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

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

Charlie Chaplin- Waterville, Ireland

Waterville

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sweete Themmes, runne softly, till I end my song. (Edmund Spenser, 1596) One of the things Iโ€™ve missed most in this time of lockdown is being able to walk along the banks of the River Thames. Iโ€™ve whiled away many an hour of my retirement strolling along the river, mostly stretches between London Bridge to [โ€ฆ]

A Thames Journey: (1) From the Source to Cricklade

I’ve just discovered this fantastic article and felt I really had to share it. Firstly the writer has a wonderful way with words, some terrific photos and he’s writing about my favourite river…the Thames. Its been a dream of mine for years now to walk the Thames from source to sea….just the very words ‘source to sea’ conjures a feeling of excitement and adventure and has certainly captured my imagination. I love that the writer and his companions started this walk in midwinter and his description of the early morning evokes a sense of wonder….and I could feel myself transported to the very moment of that crispy ground underfoot.

It’s a lovely read, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have. I’m off now to read some more, and the book is on my Christmas wishlist ๐Ÿคถ๐Ÿป๐ŸŽ„

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As mentioned in a previous post, on Monday I took myself on a walk to complete the ‘twittens’ of Lewes, after which I followed the High Street across the River Ouse to explore the other side of town.

To my absolute delight I found a wee church dedicated to St Thomas a’ Becket. Having just completed The Pilgrim’s Way a few weeks ago, this was wonderful little surprise.

St Thomas a Becket Church, Lewes

Of course I had to do some research and this is what I found โคโค Thomas a Becket actually visited Lewes at some stage!!! Oh my gosh just WOW!

St Thomas a Becket at Cliffe is a parish church in Lewes, encompassing the parish of All Saints. Becket was apparently a benefactor and frequent visitor to the nearby Collegiate Church of St Michael the Archangel, just a short walk away, which I visited just a few days ago. Totally weird to think that Thomas a Becket actually walked through the streets of Lewes. I never really associate him with more than Canterbury Cathedral, but of course he must have travelled to any number of cities and towns in England.

Collegiate Church of St Michael the Archangel, Lewes

Cliffe church, originally a chapel of ease of the college of Malling, was built, either…. so it is said, by the direct order of Archbishop Thomas Becket, to whose martyrdom it is dedicated. But it is also suggested that its building was financed by one of Becketโ€™s murderers as a penance for committing an act of sacrilege, or by someone who witnessed the dastardly act but did nothing to prevent it.

St Michael the Archangel

So 3 options exist…I wonder which it is. If you’re interested in learning a wee bit more about the church, here’s a link https://st-thomas-lewes.org.uk/history/

Super awesome to discover Thomas Becket’s connection with Lewes, and completely unexpected.

Now, I really must get on with updating my pilgrimage, completing the 2nd half of the Pilgrim’s Way from Oxted to Canterbury.

It has however been so exciting to explore Lewes and discover her secrets, and I still have a castle and a priory to visit, as well as the north side of town. Oh and let’s not forget the walks I’d still like to do.

Meanwhile, if you’re interested, here’s a link to Day One : Oxted to Otford of The Pilgrim’s Way to Canterbury

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I was reading through some Instagram posts this morning and a post by one of my favourite ‘grammers’ caught my eye.

She commented about having encountered some ‘yompers’ on a trail she was recently walking, and how their speeding ahead made her feel a bit inadequate. I’d not heard the expression ‘yompers’ before, but I do remember seeing them whizzing by when I walked the Camino in 2017.

Their faces set, backs straight, poles thumping the ground, they stride steadfastly ahead, looking neither left nor right, they whizz ahead at speed…. I often wondered why!!

They miss the scenery, they miss the little treasures along the wayside, they never (from what I saw) engaged with the locals, or visited a church to sit down and absorb the tranquillity- mostly they entered a church to get their passport stamped, and out again…once more to yomp ahead. I really would love to know why…..??

Is it a matter of finishing the route as quickly as possible, do they have a limited time to walk, is it about clocking up miles the fastest, getting to the albergues first to secure a bed, or perhaps they just add each route completed to a check list? Done this, done that, no t-shirt.

