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Archive for the ‘gratitude’ Category

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 ❤❤ 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 Becket’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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“How else should I think, they don’t even consider me human.”

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 hasn’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 couldn’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 wouldn’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 Mahdi’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 Atifa’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 it’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 wasn’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 don’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 I’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 that’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 didn’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 didn’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.

“You need to leave right now” 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, “no pay, no boat” 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 I’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, “come” 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 don’t have one that small, put her inside yours, that couldn’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 wasn’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 hadn’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 couldn’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, I’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 wouldn’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 else’s hands. I cried long and hard.

A few weeks later and I’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 I’m struggling to come to terms with anything.

“Are you OK?” she asks.
“No, I have lost more than anyone would believe, I’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. I’ve applied for a position in a hospital that I’m confident of getting but I’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.”

“Don’t think that way”

“How else should I think, they don’t even consider me human.”

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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 🇬🇧👏👏👏👏 God Save the Queen 👸🏻 ❤❤

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 👏👏😀

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 👏👏👏 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 🕯

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 🥰 . 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 👏👏😄

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 🌕 so beautiful

Nearly a full moon

Take care folks….

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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 😃😃😃💙👶🏻😊 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 👏👏👏💙💙💙🌈🌈🌈

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

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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. 😭😭😭😭

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 🥰🥰🥰💙👶🏻 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 🤪🤪), 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 🤔🤔🤔

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 😂😂

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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Gosh, could it really be 2 years ago already!! My beloved daughter gifted me a flight in a Spitfire for my birthday 2 years ago…I’m a bit of a Spitfire fan 😊😊 It was truly a most extraordinary gift and experience ever.

A most extraordinary experience

My excitement levels on the day were through the roof….besides the very amazing experience, what is most memorable, is that on the day, while we were watching the other people having their flights I patted her on the belly and said “the only thing that could top this is a grandchild “….little did any of us know that she was already 2 weeks pregnant 😊😊😊😊 We waited a very long time for this baby, a boy, and he has been the gift that keeps on giving.

The gift that keeps on giving 💙👶🏻

Interesting comment made by Brian Cox on the Andrew Marr show this morning…they were discussing online science lessons for 10-11 year olds that he, Brian, was creating, and the challenges that entailed. In response to a question from Andrew Marr he said…..

“Following the science” really means we don’t know enough yet, or don’t really understand. Quoted by Brian Cox on the Andrew Marr Show. Yet our government continues to say “we’re following the science” – 😂😂😂😂🤨🤨🤨

My client and I were just reminiscing about ‘the old days’ and I was telling her how my mother used to send my sisters and I to the public swimming pool….a good 20/30 minute walk from home, and how we’d spend hours there on our own…me about 14, my sister 11 and the youngest 4 years old.  Perfectly safe, and most kids did the same. I was also telling her about the African ‘mielie man’ who cycled about the neighbourhood on Friday evenings with two great big hessian sacks hanging off the back of the bike filled to overflowing with fresh mielies ‘corn on the cob’, still wrapped in their leaves with the brown hairy tufts, shouting “mielies, mielies” and my mother would give us money to go buy a bunch for supper. We’d eat them piping hot, smothered with salt and proper butter that melted and ran down our chins…so hot we would burn our fingers and lips…but we would fight over who was going to get the last one 😂😂😂 and then I reminded her about the ‘rag and bone’ man, or the haberdashery carts that had every single item needed for sewing or knitting or hair accessories that you could ever wish for….such a shame we’ve lost all that.

