Archive for the ‘spirituality’ Category

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 😉 – 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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The Two Popes

I’ve been unexpectedly stuck at the B&B since last Friday and bored with TV and reading, my daughter suggested I download Netflix and watch a couple of movies.

I first watched a remake of ‘Rebecca’ – a classic that seldom disappoints.

Then I spotted ‘The Two Popes’. I’d so wanted to see this when it was first released and it didn’t disappoint.

It’s an intimate portrayal of two men; one the Pope and the other a Cardinal, and a supposed conversation they had at a momentous time in history.

Based on true events, although the conversation is imagined, it is incredibly feasible. Since no-one, besides the two real life characters themselves know what was said during their brief time together, we can but only imagine.

The ‘conversation’ is beautifully written and the characters sensitively portrayed by Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce – both exceptional character actors who were totally convincing as the people they portrayed.

I’m not at all religious and believe in evolution, but I found myself drawn into the drama of the situation and their story. It was so very poignant and I found myself sobbing during some of the scenes.

A most enjoyable film, the story of which has lingered well past the last scene….

I love a film that leaves you thinking about it for days and raises questions like: if no-one is to blame, is everyone to blame….

A very deep and thought-provoking film. I’m definitely going to watch it again. I’m also going to do more research on the current Pope; Francis ( Jorge Mario Bergoglio). I’ve always liked him and think he’s a breath of fresh air.

The question he raised at his speech in Lampedusa is going to haunt me ….

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I am currently attending a course on becoming an End of Life Doula. It fits in with my job and is something I have been interested in for quite a few years. It has been a very interesting journey so far. As part of our homework for the 2nd part of the course this weekend, we had to complete a few exercises relative to what we learned/experienced at the first weekend, so the first place I started was at http://kristiewest.com/aboutkristiewest/

Kristie is a long-standing friend of mine and I have always admired her approach to life and death. We actually met at an event where her path in life changed course, and took her on the journey that was to lead her to where she is now, and to specialising in her field of expertise. I’d like to share this with you because I fully believe that what she shares can have a profound affect on how we view or approach death and grief.

The course I’m doing has so far been very interesting and surprisingly the first section didn’t actually deal with death at all, but rather about our, the participants, beliefs and values. The exercises we did all revolved around us, the potential Doula and about how we think of death and relate to people.

We delved into subjects like confidentiality, communication skills, about our attitudes, ethics and most importantly about our listening skills. We spoke abut the types of listening and then we had to share a story from our lives to one of the group while they practised effective listening as another person observed how they ‘listened’. We explored our ideas and again beliefs on a range of subjects from euthanasia, keeping secrets, involving family, about a dying person’s last wishes, rituals about the role we would take and what we would find acceptable in that role or not.

I’m looking forward to the this weekend where we participate in another 2 days of training.


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The Spirit of The Camino and the spirits on The Camino.

When I first contemplated walking The Camino my head was filled with inspiring thoughts of happy, adventurous people all walking along; a merry band of comrades, climbing mountains and being amazing in their aspirations to reach Santiago. I had a somewhat romantic view of cosy alburgues, relaxing snoozes in the sun and the cameradie we saw in the movie ‘The Way’ (which, by the way, I must watch again before I go).  I had this notion of admiring locals who opened their homes and hearts to the ‘pilgrims’ who walked their way up mountains and down, along paths and through villages and towns, strolling into their chosen alburgue in the evening to find a cosy bed and a hot shower, of meals shared with laughter and fun.

And yes, this does in fact happen; the Spirit of the Camino.

I’ve read some extraordinary stories of people ‘rescued’ by kind-hearted locals who seeing their distress take said distressed person under their wing and guide them to a hostelaria/alburgue, or give them a hot meal, a lift in their car/truck/lorry to a place of safety. How pilgrims help each other out, lending money, clean clothes, toiletries, guidance and very often a shoulder to cry on. The Spirit of the Camino.

The Camino is also, by all accounts, tough!! Some people die. The spirits on the Camino.

There is also the dark side, a little of which we saw in The Way. People die on the Camino. People start walking and never reach their goal; their journey cut short by the grim reaper. The reasons are many: heart failure, complications from surgery, falling off a mountain, falling off their bikes (those who cycle) and some die from traffic accidents; knocked over by trucks or cars. Some people start the walk in the hopes that they will reach Santiago, but knowing that they likely won’t. It’s their final walk. Some people have reached the steps of the cathedral only to drop down dead right there at the last step.

And then there those that are murdered. Wow, I can tell you when I discovered that last year…. it came as one hell of a shock to me. The prospect of dying on the Camino had never entered my head!! I learned about this quite by accident last year when I first joined the Camino forum on Facebook. It literally took the wind out of my sails. Just a simple post to say that she, the person who made the update, had laid a stone on the cairn for Denise Theim, an Arizona lass who had disappeared while walking.  If you have the stomach for it you can read about it here.

I immediately set about investigating the story and that lead me to the reports of her disappearance, death and the eventual discovery of her body. The perpetrator as per the above article has since been captured and tried, soon to be incarcerated.

But what startled me most of all was reading the many stories of people who have died on The Camino. I often see photos on the facebook groups of memorials to people from across the world, both young and old who never left The Way; the spirits on The Camino.