I’m classified as a ‘slow stroller’ – although my family would disagree ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคช

Walking for me is about the freedom of being outdoors, about the scenery,  the little discoveries I make along the tide line or on top of cliffs, about visiting the important landmarks enroute, and often going completely ‘off-piste’ to visit some place I’d seen on Google while planning my trip. I don’t always reach my destination (unless I have a confirmed booking) but oh my, how much I enjoy just looking, enjoying and absorbing while walking.

The yompers can yomp, I prefer to absorb my environment and actually remember what I’ve experienced…. and of course to take as many photos as possible ๐Ÿ˜‰

Which is also why I mostly walk alone; going solo I can stop whenever, wherever I like, take photos every 5 seconds, have a snooze under a tree in a graveyard, or a shady stand of trees….sit in a pub and enjoy a beer, or cup of tea….I’m not holding anyone up, and I’m not annoying anyone because I keep stopping…

And having said that, I really must get myself a good mobile charger. The battery on my latest Samsung (2018) is crap and despite closing all background apps, the battery fizzles out after 6-8 hours. I stress about taking photos because the camera uses a lot of power, so invariably I spend money in pubs along the way while I boost my phone. Its tiresome.

I’ve tested one or two models, but they don’t do the job and I end up returning them to the store…. something small and powerful would be useful please Universe ๐ŸŒŒ๐ŸŒ โ˜บ

Meanwhile, I’ll keep strolling….and the yompers can yomp!!

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At the beginning of the year, just after lockdown, I decided to join the Conqueror Virtual Challenge and signed up to walk Hadrian’s Wall – 145km (England). As you progress they send you postcards with interesting information about the walk.

the medal

Mostly so I could keep up my enthusiasm for walking, having a goal during lockdown was so helpful. In the meantime I’ve decided to walk the real Hadrian’s Wall – now scheduled that for 2021.

I’ve subsequently done the Camino de Santiago challenge – 772km (Spain). I did this while working; using my kms walked while on duty and various other walks at the various places I worked in. My medal is in the post.

The English Channel challenge – 34km (I finished that with short walks over 4 days) much as I would have loved to swim the distance for this challenge, I have NO plans to actually swim the English Channel….end of! LOL

the medal is in the post ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s stunning

All of the above counts towards my goal of #walk1000miles2020 and despite deciding to not sign up for any other challenges, guess what….LOL I’m signing up for the pack of 5 which includes a choice of some awesome virtual walks: Great Ocean Road – 240km (Australia), Inca Trail – 42km (Peru), Ring of Kerry – 200km (Ireland), The Cabot Trail – 298km (Canada), and The Ring Road – 1332km (Iceland). I’m also going to buy the 2020 challenge coz the medal is awesome. I’m sure I can finish the 4 shorter distances this year and I’ll do the Icelandic Ring Road in 2021. The medals are so beautiful and I love the motivation the app gives me as I watch my progress.

I’m also keen to do the John O’Groats to Lands End virtual challenge and will save that for 2021 as well.

If you’d like to join me on the Conqueror Virtual Challenges click here for the link There’s a terrific little app that you can update as you go and it shows your progress on a map, you can join as part of a team or just go it alone. For every 20% of the challenge you complete the organisers plant a tree (I love that idea) and at the end of the challenge you get a fantastic, quality medal. It’s good fun and you learn about the different places as you reach each milestone.

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โ€œHow else should I think, they donโ€™t even consider me human.โ€

The Refugees Journey.

My name is Farid, I was an anaesthetist at the Damascus hospital, it was a job I loved and proud to be.

That all changed though one night, my world stopped and it still hasnโ€™t started. I was lay in bed trying to sleep, we lost a patient on the table and it was hard on the whole team. I just lay there wondering what more we could have done. Then it hit, there was no noise immediately but then everything collapsed around me, followed by the noise of the explosion, I tried to get up but I had to get the rubble off me, I couldnโ€™t see because of the dust and my ears were ringing. I felt blood coming out of my left ear, the pain told me my eardrum had burst.

