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Archive for the ‘gratitude’ Category

Thank you all for reading my random posts, your πŸ‘s and comments, I appreciate them all.

May this new year bring you fun, laughter, joy, peace and everything good

Stay healthy and safe…..wherever in the world you are πŸŒπŸŒŽπŸŒπŸ—ΊπŸ§­

πŸŽ†πŸŽ†πŸŽ†πŸŽ†πŸŽ†πŸŽ†πŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸ§§2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣1️⃣

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Well, would you just look at that!! Just over 24 hours to go (UK time) and we say goodbye to 2020. I can hardly believe it.

Not that the new year, 2021 is going to start off very well at all with now 8 in 10 people in the UK going into tier 4 and virtual lockdown. Although 2020 didn’t do too well at all, 2021 is not going to get off to a very good start.

To say I’m peeved at our useless government would be an understatement because tomorrow brings the double whammy of the final twist of the Brexit knife and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic to really give this year a bad name. And do I believe our feckless PM when he spouts out his nonsense about having got a good deal?? No. I do not.

Meanwhile I, like millions of others, am trying desperately to keep my head and not fall into the pit of despair at the way life seems to be spiralling out of control. To that end I’m not watching the news nor reading the papers and still off Facebook. I am however spending quality time with my family and walking….walking and walking. I’m also grateful to still have work.

Although I only started in April, having the Conqueror virtual challenges has been a bit of a life saver really because keeping up with my targets gets me out, and the walking, which I love, keeps me sane.

I’m nearly at the end of the 2020 challenge and yesterday I completed the Mt. Fuji challenge after a fantastic walk from Margate to Herne Bay 22.18 kms. Although it was bloody freezing, I thoroughly enjoyed the walk and was not only surprised at how quickly I walked the distance, but also at how easy it was.

I’ve long wanted to walk from Broadstairs to Reculver after visiting the Roman site a few years ago, so it was absolutely thrilling to finally make the journey, albeit only from Margate. Except for one very short section, there is a promenade/footpath and the sea the whole way. The final section to Herne Bay was a breeze…literally and figuratively. I nearly froze πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ it was so darn cold – at one stage I was sucking my thumb just to get some warmth back into it.

Fortunately the cafeteria at Reculver was open so I stopped for 15 minutes to rest my feet and warm up with a hot chocolate and a yummy caramel fudge brownie…delicious.

Herne Bay is a fascinating place with so much history, not all of it good. But they do have some fantastic fish and chips shops….😁😁 I have to give a shout out to Gary of EKS Office Equipment in Herne Bay for not only agreeing to charge my phone (for free) but also allowed me to sit in a corner of the showroom to eat my chips while I waited. It was very much appreciated.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed the walk, despite the cold, the saddest sight was the vast amount of plastic pollution that quite literally lined the whole 22kms….I could have filled 50 black bags and still not cleared it all. Its terribly painful to see all that pollution.

So as the year comes to an end, I have one final day of walking to do to finish my 2020 km challenge. Its been a most satisfying pastime and I must thank my daughter for introducing me to the Conqueror Virtual Challenges….thanks to that I have improved my fitness levels, walked extensively in areas I would likely have not except for wanting to meet the challenge of the challenges πŸ˜‰ and I’ve inadvertently accumulated way more medals than I had planned. Its been a fairly expensive hobby, but so much fun.

I’ve started on the Alps to Ocean, NZ challenge and hopefully tomorrow I’ll complete another decent distance as my final walk for 2020.

Other than that, I have finally found a suitable place to rent. Went to look at a room last night….and as Goldilocks said “it’s just right ” and I’m saying “It’ll do Pooh” πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ It’s not a huge room, but it’s on the top floor, its spacious, it has cupboards, and a bed, and a skylight for summer nights, and a desk for my books and computer and MOST importantly, the landlord said Jamie can visit. So HOORAH!!! after 18months I’ll have a place to go ‘home’ to. I’m feeling quite emotional. It means I can get my clothes out of storage, and my books and Jamie’s toys and my amazing South African mattress. I can brighten it up with my own bed linen and pictures and bits and bobs.

Today we had a photoshoot done. The fab photographer of @createdwithlightphotography on Instagram did the shoot for me with my gorgeous grandson. We had lots of fun and then had hot chocolate to warm up, because of course it was freezing on the beach. β˜ƒοΈβ˜ƒοΈβ˜ƒοΈβ˜ƒοΈ

Me and my boobee πŸ₯°πŸ₯°

Tomorrow, weather depending I’ll walk from Ramsgate to Margate one last time before I tackle the next section of my own challenge….to walk the whole of the English coast within next 5 years.

