you quickly…I’ve started planning my September walks (thanks to lockdown 2020, they had to be postponed) and of course the first guide under the spotlight is St Cuthbert’s Way.

This was my initial planned walk with a couple of others, but now that I’m rereading the guide I’ve decided to include walking St Oswald’s Way as well, and while I’m there, I may as well walk the whole of the Northumberland Coast Path as well before heading into Newcastle.

I recently started reading Neil Oliver’s BBC A History of Scotland and to my delight, I recognise a lot of the place names he mentions in the book. The area is redolent with history. How will I tear myself away. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜ I will however be visiting quite a few of those places enroute along the two routes.

An absolutely amazing book

Of course I’m still planning on walking The Thames Path for my birthday, and the South Downs Way if I’m kicking my heels and need another long walk before the year is out…

Meanwhile, I’ve discovered that I will need a compass ๐Ÿงญ to find my way at some points ๐Ÿง๐Ÿ•ต๏ธโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ”Ž๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿšถ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ This is going to be reallyyyyyy interesting. I have no idea how a compass works really. I know the principles, but I usually rely on mapmywalk and Google to get me out of a pickle, so I guess a compass tutorial and some map reading is in my future ๐Ÿ”ฎ

Meanwhile I’m finding it really difficult to put the guide book down and focus on something else…its so interesting and I love the snippets of information that the writer has included in the book. Its giving me itchy feet….

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I’ve started reading the book my daughter gave me for Christmas; ‘Walking Home – Clare Balding.’

In the very early pages Clare talks about how she was taught to ‘walk mindfully’; to feel her feet hitting the ground, to hear the birds or background sounds, to feel the wind on her face. So today on my daily perambulation, instead of rehashing the same self-talk that goes over and over around my head (mostly coz its unresolved), today I practised mindful walking….

I felt how my feet scrunched on the beach, I observed how my poles felt as they supported me over the rocks or sank in the sand, I really listened to the seagulls, felt how the wind ruffled my hair and sneaked down my collar (I forgot my scarf at the b&b๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿคจ), and in particular I listened to the songs of the sea…it changed my whole mindset. I felt uplifted,  invigorated and tingled from the cold icy air, and barely noticed that I was soaked from the softly falling rain. What a difference.

My issues are still unresolved, but I can breathe…and I got in 10.26 kms by the time of the real downpour, which spoilt my plan to sit on the bench in Broadstairs to eat my croissants… instead I ran for the bus (the driver kindly waited for me ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ) and took the quick way back.

It was dark when I left the b&b, the streets were quite deserted and I only saw 4 people enroute. I got to the harbour just before 7am.

Town centre at 06:55
Still and quiet at 7am

It had started raining but I barely noticed it until looking at the lights shining on the rain.

Oh…its raining ๐Ÿ˜„

By then I was quite wet, so I sat under the shelter at the Royal Victoria Pavilion and watched the sky lighten…

A blue sky
My view from under the pavilion

Debating a return to the b&b to dry out, instead, as soon as the rain eased off, I meandered down to the waters edge and collected some more sea glass – found some lovely pieces.

Sea glass and pottery pieces

Then turning my head north for Broadstairs watching the sunrise while I listened to the seagulls and the incoming tide I walked…..as I walked the colours of the sky changed and depending on which way I was facing, was either that early morning cold blue or the golden colours of the sun cracking through the clouds…

Passing through Broadstairs I phoned ahead to order my almond croissants from The Old Bakehouse and stopped to photograph the boats in the little harbour – I never tire of seeing them

Pretty wee boats in the harbour

A few dog walkers and early morning strollers passed me by and suddenly, or so it seemed, I reached my turning point at Stone Bay.

A good place as any to turn around

How far I’ve come….

Looking back across Stone Bay

One last photo of Viking Bay

Viking Bay, Broadstairs

Having phoned ahead earlier, The Old Bakehouse kept 2 almond croissants aside for me ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿฅ๐Ÿฅ. As I left, the rain I’d seen crossing the channel reached our shores and the heavens opened…๐ŸŒง๐ŸŒง๐ŸŒง

There comes the rain…

I drank my coffee, then made my way quickly up the High Street towards the bus stop. Suddenly down the road…the bus approached. I ran – fast!! The driver (bless his heart) waited for me. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Then it was back to the b&b for tea.

