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….or not. LOL Well the days are slowly but inexorably going by, one by one and still our wee Peanut has not put in an appearance. His ‘due dates’ of 5th and 7th have come and gone and he is still snug in his cosy (albeit noisy) little cocoon.

waiting for peanut, peanut is on the way, first pregnancy, being pregnant

40 weeks and looking gorgeous

I say noisy because his poor Mother (my daughter) has had the most awful cold and subsequent cough for well over a week now and it is causing her a tremendous amount of stress, pain and discomfort. She is almost literally ‘coughing her lungs out’. She is alternatively bunged up with thick mucus or streaming snot. Both of which are causing her a lot of pain and discomfort with the accompanying coughing…that just goes unremittingly on and on. The doctor checked her over earlier last week on another visit and said there was no infection, so just to keep warm and rest.

A couple of days ago, actually last week Thursday, I was downstairs cleaning and she was upstairs resting (or trying to) when I heard a tiny little voice come wafting down in desperation “Mummy, can you come upstairs please”. My initial heart reaction was “omg the baby is on the way!!” to “omg what the hell is wrong?” when I got upstairs and found her doubled over in pain. She thought that with the coughing and the very uncomfortable positions she had been lying in in bed may have pinched a nerve in her shoulder when coughing. I tried massaging the area, to no avail and with no relief, it got steadily worse till she was screaming with pain, coughing and unable to stand up. Suddenly her left arm started going numb right down to her fingers…and she started crying in earnest thinking she might be having a heart attack with the pain.

I tried phoning the GP but as usual they take so long to reply, you could be dead by the time they answer. So I phoned 999 – ‘ambulance please’ and within 45 minutes we were in A&E. Still screaming and in so much pain that they, the medical staff in A&E, were all convinced she was in labour….despite her saying that you don’t get labour pains in your shoulder!!! *rolls eyes*.

After a quick examination the doctor prescribed some morphine to dull the pain….it took the edge off but didn’t really make a huge difference, and transferred her to the maternity labour ward. *rolls eyes* again!! Pass the buck eh! Or in this case the very pregnant Mummy-to-be.

After quite a few examinations that involved prodding her ribs and facilitated a lot of screaming and swearing, they gave her some coedine and strapped her up to the baby monitor. Although baby wasn’t at all happy with the noise and discomfort he was experiencing from both the coughing and the screaming, his heartbeat was strong and healthy and he was moving around like no-one’s business. It’s so amazing how the sound of the monitor changes as he moves and the graph goes crazy. At least this room was a bit more cheerful than the others we’ve been in. This is not the first time we’ve visited the labour ward, and mostly the rooms are dull, and grim with crappy paintwork and all the horrible sterile equipment.

We spent a few hours there while they did various tests and checks, doctors and midwives came and went and finally after about 5 hours they discharged her and we all went home….my poor child….still in pain and feeling somewhat spaced out from the medications.

And here we are, the weekend has come and gone, Mummy is still coughing and spluttering, her ribs are still very painful, and now her whole body is aching from the strain of the coughing and still no sign of baby making an appearance any time soon, which is probably a good thing since my daughter is in no condition to take the strain of labour right now.

However, we thought for sure he was on the way last night due to what we thought might be a ‘show’ and a lot of fluid being passed. To be on the ‘safe side’ we decided to pop in at the labour ward and have them check things over…again we spent a couple of hours in the labour ward while they did a few tests and monitored baby’s heartbeat – the diagnosis is: no, baby is not yet on the way. Geez, this little scamp is taking his own sweet time. His heartbeat is strong and healthy, he is moving frequently and still breech.

And my poor child is still coughing and coughing. We have tried everything to no avail. It’s a virus and we just have to wait for it to pass……maybe Peanut is waiting for that too.

Meanwhile I went shopping again yesterday and bought some of the cutest little outfits you can imagine. I do so love the Peter Rabbit theme and even though baby really has more than enough Newborn babygrows, I could resist this one πŸ™‚ It’s adorable. Of course if baby weighs more than 7 lbs, none of them are going to fit…. LOL

peanut is on the way, first grandchild, peter rabbit, baby layette

Peter Rabbit…one of my favourite characters

My daughter gave me the most delightful book for Christmas: FAMILY LONDON with the inscription – ‘to granny for all our adventures, love Jamie’. There are dozens of ideas and places to go with children of all ages: parks, playgrounds & secret gardens, museums & galleries, grand days out, where the wild things are, and teenage kicks…as well as places to eat…..oh and we’ll definitely be buying lots of ice-creams!!

peanut is on the way, first grandchild, family london, things to do with children in london

Jamie and Granny’s London adventures

So I’m already planning ahead and bought him some gorgeous Paddington Bear pyjamas, an adorable Paddington Bear dungaree and top ensemble

and a London jumper with a big red bus and a London t-shirt. All Aboard…first bus we shall ride will be the Number 15 from the Tower of London to Trafalgar Square.

