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Midway through my walk along Hadrian’s Wall I got a message from my brother-in-law to say that he was treating my sister to a trip to Ireland for her 50th birthday πŸŽ‚ πŸ₯³ Hoorah! And would I be able to join them? Would I just!!! ☺☺

This is a significant birthday and definitely needs to be celebrated in outstanding fashion.

25 x 2!!

It’s kind of a circle too; it will be 20 years since I flew to Ireland from South Africa to celebrate her 30th birthday …. a journey that changed the course of my life and ultimately my daughter’s life too.

Now they’re flying over from South Africa and I’m flying from the UK.

Isn’t it interesting, the many twists and turns of life, and how an action you take one day/month/year can have unexpected consequences.

I’m delighted and really excited to see them again – it’s been 5 years since I was last in SA, and with Covid-19 I had no plans to travel there for the foreseeable future…mostly because SA is still on the UK’s ‘red list’ and I would have had to quarantine for 2 weeks on my return at an extortionate cost in a hotel room.

But it seems that Ireland has less draconian and inwardlooking rules than the UK and you can visit as long as you’re vaccinated.

So it was with much excitement that I booked my flight to Ireland and on 7th October we will be meeting in Dublin, along with my daughter, son-in-law and grandson to celebrate my sister’s 50th and tag on the 20th anniversary πŸ˜€ of my new life in the northern hemisphere. Although 50 beats 20 any day 😁😁

It’s with much excitement that I’m counting the days. ☺ πŸ—“

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Not my copyright, but very good advice to follow as you journey through life

This was posted by a friend on Facebook, and it really spoke to me, especially #2 – so often in life decisions are made on “what will…….think” fill in the gap. It took me decades to get past worrying about what other people may or may not think. But now I’m in a good place and it’s freeing.

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I took my precious BooBee on an action packed adventure today. He’s so much fun and an absolute joy to be with.

He had ice-cream on the beach, jumped and did head rolls on a trampoline, rode on a merry-go-round, went on a pirate swing boat, jumped on a bouncy castle and played a game of table tennis πŸ“

We stopped for lunch and rested a bit. Afterwards we walked through the harbour and to the beach where we built a stone pile and paddled in the sea before covering him up with sand.

We then climbed the cliff path and stopped on the way to look for dinosaurs in the chalk and draw his and my name with chalk

From there we went to the funfair where he enjoyed a pirate stage show and a couple of rides on a bouncy slide.

A fantastic day all round and we (read me πŸ‘΅πŸ») covered 9 kms…most of which he was sitting on my shoulders. Entered my kms to the Conqueror Kruger Park challenge and boom πŸ’₯ another post card!! πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Kruger National Park

Having left Hluhluwe my first stop was the Manyoni Private Game Reserve.  Privately owned and one of the largest reserves in Kwazulu-Natal, Manyoni was established in 2004 when 17 landowners dropped their fences and opened up their lands to create a protected area for wildlife.  One of the main drivers was to create a release site for a founding group of black rhinos as part of the WWF Black Rhino Range Expansion Project (BRREP).  

The project is a collaboration between Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal Wildlife (EKZNW) and World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).  Their aim is to transfer black rhinos from provincial and national parks where they are at capacity to privately and community owned sites where they can continue repopulating under protection.  Black rhinos once roamed much of Africa and had a population of 100,000 as late as the 1960s.  Over the next 25 years the population diminished by 97% leaving a mere 2450 rhinos that were under protection in small reserves putting them on the critically endangered list.  

However, with the aid of BRREP and sites like Manyoni the population is slowly growing.  Manyoni has also reintroduced endangered cheetahs and African wild dogs whilst also focusing on conserving the landscape and ecosystem. 

The next location is the Zimanga Private Game Reserve.  Originally known as Hlambanyathi Game Reserve, the game on site were nearly all wiped out due to neglect and poaching.  All that was left was 7 zebras, 1 wildebeest and some impalas and warthogs.  In 1998 Charl Senekal, a sugar cane farmer, purchased the estate the reserve was a part of.  He rebuilt the game reserve, fenced it and expanded the land.  Over a period of time he reintroduced animals that were historically present in the area. Today it has 80 species of mammals including giraffe, buffalo, rhino, elephant, waterbuck, wildebeest, zebra, kudu, nyala, hippo, cheetah and lions.    

The final reserve in Kwazulu-Natal was the Pongola Game Reserve.  This 31,000 hectares reserve is over a century old and the first proclaimed reserve in Africa.  Within its reserve is the 15,000 hectare Lake Jozini (aka Pongolapoort Dam).  Besides typical game species, the reserve also has four of the Big Five: elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard.  