I saw this on Facebook today 🤪🤪👏👏👏

First, we hear alcohol may prevent the virus… now research suggests the opposite. Then we’re told heat and humidity has no effect, but wait… direct sunlight might quickly kill the virus….. So, if you come across a 65 year old woman, standing in the front yard, intoxicated and naked, leave me alone… I’m conducting important medical research.🙅‍♀️🤷‍♀️🙎‍♀️🙆‍♀️🤦‍♀️

(Yes, I stole this post. Yes. You can steal it, too 😁) Change the age! 😂😂

Day 1 of my Hadrian’s Wall Challenge done and dusted….I completed 4.28 kms-140.52 kms to go. The Hadrian’s Wall walk; 90 miles of Roman defence structure between England and Scotland, stretches across the country from Wallsend on the east coast and finishes at Bowness-on-Solway on the west coast. I’ve reached Newcastle on Tyne so far…I’ll have to get a move on if I plan to finish in 6 weeks 🙄🙄🙄

Newcastle Upon Tyne

If you want to join in the fun and walk Hadrian’s Wall…virtually of course 😂😂 this is my referral link

The only cost involved is for the purchase of the Badge, proceeds of which do not go to me. There’s an app that needs to be downloaded and you have to register an account/profile. I’ve found the app a little on the wieldy side, but I’m managing to navigate it with s bit if back and forth…its not 100% user-friendly but I’m figuring it out as I go.

Hadrian’s Wall, also called the Roman Wall, Picts’ Wall, or Vallum Hadriani in Latin, is a former defensive fortification of the Roman province of Britannia, begun in AD 122 in the reign of the emperor Hadrian. Opened: 128 AD

It was a lovely day for a walk albeit quite hot. I stopped at contemplation corner to contemplate life for a brief moment or two, then followed my usual route past the farms, through the fields, round the mound from base to summit in ever decreasing circles, and then back down again.

Contemplation corner

The views from the top are stunning

The Bristol Channel in the distance
Today’s walk

Take care folks and please continue to practice social distancing and follow government advice regarding outings etc…and remember to wash your hands

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So today we had my ‘virtual’ birthday tea and cake. My daughter and her hubby and son joined me on WhatsApp facetime with their tea and chocolate cake and I had all the essentials for a party during a pandemic lockdown

The cake was bigger 2 days ago 😂😂😂
Social distancing

Even though the network reception was dastardly as usual, it was a fun time…we’ll get to do the party for real when I visit in May. 🎊🎉🥂🎉🎂

This has probably been the most amazing spring that I can recall in the UK for the last 18 years….Being in lockdown has curtailed my walking explorations to 1 mile from home,  but it hasn’t curtailed the prevalence of subjects for photos…☺️☺️☺️ 

In a way, because I’m not trying to cover as much ground as possible within my allotted 2 hour break, and taking my walks at a slower pace, its given me the opportunity to observe my environment at a more leisurely pace and notice the plethora of beautiful flowers on my routes. And that’s the long-winded way of saying I’ve seen a lot of beautiful flowers on my walks 😁😁😁😊 Here’s a short video

Spring 2020

Watched a programme on BBC2 this morning. The industrial revolution and the Victorians may be lauded as so ‘progressive’ but the reality is that the Victorians were terribly destructive, especially in the ‘colonies’ and industry has destroyed the planet….and the animals have suffered the most. There’s no such thing as man’kind’….of course there are many people doing wonderful things with love and caring and compassion and they don’t get the credit they deserve, but ‘mankind’ is a misnomer.  Humans are so terribly destructive. Yes, we’ve built amazing buildings and constructed incredible cities and technology has made our lives better (worse) and science has made some incredible progress, but it has all been at the expense of nature and the natural world. Our demand for cheaper, and more and better is destroying the planet. The Victorians killed thousands upon thousands of tigers in their quest for land, destroying the tropical forests in their wake…and we’re still doing the same thing today…in the name of progress.  We are a stain on this planet, the ultimate virus.

Oh and the ultimate ‘moron in chief’, that orange swamp thing across the pond…has suggested that you can get rid of the virus by drinking disinfectant 😱😱😱😱😱🤬🤬🤬

There you go donny, take a nice deep breath

I truly cannot understand the mindset that elected that ….I don’t even know what adjective would suit him best…but what I really cannot comprehend, is that seemingly intelligent people are prepared to stand by and say nothing while he spouts his own brand of insanity…they are complicit…..power hungry, soulless individuals….

I went for a lovely walk this evening to the top of the mound…hoping to see the most recent of the Starlink satellites; SpaceX…..but unfortunately there was too much cloud cover and the sky too light to be able to see them. As for the clouds…there’s a cold front moving in and it was a lot chillier than yesterday….still beautiful though.