These will all be kept aside for when Granny and Jamie go to London on an adventure.

I can’t wait for this wee lad to arrive now. πŸ™‚

 

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Today I set off much earlier that the 2 previous days and had the joy and privilege of watching the sun rise. Sunrise was at 07:59 and I reached the promenade at 08:03. It is such a pleasure to be taking winter walks along this section of the Kentish coast, the views truly are just stunning and I enjoy it anew each and every time. When the time comes it is going to be very hard to leave this area….

walk 1000 miles, walks along the english coast, coastal walks of england, the isle of thanet, long distance walks uk

Viking Bay…….what a glorious view

Still very overcast and cloudy the colours of the sun against the cloudscape were breathtaking. The sea was almost, but not quite like pond today, the colour of mercury and because I was a lot earlier the tide was right in and I had to walk most of the way along the clifftops. I got as far as the Ramsgate Tunnels and then turned back for home. This section of the east coast is so beautiful and I feel so lucky to live here.

walk 1000 miles, walks along the english coast, walks in england, english channel , sunrise

a beautiful sunrise on the Isle of Thanet

walk 1000 miles, walks along the english coast, walks in england, english channel , sunrise

stunning light on the sea

walk 1000 miles, walks along the english coast, walks in england, english channel , sunrise

Ramsgate, Isle of Thanet

As usual most of the people out at this time of day were walking their dogs and I got to say hello to any number of happy little fellows, one of which was a gorgeous Labrador puppy…I got lots of wet nose kisses and muddy paw hugs from him. So cute I wanted to take him home with me LOL

I spent the rest of the day helping my daughter to sort out her laundry cupboard and part of her office. She’s so heavily pregnant now that any sort of exertion is just too much for her. Besides which she’s picked up a nasty cold that is making her so tired with the coughing and stuffy nose. She was at an event a few days ago and one of the women there had a heavy cold and had the audacity to say “Oh I get colds but I don’t pass them on”… Fuck. I do wish people would be more considerate and stay at home when they are ill. All they do is pass on their nasty germs to those who are more vulnerable and less able to cope with a cold. My daughter is banning anyone from visiting the baby if they have even so much as a sniffle.

Day 3/365 – Broadstairs to Ramsgate : 8.33 kms, 12823 steps

walk 1000 miles, walks along the english coast, coastal walks of england, the isle of thanet, long distance walks uk

Broadstairs to Ramsgate Steps

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Wow, I can hardly believe that it’s already 2019!! How did 2018 fly by so fast? But if I consider how much happened during the year, and because I was almost wishing the year away so that we could get closer to the date when my first grandchild (a wee boy) is due, I guess what with the jobs away, my many excursions and shopping expeditions (for some who normally loathes shopping…it was no hardship to shop for baby clothes LOL), the days just flew.

So here we are in 2019. We, my heavily pregnant daughter, excited expectant son-in-law and I, very excited and impatient Granny, saw in the new year watching the London fireworks on BBC1, had a glass of wine to toast the new year, sang a few lines of Auld Lang Syne and by 1am we were in bed. Finally I can say my grandson is due to arrive this year πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Hoorah.

happy new year, london fireworks new year

Never have I been more excited about a new year’s arrival…

Starting off afresh, for 2019, I’m keen to get back to my walking since I didn’t do much after the mishap I had during my Pilgrim’s Way pilgrimage in August (in fact my walking pretty much came to an abrupt end after that), and I want to be able to make the most of my time at home. So on New Year’s Day, but not too early mind considering the hour of bedtime….I set off on the first of my 2019 #walk1000miles excursions. There were a few people about, mostly dog walkers, but on the whole the streets and beach were empty.

walk 1000 miles, viking bay broadstairs, walks in england, new years day swim

Viking Bay looking stunning on New Year’s Day 2019

The scenery along this section of the Kent coast is so beautiful and I never tire of walking the same route, which is a good thing, since that is pretty much my only route except when I walk to Margate. I hope to get back to that one of these fine days, but I’m waiting till baby arrives before I venture too far.