The lake primarily used for irrigation is fed by the Phongolo River which runs right through the Pongolo Reserve.  Dammed in 1973, the lake is home to the pink-backed and great white pelicans, the Nile crocodiles and hippos.  The dam also supports more than 350 bird species such as Pel’s fishing owl, the green and red Narina Trogon and the red-beaked, black and white Saddle-billed Stork.

The Space for Elephant Foundation are also working at the Pongola Reserve aiming to create a habitat for more than 1000 elephants and re-establish an old migration route.   Baby twin elephants,  Dingane and Shaka were born at Pongola in 2014.  Twins are extremely rare, as little as 0.5% of elephant births worldwide, making these twins extremely special at Pongola.

I’ve now completed 94 kms of the Kruger Park challenge

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When I bought the Kruger National Park challenge in March I had it in mind to honour the memory of my brother Arnold, who should have been 66 years old today; 08/08/21. He died in his mid-20s nearly 40 years ago under very sad circumstances.

Kruger National Park virtual challenge
Kruger National Park virtual challenge – starter bib

So I figured I would hold it till 1 August before starting the challenge and try to walk 66 kms by his birthday. As well as which, I was born in South Africa and one of my most enduring childhood memories was a visit to the Kruger National Park when we were teenagers…probably about 13 or 14 at the time. My Dad, his 2nd wife, me (the eldest) my brother (6 months younger than me – adopted by my Dad when he remarried), my sister 3.5 years younger than me and my much younger brother who was a baby at the time.

As we drove along the very long narrow dusty road heading towards the gates of the camp, after a long day of driving, my little brother threw up all over my older brother…I was wearing a very fancy patterned two piece pant-suit; a mini-skirt length top and bell-bottoms at the time, blue with coloured squares (I think I wrote about this some time back under a different context)…anyway, my brother had on a bright orange shirt and khaki trousers, which now had vomit all over them. A quick stop at the side of the road and we progressed with everyone affected cleaned up and my brother wearing the pants of my suit and looking both sheepish and colourful.

I can’t recall the name of the camp, but I do remember that we had a fantastic view of a massive waterhole from the dining room. We had a fantastic time and managed to see a lot of game on our drives, as well as in the compound when the animals from outside the fence decided to join the animals inside the fence!!! But of all the exciting things we saw, that episode with the clothes and the eggs we had for breakfast are my best memories.

And so I kicked off on 1 August and got my first postcard

Once again, the amount of information they provide with each postcard is amazing, and so fascinating. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I have

On the southeast coast of South Africa and bordered by Lesotho, Eswatini and Mozambique is the province of Kwazulu-Natal.  Known for its beaches, mountainous region and large savannahs with big game, this province is also home to the Zulu nation.  Kwazulu-Natal is made up of two separate provinces, KwaZulu and Natal, that merged in 1994.  KwaZulu was a semi-independent area intended as a homeland for the Zulu people whose ancestors were part of the Zulu Kingdom.

The Zulu Kingdom was a monarchy from 1816-1897 which grew to prominence under the leadership of Shaka Zulu, the illegitimate son of Senzangakhona, the Chief of the Zulu clan.  Senzangakhona had 14 sons, 4 of them ruled as kings.  Although Shaka was the oldest, due to his illegitimacy he did not have any claim as successor to his father.  When Senzangakhona died in 1816, his legitimate heir Sigujana took over but his rule was short-lived as Shaka had him assassinated and became king.  He in turn was killed 12 years later by another brother, Dingane who 12 years later was overthrown by his brother Mpande, who ruled for the next 32 years.  Mpande’s son, Cetshwayo, succeeded him in 1873 for the next five years.  

Cetshwayo was the leader during the Anglo-Zulu War of 1879.  Fought over several bloody battles between the British Empire and the Zulu Kingdom, the war lasted less than six months.  The first significant battle was at Isandlwana in January 1879 where 20,000 Zulu warriors attacked the British forces of less than 2,000 soldiers.  Defeating the British, a contingent of Zulu warriors broke off from the main force and proceeded towards Rorke’s Drift, which would become the second main battle on the same day.  Having been pre-warned of the Zulu advances, the British were prepared for the assault.  Vastly outnumbered with guns blazing, the British held their position.  After 12 hours of fighting, the Zulu warriors retreated.  Several more battles were fought over the coming months until the British moved into the royal village where they inflicted the final defeat.  By August, Cetshwayo was captured, deposed and exiled.  He was the last king of an independent Zulu nation.  Today Cetshwayo’s descendant Goodwill Zwelithini is the 8th reigning monarch of the Zulu nation.