And on that cheerful note I shall bid you goodnight. I can’t quite believe that I am actually still blogging, and that we are still in lockdown.

Oh yes, one last thing…..I saw this in The Times newspaper today…finally a use for the skeletal pencil 🤨🤨🤔🤔

Not much use for anything else…

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Happy Birthday Queen Elizabeth II 94 today…I was lucky enough to see her in Windsor for her 90th birthday, and have her walk right in front of me 🥰🥰🥰👏👏💚💚 the Queen.  Sadly there’s no gun salutes or Trooping the Colour this year…looking forward to 2021….

I found this awesome book for my grandson today 😀😀 Its amazing and since the theme in the nursery is space, this will fit right in.

The universe works in mysterious ways….I’ve been so worried about travelling next week and inadvertently contracting the virus and possibly passing it on, or the incoming carer bringing something in with her….so today I got a call from the agency to ask if I could stay on here for another 2 weeks as the incoming carer is ill (has a bad cold) and is self-isolating, as well as which my next job has been cancelled because that family want their carer to extend her stay as well. So there it is….no travelling next week, but sadly it also means I don’t get to see my family….

I saw this on one of the Camino pages today and thought I’d share it with you:

Johnniewalker Santiago posted the following on the Camino Discussion Group this morning. For those who might not have seen it, he has given permission to post his communication with John Brierly here. It’s well worth the read!

LETTER FROM JOHN BRIERLEY:
CORNAVIRUS AND THE CAMINO, OUR LAST WAKE UP CALL
Two years ago I asked members of the group to send me questions that I would put to John Brierley in the second interview with him I’ve published. I’ll re-post the questions and answer soon. We keep in touch with each other and I asked him for his thoughts on our current situation. This is his reply. He invites us to engage in a useful and loving dialogue about the issues he raises.

Dear John
You sound well and lock-down seems to be proving a creative time for you! So here is a response that might, or might not, stimulate some creative thinking amongst our pilgrim family.
… I trust that once the world comes out of this pandemic we will, collectively, want to do things differently – but there is much talk of getting back to ‘normal’ which would be a travesty. Consensus reality and the status quo is literally now killing many of us and the earth support systems on which we depend. At best we are looking at a severely diminished quality of life over the near horizon. We have to find a ‘new normal’ by way of an elevated consciousness — not only for us but crucially for the generations that follow. These are portentous, perhaps pompous and certainly presumptive statements. Even if you see them as holding some truth you might legitimately ask, what has any of this to do with the caminos de Santiago.

I have always believed that the camino holds a key to a fundamental re-appraisal of how and why we live our lives. It was this conviction that created caminoGuides and this remains its only raison d’être, it has no other purpose nor ever will. Providing my publisher doesn’t go bankrupt (many may) a new guidebook to the Camino Invierno will go to print later this year. I attach a draft introduction which offers a reflection on the positive potential of the Coronavirus to help bring about the change that is needed if we are to learn to cooperate to face the challenges that are now on a global scale. (see below)

The real challenge is just around the corner and it is not coronavirus! I see this pandemic as just a wake up call that we may, or may not, heed. All the signs at the moment are that we are going to miss this opportunity just like we missed previous wakeup calls. We bailed out the banks in 2008 and now look set to bail out the oil and aviation industries with vast sums of public monies while offering paltry sums to small sustainable energy and business enterprises. As Greta Thunberg asks, ‘where are the adults?’ Our collective thinking is juvenile at best and often infantile. Eldership is nowhere to be seen but we need to find it urgently and perhaps it lies closer than we think… in ourselves. Rabbinic sage Hillel the Elder asked the rhetorical question, “If not me, who? If not now, when?”

I was a little concerned at the severity of the draft (below) until I listened to an interview with David Attenborough yesterday where, for the first time, he says this is it — no further chance to kick the can down the road. Coronavirus is our last gentle wake up call, the real threat to our collective survival is just around the corner. Pass on what you think might be useful to generate useful and loving dialogue so that we might better forge a new path going forward.

