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Archive for the ‘gratitude’ Category

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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Yes, unbelievably it’s Day 17 of my walking adventure and Day 8 of my jaunt along Hadrian’s Wall, so I thought I’d pop in and give a quick update.

I had hoped to update you on a daily basis as mentioned before, but oh my gosh, the most I could manage was to eat (not even every night), shower, repack Pepe, and then bed. And repeat.

As per the title, I’m now starting Day 17 of my adventure, and Day 8 of my walk across country from North Shields; Segedunum Fort to Bowness-On-Solway, along Hadrian’s Wall. What an experience it has been. I’ve taken hundreds of photos and will share some of them in due course when I get the time, and energy to write ✍ 😁😁….so….here I am

Relaxing in bed in Brampton, watching a stunning sunrise and thinking back over the last 16 days.. it’s been a truly epic journey.

When I first planned on adding the Northumberland Coast Path to my Hadrian’s Wall adventure, I never for one minute doubted I’d be able to do it. But I also had no idea of what lay ahead. If I had, I might not have been quite so confident. But now that I’m near the end, and with the easy stretches ahead, I’m astounded I managed to get this far, and certainly amazed I’m still standing…well at the moment I’m lying down 😁😁😁

But, geez, I never imagined I would do quite as much walking as what I have. It’s been epic. Every day has brought its own joy, and pain, and laughter, and lots of “OMG that’s amazing” moments; reaching the border with Scotland, the dolphins off Farne Islands, seeing that bridge in Berwick Upon Tweed, traversing the bloody Blythe River estuary πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ, visiting St Mary’s Lighthouse, the wonderful beaches of Northumberland, the many castles – all different and unique in their own way, reaching Tynemouth, the bridges of Newcastle, visiting Arbeia Roman Fort, discovering the first section of the Wall at Heddon on the Wall, seeing the ascent and then descent as I climbed the first ridge on Hadrian’s Wall (I truly do not know how I did all those), seeing the tree at Sycamore Gap from the top of the ridge and suddenly realising what it was πŸ˜„πŸ˜„, exploring the forts and carrying my backpack for 32kms on what was the hottest day of my whole journey…unreal.

I just wish I hadn’t been so tired at the end of each day, I’d have liked to write down the daily experiences…but it was all I could do just to upload some photos before crashing. I’m looking forward to calculating my distances. But one of the best aspects of this journey has been the many, many lovely people I have met along the way, especially on Hadrian’s Way…truly epic.

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Day 1 done and dusted 😁😁 I had a completely uneventful journey, ever so quick from King’s Cross to Berwick…and boy are those trains fast!!

Arrived in Berwick to the most glorious weather and scooted quickly over to the castle ruins. I didn’t go right into the keep coz it closes at 4pm and I got there at just on 3.54…but I had a good look around and then headed back up the million steps I’d just walked down πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ Google maps doesn’t show how steep some places are!!

The River Tweed
Tweed Castle
The Royal Bridge

The Airbnb is lovely and the host is amazing…there’s a gorgeous ginger cat and a beautiful golden labrador, so I have had lots of kisses and cuddles.

My bed for the next 3 nights

As soon as I had dropped off my backpack, I grabbed my day pack and headed north yo the Scottish border. OMG what a path!! The views were spectacular but the path was hell!! For the most part it ran right along the very edge of the cliffs with just a tuft of grass between the walker and the vertiginous cliffs that fall 100s of feet down to the sea. The North Sea in case you wondered.

Spectacular. The weather turned soon after and the clouds came in
Part of #notthecoastpath 🀣🀣

A local suggested I walk along the above ‘path’ because the real path “is a bit rough, and this is a lovely wee walk” – well he wasn’t wrong about the path, but this was no better and I crossed the edge of a potato field to the path as soon as I could. I’m thinking he’s never walked to the border before…

Now this was more like it…leading away from the Scottish border, it was a joy to see this…if only the whole route had been the same

However, despite the awful path and the daunting propect of a twisted ankle on a very narrow and uneven path, and the fading light, I’m so glad I made the effort to walk up to the border and back

Welcome to Scotland 😁😁
English border
It was so cool to cross through the gate into Scotland

The views are absolutely spectacular.