I often think about these people now as I prepare for my Camino in September and of course the thought crosses my mind. Will I die while walking? Of course I have no idea, that is, as they say, and depending on which religious or spiritual belief your follow, determined by fate or the book of life…..your death predetermined before you are even born. Not sure I believe that notion, but there it is.

I have to say that it does bother me a lot. The f.e.a.r. presents itself in many ways, and I am in constant conflict with the emotions that arise from these thoughts. My daughter is getting married next year and I will be walking her down the aisle, guiding her to the man she loves, watching as she and he join their hands and lives in marriage and walk into a new future. I would be devastated if by dying on the Camino I caused her any pain and spoiled her special day by not being there. Although I’m sure she would kick my ass for saying that!! 😉  Mind you, she’s already advised me that she would be seriously pissed off with me if I die while walking. LOL We have discussions about this from time to time. About the reality of death.

I’ve questioned myself over and over. Am I being selfish? Am I not putting her happiness first instead of my selfish desire for adventure? Should I have waited till after the wedding…? I did contemplate that.

See what I mean? FEAR – false evidence appearing real. It manifests on a daily basis and gives me palpitations – and I haven’t even started yet!!!

But after many talks and encouragement from her I went ahead and booked my ticket. Not because we are fatalistic in any way, not because we discussed it in depth and not because I have a flippant answer “it won’t happen to me” (I don’t believe in making promises like that!), but because life is life. I could just as easily step off a pavement in my day to day life and get run over by a car or bus…. I could get knocked over on the many walks I take in my day to day life, some of which are along narrow country roads where cars whizz by at 80 kms p.h. leaving dust and a shivering wreck of a walker in their wake. Or I could contract one of hundreds of diseases that abound and die anyway.

So should I not go on this walk? Should I allow the fears to win? Or should I grasp life and go anyway. Well since I’ve already booked my ticket, obviously so far, that is what I will be doing.

But it still doesn’t stop me from thinking about the people who do die. I’m sure it must be absolutely devastating for their families. I can’t imagine what it must be like for them to receive the news. I have read of one Mother whose daughter died before they started their Camino. She will be taking her daughter’s ashes along with her to distribute at special places along The Way. God, I can’t even imagine how hard that would be.

I was doing some research this morning and found this blog https://gabrielschirm.com/2016/08/22/deaths-on-the-camino-de-santiago/

Gabriel gives a number breakdown of the more recent deaths on the Camino. It’s not a macabre list, just a matter of fact observation that yes, people do die while walking the Camino.

I also found this amazing blog; a beautifully compiled memorial to Camino pilgrims who have died on the way – some on their first day, others as they completed their walk.


It makes a sobering read. The spirits on the Camino.

So again it brings me back to the age-old question! Should I or should I not? F.E.A.R. But as mentioned earlier I’ve already booked my plane ticket for this year, booked and paid for some of the accommodation, bought the backpack, the badges, the clothes and equipment, the books…..and so on. And with my daughter’s blessing, I will walk the Portuguese Coastal Route in September.  I certainly plan to discover the Spirit of the Camino; but I have no plans to become a spirit on the Camino. And yes, despite the fear, I am excited 🙂



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‘Pilgrimage’ What an evocative word. When you hear the word pilgrimage it has so many meanings and connotations, different meanings for each person. You can go on a religious pilgrimage, a spiritual pilgrimage, you can take a pilgrimage to a previous home or favourite place. A pilgrimage can be something you go on or aspire to.

Since medieval times, the main connotation of the word pilgrimage has been in relation to monks or religious persons making a journey to one place of worship or another, either as a desire to gain more knowledge or in penance. Most of these pilgrim ways have followed main route of transportation; routes well-worn and familiar, travelled by many – creating routes of pilgrimage; corridors towards a shrine.

As with the thousands of people who traversed these routes, the paths used, varied over time – always flexible, always changing to accommodate one change or another. Perhaps a muddy field needed to be avoided in one particular year of bad weather and so ‘pilgrims’ found a ‘way’ around it and formed a new path. Towns sprung up along these ‘ways’ to accommodate the pilgrims who were needing shelter and food or rest; albergues and hospitals were opened, relics were discovered and distributed to tiny churches along the way and so a path was beaten to that door.

I remember my delight on discovering a Pilgrim’s ‘hospital’ on one of the many visits my daughter and I have made to Canterbury.


The Pilgrims Hospital in Canterbury, Geoffrey Chaucer and the River Stour through Canterbury

Perhaps some hardy monk or another decided he needed to test his mettle and climbed higher than before and so a new path was created.  Perhaps a pilgrim grew old and tired on his journey and so sought an easier way around the hills and mountains; found obstacles in his way and so created another new path……

And yet, despite these many paths, both old and traditional or new, some still to be forged, the pilgrims always found their way to where they were headed. In this case the road to Santiago – also known as The Way of St James.

I love the idea of this, different paths for different folks; isn’t this true of life as well? Traditional is great, but one thing I’ve learned in life is that we each walk our own path. We can create new traditions. Nothing is original. If we went back in time to when St James first walked and preached the gospels in Spain, the paths he travelled along then are probably very different to what they are now. And after he died and was buried, then found and his relics installed at the Cathedral in Santiago, and eventually pilgrims first started walking to Santiago, even the ‘original’ paths, of which there are many, would be vastly different to what they are today. Certainly more well trod!!