Walking to the end of the Ramsgate Harbour arm and back I managed a decent 9.37 kms.

On my way back, as I rounded the corner at Louisa Bay I noticed a huge crowd on the beach at Viking Bay. Puzzled as to what could have attracted so many people, I increased my pace to see what was going on.

walk 1000 miles, new years day swim broadstairs, viking bay, kentish coast

In the distance the crowds…what is going on?

At about the same time I got a whats app message from my daughter to say that they were on the beach to watch the New Year’s Day swimathon!!! Oh my gosh! I had completely forgotten about that. In fact, I had been trying to coerce my son-in-law to join me and take a dip, but he was steadfast in his refusal LOL

So I hurried up even more and with 6 minutes to spare I hit the beach only to hear the countdown, 2 minutes early according to my phone, and before I could get close enough they were running down the beach and into the water.

walk 1000 miles, viking bay broadstairs, walks in england, new years day swim

New Year’s Day swim in Broadstairs

A perfect day for this insane excursion, the water in Viking Bay was like a pond and the air wasn’t freezing or wet like the year before when it rained. I was astounded at the crowds…not only lining the beach, but the pier was packed as well at the Promenade.

walk 1000 miles, viking bay broadstairs, walks in england, new years day swim

The crowds and swimmers in Broadstairs

First time in the 4 years we’ve lived here that there has been such a turn out for the New Year’s Day swim.

walk 1000 miles, viking bay broadstairs, walks in england, new years day swim

Hardy souls? Or in need of therapy? New Year’s Day swimmers in Broadstairs

After most people had clambered out and we had taken as many photos as we could, as we were leaving we spotted Santa so stopped so that Peanut could meet him for the first time hahaha and for a photo with Mummy.

walk 1000 miles, broadstairs, new years day swim, meeting santa

Comparing girths…Peanut meets Santa for the first time LOL

After which we retired to The Old Curiosity Shop for tea and cake, and then home.

the old curiosity shop broadstairs, walk 1000 miles, viking bay broadstairs, walks in england, new years day swim

The Old Curiosity Shop, Broadstairs – where the service is as good as the cake πŸ™‚

A most satisfactory first day of 2019 and one day closer to Peanut’s arrival. πŸ™‚ Hoorah

*footnote* – Apparently, and according to my daughter, we’ll ALL participate next year….thankfully that is still 364 days away LOL

Day 1/365 – 18, 209 steps : Broadstairs to Ramsgate

walk 1000 miles, broadstairs to ramsgate, kentish coast, walks in england, coastal walks uk, map my walk

Map my Walk

 

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As 2018 draws to a close, and with less than ??? days to go I’m getting really excited now about meeting my first grandchild….it’s not as if I wasn’t excited before…..LOL

I first learned that I had a grandchild on the way in May on the 12th to be exact. To say I was over the moon would be an understatement. The scan shows him as a tiny wee round dot…

As mentioned in a previous blog post I immediately downloaded the ovia app which allowed me to keep track of the baby’s progress. I started downloading the weekly progress images and in the space of 34 weeks baby has gone from the size of a poppy seed to a spagetti melon

….the progress of the size of his feet and hands has been the most fascinating of all, from a tiny tiny little hand you could barely see, his hands are now almost full size.

peanut is on the way, ovia app, first baby, first grandchild

progress from 8 weeks to 38 weeks

Not long after that amazing news, on 28th May, they, my daughter and her fiance got married…a joyful occasion that one day Peanut will be able to enjoy…..he was there πŸ™‚

getting married

CΓ©manthe and Simon – married πŸ™‚

On the 28th June they had their first ultrasound and I got a picture of our wee Peanut πŸ™‚ What a beautiful baby πŸ™‚

ultrasound

28.06.2018 and yes, it’s a real baby πŸ™‚ Peanut is on the way

On the 9th July I had the sheer joy and incredulity of seeing baby on the big screen for myself. My daughter surprised me with a trip the the Ultrasound department where we not only got to see the wee bambino on the screen but got to hear the heartbeat for the first time. It was sheer magic.