I’m standing on the path!!! A twisted ankle or a trip and you’d be in for a swim
Literally right on the edge

Once I got back to town I had a quick whizz around and walked a small section of the town ramparts, which are just amazing with awesome views of the river and estuary.

Town walls
Walking the ramparts
Fantastic views
Guarding the town

I got back to the b&b at just on 9pm and having missed the fish and chip shop, I had 2 cup a soup and a cup of tea.

In all a terrific start to my Northumberland Coast adventure. Just on 17kms covered.

My walk

I’ve added some of the history of Berwick in case you’re interested πŸ˜‰

Berwick is just four miles south of the Scottish Border, but during the last 300 years, control of the town swapped 13 times between England and Scotland. Berwick’s Elizabethan town walls are the most intact in England, and were Elizabeth I’s biggest and most expensive project during her reign to keep firm control of this key town.

https://www.visitnorthumberland.com/explore/destinations/towns-villages/berwick-upon-tweed

Situated at the mouth of the River Tweed near the border of two kingdoms, the town of Berwick suffered centuries of conflict, as control of the town passed back and forward between England and Scotland until the late 17th century. Each crisis brought repairs and improvements to the fortifications, culminating in the great artillery ramparts begun in 1558. These survive largely intact and make Berwick one of the most important fortified towns of Europe.

Berwick’s town walls are its most famous piece of architecture and still stand strong today, hundreds of years after they were built. Berwick actually has two sets of walls, the first set (of which only fragments now remain), commenced by Edward I, was two miles long. The later Elizabethan Walls (which are still complete) are a mile and a-quarter in length. The ramparts completely surround the town, with four gates through which entry to the town is enabled.

Berwick’s Elizabethan Walls are the only example of bastioned town walls in Britain and one of the best preserved examples in Europe. When built in 1558 – designed to keep out the marauding Scots who regularly laid claim to the town – it was the most expensive undertaking of England’s Golden Age.

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Am I going walking next week? βœ…
Am I prepared?βœ…
Is everything organised?βœ…
Am I fit enough?βœ…
Did I have a full-blown panic attack at 3am?βœ…βœ…βœ…πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ

No matter how well prepared I am, just before I set off on a long walk, I have a mini crisis
Am I excited? Yes I am!!! πŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒ
Will it be exhausting? βœ…πŸ₯΅
Will it hurt? βœ…πŸ˜ͺ

But oh my gosh, the places I will go, and the things I will see makes it all worthwhile. πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ

This is by far away the longest distance I have ever walked on a continuous day to day journey.
But I’m going to fulfil a long-held dream of not only seeing Hadrian’s Wall, but actually walking the route; a journey through history.πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

As well as which, I’ll be adding to a newer dream (2020 to be precise) of walking another section of the English Coast πŸšΆβ€β™€οΈπŸšΆβ€β™€οΈπŸšΆβ€β™€οΈ

Prepare for frequent posts to say how excited I am as I countdown till 01.09.2021 😁😁

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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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So my lovelies, the time is almost nigh!! At 10:07 on 1st September; 3 weeks from today (whoop whoop), I’ll be on the train heading North. Destination Berwick Upon Tweed.

I start walking the Northumberland coast path that same night, albeit staying in Berwick for 3 nights…I’ll explain later.

Then in exactly 1 month from today, I start my official walk along Hadrian’s Wall. 4 years to the day from when I started my Portuguese Camino 😊😊

So bloody excited. I can’t tell you πŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒπŸ’ƒ = my happy dance.

So wow, suddenly it’s only 3 weeks to go and I’m on my way.

The dates have been identified, there and back travel tickets booked, all accommodation is booked, Airbnb hosts contacted and confirmed, the routes identified, daily kilometres from here to there measured (repeatedly πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ), what to see noted, where to go planned, what to do listed, ferry trip booked, where to get my passports stamped noted.