Then the panic set in, my family Bushra my wife was next to me, my heart broke into as many pieces as the apartment, my beautiful wife of 15 years was lying there, eyes open, not moving. I reached across to find a pulse but knowing I wouldnโ€™t, I sat there for what felt like an eternity holding her and screaming but I could not hear my screams. I had to lay her back down to look for my children, I went to my sons Mahdiโ€™s room but there was no room only a hole where it once was, I could not find him and desperately turned to my daughter Atifaโ€™s room, it was a scene of desolation but her cot was still there, she looked out from the side, silent and afraid, less than 12 months old and she experienced this. I picked her up and held her close but she made no sound, no attempt to hold me back, I had to get us out of there before anything else happened. We went outside and we walked into what was now a war zone, my beautiful city Damascus pummelled into the ground in the matter of hours. I grabbed an emergency worker and told him of my wife and son, they told me that right now they are only concerned with the living.

Day 4: We are in a camp, it is packed out with people and we are in a rudimentary shelter of canvas. My daughter is still unresponsive, I have tried to get medical assistance but there is none, I make sure she has water and food when itโ€™s available. It can get cold of a night, I wrap her up as well as I can and hold her so we both can keep warm. We are going to die here, many already have, we have nothing, what we had lays in the ruins along with the bodies of my family. I cannot make contact with anyone I once knew, I have no idea if my brothers or mother have survived. My sister is safe, she is a doctor in the UK and has been there for many years.

Day 8:
Still nothing changes here, many are now with disease and are dying, we shall die too should we remain. I spoke to the others, they tell me the whole of Syria lies in ruin and many millions are now dead, the country has been lain to waste, there is nothing left for anyone apart from disease and starvation. They are heading out tomorrow to try and get safe haven in Europe, they will make their way to Turkey and then through Greece but their only means of transport is to walk. The distance to Turkey alone is around 800km and will take us over a week but what choice do I have, stay here and die with my daughter or try to get to sanctuary and possibly die on the way.

Day 17:
We reached the boarder of Turkey yesterday, myself and my daughter have not eaten for three days and our water ran out over a day ago. Nobody in the convoy had any apart from an old lady who gave us a few dried crackers she had but they were impossible to eat without water. They have us under arrest at the boarder but they are giving us food and water. A few people from some organisation have been around and given us more clothing, I can at least get my daughter a little warmer now. She is still unresponsive but they had a doctor come see me, he thought it was down to the shock and she should eventually come around but if not I would need to get further medical assistance. Given my current situation that wasnโ€™t going to happen any times soon. A man from the organisation had found some nappies for me, I removed the rags that was once my shirt from Atifa and put her in a clean nappy, she was red raw with a rash but what could I do?

Day 26:
I donโ€™t know how long we have been walking for, the days are blurring into one. We managed to escape the compound in Turkey or they just let us go Iโ€™m not sure of which. We have to just keep moving, finding food and water where we can, they say we have to just keep moving, sleeping under any cover we can find along the way. My daughter has started to respond, she reaches out for food and water and I give her what I have, sometimes I give her nothing because thatโ€™s all I have.

Day: Unknown.
The hours become days, the days become weeks and the weeks feel like an eternity now. Where once we were 70 plus strong there is less than a dozen left. Some just disappeared, some just walked off some just didnโ€™t wake the following day. We have seen the worse in humanity, cursing at us, some driving at us and we are run from the road, the names they call us saddens my heart, they do not know me, they do not know of the life I once had. They treat my daughter the same way yet she is innocent but they do not care. We also saw the best of humanity, the farmer that let us sleep in his barn and the next day fed us all before we left. The drivers that drove us for parts of our journey to save our feet getting worse than they already were, the angels who tended to us, gave us medicine to keep us strong, food and water so we didnโ€™t perish on the route.

They came to us one day offering passage to Calais now only a few hundred miles away but the money they wanted was more than I carried, over 6 months wages from home. I had little money but I hoped it would pay for the last leg of my journey were I simply could not walk. I had to refuse and take my journey on foot again but I left as soon as I could, I feared for our lives from these men.