20180709 ultrasound

2018.07.09 My first ultrasound view of Peanut, my grandson

As soon as we got home that afternoon I set about, with help from my son-in-law to get the nursery started πŸ™‚ It has all come together beautifully and a few weeks ago they completed the set up.

nursery

Peanut’s nursery

And on the 23rd July at the next ultrasound they announced the gender…. it’s a BOY!!! Hoorah! Oh my gosh, what an adventure this is going to be….a grandson. Oh joy! I immediately started planning our first Camino LOL

On the 13th August we enjoyed the treat of another ultrasound and 3D scan – baby is now getting bigger….baby is very active with a strong heartbeat…..all the bits are there and his organs; brain, heart, liver, kidneys etc are developing and show no health problems.

ultrasound, peanut is on the way

2018.08.13 hello Peanut πŸ™‚ – look how big you’ve grown

On the 4th September, while on a day trip to Canterbury, I got to feel Peanut kicking for the first time. Wowwww….totally awesome. I think the delight shows on my face.

the falstaff inn canterbury, walking the pilgrims way, the pilgrims way from winchester to canterbury

feeling my grandchild kicking for the first time

My daughter started keeping a record of the development of her belly and although a few weeks have been missed out, it’s been so amazing to see how her belly has grown and grown as baby gets bigger and bigger…

On the 13th September, with huge delight, she wore the ‘baby on board’ badge for the first time on a trip to London πŸ™‚baby on board, first baby

And I….starting off the very next day on 13 May, with a blanket for the pram and I haven’t stopped since….there are still 4 new little outfits waiting to be sewn up….

knitting for babies, baby layette

I got straight onto the knitting….started with a blanket

Over the months I knitted….more and more little items…bootees, cardigans and matinee jackets. It’s been so much fun creating these little items and dreaming about my grandson wearing them.

knitting for babies, baby layette

an absolute delight

Oh and let’s not forget the shopping…..I have bought loads of outfits and this baby has enough clothing to see him through from birth to 24 months as well as items beyond… right up until he is 5 years old. One of the best places I’ve bought clothes from has been off instagram from a lady who sells lovedB4 baby clothes…some of the most delightful little items you can imagine, many of them brand new, and all for next to nothing.

The 1st October brought another 3D scan and ultrasound…I could get used to this πŸ™‚

ultrasound scan

01.10.2018 baby Peanut growing bigger by the day

And another 3D scan and ultrasound on the 15th October with both sets of Grandparents.

ultrasound

2018.10.15 – 27 weeks – a beautiful little boy

The 3D scan and ultrasound was followed up with tea and cake with the in-laws and to our delight my daughter and her husband announced baby’s name; James Alexander aka Jamie. ❀ ❀ ❀ What a fantastic name.

baby shower, gender reveal, helter skelter

Jamie

In October we went to a baby show in London..wow, so much stuff!! We bought various items and got some good bargains…..they also shopped for the pram.

25th October and another trip to London; my daughter was exhibiting in a photo exhibition. The whole family were there to support her.

photo exhibition

Jamie attends his first photo exhibition πŸ˜‰

On 10th November we had the Baby Shower….and delighted everyone with the news that it’s a BOY!! They had the event at a wonderful venue in Broadstairs and with family and friends gathered round, we had a fantastic day.

On the 5th December his first coin arrived; a commemorative coin for the 40th anniversary of The Snowman.

the snowman 40th anniversary coin

The Snowman; a commemorative coin. The little boy’s name in the story is…..James πŸ™‚

6th December brought a visit to Eastry to meet with a friend and I got to practice at being a Granny

babies

practising at being a Granny

On the 12th December we had a tour of the MLU unit at the hospital where she is due to give birth….but currently baby is in the breech position, same as Mummy was at term, so we are hoping and urging the little fella to turn head down as his Mummy would like to have her labour in the MLU (midwife led unit), but so long as he is breech, they have said no!! and she is not pleased!!

pregnancy

so pretty and colourful

And so the weeks have marched on. As Christmas neared Mummy’s belly filled out her Christmas jumper to perfection LOL

christmas jumper, pregnancy

filled that jumper to perfection

19 December and suddenly she is considered to be at ‘term’. Wow how did that happen so fast!! It is quite extraordinary to be the Mother of a daughter who is expecting her first baby. I feel so privileged and so very lucky.

knitting for babies, baby layette

week 37: the baby bump is big and beautiful

My daughter is now so heavy and cumbersome and has great difficulty with walking, sleeping and sitting, she’s suffering from heartburn and cramps….poor child, and is now very much looking forward to the birth and having her first baby in her arms. They are both excited and trepidatious, there is much still to be done.