Brilliant walk: 10.26kms. And thus ends my holiday/Christmas/New Year break. Back to work tomorrow and limited time to walk for the next 2 weeks. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค” I’m hoping the area I’ll be working in has some interesting walks. Meanwhile, I’ve reached 20% of the Alps to Ocean NZ virtual challenge and got my 3rd postcard of the route.

I’ve started uploading the Mt. Fuji postcards and information and will post those asap and then I’ll get the Alps to Ocean postcards uploaded and share those too. The organisers have done an outstanding job of creating the postcards and the relevant information. It’s totally impressive

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Its been a very long time since I read such a thick book in such a short space of time. Wow, what a storyteller he is. I could feel the heat of the desert, felt as if I was inside those fighters and the pain of the many small tragedies that occurred in order to bring the fight to fruition. Quite a few surprises and a helluva a lot of gasps of shock as my eyes flew across each page….incredible story. Based on the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, its a masterful story woven around true life events and people. The deception, duplicity and sheer evil of mankind is dreadful….but what a damn good story..

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I’m reading a book, historically factual but written as a story by Frederick Forsyth about the 1990 Iraq invasion of Kuwait.

The Fist of God. Its fascinating but OMG….humans are mad. Evil and mad. The stuff they do.ย  I can’t believe that if there was a God, that he would want us to continue under the illusion that we were created in his image. He must shudder. I’m sure he’s washed his hands of the human race…

I remember the invasion of Kuwait, my daughter was 10 years old at the time and I used to buy the papers so we could read them. I remember telling her that this was history, we were living in momentous times.

I also remember how the media scared the living daylights out if us and despite being at the very very bottom end of Africa and closer to Antarctica than Iraq, just how terrifying it was. Imagination went as wild as you can imagine!!

I think I still have some of the front pages….I’m weird like that.

But for sure, I never realized just how evil the whole thing was. And still today, we have evil men plotting dastardly events and violence against mankind.

I think we need a meteor to arrive…

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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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One of the benefits of this particular assignment are the books. I started reading a travelogue yesterday: Southern Cross to Pole Star – A. F. Tschiffely. It’s an account of 10,000 miles in the saddle through the Americas from Argentina to Washington in the early 20th century. Its absolutely fascinating and I am hooked. One of the features of the book that attracted me, was the cover – the illustration shows a detail of ‘Blue Putas’ by Marianne North (1830-1890). You may or may not know that hundreds (nearly 1000 in all) of Marianne North’s paintings are exhibited in a special gallery at Kew Gardens – well worth a visit when next in the area….its a visual smorgasbord of floral scenes from around the world; Marianne herself being an intrepid explorer in the 19th century. At a time when it was unheard of for women to travel on their own she visited places like Australia, African countries, the Pacific Idlabds, the Americas and many others. It’s an extraordinary collection of oil paintings and I delight in spending time there whenever I’m at Kew, and the gallery is open.

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So this is what Lent feels like…I haven’t had physical contact with a single person for 40 nights and 40 days. May as well live in the desert…

I suddenly realized today that I haven’t had any physical contact with anyone since 22nd March when I said goodbye to my daughter….its bizarre. I’m quite a tactile person and even when I was walking the Camino on my own in 2017, I still had loads of hugs from fellow pilgrims, albergue owners and sometimes just a fist bump with a random stranger.

Much as I’m really glad the earth is getting a chance to heal, I’ll be glad when lockdown is over, although I suspect that hugging and fist bumps will no longer be on the agenda. How awful its going to be, to be afraid of hugs. ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ

I just hope that we won’t lose much enjoyed hugs between family. Talking of family I had a delightful facetime with my daughter and grandson today. Gosh he’s adorable. I was talking to him and blowing him kisses, so he took the phone away from his Mummy and walked around kissing my face ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿป oh my gosh it was so cute. All I could see was his forehead and the adorable curl on his head…my daughter was beside herself with laughter…he’s a real charm.

My days in Nether Stowey are numbered now, only 9 to go and I’m off….although of course, all being well I’ll be back in July. Weirdly I’ve been quite happy here and although I’m desperate to see my family, and I’m really quite tired now (and sick of meal planning ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช), I’m quite sad to go. It’s a lovely area and once we got past the initial issues, I’ve gotten on quite well with my client. I am not looking forward to the journey though. Its going to be long…I just hope there will be trains ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”

I’ve started a new book; The Pure in Heart – Susan Hill….one of my favourite authors. So this will be the 9th book I’ve read since being in lockdown.

