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Archive for the ‘memories of days gone by’ Category

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 πŸ’™πŸ‘ΆπŸ»

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” – πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ€¨πŸ€¨πŸ€¨

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.Β  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 πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ 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 πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺπŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

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.πŸ™…β€β™€οΈπŸ€·β€β™€οΈπŸ™Žβ€β™€οΈπŸ™†β€β™€οΈπŸ€¦β€β™€οΈ

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

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 πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„

Newcastle Upon Tyne

If you want to join in the fun and walk Hadrian’s Wall…virtually of course πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ 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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One of the most irksome aspects of getting ‘older’ is….you get forgetful ..like forgetting a word you know you know, but…it sits on your tongue and when you no longer need it, it pops into your head. πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ How often do you say “where are my keys, or phone? – usually it’s in your hand πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ or going into a room and forgetting why you’re there. Annoying, to put it mildly.

But one of the things that annoys me the most……I forget to flick the switch. My phone battery usually lasts much the whole day depending on my activity. But now and then I have to charge it up to last till bedtime. So I plug it in and carry on with my day. A few hours later I go to unplug it and continue my use. Except….

Except when I look at the battery it hasn’t charged. I curse the phone; bloody rubbish they make these days….and then I realise πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„ I forgot to flick the switch. Urgh

How often does that happen to you?

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As mentioned in an earlier post, since logging off both twitter and facebook I needed something to read in the mornings before work, so I gravitated back to workpress. I also realised that except for the post on toilet paper in June, and barring the odd repost or quick article prior to that, I hadn’t blogged for over 3 months and most particularly since my grandson was born. My posting activity compared to previous years looks quite scarce.

I have over 100 drafts waiting to be posted, 90% of which are about my delicious grandson and his journey since he was born. I cheated a wee bit and used my (daily) instagram posts as the basis for the drafts, but somehow I just haven’t had the time to actually flesh them out, checking for spelling and grammar (my bugbears), add images and actually get as far as posting them.

But now that I am no longer living at what used to be my home, and since I am working more (to save on accommodation costs), I have more time to blog….and I’m making up for lost time πŸ˜‰

So, whilst reading the next article on the fantastic blog I discovered under the tag ‘Saxons’ : ‘the traveller’s path” I came across the word ‘trepanned’ on her post ‘Bald’s Leechbook: The Doctor is in‘ – and the word literally jumped off the page at me and I had an epiphany…..I too had been trepanned. LOL

When I was about 15 months of age my mother fell down a flight of stairs with me which resulted in a damaged head and a brain bleed. So the surgeons drilled 3 holes into my skull; 2 on the right hand side of my head and 1 on the left in order to flush out pooled blood and bone fragments. This left 3 small indentations in my head that make for a good story today (and over the decades πŸ˜‰ ) and I get perverse pleasure out of making people feel the bigger hole in my head. They’re usually very squeamish about touching it, but I insist….. hahaha!!

What was weird to me is that I have told that story many times over the years, and I’ve read the word ‘trepanned’ many times whilst reading various books, but I have never associated the word with what had been done to my head. Till today! So there it is, I too have been trepanned. I am however rather glad it was done in the 20th century and not the 8th 9th or 10th, since I think the survival rates of the patients were not as high then as they are today….although to be fair, as the author mentions in her article, many people did survive and this is known due to the fact that when ancient skeletons are dug up at various archaelogical digs, they sometimes find skulls with holes that show signs of having healed. Of course some of said holes are acquired during battles fought and possibly won, but some are of a shape and size to indicate trepanation. Fascinating.

To conclude the story about my trepanned head, the fall down said stairs was as a result of my Mother wearing stiletto heels. One of the heels got stuck in a groove and resulted in the fall. From what I understand my Mother lost a baby as a result of the fall and I had to learn to walk again and ended up wearing support boots for many years. There’s one photograph in particular that I can visualise as I write, and that is one of me at the top of a slide, wearing a little embroidered dress and pair of solid brown leather boots that reached halfway up my tiny little legs, securely buckled. My Mother is standing at the bottom of the stairs and still wearing heels. Interestingly (to me anyway), I don’t recall my Mother ever saying whether or not she suffered any damage to her body beyond the trauma of losing the baby, which apparently was a boy.