And let us not forget one of the most famous of all pilgrims; Geoffrey Chaucer

pilgrimage, geoffrey chaucer, canterbury tales

Geoffrey Chaucer; author of The Canterbury Tales – a pilgrimage (journey) to Canterbury

In September of this year I’ll be walking the Portuguese Coastal Route to Santiago de Compostela, and I’m planning on following my own path with an eye on the general direction towards Santiago. From Tui I expect I’ll be following more traditional routes, but I’m not going to stress too much about the exact route, after all, it’s the journey that’s important and what we learn along ‘The Way’.

pilgrimage the way to santiago

finding my way to Santiago

Santiago de Compostela is the capital of northwest Spain’s Galicia region. It’s known as the culmination of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, and the alleged burial site of the Biblical apostle St. James. His remains reputedly lie within the Catedral de Santiago de Compostela, consecrated in 1211, whose elaborately carved stone facades open onto grand plazas within the medieval walls of the old town.

I follow the blogs, instagram profiles and facebook updates of a number of people who are either currently walking or have walked one or another of the many many routes to Santiago, and I often read how they got lost, lost the path or were misdirected and again you can so easily relate this to life.

I travel a lot with my job and I love to travel in my off time between jobs, and when I lived in London in particular, people asked ” aren’t you afraid of getting lost?”. My answer is always the same…..you can never be lost, you are just in a place you are unfamiliar with and it’s not where you had planned to be. Jump on a bus or a train, look at a map, you will find you are not lost at all. I remember when I first lived in London back in 2002/2003, I had a conversation with my Father about how big London was and how much it terrified me to travel around that vast city. He replied: “just think of London as many small villages all linked together by the network of the tube/underground system. You are never more than a few meters from either a train or a bus, you can never get lost.” It changed my perception of London completely and from then on I was never afraid to go out and explore the many ‘villages’ of London; often getting ‘lost’.

As I walk the Camino in September, I will have my handy wee app ‘mapmywalk’ switched on, and with an eye on the east to my right and the west to my left I will follow my own path north till I reach the Minho river that separates the north of Portugal from the south of Spain. From there; at Caminha, I will head inland with the sun in my eyes in the morning and at my back in the evening till I reach Valença and finally cross over into Spain to Tui.

looking east

Looking east at Broadstairs; sunrise

looking west

Looking west at Florence; sunset

From Tui I will follow the more traditional routes as I traverse the final 100 kms to Santiago so that I too may gain my ‘compostela’. A pilgrim.


The Minho divides the Spanish Tui and Portuguese Valença do Minho, towns that guarded an important bridge for road and rail. Both towns preserve fortifications and are national monuments.

Addendum: you can even go on a pilgrimage to a famous place to see the final resting place of a King; Richard III (thanks Beth 😉 your facebook update was most timeous).


a pilgrimage to visit the tomb of Richard II at Leicester cathedral

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The more you give the more you get back. It’s scary opening our heart sometimes but I urge you to try it. If you have the courage to be vulnerable, especially if you’re in a leadership role, you empower others. I arrived in India 2 days ago to do a yoga course and didn’t know […]

via The power of being vulnerable  — Less is More

I’ve shared Helen’s post as it comes a few hours after I read an article about the Camino that really caught at me. I posted the article on facebook along with this comment:

“Reading this actually brought tears to my eyes….I simply cannot wait to go. It also clarified for me why I want to do this on my own….I want to be taken right out my comfort zone, I want to be confronted by challenges, I want to be alone in the crowd and yet one with my companions, I want to be physically, mentally and emotionally challenged, I want the Camino to ‘walk’ me!!! I simply cannot wait…albeit wait I must…but soon. Soon.”

Helen’s post resonated with me tonight because when walking the Camino we do open ourselves up to being vulnerable; in so many ways that we cannot even begin to comprehend until we start.

Here is the Camino article. http://www.caminoadventures.com/days-arriving-santiago-de-compostela/

What really caught my attention in the article was this: the 3 important questions necessary for growth (if not sanity):

  • Where am I going?
  • Where have I been?
  • Who am I?

I can answer the first two fairly easily, but it was the 3rd question that caught at me. This is something that I have been questioning of late and sometimes I really don’t know. Life has shaped me in weird ways, experiences have either warped me or shaped me…..Who am I? is a question that I reckon my journey along The Way is going to challenge me.

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On the eve of my impending journey to my next assignment, this time in Lancashire I decided to write and update on My Camino and the journey so far. You may recall I wrote a post a short while ago about ‘doing’ the Camino my way. Well ‘doing’ it correctly is clearly advisable, so in order to gain some insights I joined two Camino groups on Facebook (I have since joined another). I have gleaned so much by way of interesting and useful hints and tips as well as safety advice that I am beginning to feel a little more ‘prepared’ than I was when I first started to lay my plans. Of course one of the most important aspects of walking the Camino is being at least relatively fit…a fact attested to by many of the walkers in the group. Feet appear to be the worst hit!

camino 2016; the journey so far

My Camino; the journey so far

One evening in May this year, my daughter and I took a walk from Broadstairs to Joss Bay; something we do quite frequently…go for long walks, that is. When we got back home, I suddenly realised that this is what I could do as part of my training.