Cheers folks, thanks for reading along with me. In case I don’t get to write a post tomorrow, although I probably will, I wish you all a VERY safe, healthy and wonderful New Year.

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I’ve always liked Andrew’s videos and how he tells a story. This video is part of a series of 8 and the rest of the series can be found on YouTube. This video also features 2 Irish pilgrims. I wonder what the future holds for Andrew. His Camino journey isn’t over. Like what you see? […]

Weekend Watch #77 – A Christmas Gift from Beyond the Way

And following right behind my last shared post is this….

Having walked the Portuguese Camino in 2017, I’m always drawn to other people’s stories and experiences, and there is one for every pilgrim who walks a Camino, regardless of which one it is.

This post also brings me to a brief conversation I had with my daughter yesterday after seeing the images of the flooding and damage caused by our current storm; Bertha.

Being an imperfect human, I complain from time to time about my dissatisfaction with my difficulties at work, how it’s so mentally draining, about not having my own home…a place I can return to instead of the next b&b or guesthouse.

And then you read or hear about events that overtake the lives of others, and you realise that there is always someone else worse off…a mother trying to shelter her children and find food after a devastating earthquake, families losing their homes and belongings during a flood.

I try to remind myself that despite the difficulties and frustrations of my life, that is just what they are…and they’re neither life threatening or devastating.

And I am reminded just how fortunate I am and have been.

Have you walked the Camino in Spain? Or any pilgrimage in another country….

caminoΒ sustantivo, path, road; journey; way.

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Winter solstice could not have come at a better time.

We’re on our way to spring

Whilst the date of winter solstice has been the same for aeons, synonymous with hope and renewal, this year it followed hot on the heels of a date that will hopefully be forgotten in the mists of time, for yesterday we went into Tier 4 lockdown in parts of the UK.

Spring always reminds me of the 1970s Eurovision song; ‘All kinds of everything’ – snowdrops and daffodils, butterflies and bees…all kinds of everything, reminds me of you…

The first to appear are the snowdrops, those pretty little fairy lanterns that lend a cheer to the hard grey ground, and bring a smile to our faces

snowdrops

And then the sun begins to shine again as the daffodils with their bright yellow faces sprout with wild abandon

daffodils

from then on its one after the other as more and more spring flowers appear; bluebells

Bluebells

hyacinths, primroses and then one of my favourite flowers…tulips

a profusion of colours – tulips

But don’t be fooled….for March can bring on a bite of snow

snow in March

But as we roll into April….perhaps a visit to Paris is on the cards πŸ™‚

Bring it on….

Happy Winter Solstice

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I’ve been invited to participate in the 2020 Travel Challenge by fellow travellers and Camino pilgrims http://wetanddustyroads.com Thank you πŸ₯°

I’m honoured to be nominated and will do my very best to live up to the challenge!!

January

The Travel Challenge involves posting one favorite travel picture for each day. That’s 10 days, 10 travel pictures, and 10 nominations, without any explanation. If you take up this challenge, then you also need to nominate someone each day.

Today, on my first day of the challenge, I nominate the wonderfully adventurous couple behind http://jwalkingin.com

You’re under no obligation to accept, but if you do….

You can post any of your favorite pictures from 2020…enjoy and happy travels!!

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The universe conspired to deliver a beautiful day to make up for the horrid news delivered yesterday. A grey, wet and dreary day would have been too depressing. Tier 4??? Seriously!

However, we are now one day closer to coming out of lockdown. Meanwhile, knowing as I do, how the British weather system works; grey, overcast skies in the morning…clear sunny, blue afternoon. Clear blue skies in the morning…rain by midday – with the odd exception.

Soooo, when I pulled back the curtains this morning and saw clear blue skies with just a hint of cloud on the distant horizon, I determined to use my shopping trip as an excuse to get out for a long walk. Which I did.

Heading along the same route as yesterday where I discovered Lloyd Park, I once again reached the park.

Thinking a slightly different route in the park would be good, I followed what looked like a nice, firm, dry sandy path to the trees I could see in the distance…it wasn’t firm or dry πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈ within a few meters I was slipping and sliding along…

Slip sliding away…

Managing to keep upright thanks to my walking poles, eventually I reached a tree halfway to where I really wanted to go, and called it quits.

About turn….