Courtesy of wikipediaTrepanning, also known as trepanation, trephination, trephining or making a burr hole (the verb trepan derives from Old French from Medieval Latin trepanum from Greek trypanon, literally “borer, auger”) is a surgical intervention in which a hole is drilled or scraped into the human skull, exposing the dura mater, to treat health problems related to intracranial diseases or release pressured blood buildup from an injury.

And in case I haven’t whetted your appetite to find out more, or induced shudders of repulsion, here is a nice shudder inducing graphic image to get you going LOL Hopefully I was unconscious when the surgeon drilled the hole in my head!!!

painting by Hieronymus Bosch depicting trepanation (c.1488–1516). courtesy of wikipedia

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Thursday Day 10 – 30th August 2018 : Tonbridge to Broadstairs

Well here we are, Pepe, Gemini and I, on the train heading home.

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on my way home

My leg is no better and when I lifted Pepe onto my back this morning I experienced that kind of red hot pain that leaves you breathless. So yes, time to head home to recuperate. Damaged but not defeated. I’m already scheming ways of completing this walk in the not too distant future. πŸ˜‰πŸ˜

Ironically my sleeping bag arrived home today too. It was in the stars. One thing for certain, I am going to repack Pepe and anything that I didn’t use last week is coming OUT!!! I’m a bit of a ‘just in case’ packer, but I don’t think it served me well on this walk. Learning curve, I guess. But, on the plus side, I met a lovely Carer at the house last night and I’m certain we’ll become good friends. We have a lot in common and had so much to talk about. 😊😊 So onwards.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my journey along The Pilgrim’s Way; from Winchester to Oxted – hopefully to complete the journey in 2019. I may even redo the section I’ve already walked LOL – or not!!! In case you missed my previous posts…..

Setting off on my pilgrimage

Revisiting the City of Winchester

Exploring Southampton

Day 1 – Winchester to Alresford

Keep your eye on this space……I’m planning (hoping) to finalise my pilgrimage in April 2019

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Wednesday 29th August 2018 – Day 9 : Oxted to Tonbridge by train

backpacking, long distance walks, walking the pilgrims way. the pilgrims way winchester to canterburyMy penultimate instagram post : Tonbridge: Homeward Bound – Sometimes sooner than expected. So, after a day of excruciating pain in my lower right leg, and totally hobbling around, I’ve had to make the executive decision to head home for recovery. I can’t afford to cause more damage since I still have to work next month.Β If I continue along The Pilgrim’s Way after my day in Tonbridge, the following 5 days of walking are all in excess of 20kms and the last is 12kms. I know for sure that I’ll do more damage if I continue regardless. I’m good at endurance but have to be sensible too. Clearly the fall I had on Sunday did more damage than I thought and I must have been favouring my hip and my right leg where I fell on Box Hill is really swollen and very painful.Β So, disappointing as it is, I’ve cancelled all my accommodation for the next week and will get back to The Pilgrim’s Way over a period of time. Unfortunately my dates going forward for the rest of 2018 are not conducive to completing the way in one go, so I’ll look at dates when I get home and plan it over 2/3 stages and probably plan shorter days.Β  The only night’s accommodation I can’t cancel is the Canterbury date, meant to be my last night, it’s really disappointing to not be arriving as a pilgrim completing the way.Β I’ll take it up anyway (not too difficult to spend a night in Canterbury πŸ˜‰) and work the rest of the route around my work dates. Urgh. But, as the Gambler said “You gotta know when to hold out, and know when to quit”. OK so I used poetic license there… But, cest la vie. Homeward bound for now, and back to the pilgrimage in the future. I may even start in Canterbury and walk backwards (not literally πŸ™„πŸ™„) to where I am now πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ Other people walk from Canterbury to Winchester, so maybe I’ll mix it up a bit and do the same. One thing this trip has done is give me a whole new perspective on certain aspects of life. But that I’ll blog about that later on. Thanks to everyone for your lovely support and encouragement, and sharing my journey. I’m disappointed at having to stop, but being a pragmatic person, I’m more concerned for my health. I’ve had a wonderful time so far, albeit unpleasant at times and some really difficult days, but I’ve seen some amazing places and met many wonderful people along the way, and thats what its all about. It’s the journey, not the destination. Anyway, it’ll be something for me to look forward to πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚

My coddiwomple has come to an end….for now!!