We often walk to Ramsgate and since I walk a lot anyway this seemed an ideal way to up my distances and improve my fitness…..in order to keep track of my progress, I downloaded a fantastic little app called MapMyWalk that tells me how far I’ve walked each day, how long it’s taken me and what my pace is per km…I immediately started using it…..this is my journey so far! The app gives you a lot more info but those are the 3 items I’m most interested in.

Since starting these walks, I’ve learned quite a lot about myself.

1. I am far more durable than I though. A bit like the Energizer bunny I just…

my camino; the journey so far

…keep going

2. I’m way more resilient than I thought. 319.11 km’s walked so far

3. I can endure walking in the rain!!! LOL

my camino; the journey so far

not too much singing going on…but I did walk in the rain LOL


4. I can walk wayyyy further than I have since I was in my 20’s. Sandwich 28.54 kms


5. I’ve confirmed that I really do enjoy my own company.

my camino; the journey so far

not a soul in sight…

Just walking, not responsible for anyone except yourself, gives you a sense of freedom. I’ve always enjoyed my own company and seldom get lonely. But walking on your own for 185 miles through a foreign country is a far cry from holing up at home with a good book, or spending a week away on my own, so we shall see. I do believe however that the route/s always has people walking or residents of the hamlets and towns along the way…so if I need company, I’m sure I’ll find it.

I haven’t had any of the lightning-bolt epiphanies that people say they experience when walk long distances on their own, but I have learned that in my 60’s I am still very much happy to walk and walk and walk, and talk to myself. I call it ‘doing a Forrest Gump!! I have some very interesting conversations. I also tend to rant a lot, which wouldn’t surprise my daughter in the least! LOL

I can’t share any spiritual or emotional insights so far, but that may well still happen when I do walk the actual Camino…..in the meantime this is my physical journey. The one day that impressed me the most was the day I walked to Sandwich!

Day 1 : 19/05/2016 Broadstairs to Joss Bay – I’m not sure how far I walked this day as it was pre mapmywalk, but its been really interesting since then to see my stats.

my camino so far

Day 1. 19.05.2016 the day it all started

Although I haven’t walked on consecutive days, I have walked whenever opportunity arose

Day 2 : 22/05/16 : Broadstairs to Royal Esplanade Ramsgate and back : Walked 12.38 km  -2 hours 59 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 2. 22.05.2016 Ramsgate Royal Esplanade

By day three I was really keen to stretch myself a little bit so undertook a marathon:

Day 3 : 23/05/16 Broadstairs to Margate and back : Walked 17.94 km – 4 hours 5 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 3. 23.05.2016 Margate

As you can imagine after that walk!!!! I needed to rest for a day LOL  Then it was off to London for work and a new environment in which to stretch my legs 🙂

Day 4 : 26/05/16 Thames Ditton to Kingston and back : Walked 7.37 km – 1 hour 32 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 4. 26.05.2016 Kingston

Day 5 : 27/05/16 Thames Ditton to East Moseley and back : Walked 6.73 km – 1 hour 19 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 5. 27.05.2016 East Moseley

Day 6 : 28/05/16 Thames Ditton; circular walk : Walked 2.24 km – 25 minutes

Day 6 : 28/05/16 Thames Ditton to Canbury Gardens, Kingston Upon Thames : Walked 7.64 km – 1 hour 33 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 6. 28.05.2016 Canbury Gardens

Working so near to Hampton Court Palace was tantalising so I asked for an extended break

Day 7 : 29/05/16 Thames Ditton to Kingston then to Hampton Court Palace and back : Walked 11.59 km – 2 hours 42 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 7. 29.05.2016 Hampton Court Palace

On the 31st May my gear arrived!!! 🙂 I was so excited to be unpacking just some of the items I would need so I could start trying them out. However, with testing various items in the meanwhile, I have in fact discovered that there is much I actually wouldn’t need

my camino; the journey so far

Clearly I am a fan of Mountain Warehouse 🙂

While working, my breaks are usually two hours and I found I could easily fit in a walk to Kingston and back. Although it was very hot over that period, which I found most unpleasant, I really enjoyed the walks; such a lovely part of the river.

Day 8 : 31/05/16 Thames Ditton to Kingston Upon Thames, Canbury Gardens and back : Walked 8.19 km – 1 hour 43 minutes

Day 9 : 01/06/16 Thames Ditton to Kingston Upon Thames, Canbury Gardens and back : Walked 7.81 km – 1 hour 45 minutes

Day 10 : 02/06/16 Thames Ditton; circular walk : Walked 3.93 km – 48 minutes

Day 11 : 03/06/16 Thames Ditton to Kingston Upon Thames and back : Walked 8.38 km – 1 hour 44 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Scenes from my Thames Ditton to Kingston walks

Day 12 : 04/06/16 Thames Ditton circular walk : Walked 3.43 km – 46 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 12. 04.06.2016 Thames Ditton circular walk – stopping to smell the roses

I was keen to make a 2nd attempt at a walk along the Thames riverbank to Hampton Court Palace, so one day I took myself off. I love the palace so it was a treat to visit, albeit briefly.