My journey begins in the town of Hluhluwe.  Located in the north of Kwazulu-Natal between iSimangaliso Wetland Park and Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park, this small town is known for its big game, national parks and production of 95% of South Africa’s pineapples.  It has a population of less than 4,000 residents, yet it is considered a travel hub for Kwazulu-Natal. 

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is a major attraction for the big 5 game: elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard.  Located southwest of Hluhluwe, the park is the oldest nature reserve in Africa consisting of 96,000 hectares.  Established in 1895 as a park, the area was originally a royal hunting ground for the Zulu Kingdom.  The reserve was setup to protect the endangered white rhinoceroses and now has the largest population in the world (approx. 1000).  The park is also the only one in Kwazulu-Natal where all five big game animals can be found.

Located northeast to Hluhluwe is the 1,270sq mi (3,280km2) iSimangaliso Wetland Park.  The park is rich in fauna and flora due to the β€œdifferent ecosystems within the park, ranging from coral reefs and sandy beaches to subtropical dune forests, savannahs, and wetlands”.  A wonderful array of animals co-habitate here both on land and in the ocean such as: elephant, leopard, rhino, buffalo, hippos, whales, dolphins, leatherback and loggerhead turtles and crocodiles. The park was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999.

The park also contains the 140sq mi (350km2) estuarine Lake St Lucia.  It was named in 1575 on the day of the feast of Saint Lucy.  Nearly 2,200 plant species have been identified in the lake’s system such as the Sausage-tree, bearing sausage-like fruits 1-2ft long (30-60cm) and purplish-green flowers. It is also an ideal environment for mangrove trees, six different species have been recorded.  Other delightful flora are the Prickly Tree Hibiscus with its yellow flowers, Maputaland Cycad with its red flowers, Impala-lily with its delicate pink flowers and the Cape honeysuckle.

And so, over a period of 7 days I managed to achieve my goal of walking 66kms; 1 for each year that he would have been…had he lived.

I miss my brother, and although we were not blood relatives I adored him and he me. We got up to a lot of mischief as children and one of the few photos I have of him is when there were just the 5 of us; my cousin Yvonne, me, my cousin Brian, my brother Arnold and my sister Susanne. My family expanded a lot after this photo was taken, what with remarriages and another 4 sisters and 1 brother.

family and relationships
me, my brother, my sister, and cousins

The rest of the challenge will be completed during my jaunt along the Northumberland Coast Path and Hadrian’s Wall, both of which are long enough to ‘possibly’ allow me to complete this challenge before I return home. Although I have to say that the temptation to buy a 2nd Hadrian’s Wall challenge and complete the virtual walk whilst walking the actual wall is VERY strong!! LOL… I’ll decide by the 09th of September before I start my actual walk…it will all depend on how many km’s I manage to complete before then since the Kruger challenge has to be finished by 30/09/21 because the organisers changed the medal and made the route shorter. But I want the original medal, so…onwards into the breech dear friends, onwards!

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for me, I’m kicking up dust in the Kruger National Park… πŸ™‚

Here are some of the scenes from my 7 walks

walking the kruger national park
Day 1 Sunday 01.08.2021
walking the kruger national park
Day 2 Monday 02.08.21
walking the kruger national park
Day 3 Wednesday 04.08.21
walking the kruger national park
Day 4 Thursday 05.08.21
walking the kruger national park
Day 5 Friday 06.08.21
walking the kruger national park
Day 6 Saturday 07.08.21
walking the kruger national park
Day 7 Sunday 08.08.21

Day 3 I ended up hip deep in a ditch sky-high with brambles…still not sure how I got out, there’s a long story behind the cows on day 4 and there’s one particular scene that I just love and photograph it every day when I walk that route. The houses in this area are stunning…and I get house envy when I see some of them, and I love that quote from Day 1.

The above scenes are round and about the farmlands of Faversham. They recently harvested one of the fields nearby, hence the tractor and the harvester.

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On Saturday my daughter, son-in-law and I took the BooBee (my grandson) for a Jurassic encouter with dinosaurs at Grovelands Park in Southgate. Albeit a long tiring journey by train and tube to get there it was a wonderful experience. In retrospect we figured it would have been easier and less tiring to travel up by car.

Despite the weather prognosis of thunder storms (that never happened), we packed for a day out and tickets in hand, off we went.

After a lengthy journey by train and tube we eventually arrived by which stage the BooBee had gone to sleep πŸ’€πŸ˜΄ which was a good thing because then he was rested and happy to see the dinosaurs.