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coddiwomple

And so it came to pass that I ended my pilgrim’s way in Hurst Green. When I woke in the morning, not only was it pouring with rain, but my leg was in agony. I could barely walk. So taking the easy way out I ordered a cab to take me to the station.

My training was in the afternoon in Tonbridge so I enjoyed a slow journey and once there I again took a cab to the Carer’s house which was conveniently also where the training was to be held. Settling into my room I had a short nap and put my legs up.

After the training I had a meal, a lovely hot shower and settled into watch some tv. Then to bed…..perchance to dream, but certainly to dream of the day when I can complete my walk along The Pilgrim’s WayΒ backpacking, long distance walks, walking the pilgrims way. the pilgrims way winchester to canterbury

Did you perhaps miss the start of my journey….it starts here

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mapmywalk, the pilgrims way, walking the pilgrims way, long distance walks england, backpacking, women walking soloTuesday 28th August 2018 Day 8 – Merstham to Oxted : 20.75 kms / 45,608 stepsΒ  Β  elevation 309 meters

My early morning instagram post: Merstham: Morning all. I’m still alive LOL Had a really good sleep, feeling refreshed. Atm I’m relaxing in bed with a cup of tea. My hosts at this AirBnB are/were amazing, they’ve even left breakfast for me 😊😊 These images are from when I was at Shere where I ended my journey on Sunday. We didn’t have network or WiFi at Tanners Hatch so couldn’t share. Shere is gorgeous and definitely bears a return visit on a sunny day. I had lunch at the Dabbling Duck which was lovely, albeit very busy and they initially forgot to take my order. Shere is a Domesday Book village. As you can see it was just raining. I lost about 12 kms of the route on that day. Not a lot, but enough to irk me. I’ll have to come back another day and walk that stage again and probably break it down into 2. And I definitely must have more time to explore Shere.

It amazes me how quickly my body recovers with a good nights rest and a hot shower. My leg and coccyx were however still rather tender, but I wasn’t about to let them stop my pilgrimage. While enjoying my lie-in and cuppa, after posting some photos from the day before, I consulted the guide to see what lay ahead of me for the day.Β  Apparently “the original route from Mertsham to the top of the North Downs has been changed by the arrival of two motorways and two railway lines“.Β  So my slight guilt at not following the guide yesterday was dispersed hah!!

But first…Quality Street; once the main road to Brighton, is named after JM Barries’s play Quality Street in 1902.

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the famous Quality Street in Merstham

The famous tin of sweets, launched in 1936 by Mackintosh’s of Halifax to coincide with the release of the Quality Street film, had a bow-fronted shop on the lid similar to houses in the street, which include 17th and 18th century buildings. Merstham, is also, to my delight, a Domesday Book village of 1086 asΒ Merstan;Β Its name was recorded in 947 asΒ MearsΓ¦tham, which seems to beΒ Anglo-SaxonΒ MearΓΎ-sΗ£t-hāmΒ = “HomesteadΒ near a trap set forΒ martensΒ orΒ weasels”. courtesy of wikipedia

I passed the Old Forge, a Grade II listed building, unfortunately partially blocked by a van, but nonethless quite awesome to see, as well as some other amazing houses.

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The Old Forge, Merstham

After crossing the motorway I reached St Katharine’s Church which dates from c. 1220 and replaced an earlier church built c. 1100, it is however believed that there has been a church of some form on the site since c. 675 AD. In the grounds I met 2 ladies from Germany who were walking the North Downs Way. Before progressing, I popped into the church for a visit. Quiet by accident I discovered some fabulous brasses cleverly concealed by carpets…hah! I have a nose for these things.

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The route crossed a motorway, took me through a suburb and then into thick undergrowth, beneath the motorway (not decorated like the one yesterday), through some open fields anddddd….up the first of the hills I was to encounter today! A notice urged me to please keep to the North Downs Way…my pleasure πŸ™‚

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the only selfie I took on the whole 8 days LOL and I obeyed the request πŸ™‚

my instagram post – Redhill: What was that they said about the way flattening out?? Just climbed 2 steep hills in quick succession. Urgh πŸ™„πŸ™„ mind you the view is fantastic. So today I’ve packed the guide book away since the route from Merstham to Oxted follows the North Downs Way. Hoorah. Much better.