Day 13 : 05/06/16 Thames Ditton to Kingston Upon Thames then to Hampton Court Palace and back : Walked 10.90 km – 2 hours 53 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 13. 05.06.2016 Hampton Court – it was very hot this day..I rested in some shade

Day 14 : 06/06/16 Thames Ditton to Kingston Upon Thames, Canbury Gardens and back : Walked 8.72 km – 1 hour 56 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Friends – I’m sure I will make new friends on the Camino in time

Once I got home to Broadstairs after that assignment, I got right back into walking to Ramsgate and back, which I find is a good stretch without being too exerting.

Day 15 : 08/06/16 Broadstairs to Ramsgate and back : Walked 7.43 km – 1 hour 24 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 15. 08.06.2016 Ramsgate

I was keen to see if I could manage another walk to Margate and to my surprise found it much easier the 2nd time….I even walked right around the bay….When I left home it was overcast and gloomy, by the time I reached Margate it was a most glorious day…I do love living at the seaside.

my camino; the journey so far

Day 16. 09.06.2016 the other side of Margate Bay

Day 16 : 09/06/16 Broadstairs to St Peters Village to Margate and back : Walked 23.59 km – 6 hours 23 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 16. 09.06.2016 via St Peters to Margate

Day 17 : 10/06/16 Broadstairs to Ramsgate and back : Walked 9.42 km – 2 hours 33 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 17. 10.06.2016 Ramsgate

All too soon I was off to my next assignment at Bexhill on Sea, and having worked in the area before, I knew it would offer great walking opportunities…and so it did. The East Sussex Coast is beautiful; very flat with pebble beaches, great for walking although I didn’t do much walking on the beach – it’s really hard to walk on pebbles.

my camino; the journey so far

Bexhill on Sea

Day 18 : 12/06/16 Bexhill on Sea to Cooden Beach and back : Walked 5.71 km – 1 hour 36 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 18. 12.06.2016 Bexhill on Sea

Day 19 : 13/06/16 Bexhill on Sea to Hastings Road and back : Walked 7.03 km – 1 hour 42 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 19. 13.06.2016 Bexhill on Sea

Day 20 : 15/06/16 Bexhill on Sea to Hastings Road and back : Walked 7.70 km – 1 hour 42 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 20. Bexhill on Sea

Day 21 : 16/06/16 Bexhill on Sea to Hastings Road and back : Walked 7.47 km – 1 hour 53 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 21. 16.06.2016 Bexhill on Sea

Day 22 : 17/06/16 Bexhill on Sea circular walk : Walked 4.90 km – 1 hour 14 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 22. 17.06.2016 Bexhill on Seas

After quite a few decent walks I was dead keen to try a walk to Hastings and back. If I came unstuck I could always take the train back LOL. And so the next day, having arranged some extra time for my break, I set off for Hastings. What a marvellous walk. Truly beautiful and I so enjoyed the time alone with the sea breezes gently blowing off the sea. I felt that this is what it would be like on the route from Porto to Caminha which is where I would head inland to Valenca and then crossing the Minho river into Spain near Tui.

Day 23 : 18/06/16 Bexhill on Sea to Hastings and back : Walked 17.36 km – 3 hours 30 minutes ( I really enjoyed this walk).

my camino; the journey so far

Day 23. 18.06.2016 Bexhill on Sea to Hastings

Although I didn’t make it all the way into Hastings itself, I did get as far as the Pier which was superb…it stretched quite far out into the sea and offers fantastic views looking back.

my camino; the journey so far

Day 23. 18.06.2016 From Bexhill on Sea to Hastings Pier

Day 24 : 20/06/16 Bexhill on Sea to Hastings Road and back : Walked 6.65 km – 1 hour 37 minutes

Day 25 : 21/06/16 Bexhill on Sea circular walk : Walked 4.58 km – 1 hour 33 minutes

Day 26 : 22/06/16 Bexhill on Sea to Hastings Road and back : Walked 8.35 km – 1 hour 42 minutes

Day 27 : 23/06/16 Bexhill on Sea to Hastings Road and back : Walked 8.84 km – 1 hour 52 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Days 24-27. Bexhill on Sea

Even though most days I walked much the same route, with a few slight variations, I made the most of my breaks to keep my fitness levels up. I had all sorts of weather to contend with; blazing heat with the sun baking down, windy blasts from across the channel and rain…..rain that soaked me to the skin, at which time I discovered that in fact my shoes were not waterproof hahaha. One day I got so wet my shoes squelched.

After two weeks it was back home; once again to enjoy my lovely long walks along the Kent coast.

Day 28 : 25/06/16 Broadstairs to Ramsgate and back : Walked 8.90 km – 2 hours 16 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 28. 25.06.2016 Ramsgate – I stopped frequently on this walk to take a photos

Day 29 : 27/06/16 Broadstairs to Dumpton Gap and back : Walked 4.36 km – 1 hour 6 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 29. 27.06.2016 Dumpton Gap

By this stage I had spent a considerable amount of time planning my Camino and having decided to walk along the Portuguese Coastal Route, using google maps I calculated the various distances starting from Porto through to Santiago. On the whole the routes were averaging about 14-18 kms, which after all my practice walks I knew I could easily manage, but on some days I would need to walk up to almost 30 kms, so I was keen to see if I could walk that far and thus planned a walk along the Kent coast from Broadstairs to Sandwich….. 🙂 Would I make it?