Pepe is packed, Gemini and I have been practicing like mad – getting fit, which shoes to wear decided on, budgets calculated and as much planning as I can possibly do, done!!!

And just because, after weeks of planning and noting the route each day on the Northumberland Coast Path with the relevant distances, yesterday I only decided to rejig days 4-7 and fiddled about with the distances. But now it is a lot smoother, with one day shorter and another longer.

I confirmed yesterday that I can use my senior bus pass on all the bus routes that I need to use between end of day’s destination and return the next day. I’m going to be doing quite a bit of bouncing back and forth due to accommodation on the NCP.

I’m copying everything into an old-fashioned method of keeping records – a notebook 😁😁

Northumberland Coast Path here’s looking at you, and finally 🀞🀞 after a whole year of waiting Hadrian’s Wall…I see you!!

Now it’s a waiting game; 21 days and counting.

As for you Covid-19 with all your variants…..you know what you can do…πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

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You start dying slowly
when you kill your self-esteem,
when you do not let others help you.

You start dying slowly
if you become a slave of your habits,
walking every day on the same paths,
if you do not change your routine,
If you do not wear different colours
or you do not speak to those you don’t know.

You start dying slowly
if you avoid feeling passion
and its turbulent emotions,
those which make your eyes glisten
and your heart beat fast.

You start dying slowly
if you do not risk what is safe for the uncertain
if you do not go after a dream
if you do not allow yourself
at least once in your lifetime
to run away from sensible advice.

Don’t let yourself die slowly . . . ~ Pablo Neruda

Sculpture by Lene Kilda

I saw this poem on a friend’s timeline recently. It really spoke to me and I find it quite beautiful and so profound. It’s been mulling around in my mind as I grapple with the implications and the meaning…

It reminds me of many of my clients, the majority of whom are in the twilight years of their lives…basically ‘waiting for God’ as the saying goes (also the title of a TV comedy series).

Most of my clients have lived well past their 3 score and ten as suggested by the Bible, and their final years are reduced to what can be mind-numbing routine, but is often like a security blanket. They know exactly where they are, especially when they are afflicted by dementia…routine is paramount for security.

However, their self-esteem is often ‘killed’ by having a stranger (the carer) enter their home and having to resign themselves to the indignity of personal care, which often involves really ‘personal’ care, and if we’re not careful, their lives are reduced to discussions or discourse on how regular their bowels are, the colour of their urine, how much fluid they drink during the day, the number of creams that have to be massaged in on private areas, being cleaned and washed by a stranger, and their daily medications – most often a smorgasbord of different tablets keeping them alive; one to do this, one to do that, another to offset the effects of the first, another to reduce the impact of the 2nd…and ultimately becoming what I normally call a ‘mind fudge’…excuse the ‘french’. They have to psyche themselves up to swallow what sometimes amounts to 20 tablets a day (seriously) for years on end, most of which are invariably unnecessary as has been proved in the past…

For the carer, the constant sameness of every day, sometimes for weeks on end, can be like a slow dying…every day is so exactly the same that in order to preserve your sanity, you try to mix it up a little…like hoovering on a Saturday instead of Thursday LOL – yes, even something as small as that can be a help. A change of routine.

A large part of looking after my own mental health has in fact come in the form of my walking excursions, and yes those daft challenges πŸ˜‰ – you know the ones I mean LOL When I’m at a booking I try to walk as many different routes as I possibly can, taking dozens of photos as I go…I love to investigate the history of the area – like finding out if it’s a Domesday town/village, or the provenance of the name…many of which are descended from Viking and Saxon times, some from the original inhabitants of these fair isles; the Celts, names that are corrupted over the years to be spelled and sound completely different to how they started.

Often the names relate to a particular industry, or husbandry, or simply the name of the patch of grass at a road junction. For example Throwley Forstal: The name is recorded in the Doomsday Book as Trevelai, which corresponds with a Brittonic origin, where “Trev” means a settlement or farm house and “Elai” typically relates to a fast moving river or stream. And the term forstal means the land in front of a farm and farmyard. Which in this instance is very accurate since the whole area is farmland with a number of divine farmhouses that make me envious.