The Coronavirus brought with it much grief and its impact on many levels will be felt for years to come. This is no less true for the camino as in any other sphere of life. Pilgrim infrastructure and albergues that took decades to put in place are struggling to survive, some have already closed permanently and others will follow. The virus was named by the World Health Organisation as, ‘…an enemy against humanity’. This is an unfortunate epithet because, from Gaia’s perspective, humanity itself has become the most destructive force on the planet. If the devastation that arose from this pandemic brings about a paradigm shift in human consciousness it may yet contain a blessing in disguise. For at least a generation we have, collectively, lived beyond the means of the planet to sustain us and all of life that surrounds us. We are not the only sentient beings that occupy the earth and we have wilfully and woefully ignored the plight of nature herself. Now, today, we can change the way we think and act. We can move from fear to love. We can choose to respect each other and the natural world that is our home. We can… but will we? Each of us is part of the whole we call humankind and artificial borders can separate us no more. Indeed they never have but only in our deluded and limited understanding of the nature of reality. Coronavirus taught us that we are all part of the same delicate balance of life on earth. Will we heed its warning or revert to business as usual … until the next crisis strikes again?

“We have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers.” Martin Luther King Jr.

The photo shows the medieval bridge A Ponte de Taboada. This is the point where the Winter Way joins the Camino Sanabrés. Both, in turn, connecting with a larger network of caminos that link us with the rest of Europe and, by extension to every nation on earth. The great insight of the First Nations has always been to remind us that, Man did not weave the web of life, he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself… we may yet find we are brothers after all.

Blessings…
John Brierley

Certainly something to think about….do we really want to go BACK to where we were before?

I had a fab walk this afternoon…such a beautiful day

And I popped out quickly this evening to watch the sunset

And I can’t quite believe I’m still blogging 29 days later….😀 stay safe folks 🌈🌈🌈

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Just another day in paradise….

Whatever you do….don’t forget the meteor shower over the UK this next week https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/18382169.lyrid-meteor-shower-visible-uk-tonight—see/?ref=fbshr

“It is the oldest known meteor shower still active and was first observed in 687 BCE. As they come through the atmosphere, the meteors reach speeds of 50kms a second, but most will burn up before reaching the surface of Earth.” Thankfully the weather has improved and we have clear skies so I’m hoping I get to see this!!!

Actually it was a lush day after all despite a grey start. So much do that I went out for a walk and managed a decent 3.56kms.

Lush all round

My daughter phoned just as I got to the mound and it was amazing to chat to them again 🥰🥰🥰 and so thrilled to hear my grandson say “Granny!!” properly this time 👏👏👏💙👶🏻 He is such a little charm. Cannot wait to see him again.

My little boo 💙👶🏻🥰

On my way back to the house I spotted some more free books, so added a few to the collection 😉🤣🤣

I read so many interesting articles today that my head is swimming. Not least of which was about China. Seriously if the West doesn’t wake up soon, the Chinese government is going to own the world. https://news.yahoo.com/coronavirus-ends-chinas-honeymoon-africa-205217380.html?soc_src=community&soc_trk=fb

I’m thrilled to note that the chap, Chris, who is walking the coastline of the UK to raise funds for SSAFA has smashed his target of £100k 👏👏👏👏

https://www.facebook.com/chriswalksuk/videos/655847218318343/

Absolutely brilliant. I’ve been following his story for some months now and he is so inspiring with his determination and goodwill. Magic.

Other than that, nothing much else happened really. Covid-19 is wreaking havoc and the debates etc etc etc rage on. The orange swamp thing in the WH is completely off the rails in the US, while in the UK Bojo is still in hiding while different ministers are being wheeled out of the cupboard, dusted off and trotted out to stand in front of the camera and say whatever it is that they say….none of it means anything anymore and most certainly, any trust that may have existed is gone. The results of their actions are becoming increasingly obvious and it’s an ongoing farce. Promises are broken quicker than they are made. Urgh.

Anyway, it will play out the way its going to play out…..life will never be the same again….

Oh wait….I found my favourite sweet at the shop today 👏👏👏👏👏

Bonus!!!

All the best folks stay safe

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