Day 30 : 28/06/16 Broadstairs to Sandwich (train back home) – you didn’t expect me to walk home?? after I’d already : Walked 28.54 km – 7 hours 2 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 30. 28.06.2016 Sandwich

The walk to Sandwich was amazing. I discovered a path that led right along the top of the cliffs and so, after passing through Ramsgate, I walked via a twisting route to Cliffsend and then onto Pegwell Bay National Nature Reserve and finally to Sandwich, by which time I was exhausted and famished. But the views were just stunning and well worth the pain.

my camino; the journey so far

Day 30. 28.06.2016 views across Pegwell Bay

As part of the Camino test, I wanted to be sure that I could indeed walk two long days on the trot (no pun intended!!) ….so next day, with aching feet and legs and a back that wasn’t happy with the backpack, I set off once again to Sandwich….I nearly made it 🙂

my camino; the journey so far

Day 31. 29.06.2016 taking a lunch break in Pegwell Bay Nature Reserve

I did stop at the very edge of the nature reserve and then walked back….so…..

Day 31 : 29/06/16 Broadstairs to Pegwell Country Bay and back                                           Walked 21.84 km – 5 hours 33 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 31. 29.06.2016 Pegwell Bay Nature Reserve

Although I didn’t get as far as the town, I did have to walk back again as there were no trains nearby! hahahaha. But it was a fantastic day, well spent.

Day 32 : 30/06/16 Broadstairs to Botany Bay and back : Walked 7.90 km – 2 hours

my camino; the journey so far

Day 32. 30.06.2016 The Stacks

with a 2nd walk in the evening from Broadstairs to Dumpton Gap and back, I walked another 3.54 km – 56 minutes

And then life got in the way……I had recently been to South Africa to sort out my belongings and ship them over to the UK. All went well and I got everything packed up and shipped over…..and then came the surprise…..UK Customs and Excise….even though the shipment was of no great value, my posessions were in excess of 15 to 45 years and older, and for my own personal use….I still had to pay Customs Duty on the goods. Urgh!! and so endeth my Camino 2016, which will now have to be Camino 2017 LOL or not!!

The shock of this news kind of threw me off stride (no pun intended). The cost of the duty pretty much absorbed my travel money and I didn’t want to dip into my savings. Besides that I had just started my next assignment, and due to the nature of the position I was unable to leave the house for any length of time unless there was another person there.  So except for one day (see below) that took care of that; no more  Camino 2016 practice walks.

Day 33 : 24/07/16 : Oveny Green to Chevening and back : Walked 7.75 km – 2 hours 4 minutes

my camino; the journey so far

Day 33. 24.07.2016 Chevening Church

I so enjoyed being able to stretch my legs again after 3 weeks and thoroughly enjoyed the excursion. I got a little unwell while I was at this assignment and for no discernible reason I still find myself quite without any energy.

Since then I have barely walked any distances at all, except if you count my 3 day visit to London 2-4th September for the Fire! Fire! London’s Burning 350th anniversary events when, as usual, I walked my feet off (but forgot to switch on the app – duh!!).

the great fire of london 1666

the City of London in wood…due to be burned on 4th September for Great Fire 350 event

It’s now mid November and I still find myself very low on energy, so my longs walks have ceased for now.

My plans for Camino 2017 are going ahead. For that walk I have decided to walk the English Way from Ferrol to Santiago. I haven’t yet decided on the precise dates, but suffice to say, I must get myself walking again.

my camino; the journey so far

…follow that shell. I saw these Pilgrim Shells in Brussels recently and loved how they lead you to different pilgrim’s churches in the city

We went to Canterbury in August where we visited the East Bridge hospital dating from 1190. It’s an intriguing place, very old with notable Gothic archways and a 13th-century mural. Once a place for pilgrims to stay; a hospitallier….the word hospital derives from this, no ill people were treated there, it was more a place to stay…like a hostel.

my camino; the journey so far

Eastbridge Hospital on the right; Religious hospital dating from 1190 with notable Gothic archways and a 13th-century mural.

Canterbury is one of the most notable pilgrim destinations and you may recall the Geoffrey Chaucer famously travelled there; his Canterbury Tales.

So not only am I planning on walking the Camino, I am also following in the footsteps of Chaucer…albeit a lot slower than he did!! LOL

This is my Canterbury Tale so far : My Canterbury Tales

The history of the Camino de Santiago goes back at the beginning of the 9th century (year 814).