A long walk from the gates, as we neared the area we could hear fierce roars and screams emanating from the forest!! Finally we reached the dinosaur enclosure and set off on our adventure.

Whaaaaa!!! Got ya!

The dinosaurs πŸ¦• were really impressive and beautifully presented as with lifelike roars they swung their tails back and forth while moving their heads up and down…enormous teeth in massive jaws gaping ready to eat little people – no, not really, I’m just using artistic license to set the scene πŸ˜€πŸ˜‰

Mr T-Rex I presume!! Heading for the chip shop 🍟🍟

It was really cool to see them swinging their heads up and down as their jaws opened and closed, quite lifelike, although from what I could see, the majority of the kids were not phased as they climbed and clambered on the animals, my grandson amongst them, in as much as a tiddler can (of course he had an Anny to help πŸ˜‰)

Who’s this tiddler climbing on my back??
Ride a small Dino to Jurassic Park…

He approached them all without fear and whacked and slapped their heads and faces about, copying all the misbehaving rug-rats around him πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ while the 3 adults exhorted caution and ‘be gentle’, or ‘pat it carefully’ or ‘don’t bash it’ from the sidelines!! All of which mostly fell on deaf ears!! But to be fair, he did pat and stroke gently, and then went back to bashing and whacking and pushing and pulling. Kids eh!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ the dinosaurs however, are tough, and survived the onslaught.

I think you need a pedicure…πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”
Hello Dino!!!
Regurgitating his last meal?? Meanwhile, under his belly the tiddler was jumping up and down, head bashing the belly πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
Come with me said the tiddler to the dino
Want a snack??

The route wound it’s way through the trees and it all looked very authentic and impressive.

Daddy stopped to have words with one fella and the last we saw he was running through the trees….the dinosaur, not Daddy, although he too did a substantial amount of running after the tiddler, who should just enrol for the Olympics as a sprinter…he’d be bring home πŸ₯‡πŸ₯‡πŸ₯‡πŸ₯‡πŸ… Jeez, the kid is fast, and switches back and forth faster than a blade runner!!

My growl is louder than your growl…no it isn’t, yes it is!!!
Running for the trees….

We did the whole family outing thing and bought chocolate covered donuts, a Teddy dinosaur and a balloon 🎈(which made it home safely without floating off to kill any birds or frighten horses). I am absolutely paranoid about balloons and their environmental impact, so we were ultra careful to not let it loose.

Mummy entertaining the tiddler with the help of Teddy dinosaur
Learning to be an archaeologist and digging up bones 😁

The same cannot be said about the tiddler, and Daddy and Anny had a fine old time taking turns chasing after him at the dinosaur enclosure and later at the diner by the station. His route included a foray into M&S much to the amusement of the guards and bemusement of the shoppers, and a quick (read very quick) race around the gondolas and shelves stacked with bottles of perfume and make up in Boots which didn’t endear us to the store – we were met with disapproving grunts and stares from the staff and shoppers alike as he ran round and round the shelves, and I pretended that I couldn’t catch him!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Yes, we’ve become one of those …you know, the ones that people (like me 😁) always raise their eyebrows at as they tut tut and comment on the bad behaviour πŸ˜† of the child, while the adult tries desperately to catch the offending creature before they knock anything over….yip, I’m now in that category, and boy it was fun!!

My daughter tut tuts a lot when we’re out “Anny!! What are you teaching this child?” Me? πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡πŸ˜‡ nothing!!

After a scrumptious meal at a diner (a wetherspoons to my dismay – ugh) and much tiddler chasing, we hopped aboard the train with a minute to spare and headed for home. The tiddler kept us entertained along with a few of the passengers…so much so that 1 of them missed their stop altogether and had to alight at the next station in order to return to their station, and another who very nearly missed her stop and managed to gather her bags and all, and hop off just in time.

But oh my gosh, this child is ever so cute, and is so gorgeous and adorable that he just enchants people wherever he goes. He says ‘hi’ to anyone who even looks at him and even those who don’t, a ‘hi’ that invites a response from the lucky recipient. He’s curious (and nosy), funny and sweet and is a ball of energy…wanting to know what’s going on all around him. He licks the windows (ugh – we have to wipe them down before and after ) climbs over the seats (my fault), stands on the tables (also my fault), makes cute faces on command, asks millions of questions and jabbers away at the speed of light, the words falling off his tongue before the next one crowds it out… and is generally just adorable. His smile could light a dark moonless night – Yes, I’m besotted.