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North Downs Way

After reaching the crest of the hill, I met a lovely old gentleman and stopped for a wee chat, after which I stopped in a field for a few minutes of respite and then a lovely long lane beneath a tunnel of beautiful trees…..in the distance I could see the two ladies I had seen earlier at the church.

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going upppppp

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and uppppp

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goodbye friend πŸ™‚ looking back downhill towards Merstham

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fellow pilgrims in the ditance

I had just reached a junction in the road when I looked to my left (for oncoming traffic) and saw to my delight a signboard for…….’Chaldon 1086′, whoo hoo.

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Chaldon AD 1086 – πŸ™‚ a Domesday Book village

Another Domesday Book village. I had a quick look on mapmywalk to see how far the church/village was, and found to my dismay that it was a good long walk from The Pilgrim’s Way/NDW. But, since these villages are part of my Project 101, I decided to make the diversion (just on 1 mile away) and suck it up! LOL And boy am I glad I did. The church was FANTASTIC. I stepped through the door and found the breath-taking medieval painting; Ladder of Salvation, featuring a drunken naked pilgrim holding an empty wine bottle

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The Ladder of Salvation – a medieval painting in the church of Chaldon

– painted c. 1200, 30 years after the murder of Becket, when the church was in the care of Merton Abbey where the saint had been a pupil. On a pillar near the door there is a pilgrim mark in the shape of a T for Thomas.

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T – Thomas Becket – Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul, Chaldon

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As I walked around the church I thought to myself…”Oh I wonder if someone would be able to give me a lift to the top of the hill?” As I thought this 2 people entered the church. I said hello and carried on out the door. After strolling about the graveyard, I walked through the gate at just about the same time as the couple who arrived earlier. There was a blue van just in front of me…..the couple made for the van, and totally on impulse, the words popped out my mouth “any chance you could give me lift to the top of the hill?”…and what did they say?? Yes!!!! Oh my gosh. I was delighted. I hopped into the back of the van and sat on the floor amongst the detritus of a working man, grinning from ear to ear. The Universe delivered…big time LOL We had a lovely chat all the way up the hill, they were really interested in my journey. Wished me well & goodbye πŸ™‚

My instagram post: Chaldon:Β Making good progress today . After climbing that hill earlier the way has indeed flattened out. I took a small diversion to visit Chaldon, a 1086 Domesday Book village and the parish church. Walking down the road I questioned my sanity…..going down usually means going back up again. Nonetheless, what an extraordinary church. The west end of Chaldon Church, dating from 1086, is covered with the Ladder of Salvation painted about 1200, thirty years after the murder of Thomas Becket, when the church was in the care of Merton Abbey, where Becket had been a student. While walking around the church, in my mind I was thinking “I hope someone with a vehicle visits while I’m here so I can ask for a lift back up the hill.” as I was leaving a couple in a van drew up, briefly popped in at the church (turns out they’re checking the lightening conductors in the county churches), so I asked them for a lift back to my route….. πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜… Nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say. A charming couple, we chatted as we drove and they saved me the long walk back. My prayers were answered and thank you to the Universe 🌌 😍 Where I rejoined the route I saw the very first Pilgrim’s Way sign πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ which I would have missed if I hadn’t made the diversion. atm I’m sitting at the Harrow Pub and just about to tuck into a huge baked potato. I’m enjoying today 😊

They dropped off one very grateful pilgrim back at the junction and I set off once again, well pleased that I had indeed made the diversion. As I set off I looked up and noticed the sign board…..PILGRIM’S WAY Hoorah. One of the very FEW markings for the route, I would have missed this if I hadn’t decided to visit the church.

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one of the very few route markers for the Pilgrim’s Way that I saw the whole 8 days

If nothing else the route is varied!!! I passed the house mentioned in the guide: After Hilltop (left with a clock and a view) the way is alongside woodland and fields where I met a lady and her dog….we commiserated with each other as we tried to navigate the mud….the ‘way’ is not always conducive to an easy walk.

Not much further along, at a junction where I had to cross the road again, I spotted The Harrow pub and on impulse decided to stop for lunch. It was already 13.20 and I was HUNGRY!!! I ordered a baked potato with a peppery filling… it was delicious, albeit very spicy hot. wheww. My mouth was on fire. Oh and I had a beer πŸ™‚

Refreshed and replenished I set off once again and passed a rather odd looking folly (probably why it’s called a ‘folly’). The way now took me along a tarmac road and along some lovely shady woodland paths.