I recently stumbled upon this site about getting walking fit for the Camino 

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Versatile Blogger Award

I have some great news that I’m thrilled to share you!  My blog has been awarded the Versatile Blogger Award by Olga SE at Self Expression. I have been communicating with Olga via our blogs for some time now and we have shared stories about our respective countries, and she did a lovely piece about St Petersburg just for me when I expressed an interest to visit there.
This is the first time I have received a blogging award and was absolutely delighted to receive the award from Olga, and this has inspired me to continue sharing news about the wonderful city I live in and about the random things that happen in my life and in the world that interest me. It seems like a great way to recognise blogs we enjoy and I’m going to complete all the requirements the award entails though I’m not pressured in any way to that
1. Thank the blogger who gave the award and link to his or her blog. I’ve done that.
2. Share seven things about yourself.    Hmmmm, what can I share
. I started blogging back in November 2008 after receiving complaints from my family and friends that my emails were too long and too frequent. 🙂  So after much encouragement from my daughter, I decided to give blogging a go and share my adventures with the wider world.  Once I got started I discovered many other fantastic blogs along the way and now subscribe to a wide variety of those, from New Zealand to Canada I get to learn about fabulous holidays to foreign destinations, gardens and the wonderful creatures that inhabit them, travelling, Social Media, photography and much much more.
.  I have a wonderful daughter who is an inspiration to me.
.  My passion is London and travel and my dream is to travel around the world in a yellow VW campervan, blogging and taking photos of everything I see (and getting paid to do it).
.  One of my goals is to visit 100 islands and to date I have visited 15.
.  I enjoy photography and hope to one day become a published photographer, although I have already have a published book of London photographs, they are personal to me and I would like to improve on them.
.  I enjoy writing poetry and wrote a poem once about a little boy called Panashe whose mother had died of cholera in Zimbabwe. I saw the story and his photo in a newspaper article, that inspired me to write the poem.  I mentioned the photographer; Robin Hammond who had taken the photo, and she contacted me afterwards which was really exciting.
. In 4 months time I will celebrate 10 years since my arrival in this country, a huge undertaking at the time and something I have never regretted. I love the UK and London with a passion that has never dimmed since I looked out the window of the Piccadilly line to Heathrow and thought “I could live here”. and now I do 🙂

3. Pass the award along to other bloggers whose work you enjoy and link to them. I will do that with pleasure as now I know quite a number of bloggers who are really versatile and deserve this award. (Olga passed the award along to 15 bloggers!) wow 🙂

This is my list:

TEStazyk  – Thomas provides a down to earth and humorous point of view on happenings in the world, as well as superb stories about his travels and life in New Zealand.

Jenny B –  the zingy romp through life of a single Mom who delights in her family.

Matt M  –  my Canterbury pal, whom I met through the blog about my Canterbury Tales. Matt has a passion for travel and unearthing the most amazing snippets of historical information about Chaucer and his journey to Canterbury.

Cemanthe H – with a passion for photography, she shares some of the most amazing photos that pique the interest, inspire you to stop and think and make you want to find out more!

Ivonne M – who shares her thoughts, feelings and experiences over a truely versatile range of subjects with a vivid passion.
James C – who has some of the most amazing photos I have ever seen of Australia.  James is a traveller of note with a quirky sense of humour and a passion for creating movies.

Barbara W – discovering the world, one culture at a time; some of the most amazing adventures and visiting some awesome places in the world.

Brenda H – inspires me with her marvellous tales of the garden.  Whenever I read one of her articles I want to go right out and build a garden! So one day when I have a house of my own with a garden I will be avidly reading her blog.

Vivienne B – real life parenting, a blog that shares life with her family with an intimate intensity that sometimes reduces me to tears, a sometime humourous, sometimes searing insight of what it is like to be Mom to 4 teenagers.

Kristie W – who blogs about a very sensitive issue in life; something that we are all at one time or another affected by. She writes in a practical and open way providing insights and guidance.

You are free to do whatever you want with the award: you can pretend it doesn’t exist or write a post about it. Whichever way you choose, please don’t feel obliged to pass on the award, it is not necessary at all. Only do it if you feel like doing it.

4. Comment on their blogs to tell them of the award.

That’s it folks.   Thanks to all of you for sharing your fabulous stories.

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Today I have the great pleasure of being the host on Day 8 of the Virtual Blog Tour of Hay House author Dr Roy Martina, whose book

Emotional Balance: The Path to Inner Peace and Harmony comes to Amazon on Tuesday March 15, 2011.

Dr Roy Martina - Emotional Balance

Dr Roy Martina - Emotional Balance: The Path to Inner Peace and Harmony

Roy Martina is a holistic medical doctor with over 30 years experience helping people tap into their true selves and “cure the incurable” by understanding the connection between emotional balance and dis-ease. He is the author of over 40 books in Dutch and other languages.

Dr Martina has spent the last 25 years studying acupuncture and numerous holistic techniques in order to offer people a profound level of healing, and he has been tireless in his pursuit of methods that work swiftly and effectively to aid the healing process. This work has put him at the leading edge of the holistic and self-help world.

dr roy martina

Dr Roy Martina

Yesterday, Roy visited Lynn Serafinn where he talked about questions relating to personal and social transformation.  To visit that “stop” on the tour, go to http://tinyurl.com/LynnRoyVBT

Today, I’d like to share with you a recent interview I had with Roy when I got to ask him on affirmations, gratitude journal and self-sabotage.  I hope you enjoy it.


Cindy Eve: Are affirmations a form of suppression if we say “I am” when in fact “we are not” and therefore a form of self-persuasion that can be counter-productive?

Roy Martina:  Positive Affirmations are mental exercises that create stress patterns in the autonomous system and can be contributing to disease when not done properly.

The trick is to first connect with a time in the past or an imaginary time in the future or now where you can experience the feelings, thoughts, body language, breathing patterns that 100% corresponds with the physiological state that would be true if you were experiencing what you are saying in the now. Only then they are not stressful to the neurological system and become true and will help create the appropriate synapses that will correspond with that state. Now we get a matrix or hologram in the brain that we can tap into and switch over to the unconscious auto-pilot that belongs to that state.  Finally, we are consistent in all levels.

