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I arrived home last night, after a 4.5 hour journey, from a week’s booking in Salisbury. As much as what I really enjoyed exploring the city, and learning more of the history and her green spaces, it was wonderful to be back home.

You cannot underestimate the sheer joy of coming ‘home’ to your own place. It may not be much, but it’s got my stuff in it, and I’m home.

My own duvet…magic

After I’d dropped my bags off, I grabbed my walking poles and immediately set off for a sunset walk to the harbour

Absolutely stunning
A Royal harbour
Can you see the moon?
The sun setting in front of me

and then along the lower promenade

The snow moon rising behind me

before climbing up to the clifftop and a walk to Pegwell Bay.

View of Pegwell Bay from the bottom of the cliffs
From halfway up the path to the top of the cliffs

It was quite dark already by the time I reached the hotel, so I stopped there for a few photos and then walked back along the clifftop.

View from Pegwell Bay hotel
A bit of fun with the moon and the hands and molecules sculpture
One lone boat still has its Christmas lights on

A magical walk with no pressure to get back within 2 hours, and 9.9 kms added to my 2021 Conqueror virtual challenge.

I’m going to start the Ring Road Iceland virtual challenge on Monday 1st March. I’m so looking forward to the postcards, should be amazing. My daughter and I had a fantastic 4 day trip to Iceland in 2014, so I’m really keen to see the information that comes with the postcards.

The Sun Voyager (Icelandic: Sólfar); a sculpture by Jón Gunnar Árnason

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One of the benefits and downfalls of being hooked up to the matrix is that you know where you’ve been, but ‘they‘ know where you are at all times, especially if you have your gps switched on, on your ever so ‘smart’ phone. Or have the various walking apps like mapmywalk turned on.πŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ˜―

Personally I think our phones have been sneakily hooked up to all those big brother cameras dotted around every street corner, in every city, town and village….its creepy.

Its also quite useful for when your memory starts fading and you think “where was I?” Imagine how useful it would be if you’re one day considered to be a suspect of ‘foul play’!! If the arresting officer asks you “where were you at 1.30pm on Saturday 13th December 10 years ago. Wtaf!! They actually expect me to remember πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€” But, if you had Google you could protest your innocence and say “Uh uh, Officer, I wasn’t there….here look at mapmywalk, that’ll tell you exactly where I was”. Of course that wouldn’t be useful if in fact you did commit a foul deed, and were as guilty as sin!!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ€­ then you’d want to lose that app pdq πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ

But, be that as it may, one of the benefits is that from time to time Google photos sends me a notification to remind me of where I was either 2 years ago or three!! A bit like Facebook memories, which I don’t use. I’m not a fan of Facebook 🀫🀫🀫

So anywayyyy, yesterday I got a pop up to say “this is where you were”

2 years ago : Broadstairs looking towards Stone Bay
2 years ago: Heading towards Margate
3 years ago: Margate harbour

How cool is that!!

Seems I walk this route quite frequently 😁😁 Lucky me, it is a gorgeous section of the English coast.

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Its been a funny old week with grey overcast days, a rainy day not fit for ducks, and of course snow!! πŸ˜πŸ˜β„ and today’s gorgeous sunshine.

Despite the weird weather I have managed to get out on a few walks and extended my horizons by going off in different directions….the problem of course is that the roads are so long, I have to walk for ages to reach an intersection, and there’s no such thing as “gosh I’m tired, let me head back” because the distances are so great there is no quick way to get back – you just have to keep traipsing along.

As for the scenery, beyond the few scattered hamlets, it’s mostly wet, muddy, grey/brown farm fields with a few copses of trees dotting the landscape. But I have enjoyed stretching my legs and hearing nothing but birdsong and the baaing of sheep, encountering minimal traffic as I go…..on Friday I walked for 70 minutes before encountering a car, and that was well timed (not really) – I was 2 thirds of the way around a huge puddle of the water that covered the road from one side to the other, making my way gingerly along the verges, hanging onto barbed wire fencing and precariously positioned wooden posts, when I heard the sound of an approaching car. 😱😱😱 wtf, you’re kidding me!!!

two-thirds of the way around on the r/h side just before the tree…I heard a car

With utter dismay I turned towards the sound and prayed that is wasn’t some young buck who thought it would be fun to drive through at speed and drench the old lady πŸ‘΅πŸ» hanging on to the fence for dear life. Thankfully it was another little old lady πŸ‘΅πŸ» and she drove sedately through the puddle leaving small waves in her wake, and me dry!! I thanked her as she drove by! 😁😁😁

Another place that looked enticing was Belmont House and it played host to my visit on Tuesday. A good 2.2 miles from my current location, it took me 35 minutes to get there, which shaved 7 minutes off google’s eta. If I don’t dilly dally too much, its amazing the places I can go.