Had a lovely long walk today; 5.4 kms. I just felt like I really needed to stretch my legs, and the area is so beautiful its hard to resist…although of course I have done quite a lot of that ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

My sister mentioned that the SA government has now started on phase 4 ; a lifting of the lockdown is in progress…means they can now actually go out for a very short walk. It all seems very organized and puts our shambolic government to shame

To see how the number of deaths is mounting is quite terrifying, and seeing how the government is putting a spin on everything is disgusting. I’m so sick of their dishonesty. Even one of the most fundamental issues of getting a grip on this virus; testing, has had their warped spin applied

https://www.hsj.co.uk/quality-and-performance/revealed-how-government-changed-the-rules-to-hit-100000-tests-target/7027544.article#.Xqw3EoFpNi4.facebook

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/01/ministers-accused-of-changing-covid-19-test-tally-to-hit-100000-goal

I truly hope there will be a public enquiry and that certain members of the party will….I’d like to say hang, but I guess that’s a bit harsh…however if you consider the number of people who have died due to their incompetence…well…perhaps drawn and quartered might suffice.

Piers Morgan wrote a very accurate piece on the Covid-19 timeline and how the Tory government seriously missed so many red flags….while our emperor was cavorting with his latest piece of fluff, Rome, so to speak was burning….or in this case the UK. And now we have the 2nd highest number of deaths in the world, the most shambolic distribution of PPE and a bunch of bald-faced liars who pump up the numbers to make it look as if they’re being ‘successful’. The day of reckoning will come. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8275365/PIERS-MORGAN-Boris-boast-wants-death-toll-tells-real-story.html?ito=facebook_share_article-bottom

I’m not (usually) a Daily Mail reader and I’m not actually a fan of Piers Morgan, but by golly he’s hit the nail on the head.

And do another day goes by…who knows what the future might hold. With all the saber-rattling going on in the White House, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw nuclear warheads flying overhead between Beijing and Washington one of these days.

Stay safe folks…

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At the start of this lockdown, we were told it would be 3 weeks; 21 days, and therefore we would have been 5 days from the end…but with the number of deaths mounting and the daily number of infections increasing day on day, I very much doubt we’ll see the end of this before end April.

Personally, I’d be quite okay with another week or two of lockdown…it’s giving nature a chance to flourish and the planet to repair itself. However, the impact of this is going to be horrendous for small businesses. So many sad stories emerging…and its only going to get worse. Frankly I think it’s going to be a long uphill struggle for years to come and many are going to fall through the cracks.

Meanwhile, trying to distract myself from the TV and the news and bloody Facebook ๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿคจ๐ŸคจI’ve been reading a lot….did I say ‘a lot’!! Bit of an understatement really ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ I finished the 5th book today. I thought I’d read 4, but no….its 5 in just over2 weeks….hmmm. Although this job started off really badly, things have settled down and now I have more free time, so I’ve been reading…a lot

Talking of the job, I’m halfway through and from tomorrow its countdown and I’m on the downward slope.

Andddd talking of slopes ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ™„ I didn’t go out today during my break; too many people about, so instead I had a lovely long snooze and went out for half an hour this evening at sunset. I walked up the hill and onto the ramparts of the castle where I saw a stunning sunset. Not many people about thankfully, just a few dog walkers.

Sunset over the Quantock hills

I did another quick video for my grandson so he could see the sunset where I am. The Bristol Channel looked a fabulous shade of blue on the horizon and of course I could see the coastline of Wales in the distance.

The Bristol Channel

I had the best delivery from the mailman today….a postcard with a photo of the cutest little Easter bunny you ever did see โ˜บ๏ธโ˜บ๏ธ๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿฅฐ

The cutest bunny ever โคโค

We also had a very brief hello via facetime earlier this evening and it’s such a joy to see that gorgeous little smile. He’s such a little busy bee and doesn’t sit still for long before he’s off…here and there. Apparently they had a bit of a drama in the garden this morning…he was walking about with barefeet in the grass because he’s outgrown his shoes, and poor wee poppet stood on a thorn ๐Ÿ˜ช๐Ÿ˜ช๐Ÿ˜ช ouch. Too painful for words. Children give you grey hair ๐Ÿ˜‰…..worth every one.

I was delighted this evening to get a reply from the albergue in Arcade where I stayed one night on my Camino. I’ve been really concerned for Miguel and his family but thankfully they’re all well, although really struggling with the terrible situation in Spain. I’m looking forward to seeing them again when my younger sister and I walk the route again next year.