We moved on, I carried Atifa either in my arms or on my shoulders, even though she was small the weight became unbearable at times. We did it though, we reached the last camp in France, there were tents upon tents but it was filthy, rats scurried around and their was a stench in the air, I knew this stench though, I carried the same smell of the forgotten and the abandoned. She approached me, a woman aged before her years, she asked me from were I came and I told her Damascus, she came from Aleppo or what was left of it, she was all that remained of her family, she lost everyone and everything, they had a bakery in the family for over 50 years, gone in one night witH one bomb, only she got out of the ruins, 12 members of her family perished that night. I gave her a hug, it was all I had that I could give away.

โ€œYou need to leave right nowโ€ I was shocked and looked at as to why I should go. The baby, if the authorities find her here they will take her from you. I started to panic, what could I do? She asked if I was planning to get across the channel and I told her of my sister who lived and worked in the UK. Could I pay she asked, I told her I had some money, she guided me into her tent and told me to wait, was I being foolish? I had told this stranger I had money, what if she had gone to get some men to rob me.

I was at the point of panicking and running when she returned, with her was a man, medium build but a scowl on his face, once again I was afraid. She told me he can get me over the channel today but at a price. I went to introduce myself and he said no names, then asked how much I had. I told him what I had in Syrian pounds and he snorted and told me my money was near worthless now but it might just get me across the water, I told him about Atifa my daughter and he just said no, not enough money for two. I took in a deep breath and picked my daughter up to make my way. He told me to wait and walked away speaking on his phone. A few minutes later he returned, said they could take the both of us but my daughter would have to stay on my lap for all of the journey so we only take up the room of one. I agreed, I had no choice, he put his hand out for the money, again I started to panic, what if he just went and I never saw him again. I told him I would pay when we were on the boat, โ€œno pay, no boatโ€ he said and turned to walk away. I had no choice, I was at the mercy of stranger, what else could I do but give him the money. He told me to wait here, he would be back in a little while.

Time passed like an eternity, all the while Iโ€™m thinking I have made a mess of any future we might have had. There was nothing more I could do. A van arrived at the camp and he jumped out of the passenger seat, โ€œcomeโ€ was all he said and I climbed into the van with Atifa. Inside there were other people, we all looked and smelled alike, unkempt and desperate. We travelled for a hour or so and we came to a stop and told to get out. We were on a beach and in front of us was a small rubber dingy in poor condition, way too small for the amount of people they are going to put on it.

They told us to hurry and get in the boat and put on the life jackets, as I grabbed one there was none for my daughter and I asked where it was. We donโ€™t have one that small, put her inside yours, that couldnโ€™t work, I put it on but left it untied in case anything happened. We had been in the boat for a while when someone remarked about the water getting in, they spoke to the driver and he just shrugged. A little while later and the passengers are trying to bail the water out, the driver said not to worry he was making good ground. I wasnโ€™t happy and took my life jacket off and put it around Atifa and tried to tie it as best I could.

I kissed my daughter and told her everything would be alright when the world spun. Suddenly I was in the water and trying to get back to the surface, I had taken in water and my lungs were burning. As I breeched the surface it was horrific, people shouting and screaming, the boat upside down with a tear right along the bottom. I looked around and a few people hadnโ€™t made it then I remembered Atifa and I began to splash around screaming her name, I saw the life jacket first and swam over to it but it was empty, she was too small but please, please, please say she is alright. Then I saw her and I couldnโ€™t get my breath, she was floating in the water, not moving, face down. I ushered all my might to get to her, pulled her to me and turned her over but as soon as I did I knew my little Atifa was gone, the sea had taken her after all she had been through this was the one thing that took her from me.

I screamed and held her close, Iโ€™m not sure how long I screamed for or how long I was in the water, I wondered if I should simply let the water take me too, I had nothing left.

I felt the hands on my shoulders as they hauled me out of the water, they got me on board a ship and someone came to speak with me, he said he wanted to take my daughter to care for her, I said no and held her tighter. He leans forward and felt for her pulse but we both new he wouldnโ€™t find one. He was British, it took me a few minutes to fathom out his language, he asked if there was anything they could do, I just shook my head and said no. He placed his hand on my shoulder and looked at me. He pulled me forward and gave me a hug, he said nothing just held me close and I cried, I could not stop the tears from falling, I cried for the loss of my family and friends at the hands of an enemy we did not see, I cried for the destruction of my city and my country, I cried for the many miles we had travelled and the scorn we had met because we had become homeless at someone elseโ€™s hands. I cried long and hard.