Or perhaps Sheldwich Lees, which we visited yesterday: In ancient charters it was called ‘Schyldwic’. In 784, it was given this name by Ealhmund of Kent, to Abbot Wetrede and his convent of ‘Raculf Cestre’, or Reculver. During King Edward I’s reign (1239–1307), it passed to the family of Atte-Lese, which included the Manor of Sheldwich. This then became the Manor of Leescourt due to the name of the Atte-lese family mansion. A bit complicated if you ask me!!

So back to the poem; I try to not become a ‘slave’ of my habits, and I certainly talk to many I don’t know – give me half a chance and I’ll tell you my life story!! LOL Although the area I’m currently working in is enormous in terms of the farmlands, the hamlet consists of about 30 or so houses, so there are not many people about when I set off on my excursions, but every now and then I pass someone who also walks regularly and we exchange “hellos” and “nice day isn’t it” – usually a safe subject LOL Occasionally I meet dog walkers and I comment on how cute or lovely they (the dogs) are, but mostly I don’t see a soul except for the drivers who whizz past while I hug the hedgerows LOL

But my client always asks which route I took, and so I describe to him where I went, what I saw, how many people I may or may not have passed and he then tells me the history of certain places. It’s a win win for both of us…his dull routine is disrupted by tales of my jaunts and I get to relate what I find interesting – a break in routine. Actually on the subject of my current client (92) – he’s super intelligent and so we have some amazing conversations about religion and politics, about travel and places we’ve been. In his youth and up until about 10 years ago he and his wife were keen walkers/hikers and have been to some amazing places. So I encourage him to tell me the tales of his youth.

And in conclusion; I certainly have no chance of dying slowly because
if you do not risk what is safe for the uncertain (I do that regularly)
if you do not go after a dream (at every chance – planning walking trips here and there)
if you do not allow yourself
at least once in your lifetime
to run away from sensible advice
. (a frequent pastime!!)

Don’t let yourself die slowly….wise words indeed.

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Four years ago I read in the news about this young lad, Alex Ellis-Roswell from Canterbury What an extraordinary venture; a 9,500 mile, 3-year walk around the UK coast, including N.Ireland, from Minnis Bay to Minnis Bay, raising funds for and visiting more than 200 RNLI stations along the way, and raising more than Β£65,000 for the life-saving charity. Astounding. I had not heard of anyone walking the entire UK coast, and didn’t realise it was even a thing.

At the time I was not long back from walking the Camino Portuguese from Porto to Santiago, 174 miles, and my efforts felt quite piddling in comparison. I was totally awed at his efforts.

I’ve always loved walking, and walked a lot in my early 20s when I lived in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, but from when I had my baby and acquired a car and a husband in 1980, I didn’t do much by way of walking at all. Life went by, I had a car, and although we travelled a lot around South Africa walking was just part of a day or an outing and not the focus of the outing.

In 2001 I had the absolute joy and good fortune to spend 6 months in the Rep. of Ireland with my younger sister and her hubby. While there, my love of walking was rekindled and played a part in my decision to return to the UK full time…which I duly did in April 2002, albeit to Ireland first for 4 months till September. During my time in Ireland; 2001 and 2002, we walked everywhere, weekend jaunts across country, along the east coast in mid-winter (mostly because there wasn’t anything else to do LOL) and wonderful walks in historic Glendalough National Park in County Wicklow, and my midnight returns to home after an evening in Dublin.

When I relocated to the UK in September 2002, before starting work, I did a 6 week housesit; a penthouse in Hampstead Village with a rooftop view of London, lots of walking opportunities with Hampstead Heath nearby and the historic village of Hampstead.

When we, my daughter and I, eventually settled in Richmond in 2010 I started walking the Thames Path in various directions as well as many many walks in the City of London (eventually covering 95% of all the roads, lanes and alleyways) and City of Westminster, with occasional sojourns to other areas. I even started up a business (now defunct): 3 Days in London which involved guided tours (only a few because I really did not enjoy guiding people around the city LOL).