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So beautiful. I didn’t see a soul for ages until just before 3pm when I met a young woman out walking her dog. We chatted briefly and then she went on ahead while I strolled along, just enjoying the peace and quiet.

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shady paths – a good place to rest for a while

The path once again was rustic, taking me through woodland and up hill and down dale…and then in a sheltered meadow I spotted a weathered wooden bench. Time for a rest me thinks. I offloaded Pepe and took off my socks and shoes, and lay down on the bench in the sun and just chilled. Bliss. Once again I hadn’t seen anyone for ages.

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a wonderfully peaceful place to rest

After a short rest I set off and shortly encountered the first set of steps (urgh).

The route took me through some beautiful woodland, England’s counties sure are pretty

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I love these benches; they offer stunning views of the countryside

and then…..I took to instagram again…Woldingham:Β And suddenly I’m on familiar territory. After lots of ups and downs and flats and twists and turns, I can see Oxted ☺️☺️ in the distance and to the left I can see the fields I used to walk along while training for last year’s Camino and briefly, for this years walk. Its been a hard day again, but thats mostly coz after 7 days of walking I’m now very tired, and not because it was just hell. Rest day tomorrow, albeit for End of Life training in Tonbridge. So, none too soon, I’m almost at the end of today’s stage. Show. Me. The. Bed!!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Just before heading down to the lower paths on the downs, I stopped off to rest on a bench I spotted about halfway down another flights of steps.

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I’ll be really glad to leave the steps behind. When I did reach the lower footpath I regretted my thoughts almost immediately….the path was very narrow and lined with scratchy prickly brambles.

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not a pleasant section of the route

The sun was beginning to sink behind the ridge and I needed to get a move on. From the guide book: “The path now goes downhill to a hidden kissing gate.” Hidden?? Hidden?? It’s bloody grown over with a thick bush of brambles. I had to bend over double just to get under the brambles. Getting through the gate, bent over double with a backpack on my back was not fun at all. I ended up with scratches all along my arms. Urgh.

Now I was on familiar territory. I had walked these oaths dozens of times before when working in Oxted. It was lovely to see these paths and fields again. I crossed the road leading into Oxted and then followed a familiar route up a short hill with the idea of sitting on the bench where I used to sit on my Camino practice walks. When I got to the top I was absolutely dismayed to discover that some vandals had destroyed it completely

It was so lovely to walk along paths I had so often walked along before. The fields are so lovely and I had seen them at different times of the year

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familiar fields….it felt so good to back walking this path

Oxted:Β Whoo hoo and hoorah. I’m standing on the Greenwich Meridian Line, ergo I’m just about to cross from the western hemisphere to the eastern hemisphere πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ˜πŸ‘πŸ‘

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crossing the Greenwich Meridian Line

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standing with one foot in the west and one foot in the east

I’m almost at my journey end, and now standing in the fields I could see in my earlier photo. I’m well ahead of time, so I’m going to walk part of Thursdays route just to save some time on that day, coz it’ll be a late start and nearly 20km day. – okay so this was not one of my brighter ideas. I followed the rutted road past Titsey Place

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walking past Titsey Estate – I’ve walked along here a number of times

and had to navigate a swamped area, passed under the M25 motorway and reached the B269. Under the best of times this is not a good road to walk along and I had in fact forgotten that this waited at the end of the route past Titsey Place. Nonetheless, there I was. It was busy. I spent the next 15 minutes dodging cars and trucks by jumping into the hedgerows lining the road. Finally, unscathed, I arrived in Limpsfield village

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Limpsfield, Surrey – a 1086 Domesday Book village

….my destination: St Peter’s Church.

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I love this little church and it holds fond memories…..it was the place where I got my very first Pilgrim’s stamp earlier in 2017 before my Camino along the Portugues Coastal Route to Santiago. I stopped off at the church to look around and stamp my passport and then walked back into Oxted. There are some stunning old houses in Detillens Lane.