Back to the dinosaurs. I thought the exhibition was really good. The dinosaurs were so lifelike and we debated which ones would be likely to kill us if they were encountered on a deserted island, listened to blood-curdling roars, and generally admired the craftsmanship that goes into making these extraordinary animatronics. How lucky we are to live in an age where they can make these things. And may I ask “what is it with kids and dinosaurs these days?”. I don’t remember dinosaurs being so popular when I was a kid! Yeah sure we learned about them in school, but kids these days of a variety of ages are totally dino mad. Dinosaur toys, clothes, magazines, treats and sweet…why? BTW did you know that there were 700 species of dinosaur, and pterodactyls are a species of reptile and not a dinosaur. Interesting snippet of information via my son-in-law, and the information board. Amazingly, the tiddler was able to name each dinosaur as we encountered them. What’s that one BooBee? “It’s a …….” and he would rattle the name off, no problem. They all look the same to me and I can probably name about 3!!

Are you a lizard or a dinosaur? Or just a big bird!!

The only gripe I have about the whole affair is that the organisers could have had a few direction markers showing the way from the station. Along with us, there were at least 3 or 4 other groups of people trying to find the place via google maps, that kept directing us into the grounds of the Priory Hospital….you know….that Priory. Anyway, we eventually figured it out and all trooped along at pace to the gates.

I must also mention Grovelands Park. Wow, totally gorgeous. I never knew there was such a huge and stunning park out that way. It has everything really, a cafe / ice-cream stand at the entrance (most important), a playground, a massive lake with a huge variety of birds, woodlands, paths and huge swathes of grass for picnicking on. Absolutely lovely. If it wasn’t quite so far away, it’s the type of place I’d love to take the BooBee for a day out. Although we do have some fabulous places out our way, Grovelands Park was really amazing.

In all a wonderful family day out, I treasure these times especially because they don’t happen very often. I do get to spend time with the BooBee between work bookings, and take him to gymnastics and soft play, to the beach or the park and occasionally I get to babysit overnight and get a precious little ‘hi’ and a cuddle at 6am πŸ₯°πŸ₯°πŸ’™

just two kids having a slide…
his ability at gymnastics has increased exponentially over the last 6 months and he is a tear-about
swingball with a difference LOL
Come Anny….so Anny goes…where the kid goes, I follow….and am usually exhausted after 15 minutes of clambering through tiddler sized holes, along ropes and up obstacle courses, sliding along on my belly, or down bumpy slides…being careful not to knock myself out. But it’s so much fun and he loves it.

He’s a charm. I’m so enjoying being a granny.

The Jurassic Encounter was good fun and I am sure he loved it….

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I’ll say it right up front…I live in a stunning part of the world. The town itself is a bit of a rats ass and some days I despair at the human race, but the seashore….now that’s another story.

I set off quite early this morning to join my family for tea and buns and spend a few minutes with my BooBee before he went to school. I’m not sure it was such a good idea coz then he didn’t want to go πŸ˜„πŸ˜„πŸ˜„

The other reason for such an early visit is that my daughter, who is a photographer and videographer had arranged for me to be ‘interviewed’. She’s working on a project to record the grandparents life stories for posterity and so that future generations can know who we were.

It’s such a good idea. My Mum died when she was 52, I was just on 29 years old at the time, the oldest of her 4 daughters, the youngest just 13. Although we spoke a lot and she told us stories about her life, now that I’m older I have so many questions, that will never be answered.

My daughter is keen for us to leave a record of our lives, and so today we started what will be the first of I guess 6 interviews…1 for each decade.

The questions she asked were simple, but good and some of them really generated a lot of emotion… occasionally surprising even me. It took just on 2 hours and then I walked to Broadstairs to get my vaccine card laminated and some photos printed.

It was a sublime day…blues skies, fluffy white clouds, sunny but with a stiff breeze and warm. I was overdressed for a long walk.

Ramsgate beach looking towards Broadstairs
Looking back from Dumpton Gap

The tide was still high when I left at just on 1pm, but receding. This meant I had to take the high road and walk across the clifftop to Broadstairs, but coming back I pushed the boundaries a little and walked along the beach to see how far I could get – I’m delighted to say that I managed to walk just about all the way back from Broadstairs to Ramsgate with just one tiny diversion to avoid some still high waves.

A new bench has been added on the cliffs near Dumpton Gap – a sad little memorial
Broadstairs Beach
Raided by the Vikings
Viking Bay
Milky white from the chalk
Which country am I in??
The tide was receding, so I pushed through from Dumpton Gap
Looking back from the promenade at Ramsgate
A fishing boat returns to harbour trailing a swarm of seagulls

The walk was so beautiful and for all the world I could have been in the Caribbean. It took me just over 2 hours there and back and approximately 12kms.