A few weeks later and Iโ€™m sat at my sisters table, she had managed to track me down and bring me home, my daughter now buried in a foreign land and Iโ€™m struggling to come to terms with anything.

โ€œAre you OK?โ€ she asks.
โ€œNo, I have lost more than anyone would believe, Iโ€™m not even 38 and my whole world, my life has been ripped to shreds, I have no one left apart from yourself yet even now they call me a fucking immigrant, tell me to go back to a country that no longer exists because their government sold the arms that killed my fellow man. Iโ€™ve applied for a position in a hospital that Iโ€™m confident of getting but Iโ€™m still not worthy of being here. I heard some of the British said we should have drowned in the channel. Well my daughter did and I sit here wondering would it have been better if I had too.โ€

โ€œDonโ€™t think that wayโ€

โ€œHow else should I think, they donโ€™t even consider me human.โ€

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VE DAY 75

What an emotional day. Naturally as soon as I got downstairs this morning I switched over to BBC1. They really do the whole patriotic big commemorative event thing so well, and they didn’t disappoint today.

By 10am I was already in tears. Seriously, I’m almost certain that I’m a reincarnation of someone who lived during the 2nd WW. It never fails to move me – listening to and watching footage from that period.

Whenever I hear Winston Churchill’s voice I literally get goosebumps from head to toe and tears well up in my eyes. I remember my visit to the War Rooms in Whitehall many years ago. I was meandering around the rooms looking at everything when suddenly his voice boomed out over the tannoy with his famous “We shall fight them….” speech. OMG I was rooted to the spot, tears pouring down my face…felt a bit of a twit, but fortunately it’s quite dark down there and no-one noticed.

The Spitfire flypast over the White Cliffs of Dover had me in tears once again, and how magnificent the Rex Arrows over London….oh how much I would have loved to see them for real.

Damn you Covid-19…

During my break I walked around the village capturing images of the decorations and bunting, and one street really got into the whole thing with flags, and bunting, tables and chairs out on the front of houses, tea sets and scones, champagne and the National Anthem…I chanced upon that just as it rang out from a huge speaker on someone’s lawn ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ God Save the Queen ๐Ÿ‘ธ๐Ÿป โคโค

I got in a decent 3.49km and managed to walk along as many cut through as I could find…..added to my Hadrian’s Wall challenge ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜€

This evening’s programmes were equally as moving with snippets of interviews from around the country…its really impressive to realise just how many 100+ year olds there are in this country.

The Queen’s speech at 9pm was equally as moving and as always she was perfect; her look, her words, her delivery. How lucky we are to have her.

I compiled a short video of all the decorations and hope you enjoy it.

Stay safe, and long live the Queen

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Don’t miss this!! https://www.meteorwatch.org/iss-international-space-station-times-uk-may-2020/

So enjoyed watching Sir Keir Starmer at PMQs today. Wonderful to listen to calm, reasoned questions with no bluster or sulky undertones. I did enjoy his question on the statistics….he prempted Johnson’s reply and had his rebuttal ready ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ in the form of a hard copy of the government’s own figures. Hah!!

I watched the BBC1 Michael Ball tribute to Capt. Tom Moore and cried all the way through. I think that, above all else, has defined the true spirit of people, and how one person can become the hope of a nation…he will go down in history as the little light in the darkness of this time ๐Ÿ•ฏ

It was a fantastic day in Somerset, so I took myself out for a walk, followed my favourite route and along the way I stopped off at the corner of quiet contemplation…..at that point we had a grandparents facetime with the boo. He was meant to be eating his lunch…but that went by the wayside with all the attention ๐Ÿฅฐ . I am so grateful to my daughter for these calls, they have kept me sane.