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Limpsfield appears in Domesday Book of 1086 as Limenesfeld

I soon reached Oxted Station and hopped on the next train to Hurst Green where I was to stay for the night at another AirBnb venue. After a short walk I reached the house, had a lovely cup of tea, some hot soup and bread, a long conversation with the host and then a shower and into bed. Hoorah.

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my bed…..hoorah

As soon as I was in bed I headed over to instagram for my update: Hurst Green:Β After 7 days of walking, here is my pilgrim’s passport and the stamps I have managed to obtain. Its very different to the Camino where just about every establishment, restaurant, cafe and refreshments stall (even ice-cream stands) have a ‘sello’. Most of the churches I visited along The Pilgrim’s Way don’t have pilgrim passport stamps. I left a message in their visitor books saying how nice it would be to find one when visiting. Most businesses don’t have them either…I guess email has made them obsolete. However, I’m happy with what I have so far 😊😊😊 a record of my journey

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My Pilgrim’s Passport – Day 1 – Day 8 πŸ™‚ Sadly not all the churches I visited had pilgrim stamps

From Merstham to Oxted along The Pilgrim’s Way. A good day. I met some lovely people along the route and enjoyed a number of interesting albeit short conversations. At the church in Limpsfield I saw in the visitors book that a lady from Greenwich passed this way on the 19th, also following the Pilgrim’s Way. πŸ™‚ How cool is that!! That’s the 2nd person whose details I’ve seen in the visitors book in a church. And at journey’s end, a lovely host, good conversation, a cup of tea , a hot shower and a comfy bed….what more could I ask for? A leg that wasn’t absolutely aching, would be a start….urgh. I think that pushing that last few km’s along the Pilgrim’s Way past Titsey Place and onto St Peter’s Church was 4 kms too many. My leg was in agony and very swollen. I applied loads of my aloe vera heat lotion and took 2 paracetamol. With my leg raised against the wall, I lay back on the bed and contemplated just how far I had come.

I felt really good at how much ground I had covered, how many obstacles I had overcome, at the number of steps I climbed at Box Hill (for the record = 275 steps!!!) felt more like 27500!!! LOL I was looking forward to the training at head office the next day in Tonbridge, and a day off from lengthy walking and most especially from the bloody guide book. Other than that, I felt good. So glad to be walking the Pilgrim’s Way…a long held dream.

Goodnight.

read about Day 7 of my pilgrimage along The Pilgrim’s Way click here
I made a short video you may enjoy

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mapmywalk, the pilgrims way, walking the pilgrims way, long distance walks england, backpacking, women walking soloMonday 27th August 2018 Day 7 – Tanners Hatch to Mertsham : 18.90 kms / 43,317 steps elevation 374 meters.

Even though it’s a hostel, with all the accompanying irritations like snoring, switching lights on in the middle of the night, early risers repacking their bags, I do enjoy sleeping at the YHA. Tanners Hatch YHA was a delight.

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see that bed….bottom left…that was my bed πŸ™‚ perfect – (pic captured off their website)

By morning I was even more determined to book another stay. In the light of morning, sans rain, I had a chance to explore a little more fully….the setting is beautiful, and quite enchanting.

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A couple staying at the YHA offered me a lift to my starting point for today; Box Hill & Westhumble Station. I gratefully accepted as were seriously wayyyy off the Pilgrim’s route. I made myself a quick breakfast of plain pasta and a cup of herbal tea. I was rather hungry by then. Fortunately my trainers had dried out in front of the fire and my clothes too were dry.

A longggg walk later, we finally reached the car park. Note to self….if I do book to stay again, it’s a long walk to the location….don’t take too much stuff. LOL

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Box Hill & Westhumble Station, the starting point for the section to Merstham

By 09:32 I was on my way. I passed the Stepping Stones pub and made a mental note to eat there (next trip??) LOL I loved the house across from the pub.

Within 10 minutes I crossed beneath the motorway….I stopped to admire the beautiful mural before continuing.

Page 78 of the guide: “Walk south along the road with the traffic to the right. At the bus stop go left into a wide entrance. Keep forward past a car park”. Car park?? Uhmmm nope. This I did, except if you go forward you end up on private property. What the guide could have said was ” At the 2nd bus stop go left ….”. This was one of many inconsistent/obscure instructions in the guide book. There were a few more still to come.