I had a brief stop off at home for a cup of tea, and then I went to fetch my BooBee from the childminder and take him to the park. He rode the whole say up high on my shoulders, sat ever so still and chattered away about the day’s events.

Daddy met us at the park and took him home after some running about. I picked a few dandelions that had gone to seed and I showed him how to blow them so the ‘fairies’ could fly away. πŸ₯°πŸ₯°πŸ₯° what a joy.

Now I’m preparing for tomorrow’s walk from Faversham to Sittingbourne along the Saxon Shore Way. I can’t pin the distance down and the sites I read had different distances….9 miles or 17 miles…take your pick??? so I’m just going to go and see how far I get. I’ve checked for railway stations in case I need to cut my walk short, and I’m hoping the tide isn’t too high along The Swale, or if the tide is high, that the pathway isn’t affected. If it is, I could have a repeat of my last walk along The Swale, albeit a different reason.

I was clean when I left home πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

The weather forecast is good…hoorah.

I guess I’ll find out tomorrow πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ

Oh, and I also started writing up another stage of my Thames Path walk…I’m getting there.

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I had to go for my 2nd covid-19 inoculation today, so to give the parentals a break, and especially Mummy who is beyond tired but needs to work on her business, I asked if I could take the Jam with me to Deal….so straight after his gymnastics class, Mummy rushed us to the station. We cut it awfully close to the time and had to run like crazy through the station, down in the lift, raced along the tunnel where Granny yelled at someone at the top of the stairs to tell them to hold the train….up in the lift, onto the platform and onto the train…..10:25:10 – the train was due to leave at 10:25 and they held it for us LOL Thankfully I had bought the ticket in the morning or we would never had made it.

And we were on our way to Deal. He was ever so excited and talked non-stop about the beach and the castle.

Snacking on the train
Snacking on the train

When we got there I went for my jab first and he came in with me and watched them stick the needle in while I gritted my teeth and tried not to flinch LOL…..actually it was pretty painless, just a small pinch. But he got a sticker afterwards and when we got home later, the first thing he did was tell Mummy and Daddy all about ‘Anny having an injection, and that he got a sticker. His memory of events is amazing.

After the jab we walked to the seafront and stopped off on the beach. I think he was surprised that it was all stones. I think he was expecting sand like we have at home. But he loves stones and proceeded to collect as many as he could. My fault of course because I’m always picking stuff up on the beach and taking it home…like sea-glass and bits of wood for our future projects.

granny and jamies adventure to Deal
half of Deal beach in the bottom of the pram

Once the bottom of the pram was suitably filled with stones, we walked to the castle, but unfortunately it was still closed. We were both disappointed. I guess we have to wait till May?

We stopped off for lunch which he enjoyed, and of course we had some seagulls hovering around, so he shouted “go away that one seagull”….and eventually it did….flew off and we never saw it again. πŸ™‚

From there we took a stroll along the ECP towards Walmer. He ran along with wild abandon, and then got tired and insisted he wanted to ride on my shoulders. So there I was, pushing the pram with one hand and hanging onto his leg with the other. It was terribly windy and walking into the wind wasn’t much fun.

But then I spied a wooden boat on the beach so we went to have a look and that kept him occupied for a while. Of course he unpacked all the stones, which I then had to pack back again.

Afterwards I took some photos then we strolled some more but the wind was so fierce it was knocking him off his feet and I couldn’t keep up with him running helter skelter, the pram going off with the wind, and his bag taking wings and flying off. So I made an executive decision, popped him back in his pram and we headed back towards the pier.

He got really excited when he saw the sculpture of the fisherman and the ‘big fish’ Anny!!! so we stopped to have a look at that. He spotted some people sitting on a bench with Costa cups in their hands and immediately ran over to a free bench and said “hot chocolate Anny” – hahahaha branding works!! How could I refuse.

But first we had a run along the pier, but not on the level like normal people, oh no, he wanted to run along the benches that line the pier; so there I was, holding his hand with one hand and running while pushing the pram with the other, which he thought was hilarious. Oh boy, the wind was so strong I could barely cope, so once again…into the pram and we strolled into the town centre for the hot chocolate. He was pretty much ready to go home by then and kept saying “Mamie home….Mummy Daddy home” – which is his signal to go home.