Cindy Eve: Why does keeping a gratitude journal make such a difference? (Besides the obvious)

Roy Martina: Keeping a gratitude journal is a training of the mind to constantly search for what is good in our lives and create an auto-pilot by creating the state of gratefulness as a life style. This takes a few months before we have enough synapses that will create the holographic matrix that is needed to be on autopilot.

The other thing that is important, is that gratitude allows us to let go of what we are not happy with, we ignore it, we do not give it space. It is like creating an environment where negativity cannot hold. We step by step release all the negativity in our lives and that is liberating.

Cindy Eve: If we are aware of self-sabotage and it’s affects and yet still continue to do it. What does that mean and why would do we still continue to self-sabotage?

Roy Martina:  Becoming aware that you are falling does not stop the falling. We will have to pull the cord of the parachute to stop the falling. If we have a defective parachute that will not be of use and we need to go to the back-up chute.

So awareness without the right tools only creates frustration. Then it is better to be ignorant as that may not dampen our happiness, and ignorance is bliss until we get the invoice for our party.   So ignorance is temporary bliss.   We need effective tools to stop our sabotage and the willingness to desire the change to create a life of evolution. Personal growth and improving the quality of our lives short and long term is what Emotional Balance is all about.


I hope you enjoyed this interview with Dr Roy Martina and that you’ll check out his book Emotional Balance: the path to inner peace and harmony at http://emotionalbalance.com/book-launch/pre-launch.html

Here’s why:


When you visit the page at the link above and request a “launch reminder”, you will automatically receive a FREE pass to Roy ‘s 4-day “Emotional Balance Telesummit” with a line up of 9 TOP international experts on the topic of emotional healing and inner balance. You can listen to the telesummit online in the comfort of your own home, and even ask questions during the broadcast. This is a completely free “no purchase necessary” gift from Roy , to celebrate the release of the new Hay House publication of his book.


Then, if you decide to you buy the book during its official launch celebration on Tuesday March 15, 2011, you can ALSO receive a complete library of over 40 beautiful personal development gifts from authors, speakers, healers, coaches and other enlightened professionals from around the globe.

To claim your 4-Day Pass and read about the 40 free gifts, go to: http://emotionalbalance.com/book-launch/pre-launch.html

Thanks for reading! As usual, please feel free to share your comments and thoughts below. I love reading your feedback.

AND… be sure to follow Roy tomorrow when the next stop on the Virtual Blog Tour is Arlene Taveroff who will be interviewing Roy on questions relating to letting go/ effortlessness, process of going from working hard to working smart to not working at all and sharing another new tale about being who you really are.  To visit that “stop” on the tour, go to http://wisdomalacarte.net/blog/roy-martina-on-letting-go-and-being-who-you-really-are/2011/02/

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A. a dead turtle.

As harsh as that is, that’s not the worst of it. I follow myEARTH360 on twitter since I am keenly interested in the future of our planet and in taking a stand against plastic, especially plastic bags, (5billion p.a. and counting) as well as keeping track of whats going on in the world of the ecology.  It is one of my ‘rants’ as you may have noticed from a previous post.  🙂

On facebook today I noticed one of their posts, and followed through to sign the relevant petition, http://greenhouseneutralfoundation.org/articles/2009/12/15/stoplasticbags-a-global-petition-to-ban-the-bag-3/

and reading these stats has given me a jolt:

Some of the ugly facts: plastic bags

•Once brought into existence to tote your purchases, they’ll accumulate and persist on our planet for up to 1,000 years.
•The U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. An estimated 12 million barrels of oil is required to make that many plastic bags. That’s more than 1,200 bags per US resident, per year. Four out of five grocery bags in the US are now plastic.
•The average family accumulates 60 plastic bags in only four trips to the grocery store.
•Australia, a country of only some 22 million or so, consumes about 6.9 billion plastic bags each year, that’s 326 per person. According to Australia’s Department of Environment, an estimated 49,600,000 annually end up as litter.
Every single piece of plastic ever manufactured is still on the planet.
It is in use, intact in landfills, as windblown litter, and also toxically contaminating global river systems and oceans.
•There is an estimated 46,000 pieces of plastic in each square mile of ocean. Plastic bags cause over 100,000 sea turtle and other marine animal deaths every year when animals mistake them for food.
•There are 39,600 deaths of children around the world who die from asphyxiation from plastic bags.
•There are over 3,300 deaths of children each year in the US alone who die from asphyxiation from plastic bags.
•WSJ Target, the second-largest retailer in the U.S., purchases 1.8 billion bags a year. In the U.S. alone $4 billion per year is spent by retailers giving away free plastic bags.


Most assuredly it is our responsibility to do something about this. This is our only home, we can’t buy a new planet, and just as much as the science community and others would like to set up ‘home’ on another planet….that is not in the forseeable future.  By the time they do get to do that…..we will most likely have killed off most of our precious sealife as well as birdlife.  And this is not counting all the other terrible things we inflict on this planet eg destroying forests etc.

OK, so I am not going to continue here coz my bloodpressure is going up.  All I am asking is that whoever reads this blog, takes a stand… it’s like the starfish on the beach  story….. you can’t save them all, but it will make a difference to the one that gets thrown back in; the creatures that don’t get to swallow plastic bags will get to live!!!!  They won’t know the difference, but we do!

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