In 2011 I had the bright idea of following Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales route from Southwark Cathedral to Canterbury Cathedral and in 2014 we moved to Broadstairs, where my coastal path jaunts began. Along the many ‘ways’ during the years from when I first arrived in the UK, the Camino de Santiago seeped into my consciousness from varying angles; my Dad and a couple of siblings cycled the French route (at different times), I met a lady who had walked the French route and loved it (she gave me my 1st scallop shell), I saw the film with Martin Sheen and books on the Camino started to make themselves known. And so my ‘dream’ of walking the Camino germinated. Initially I thought I’d walk it in 2016, having decided on the Portuguese coastal route as my preferred ‘way’, and to that end I started practising by taking lengthy walks along the coast to Margate or Ramsgate and further afield to Sandwich. Finally in 2017 I felt ready and walked the Portuguese Coastal Route to Santiago in September of that year.

Since then I’ve completed a number of long distance walks and my reading matter has turned to books about people who have done amazing walks. Shortly after reading ‘The Salt Path’ by Raynor Winn, I was inspired to set myself the challenge of walking the entire English Coast Path; coincidentally whilst I was walking between Sandwich and Walmer one day last year. And so the idea was born, and now that I have a specific target, I’ve started walking sections with purpose (I will write up about those stages in due course).

During the preceding years I’ve been inspired by epic adventures embarked upon by people like Steven Fabes who cycled 6 continents and covered 80,000 km on his bike. And Ben Fogle’s many adventures with ‘New Lives in the Wild’ TV shows, Steve Backsall’s many epic adventures (not that I envy any of his adventures thank you!!), Michael Palin’s many wonderful travels around the world, Michael Portillo’s ‘Great British Railway Journeys’, and Julia Bradbury’s many amazing walking adventures in the UK.

Way back in my South African past, a boyfriend at the time gave me the book ‘Full Tilt: From Dublin to Delhi’ by Dervla Murphy, which I devoured at the time, never imagining that I would one day actually live in Dublin! I loved her story and I think it probably ignited a small flame that was later nourished to become a passion; travel.

During lockdown in 2020, for 7 weeks between March and April, I was lucky enough to be working and living in a tiny village in Somerset; Nether Stowey, where I was able to indulge my walking escapades despite lockdown because there was hardly anyone around and I seldom encountered a soul during my 2 hourly breaks from working.

My daughter introduced me to the ‘addictive’ Conqueror Challenges in April of 2020 and working towards those goals has kept me motivated.

that’s me! The Conqueror – conquering the world, walk by walk LOL

I also started looking to find more people who were walking the UK coast and somewhere along the line, via Facebook I found and started following Chris Walks the UK. At the time he was safely ensconced on a remote and unoccupied Scottish island where he stayed for much of lockdown. Following his journey both then and now, I’m totally inspired by his fortitude and strength. Having started the journey in the midst of depression 5 years ago (apparently Sunday was his 5th anniversary, so I’ve added the link to reflect that), a former Veteran of the Armed Forces, he was then and still is raising funds for SSAFA and has met the 2 loves of his life along the way; 1st Jet, a beautiful greyhound, and then Kate a beautiful young woman who popped over one day to say hello and never left. I love their daily posts and am in so much admiration for how they cope with obstacles.

Slowly, during my travels, I stumbled across other walks; the Two Saints Way, St Cuthbert’s Way and St Oswald’s Way, Great Glen Way, The West Highland Way, Hadrian’s Wall, and as I came to learn about more and more walks, I started buying the Cicerone Guide Books. Now, with a whole long list of walks I now want to do, I joined the UK Long Distance Hiking page on facebook, to get ideas and advice, occasionally discover new routes to walk (oh my lord! Like I need any more!), and while scrolling through the posts a couple of days ago I stumbled across Tracey Elizabeth Hannam, an amazing woman with an interesting story who is currently walking the UK coast. I saw one of her posts; a poem that she wrote and it resonated so strongly that I asked her if I could share it here…..and she has agreed.