So we did. Took the earlier train and thanks very much Jamie, he delivered a massive poop!! As we got to the station he said “Mamie poop!” Nice one!!! He hadn’t pooped for the last 2 days, and voila….he saved it for me! So there we were, on the train, changing his nappy. Thankfully he lay still or we could have had a disaster LOL And just as well the carriage was empty on our side….I’m not sure the other passengers would have coped hahahaha.

All too soon we were back in Ramsgate and on our way home. When we got there, Daddy had just got back from his driving lesson, and the Jam wanted to go to the park, so off we went.

He loves the park with all that lovely space to run around….swings, and the slide, the climbing frame, the climbing wall and the obstacle course. I taught him how to slide forwards…and smooossh face-plant LOL I refrained from walking along the chains this time LOL so he did the balancing and jumping and then home for bath and dinner. Thankfully Daddy carried him this time.

face-plant!!! LOL have to give him credit for picking up and carrying on…

I just got a whatsapp photo of him fast asleep….tired out after his big adventure.

Sunday I’m taking him to London to Spitalfields to see the bronze elephant sculptures; Herd of Hope – a family ofΒ 21 life-sized bronze elephantsΒ embarking on the journey of a lifetime as they migrate across London. Leading the herd is our matriarch, symbolic of the mother and family each of the infant elephants, in the care of the Sheldrick Trust, lost when they became orphaned. She represents our Keepers, our team and you, our wider family who help to give these elephants a second chance at life. Read more about the Sheldrick Trust and the Herd of Hope

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I love travelling and I mostly enjoy my job; especially if the client is nice and we get along well together for the period of mu booking. I’m very lucky that my job as a Carer takes me all over the UK, although mostly in England now that I have my beloved grandson to spend time with. But I always enjoy coming home and it is a joy to be have my time to myself and to take my BooBee on outings; either to the park or the beach, or on a train trip.

Today was one such day…it was bliss to be able to just get up when it suited me and so I made the most of it and stayed in bed till 11am, drinking tea and faffing around on social media, and of course keeping a beady eye on my dogecoins!! When to buy? Or sell? That is the eternal question LOL Sometimes I get it right, others not so much!!

When I eventually roused myself from my cosy nest, I logged straight onto my computer to continue writing about my recent Thames Path walk….well I didn’t quite get that far LOL Instead I spent the rest of the day updating my budget spreadsheets, planning my future walks along the SSW, the ECP, further stages of WTP….and calculating the relevant costing. Oh and planning a trip to Malta for a week in November (depending on and further lockdown and covid-19 issues).

At about 5pm I walked over to the family for tea and hot-cross buns and then the 4 of us walked over to the park as requested by the BooBee. He decided he wanted to ride on my shoulders, and so for a short way we jogged along. It’s a good thing I can still carry him on my shoulders and it’s good fun…he loves it.

travels with Granny
Riding on ‘Anny’s shoulders – isn’t his hair glorious!!

He had loads of fun at the park. First we stopped to look at the cherry blossom tree which was abundantly covered in blossoms, much of which was already carpeting the ground.

Anny & Mamie inspecting the cherry blossom tree
Anny & Mamie inspecting the cherry blossom tree
my joy
inspecting the blossoms
inspecting the blossoms

He is still so tiny. I often forget that he’s only just gone two, because he is so intelligent with extraordinary levels of comprehension and understanding, that he always seems so much older to me.

Then we meandered over to the climbing frames where ‘Anny (me) reverted to her childhood and decided to walk along the chains….and that ended as well as what you would expect LOL

Anny really should know better LOL

Then we went over to the swings where he made friends with another little boy, climbed the rock-wall, had a few slides…I showed him how to go down on his tummy. He really is up for anything, and is so trusting that we won’t let him come to harm. He got all sad when the little boy left and lay down on the ground to indicate his dismay…

at the park
so sad his little friend left 😦

Time for a quick family selfie

the joy of family
the joy of family

A storm was brewing on the horizon with big black clouds building, so before it started to rain we left for home….and decided to order in so Mummy didn’t have to cook. There was a marvellous thunderstorm with the accompanying thunder and lightening and so I played him some AC DC ‘Thunderstruck’….seemed like a good idea LOL and I gave him a headbanging demonstration. Not my finest hour….he looked on in amazement…poor kid; growing up with a loon for a Granny. He did however enjoy the AC DC – clever kid!!

Now I’m home, preparing for a trip to Deal tomorrow for my 2nd vaccine jab and I’m taking the BooBee with me to make it an outing for the day, then he and I can take a stroll along the English Coast Path and he can make that the start of his #travelswithGranny although we have had quite a few adventures already…

walking the English Coast Path at Deal
walking the English Coast Path at Deal

as a footnote, in case you are unaware: SSW = Saxon Shore Way. ECP = English Coast Path and of course WTP = Walking the Thames Path….but you may have guessed that.