My corner of quiet contemplation

afterwards I walked around the mound, first the ramparts, then the moat, then I climbed to the top of the mound for a stunning view of the countryside. I will miss this very much.

Another 3.5km to add to my Hadrian’s Wall challenge ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜„

The best news today was that Richard Branson’s begging bowl was not filled with money from the public purse – money that is needed for the public. However, my sympathies go to the 3,000 staff he is now effectively kicking out of his company. Let’s bear in mind that these same people have enabled him to continue to live on his private island, in the luxury to which he is ‘entitled’, but of course it’s not convenient for him to now support those same people, despite him falling into the category of ‘billionaire’. He has argued that the billions aren’t lying around in a slush fund, but rather tied up in paper shares….and of course there’s no opportunity in these difficult and trying times to convert some of those into cash in order to support his staff. He offered to put his island up as as collateral for the required loan from the government, so why not do that in order to support his ‘valued’ staff. I used to admire RB, but when a billionaire puts his hands out for a loan from the public purse, is when my respect goes down that stinky drain. I have 2 of his books in storage….when its suitable, I shall have a bonfire…they’ll make good kindling.

And so to bed perchance to dream….

Before locking up tonight I stepped out into the courtyard and saw the moon ๐ŸŒ• so beautiful

Nearly a full moon

Take care folks….

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Never in my wildest imagination did I think that when I started blogging my Lockdown mullings and meanderings, that 6 WEEKS later we’d still be in lockdown! And as yet no definitive date for easing.

My ‘work’ lockdown ends next Monday and once again, despite looking soooo very much forward to my family, I’m approaching the date with trepidation. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜ฃ๐Ÿ˜ฃ

I finished 2 projects today ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ 1 small and 1 large.

I walked all the streets, roads and closes on the west side of the village during my break today- hoorah

Which brings me up to 24% of my Hadrian’s Wall challenge completed.

Anddd finally after 38 hours of knitting, spread over 16 months ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ, I finished the baby blanket my daughter ordered in 2018…..its been a huge undertaking and I didn’t realise just how much time it would take. I could have finished it months ago, but as it got bigger, so it got more and more heavy and my hands would ache after a few rows. The pattern rows took 8 minutes to knit from one end to the other, and the plain rows 5 minutes. But now its done and I’m so proud of it. It looks amazing… different perhaps to what was expected, but I added my own little twist by using up the oddments of wool I had left over from all the little cardigans I so lovingly knitted for my grandson’s layette. I’m not sure that people who don’t knit can really appreciate just how much goes into a hand-knitted item. It was a labour of love. I’ll post a photo of the full blanket once my daughter has seen it.

Knitted with so much love

And talking of birth and babies….I just love love this story ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ https://www.channel4.com/news/wild-stork-chicks-to-hatch-in-uk-for-first-time-in-over-600-years

I chatted to my sister and brother-in-law in Cape Town this afternoon. He’s making steady and good progress recovering from the heart-attack he had last month. Although considered a mild attack, its still knocked them for six and they are both in recovery….

I told my client today that I would be leaving next Monday and she’s quite upset. Bless her, she thought I’d be here till after lockdown is lifted…and at least 5 or 6 times today she’s asked me “what day is it you’re leaving?” and when I remind her, she says the same thing “that’s awful, I’m really sorry you’re leaving I’ve really enjoyed having you here. ” Its really interesting, but she has absolutely no recollection of the first 5 days….I’m still traumatized ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜œ But I’m glad its all worked out well in the end. I try to never leave on a bad note, although that does sometimes happen…mostly cause I don’t tolerate abuse….regardless of the situation, and sometimes it isn’t even the client but the family who are the nightmare. Thankfully not in this instance.

I’ll miss village and the quiet easy days in the countryside, although I suspect that once lockdown is lifted, its not going to be quite as ‘sleepy’ as it has been the last 6 weeks. Already there’s been an increase in traffic and the nights are not as quiet as before. The neighbours have been lovely too, and today one of the ladies dropped off some lovely cupcakes

But on the upside, I’ll be seeing my family, and that overrides everything else ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ

I saw some beautiful flowers on my walk again today and got to wondering which flower has the smallest petal …..I did some research and found this “The world’s smallest flowering plant, the Wolffia Globosa, has come in to bloom at the Tsukuba botanical garden in Japan. The plant, more commonly known as Asian watermeal, is so small that to the naked eye it is impossible to tell if it has flowered” – not quite the smallest petal, but the blooms weigh the same as 2 grains of salt. Wowww

One thing I am looking forward to as well is breakfast at our favourite cafe; Beaches in Broadstairs….