My instagram post later that morning: “Box Hill viewpoint: I’m beginning to hate this guide book πŸ˜žπŸ˜žπŸ˜“ After saying goodbye to the ever so delightful Tanners Hatch YHA, I started off from the Westhumble and Box Hill Station. Not long and the guide doesn’t give sufficient information and once again a local had to direct me. Safely traversed the Stepping Stones across the River Mole and started up Box Hill. Now if you’ve never climbed Box Hill..seriously give it a miss, its a bastard and very HIGH with HUNDREDS of very steep steps. The guide says at the start of the 3rd set of steps go right into the trees which I did, and the field is on the right, but it wasn’t it was on the left, so I climbed back up to the steps, carried on climbing, but no further turning to the right and now I’m at the top of the bloody hill, and if I’ve come too far up (no other paths to be seen), then that means I have to go back DOWN these horrible steps and go back along the path I took originally.. I’ve already fallen coming up the slippery slope. No damage but I’m fed up now with the guide. Either way I guess I’ll have to just crack on“.

Box Hill Stepping Stones. Of all the route I had seen or read about along the Pilgrim’s Way, this was what I was most afraid of. The Stepping Stones. My sense of balance is not good and I was wary of crossing them, but I took it slowly, delighted to reach the opposite bank without falling in. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜πŸ˜

Ahead of me was Box Hill. Little did I know that this was going to be the biggest challenge of the whole walk, and also the beginning of the end….

As per the guide: “At the start of the 3rd flight of steps go right, on a narrow path into the trees. The way, which bears slightly left, can in season be sometimes indistinct“. hmmmm

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Box Hill steps….this was not fun!!

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what do you mean I have to go up there?

At what appeared to be the 3rd flight of stairs (the guide doesn’t say how many steps are in the 2nd flight) I turned off and followed the path. “Later it climbs a little and soon is near a field (right)“. Again…hmmmm??? Nope, the field was to my left?? I checked mapmywalk and saw that I was headed very close to the river, closer than indicated on the map in the guide. So I walked back up the way I had come and started climbing the next flight of steps….and climbed and climbed and climbed. All the way I kept looking for this narrow path the guide talks about…and I couldn’t find anything. Further along in the guide he mentions “The path, running ahead and with pylons to the right, is on the line of the PW….” Well, no matter which way I looked at it, I could not find a path that would put the pylons on my right! Unless it was this one? Which was a National Trust nature trail?

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was this the way? it didn’t look like it. it did however look a lot like the path I fell down yesterday

So instead I just kept climbing and after about the 1000th step, steps that are in places so high that I had to lift my legs up individually under the knee with my hands …..and then.. I fell UP a step. A very hard fall that smashed my right shin, left me flat on my face and unable to get up – I just did not have the energy to lift myself up with the backpack on. Fortunately I didn’t fall BACKWARDS, and there was someone on hand to help me up. Seriously, I was exhausted by that stage. I simply couldn’t bear the thought of climbing anymore steps, but I had no choice….all I could do was just to continue going UP and up and up. There were some lovely trees to see….as a bonus LOL

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one of the benefits walking through the countryside…lots of beautiful old trees

More steps….

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more steps…..the gravel between was treacherously slippery

Finally after what felt like hours of climbing more steps that I ever want to see in front of me ever again. I reached the Box Hill viewpoint.

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what a view πŸ™‚

Referring back to my instagram post:Β “Box Hill viewpoint: I’m beginning to hate this guide book.

I saw that the North Downs Way, which is so well marked, was in my vicinity. So I packed the guide book in my backpack,Β  and carried on walking….I figured that since most of the Pilgrim’s Way is largely a ‘made up’ route and much of it follows the North Downs Way which is well marked, whereas the Pilgrim’s Way isn’t marked at all….

After walking for a while I reached Salomon’s Memorial where I stopped to take a few photos and then carried on walking along some seriously tricky terrain I came out of the trees to a welcome sight before me…a restaurant!! Hoorah. It was 11:46 and the restaurant; Smith & Western opened at 12noon….I figured it would be a good idea to wait and have some proper food….I hadn’t had a proper solid meal for a couple of days. Good move. I had the MOST delicious veggie fajita, a pot of tea and a lovely cold coke. I don’t usually drink coke, but I was in dire need of sugar. After relishing my meal and resting my feet, after an hour I set off once again. Although to be honest, I have no idea how I actually ended up at this place….but boy am I glad I did.