Belmont House and Gardens located in the Throwley area of Faversham on the rolling North Downs of Kent. The 18th century house was designed by Samuel Wyatt in the neo-classical style, built in 1769 by Edward Wilks – storekeeper at the nearby Faversham Powder Mill, and enjoys a stunning view over the estate and the downs. The estate is made up of house, gardens, cricket pitch, orchards, farm and woodlands…over 3,000 acres. Belmont has an extensive history and the Lords Harris served as soldiers and colonial governors. The house is distinguished for the collection of clocks created by the 5th Lord Harris. Needless to say I didn’t get to see any of these, except for the clock tower, and the house is covid-19 closed. blergh. Maybe I will return at some stage to this booking and perhaps the house will be open then.

3 o’clock and all is well…πŸ˜‰

Meanwhile, my walks have taken me as far as I can go and some days I’ve gotten back just within my allotted break time of 2 hours. Of course if I had more time…..who knows where I could go!!

I’d love to walk to Ospringe, but that’s just a tad too far for 2 hours – I still have to get back

It wouldn’t however be across the fields along the footpaths…since not only do the farmers rudely put up electrified fencing as close to the path as possible, making it difficult to access, but atm the paths are just gloopy sticky muddy horrors. I know, because I foolishly walked along not one, but 3 paths last week – on the sameday😝😝. My shoes were sluggish with sticky mud.

We experienced some icy cold weather that caused the ponds and puddles to freeze over…

Ice at least half inch thick

But oh the views!!!!

And this always makes me smile

πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ

Today I woke to a fabulous sunrise and blue skies, that developed into a beautiful morning.

So beautiful in fact that I asked my client if I could beg an extra hour and go for a walk before the weather turned.

Country roads…
All the way to the sea…
Fields of green

And a good thing I did too, by 2pm the clouds had blown in and once again it was grey….but we had a lovely sunset

And blow me down if once again I didn’t get caught out, no, make that twice!! No cars at all for well over an hour in all directions, yet just before I reached the flooded corner a car came whizzing down the road from behind me and sent waves of water flying through the air. Well, that’s done I thought, I should be safe now….hah! Once again, as I was about halfway round along comes another car, from the opposite direction. I scurried into the field through a gap in the fence and waved them on…waited for the water to settle and hurried the rest of the way round before car number 3 came by. None did πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ

This puddle and I have history 🀨🀨🀨

And so endeth week 2 in Throwley. I think I have pretty much exhausted the area and shared plenty images of just about everything you could hope to see, so for the next week I shall concentrate on bringing my Pilgrim’s Way posts up to date, as well as the walks along the English coast. I will of course still do as many walks as I can.

I’ve accumulated 38kms this week and had 2 non walking days. Not too bad.

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Last night, after standing outside looking up at the starry starry sky….I thought for sure we would have frost this morning…🌠🌠🌠🌌🌌

I went to sleep in Kent and woke up in Narnia ☺☺☺ its beautiful and magical and β˜ƒοΈβ˜ƒοΈβ˜ƒοΈβ˜ƒοΈβ˜ƒοΈβ˜ƒοΈ

I went for a short walk up and down the road……

The Nothing….

I’m hoping to get out for a proper walk during my break coz my kms are lagging behind now. Although the visibility at road level is good, I fear the surfaces are a tad slippery, so I’ll have to walk with more caution and less zeal πŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈ

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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 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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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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Okay so it’s not actually Friday but it sounds good 😁😁 Frosty Tuesday doesn’t quite sound the same.

But…..look at this!! I thought this leaf looked like an origami creation.

Frosty origami

It’s a beautiful blue sky day in the Mendip Hills and I’m hoping that the fog doesn’t come in before I go on my break at 2.45pm….but I’m not holding my breath.

If you have a magnifying glass, you’ll be able to see the deer 🦌🦌

Yesterday also started off as a blue sky day but by the time I went on my break at 12.30pm….this is what I had to contend with.

Foggy days in the Mendip Hills

Mind you I don’t mind foggy days, they have their own beauty, but I would love to see some more clear skies.

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So thankfully I start a new assignment today. I was beginning to panic just a bit.

But the agency finally came through and I’m on my way to Somerset to a town called Shepton-Malett, which to my delight is a Domesday Book town.

I’m looking forward to exploring πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ

Unfortunately it means that I can’t get out for sunrise walks for the next 2 weeks, so I made sure I got out this morning….and it was stunning. A gorgeous day for walking with clear skies and mild temperatures.

Spectacular lightshow at 06.45am
Stunning colours reflecting on the waves
Good morning sun 🌞

I walked as far as Dumpton Gap and back to the harbour chasing the incoming tide.

The tide was well in at Dumpton Gap

As with yesterday’s walk I collected 6 big pieces of trash that would otherwise have ended up in the ocean.