So other than that, nothing much happening….I’ve got the grandparents WhatsApp facetime tomorrow to look forward to, which is always fun….4 adults all talking over each other due to time lags and the grandson looking bemused ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Its so quiet outside and just before I got into bed I stood at the bedroom window and just enjoyed the pure stillness….all I could hear were the faint sounds of the farm animals and the rushing water in the nearby brook. But what amazed me was that I could smell the very strong perfume of honeysuckle….not sure where its growing but the perfume was so strong. The benefits of no traffic….

Folks, I hope you’re all well and keeping safe. It was lovely to get a message from America on my Instagram today ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Take care everyone…wherever you may be and remember – April’s distance is May’s existence. Be safe

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Insidious Intent

Just finished the 10th in the series featuring Carol Jordan and Tony Hill (Robson Green) of Wire in the Blood. Val McDermid is one of my favourite crime writers and I always find it hard to put the book down….brilliant twist in the tale again. Loved it.

The only problem I have with reading a good book is that it eventually comes to an end….and then I wish I didn’t read so fast so it could last longer. I found this copy in a charity shop in Taunton.

One day I’ll get all the books in the series under one roof and read them in order ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ

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Okay so this post is a bit out of date LOL. I really didn’t get to do much blogging once baby arrived. However, since I am no longer living at ‘home’ I’m working my way through my drafts and updating as I go…..so this particular evening dates back to 23.01.2019….10 months ago LOL…blimey talk about slow….anyhow

At Cadogan Hall for the ‘Evening with Levison Wood’ in aid of Tusk Org. Looking forward to hearing more about the adventures of @levison.wood #WalkingtheNileย &ย #Arabia – disappointing to discover that the books are presigned and there’s no ‘book signing’ at the event as such, as I understood it would be. ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚ I brought both mine with. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜Ah well. Still, I’m sure the event will be interesting. (update: Mr Wood graciously agreed to sign my books after the event, which I thought was super cool) Actually its quite weird to be in #London again, haven’t been for what feels like ages. The last time I was at Cadogan Hall was for the Scarlet and Gold Military Band event a few years ago. Time just flies

A most enjoyable Evening with Levison Wood at Cadogan Hall listening to tales of derring do and adventure. Loved watching the snippets of film and hearing anecdotes of people and places while travelling around Arabia, as well as his work with Tusk. Its shocking how many beautiful animals are being slaughtered for the greed of a few. ๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’” After my initial disappointment apropos the book signing, after the show, I decided that I would ask once again if it was at all possible for Mr Wood to autograph my books… One of the Tusk ladies asked on my behalf and I’m delighted to say that he very graciously agreed to sign them for me, albeit a bit hush hush. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š I shall treasure these books and one day I will read them to my little cherub Jamie and hopefully awaken a sense of adventure and world travel in his soul.

walking the nile levison wood, books to read, book recommendations

such an interesting albeit scary book at times. a very good read

Travel travel travel… It really does change your perspective and perception of other people’s lives, values and beliefs. I wish more people could/would travel and adventure in other countries, I’m pretty certain the world would be a better place. Meanwhile, I’m back on Granny duty while Mummy and Daddy catch up on sleep, and as I write I have a wee baby boy cuddled up in my arms. I’ve been singing him a lullaby and he’s fast asleep. He’s already changing and I’m pretty sure he’s put on a bit of weight ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚ ergo my arm is getting tired from holding him up. I’ll have to do some weight lifting to keep up. ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’• Thanks again to @levison.woodย for a most enjoyable evening and for signing my books ๐Ÿ“š

Said goodbye to my Mountain Warehouse backpack tonight. I bought it nearly 2 years ago intending to use it for theย #Camino2017ย pilgrimage from Porto toย #SantiagodeCompostelaย but bought theย #Ospreyย Tempest instead, which was much lighter, and therefore never used this one. I tried to sell it since I paid nearly a day’s pay for it ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜ฏ but no success. I was going to donate it to a local charity shop but the thought of someone who could afford to pay a decent price for a backpack, buying it for next to nothing, I decided instead to donate it to Centrepoint, the homeless people’s charity. They assured me it will go to a person who would get the best use of it. I’m well happy with that ๐Ÿ˜Š I’ve sent it onto its next journey with god-speed and good-luck.

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