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Hello!!! πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ yes I’m still alive….and walking. What’s new?? 😁😁

Sorry I’ve been so quiet lately, my only excuse is that I have been working and walking and enjoying time with my grandson.

I had a super couple of weeks in Devon recently where I got to visit 5 new places, revisit 1 and do a lot of walking and exploring, and added another section of the English Coast Path to my collection.

I got back home last week and as is usual I’ve spent as much time as possible taking my grandson to the beach and the park.

And yes, I started my Thames Path adventure πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒπŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈ

although I can’t walk the whole route as I originally planned, I’ve completed 2 sections; Erith to Greenwich

Cutty Sark, Greenwich

And Greenwich to Battersea Park. Super awesome. Tomorrow I’ll be walking Stage 3 from Battersea Park to Richmond and on Friday, Stage 4, Richmond to Hampton Court. The 5th and final stage for now, I’ll be walking on Saturday from Hampton Court to Staines. The rest of the walk? Who knows??

Not the route I’m following, but the river certainly is long 😁😁

As a result I’ve only managed 1 sunset walk at home and a couple of other sunsets I saw from the train on my way home from London. Sunrises = 0. The sun gets out of bed too early for me in summer πŸ˜†πŸ˜†

Seen from the train at Rochester station

So my blog has sadly been neglected. That’s not to say I haven’t been writing….I have quite a few posts sitting in drafts waiting to be completed, but I need to edit the photos that go with them.

I’ll get there.

Meanwhile, after taking my grandson to his 2nd gymnastics class yesterday I finally opened my computer again to update my budgets and plan my savings strategy for the next few years. Gosh I really do wish I had enough money to give me more time to do all the walks I’d like to do.

I completed the Giza Pyramids Conqueror Challenge while still in Stoke Gabriel so I should be seeing the medal in the mail soon.

I’ve started the Ring Road, Iceland challenge although that’s a long term challenge that I’ll flip in and out of over the next few months.

I’ve been dithering about which challenge to allocate the Thames Path walk ….Mt. Kilimanjaro (97.1kms) or The Cabot Trail (299.4kms)?? πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”

The Cabot Trail would have been perfect if I’d been able to walk the whole Thames Path route in one go and I’m reluctant to break it up…and Mt. Kilimanjaro will be completed in 4 days….or maybe 5 depending on my final tally on Saturday. See my quandary??

So anyway, now that I’ve blathered on for the last 10 minutes…here’s the promised sunset πŸ˜†πŸ˜†πŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸŒ…

Interesting to note that the position of the sun set has changed in the last few weeks
Sunset Pegwell Bay
Hello πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ
And my favourite boat in the harbour

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What a joy it was to meet up with my precious grandson and his Daddy at the park late afternoon after I got home. His smile when he sees me is a delight and fills me with joy. After the swings and the slide we walked home and I joined them for an early supper.

This morning I took ‘Mamie’ (he refers to himself as Mamie ☺) to the beach.

First we picked up stones, then had a bit of a lie down, then built a moat (no Anny, not a castle 😁😁), then we strolled around the harbour, had a look at the war memorial, visited the lighthouse and sat on ALL the benches πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ watched a sailboat go out to sea, stopped to look at the Coast Guard boat, Vigilant, then we inspected the Pilot boats, stopped to look at an interesting car and back on the bus where Mamie sat on the big boy seat ☺☺. Fun times

I came back this evening to babysit while Mummy drove Daddy to work. We played hide and seek (he loves being frightened πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ) built a puzzle, made dinosaurs and elephants, stars and a heart out of play dough. Then things got a bit crazy when Granny turned the play dough into a meteor…

Hysterical laughter followed as the ‘meteor’ flew around the lounge.β˜„β˜„

Then it was dinner time and he laid the cutlery on the table (very impressive for a 2 year old) had a yummy dinner and went for a walk with Mummy.

Afterwards its was into a nice warm bath with a big bathbomb and then we had the ‘fun’ of watching the Night Garden on ceebeebies. OMG it actually nearly put me to sleep. But he loves it, and it brings him down from hyper to calm.

He truly is the joy of my life and I am so grateful for his health and vitality. I’m now babysitting again while Mummy fetches Daddy from work.

Wonderful day πŸ’™πŸ₯° I love that he calls me Anny. Granny is still too big a word, but truthfully, I wouldn’t mind at all if he always calls me Anny…it sounds so adorable ☺☺

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