Besides these, I picked up a big plastic container and 2 other water bottles

I’m going to have to get back to carrying bags and gloves with me again…there was so much more I could have picked up but no means of carrying the stuff πŸ˜”πŸ˜”πŸ˜”

From yesterday

I was also attacked by a bloody dog again that despite the owner trying to grab the damn thing, jumped up and tried to get to my face. It took the owner a good few minutes to get the dog on a leash. My verbal commentary was not very polite. I truly wish people who own dogs would just train the damn animals. Thankfully it was a spaniel so not very big or my face would have been slashed. As it is I could smell its breath it came that close 😠😠😠😠 I did manage to wallop the animal with my stick which gave it pause, but as soon as I moved it went for me again.

Ultimately I managed to move off without much more than my trousers muddied. But seriously….

The tide really does encroach pretty quickly, which cut off part of my route along the beach.

On my way out I walked over this concrete slab.. a bit cut off on the way back…πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ thanks be for the promenade

A lucky morning; I found a real bounty of coloured and white glass pieces on the beach. Yesterday yielded only 2 pieces, today I found loads, especially of the dark green glass that is so beautiful.

I really do love that house…the views of the sunrise must be amazing
I cannot resist taking a photo every few minutes, it just is so beautiful. I love how the colours reflect off the waves on the beach
I saw another dead shark/dog fish on the beach, a tiny baby this time πŸ˜”πŸ˜” I do wonder what is killing them…probably the pollution

A magical walk and I’m so glad I made the effort. My kms are adding up, and the deficit going down πŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘

After such a beautiful morning at the coast, clear skies and mild weather, imagine my surprise as we approached Canterbury on the train….the countryside is heavy with mist…looks amazing and I was wishing I had the time to jump off the train and take photos

A complete contrast to Ramsgate…not that far away.
Totally spooky πŸ‘»πŸ‘»

My next post will be from Somerset. I’m looking forward to exploring a new town.

Have a good day folks.

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Lockdown and the government tiers certainly doesn’t allow for much by way of exploring, except in your local vicinity. If you’re lucky enough to live in a countryside area, close to the sea, or near a river, even if its familiar its usually different and can still be enjoyed every day.

Hands and Molecules – a familiar and favourite sculpture on the clifftop – makes a good frame for the moon
I adore this house. Located near the King George VI Memorial Park on the Dumpton Gap side, I used to have house envy till I realised how close to the cliff edge it is πŸ€ͺπŸ€ͺ

I live (sort of*) near the sea and even though it’s the same, every day along the coast is different. I’ve found myself with time on my hands due to losing a 6 week assignment so made the most of the opportunity to spend time with my grandson and to catch up on my walking targets for 2020.

Sunrise 23.11.20 @ 7.15am
Sunrise 23.11.20 @ 7.26am
Ramsgate Harbour
Into the light….
Sunrise 25.11.20 @ 9.26am
Sunset 24.11.20
Sunset 23.11.20
My favourite sunset to date…23.11.20 across Pegwell Bay
Sunset from the cliffs above Pegwell Bay near Cliffsend
One of my favourite village signboards – Cliffsend has seen Viking raiders, St Augustine’s arrival and WW2 action

I’ve seen some amazing sunrises and sunsets and had much fun with the kid. He’s developing into a very determined little boy and like most kids his age, he has a strong will. He’s also growing rapidly and requires his Granny to carry him when he gets tired….but Granny is not a bodybuilder and has her limits 😁😁

My favourite swing…he loves it too
Finding a fairy’s front door πŸ§šβ€β™‚οΈπŸ§šβ€β™€οΈ
He’s going to be a displacement officer when he grows up πŸ˜‰πŸ˜ loves to move stuff
Empathy for a dead shark
Just a hop, skip and jump on the beach at Margate

I’ve mostly walked locally and managed a walk to Broadstairs and to the Sandwich side of the Pegwell Bay nature reserve.

Looking across the saltmarsh mudflats to Ramsgate
The saltmarsh mudflats, a fascinating environment

The mudflats are home to an incredible number of birdlife that visit here during the changing seasons

The reserve has an amazing history and played an important role in WW2.

On my way back from the nature reserve I walked along the beach beneath the cliffs; devastated to see the volume of plastic trash lining the high tide level and he number of dogshit bags piled up. It’ll take a team of 20-30 people to clear that up…it stretched from where I’m standing right along the cliffs; heartbreaking.

We’ve had a couple of family outings and made a special trip for the boobee to see the Christmas lights in Margate

Snowman!! Penguin!! Santa!! His vocabulary is expanding daily πŸ₯°πŸ₯°

Ramsgate Harbour offers so many photographic opportunities, you could spend all day there

I’ve managed to increase my kms by 74 this week and passed my original target of 1600kms. I do however still have 375km to walk to reach my 2020 target of 2020kms. Looking forward to seeing if I’ve exceeded my October total πŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈπŸšΆπŸ»β€β™€οΈ

I’m determined to reach my target

So yeah, I may be walking familiar routes, but every day it looks different.

* I sort of live in Ramsgate but because work all over the country I don’t actually have a home and liveineither a guest house or b&b between assignments. One day…I hope to have a home of my own.

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