I did a careful about turn and slid back to the concrete pathway, which although tough on the bones, is so much easier to walk on. I walked as far as the carpark on the distant side of the park, then returned. There were a fair number of people out walking, mostly masked up and keeping their distance. I overheard snatches of a few conversations; mostly about the lockdown and the mental health of people affected by the sudden change in the government’s position on Christmas.

On my way back out the park I ‘slid’ to the left and walked past a massive allotment plot.

I loved this path…
An enormous allotment

I stopped to listen to a robin sing and then went shopping.

A robin trills

Oh oh…who is that I spy lurking behind the bush?

Who could it be?

In all I got in a very good 9.1kms and as a result I’m now only 103.3kms away from reaching my target of 2020kms of my 2020 virtual challenge πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ˜ƒ

I noticed this amazing decoration on the side of a building near the station

Isn’t that just stunning!!!

As for the Great Ocean Road route in Australia I’m only 25km (15.6miles) away from the end of the challenge 😁😁 I am now close to reaching the end of my virtual journey…239.8km along the south coast of that epic continent – Australia!! I really want to finish by Thursday 24th.

I’m roughly halfway between Port Cambell which I left behind 4 days ago

Port Campbell and 51.2 km (32 miles) to go

And nearing the end at Allansford

I hope to visit Oz for real in 2023/2024….finances depending. I only just received all my postcards from the Conqueror Challenges team. It seems I started the route before they were ready, so they kindly sent the cards in one batch when they were done. So awesome. They’re all incredibly on the ball with their customer service.

And so as 2020 starts to wind down, I’m gearing up to virtually climb Mt. Fuji πŸ—»πŸ‡―πŸ‡΅ Hopefully this challenge will dovetail nicely with the last kilometres of my 2020 challenge. And of course, it goes without saying…I’m going to participate in the 2021 challenge too….πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈ What distance do you think I should set my target at?

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If you have recorded or want to watch Strictly Come Dancing on catch up….

Because…..

Well well well well….Strictly Come Dancing champion 2020……issssss

BILL BAILEY!!!!! πŸ•ΊπŸ•ΊπŸ•ΊπŸ†πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

Huge congratulations to Oti for raising a champion dancer.

I genuinely thought Hrvy would win due to his age and popularity and of course I would have loved Jamie to win, even though I didn’t think he  would, and Maisie…..what a little ray of sunshine…

They were ALL amazing and the final was quite simply SPECTACULAR or as Craig would say FAB.U.LOUS 😁😁😁

but I’m THRILLED that Bill won. He was amazing and definitely made the most improvement and ended in a spectacular fashion.

Strictly Come Dancing has been so uplifting during the last few months and it’s still my absolute favourite show. It brings so much joy.

Thank you BBC ❀❀❀❀

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As a child you grow up with traditions and learn about others, whether they be religious or seasonal, familial or foreign and they all seem to be set in stone with certain rules that govern how they play out. I learned something quite profound one day…..traditions are not set in stone, they can be amended or tweaked and new ones can be created…!!! 😁😁

My mother had quite a few traditions, one of which was decorating the Christmas tree. A few days before Christmas a tree would mysteriously appear in the lounge (sitting room for the Brits πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ), and if a real tree, it stood in a bucket of sand. πŸŽ„

In the build up to Christmas day we learned that Father Christmas aka Santa would be visiting on the night before Christmas and leave us lots of presents….and he would decorate the tree, so when we woke up on Christmas day, magically the tree would be adorned in all its glory.

As we got older and learned that ‘Santa’ was actually Mommy, we got to help with the decorating. I remember the excitement as Christmas eve got closer and the anticipation built….and then her Christmas boxes would come out from wherever she was hiding them and glory be….we got to open them. Oh the beauty of all those shiny balls, the tinsel glittering in the light, the quirky little characters exclaimed over with delight and then the decorating began as we tried to balance them out around the tree with much laughter – the baubles going higher the taller we grew. And finally with a flourish we pulled tufts of cottonwool off a fat new roll, threw them all over the tree with wild abandon and voila, the tree was covered in ‘snow’. πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ Too much fun.

Being the eldest of 4 daughters I got to help my Mother decorate the tree in secret 3 times to surprise and delight my sisters on Christmas day…and of course the day brought a pile of presents too. πŸŽ„πŸŽπŸŽπŸŽπŸŽ Needless to say, my Mother did things in a big way, and half the house would be decorated too ☺☺

When my daughter was growing up I carried on the traditions of my childhood and decorated the tree and lounge the night before Christmas to delight her in the morning. As she grew up and learned more about Santa’s secrets, she also got to decorate the tree. As it was just the 2 of us, we used to decorate together.