Meanwhile: Couldn’t agree more!!! Support small local businesses. I refuse to support Amazon as a matter of principle, but I’m going to double my efforts to support local businesses going forward

I’ve been following some really interesting articles about Covid-19 and our not so esteemed government. Hmmm. The fan is beginning to spin and the spin is not working too well…

“The countries that moved fast have curtailed the epidemic. The countries that delayed have not. It’s as simple as that.”

Dr Richard Horton, editor in chief of The Lancet medical journal, is even more damning: “The handling of the COVID-19 crisis in the UK is the most serious science policy failure in a generation.” https://www.smh.com.au/world/europe/biggest-failure-in-a-generation-where-did-britain-go-wrong-20200428-p54o2d.html

“In the past 24 hours, ministers said just under 76,500 tests were carried out, a drop of more than a third on the 122,000 tests carried out on 30 April.” – let us consider that Hancock didn’t promise to continue with 100,000 tests a day AFTER 30th Aprilโ€ฆ.especially consider that they bumped up the number of tests done, with tests sent out but not yet confirmedโ€ฆa typical ‘pull the wool over your eyes’ strategyโ€ฆa one trick pony. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-52522936

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/04/rival-sage-group-covid-19-policy-clarified-david-king?CMP=share_btn_fb

https://www.politicshome.com/news/article/coronavirus-government-complains-to-bbc-boss-over-panorama-show-about-ppe

In closing…. point #1 especially

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I’m getting tired now. After almost 6 weeks of working I’m tired. I nearly broke my big toe this evening walking up the stairs to the bedroom…I misjudged the height and whacked it good and solid. Ouch. 8.5 days to go…

On the meal preparation front, I outdid myself with tonight’s supper…a sweet and sour fish curry. OMG. I wasn’t really in the mood for cooking and just chucked all the ingredients into the pan….and if was delicious. Fortunately I made a huge batch of the curry sauce, so tomorrow night we’ll have it with Quorn mince. Yum.

So today I continued compiling my post-lockdown travel list:

Lavender Farm
Thames Rib Experience
Visit Hungarian family
Zip line in Wales
Finish the Pilgrim’s Way
Walk St Cuthberts Way
Walk the Two Saints Way
Walk Hadrian’s Wall
Start walking the South Coast Route
And enroute Walk around The Isle of Wight
Walk the coast of Wales
Visit Skye
Visit the Lake District

Except for one, all local. The international trip I’m planning to do by train and have already been looking at routes. It’ll take much longer, but I want to avoid air travel as much as possible, and besides which, the scenery would be amazing. I may even take an extended trip back and stop off in different countries enroute.

I didn’t get out for a walk today instead I spent a good half hour facetime with my grandson ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ˜Š He’s so cute. Then I had a snooze and continued reading the latest book: The Pure in Heart by Susan Hill that I started yesterday. Its actually the book before the one I read already, but I’m still enjoying it…

I watched a nature programme on BBC2 earlier, about different apes. They featured macaques and oh my gosh, they are so like humans its extraordinary.

I barely watched the news today, I just cannot bring myself to listen to the lies and fabrications anymore. Learning that the testing targets were reached by inflating the numbers and including tests sent out but not yet returned and checked is beyond sickening. The Tories are playing politics with people’s lives. The litany of errors and missed opportunities due to incompetence or arrogance is astounding.

If it wasn’t for our NHS staff who are working tirelessly, we would be in a more serious situation. K saw this beautiful image on Facebook today, and although it depicts the Australian medical profession, I think it can apply to any country

Thank you ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’™๐ŸŒˆ๐ŸŒˆ๐ŸŒˆ

I hope you are all well and keeping safe. All the best…

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