Diving into the gloom of the trees, with the guide still packed away (?) I discovered that the terrain was really difficult with lots of tree roots, and steps…..more steps!!! Jeezuz. I was sick to death of climbing steps whether up or down. In all I was not a happy bunny. This day was turning out to be a nightmare.

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This last section was a true test of endurance. I’m still not sure how I managed….but I did. Trudging on I followed the markers crossing Reigate Hill

and passed the ‘Flying Fortress’ B17 WW2 memorial,

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This clearing in the trees was created at 5.42pm on 19 March 1945 when a B17 (G) aircraft, a ‘Flying Fortress’ creashed into the side of Reigate Hill, killing all 9 crew members on board

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the two wooden sculptures reflect the wing tips of the B17 that crashed

then Reigate Fort, which I briefly explored,

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crossed the Reigate Hill Footbridge and finally Gatton Park where IΒ  stopped at the refreshment booth for an ice-cream and a drink, had a rest, a quick pit stop to the loo and after taking a photo of the views and the sundial I picked up what was now the Pilgrim’s Way again and set off towards Merstham and my bed for the night.

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what a fantastic view

Its been a day of sheer unadulterated endurance. But I’m nearly at my destination. Hoorah

Gatton Park is really beautiful and I so enjoyed walking along what was now fairly flat terrain.

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hoorah….no steps

On the way down the hill I passed theΒ Millennium Stones; these awesome stones, built to resemble a megolithic stone circle, were created by Richard Kindersley during 1998 to 1999 to mark the double millennium from AD1 to AD2000. The first stone in the series is inscribed with the words from St John’s Gospel, β€œin the beginning the word was …”. The subsequent nine stones are carved with quotations contemporary with each 200 year segment, ending with the words of T S Eliot.

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Millenium Stones

After examining the circle and reading some of the inscriptions, I left the stones behind me and after crossing one last green field, I soon reached a more suburban area….nearly there πŸ™‚

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at the end of this field was my destination…Merstham

Finally I was in Merstham. It was exactly 7pm and I was so ready for bed.

Thankfully the AirBnb wasn’t too far from where the path ended so in no time at all I found the venue and was greeted by two of the loveliest hosts I have ever met. They were so welcoming, made me a lovely mug of tea and provided some hot food. We had a lovely conversation and then with my eyes barely held open, I made my way upstairs, had a hot hot shower and hopped into bed. Bliss

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my wonderful bed at the Merstham AirBnb

My instagram post: Merstham: Well. All I can say is that today’s lesson was about not giving up despite the pain, the exhaustion, the frustration and climbing more steep steps than I ever expected or wanted or ever plan to do again πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ Frankly I even amazed myself today at my capacity for endurance. But I can say for sure that I did not enjoy today’s walk. I am shattered, and walked so slowly that I’m surprised 🀨 🀨 that I actually got to Merstham at the time I did. My right hip was exceptionally painful today after yesterday’s fall and falling on the steps at Box Hill today didn’t help matters much. Getting to the top of the hills; Box Hill and Reigate, was excruciating but oh my gosh, the views… Stunning. I dosed myself up on 2000 mg of paracetamol over the day and just kept putting one foot in front of the other. However, arrive I did. My Airbnb hosts are absolutely lovely and we had a wonderful chat over a hot cuppa, I’ve wallowed in a scalding hot shower and now I’m horizontal on that fantastic bed. The route was meant to be 15.6 kms, I walked 18.9 kms which included about retracing my steps 3 times. I left Westhumble Station at 9.15 am and arrived at Merstham at 7pm with an hour for lunch and 3 short breaks. The guide book suggests it should take 3.5 hoursΒ  πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ on another planet maybe πŸ™„πŸ™„πŸ™„

Both the best and most challenging of days. Once again I had to dig deep to carry on, tried to ignore the pain of the 2 falls, enjoyed the views, appreciated good food and climbed more stairs that I ever want to EVER again LOL. But now I’m in a deliciously comfy bed, clean and refreshed….Goodnight…..

p.s. that bottle of water on the bed-stand….remained unopened.

In case you missed Day 6 of my pilgrimage from Winchester click here

Today video of scenes from Day 7

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