Now she’s grown up with a family of her own, she’s started a new tradition….the grandparents are invited over earlier in December for an evening of laughter, dinner and decorating the tree. Last year we all gathered together and my contribution was a 1st Christmas decoration for Jamie; an engraved ceramic star

This year I found a delightful little wooden decoration in Shepton Mallet; a picture of a snowman – he loves snowmen. β›„β›„

Unfortunately this year, due to tier 3 restrictions the paternal grandparents didn’t join us, but we had a fun time decorating the tree.

Granny and Jamie hanging his decoration

This was Jamie’s first time ever decorating a Christmas tree. He got the idea straight away. Mummy gave him the first bauble, showed him how to open the string, and he went straight over and hung it up with very little instruction on how to do it. We’re so proud of him. ☺☺

He just got it….so smart πŸ₯°πŸ’™

Of course not yet 2 years old, he got impatient with taking the decorations out one at a time and turned the box upside down and all over the floor 🀣🀣🀣 – and THEN proceeded to jumble them up.

But he was dissuaded and one by one the decorations went up with the assistance of Mummy and Daddy.

A steadying hand from Mummy

And finally when every last bauble and ball was up, he helped Daddy put the star on top πŸŽ„…..πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ hoorah!! Its Christmas πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽπŸŽπŸŽ

Daddy’s little Christmas star β˜Ίβ˜ΊπŸ’™
He took it all very seriously β˜Ίβ˜ΊπŸŽ„πŸŽ‰

Once the tree was done we settled down to have a superb Christmas meal….fully vegetarian.

Table decorations

A newly established family tradition.

I bought my boobee an early Christmas present; a Peppa Pig set of plate, bowl and cup. He’s currently obsessed with Peppa Pig, so an easy buy 🐷🐷

Another tradition my Mother had was making a Christmas pudding….every year she would buy the fruit mince the bread crumbs, the eggs, suet, the sixpences and 50p (all carefully boiled to sterilise them) and then the mixing began. We would fight to mix and once it was all done, fight again as to who would get to lick the spoons and the bowl. When the grandchildren came along they were encouraged to participate and I have the loveliest photo somewhere of my Mother, my daughter and 2 nieces gathered round the table mixing the pudding. Possibly the last pudding my Mother ever did since she passed away a couple of months after my daughter’s 4th birthday. Moving forward, my daughter doesn’t like Christmas cake, Christmas pudding or mince pies….weird child, but more for me 😁😁🀢🏻πŸ₯§πŸ₯§πŸ₯§

Oh and without a doubt, you can be sure that on Christmas day….we all vied for the 50p!!! A veritable fortune in those days πŸ’°πŸ’°πŸ’°

P.S. did you notice the spelling of merry in the header photo…πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ only noticed after the package was opened…. a new tradition? πŸ˜‰

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Got in a very respectable 15.9kms this morning. Starting off with a fantastic sunrise….red sky in the morning and all that

I headed up the coast to Stone Bay via Broadstairs where I stopped off at my favourite tearoom The Old Bakehouse for almond croissants (best ever) with a cup of coffee, which I enjoyed on the promenade, and fed the sparrows some toasted almond crumbs.

Almond croissant from The Old Bake House, Broadstairs
Ever so cute…

Enroute I strolled past the Dickens Museum – although he didn’t actually live here, it was the home of one of his characters in David Copperfield; Betsy Trotwood.

By the time I reached the end of Stone Bay the wind had come up and that promised storm blew in…with a vengeance.

Blowing up a storm
I wondered why….

Before heading back to Ramsgate, I bought some bird seed and scattered it amongst the bushes for the wee sparrows.

The wind was so strong along the foreshore that my walking poles were blown backwards and I had to plow into the wind.

Despite the wind and cold and rain, I had a fantastic walk. The harbour looked very different when I got back from when I left just after 7am

7:20am
11:14am

And tomorrow I’m back to work. I don’t feel as if I’ve had a proper break.

But I did have a most wonderful afternoon with my lovely family…Christmas tree decorating. I’ll write about that tomorrow..

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There is nothing more precious to me than hearing my grandson from behind the door saying “G’anny” when I ring the doorbell and then seeing that beautiful little face lit up with a smile. And a cuddle follows close behind β˜Ίβ˜ΊπŸ’™

He is my absolute joy….

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