Here is the link to her facebook page and the poem that caught at my soul

.. Thoughts..a poem

What am I thinking is my life shrinking I need to get out,
Where am I going am I happy knowing as I start to shout,
I’m feeling quite trapped being part of the rat race as they call it..
I’m trying to fit in but I can’t begin as I simply deplore it,
As I try to escape, suffocated in this place I know I must go,
To the sand and the sea I feel it beckoning me and now that I know,
I must be out in the wild like a inquisitive child seeing new things each day,,
Sleep on the earth in a tent, many happy days spent loving the way,
How my new life has changed simply been rearranged by thoughts in my head,
Of times I couldn’t breathe, there was a hidden need to be out here instead,
My eyes now open to see this new happy me away from the grind,
Of a regimented past life, sometimes trouble and strife but now cleared from my mind,
Medicine not in a pill but walking up a hill is healing my soul,
Prescribed by Dr. me as I began to see I needed a new goal,
And I’ll never look back to that old beaten track that stopped me from growing,
I’ll look right ahead never to dread this new me I’m knowing,
Leading the way not afraid to say to others too,
Don’t settle for less cause you are the best ..refresh and renewβ€¦πŸ’œβ€

Copyright: Tracey Hannam .. 31/7/21

Tracey Hannam – Long Distance Hiker, so inspiring

During my research into other long distance UK coastal walkers I came across this fantastic website https://www.britishwalks.org/walks/Named/CoastWalk/Links.php an amazing resource listing the many people who have already walked the coast or are currently walking.

There is something quite extraordinary about a person who decides, for such a variety of reasons, to up sticks and walk for thousands of kms/miles, sometimes for years on end. Carrying the bare minimum, yet loaded with a lot of stuff to carry, they put one foot in front of the other, enduring pain and discomfort, all the weather types you can imagine, blisters, scrapes and falls, a lack of home comforts, facing some of the hardest days anyone could imagine – and yet, they just keep on going, loving that life despite the hardships, and rejoicing in the beauty of new places.

I find it so inspiring and totally awesome.

For me it’s the sheer freedom of the path, of the unknown, of starting at one place and ending at another that leads me on….

English Coast Path

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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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And so the time has come πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ With just 37!!! days (😱) till I set off on my big adventure, Pepe needs a repack. I’ll be away working for 24 of those 37 days, so now is the time!! It’s both thrilling and terrifying…this will be my longest walk/s by far. The most I’ve walked continuously in the past has been 11 days on the Camino.

Pepe looking pretty in yellow πŸ’› and the colour matched poncho I bought yesterday 🀭🀭🀭

This walk will be 23 days. Naturally of course, 6 of those 23 days will be devoted to exploring the areas I’m in; Berwick Upon Tweed, Lindisfarne, Bamburgh, Newcastle, Carlisle and Glasgow, but that all involves walking πŸšΆβ€β™€οΈπŸšΆβ€β™€οΈπŸšΆβ€β™€οΈ

So whewww, I’m ready, but I’m almost certain that my feet are not at all as excited – they’ll be doing most of the work, poor old πŸ‘£πŸ‘£πŸ₯ΎπŸ₯Ύ #notjustagrannyΒ  #overthehillstilltravelling

I’m going to be packing as light as possible, even lighter than the Camino, and very definitely, I am planning on using baggage forwarding wherever possible and feasible. As I have said in the past, I’m not into self-flaggelation, and walking for me is an enjoyable pastime not a penance for past sins!! Camino or not!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Tomorrow after I’ve returned the tiddler to his parental unit, I’m going shopping for new walking shoes. The asics I purchased a few months ago are not quite doing it for me, and weirdly the Salomons I tried on last week felt more like mini coffins than comfy trainers, which is toats weird since I wore a brilliant pair on my Camino. Shoulda bought 2 pairs!! πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„

Let the packing commence…🀨🀨

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