We are now in week 38 and the ‘apparent’ due date is 5th or 7th January, depending on who we believe…but since neither of them are correct, baby will likely arrive a bit later. Mummy got more beautiful and Peanut got some little toys from Santa and more clothes LOL. I have a serious addiction to buying baby clothes; they are all sooooo cute.

week 38

with just days to go…week 38 and looking gorgeousΒ 

I started a tradition earlier in the year whilst on my pilgrimage from Winchester to Canterbury; postcards to Peanut. I sent a postcard from each of the towns and villages I passed through. This one is of St Augustine’s Abbey in Canterbury.

postcards, first grandchild

postcards to Jamie

Since we are now literally just days away, I have bought a door bell alarm…the buzzer is next to her bed and the ding dong is next to mine!!! When she goes into labour all she has to do is press the buzzer and I shall be ‘on duty’!! LOL We chose the tune ‘twinkle twinkle little star’ since it is so sparky and chirpy….anything else and I’m liable to chuck it out the window.

And so we, Daddy, Mummy and Granny wait with bated breath for the day he is born πŸ™‚

My grandson, Jamie aka Peanut, is on the way!

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Day 3

Well what a day it was. The 3rd of 4 days of the Doula Course and turned out to be completely different to what I was anticipating or expecting. It was an emotional roller-coaster. I’d been surrounded by some amazing women and although it was an extraordinary day, I was emotionally shattered….in a good way. I was been surprised by some of the things people have said about me, how they see things I thought were well hidden. The exercises we did, that made us dig really deep and although in a safe space, it’s left us feeling very vulnerable…but safe.

Interestingly some of the women have said how doing this course has made them realise how unprepared they are for working in this field, and how they feel that perhaps its not for them, yet its left me feeling more empowered and ready to go (so to speak).

We also did some role playing (which I’ve always hated, and avoided at all costs), but weirdly I found it really easy to slip into another persona and surprised the group (apparently). It was actually good fun, and the prognosis is that I may appear to be all sweetness and light (uhmm really??) πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ but that I’m really good at shocking them with my ability to be someone else. Actually our group practically ended up on the floor with laughter (very inappropriate laughter) at some of the stuff that came out of my mouth πŸ˜‚ πŸ˜‚ I actually threatened to send one client to hospital in an ambulance on a stretcher… In context of course. But it was hilarious. We were laughing so much that the facilitator came to find out what was going on and none of us could speak for laughing. They’re a brilliant group and its been truly enlightening. I love learning new stuff and exploring preconceptions and how our beliefs and values are shaped by society, expectations, outside influences and family dynamics. All good. But boy am I tired 😴 😴 😴 ready to sleep now. I didn’t even have the energy to watch Strictly Come Dancing. πŸ€”πŸ€”πŸ€”

In case you missed the original blogΒ There’s more to dying than meets the eye

 

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What a joyous occasion. Today my daughter and son-in-law surprised me with a visit for an ultrasound of baby Peanut and as a treat the nurse let us listen to baby’s heartbeat. oh my gosh, I can tell you the tears flowed…..all 3 of us were sobbing.

first baby, second trimester, ultrasound, listening to babys heartbeat, granny in waiting, first grandchild, ovia app, knitting for babies

Ultrasound ❀

Listening to the heartbeat of a baby from the womb is a miraculous experience.

first baby, second trimester, ultrasound, listening to babys heartbeat, granny in waiting, first grandchild, ovia app, knitting for babies

It was awesome seeing baby’s little body appearing on the screen, just the size of either a lemon or a beet apparently, or perhaps a delicious custard pastry, if you prefer LOL according to the Ovia pregnancy app.

My daughter suggested the pregnancy apps which you can download (for free) and they are absolutely phenomenal. They contain so much information in small bite size (no pun intended) articles, from the size of the baby, to the Mother’s body changes, advice on nutrition and all the changes that are happening to the baby. I’ve loved reading up on baby’s progress. They even show you how big (or incredibly tiny) baby’s hands and feet are each week.

I’ve found it so fascinating reading up on all the changes and progress of the pregnancy and the images on some of the apps of what the baby looks like at each stage are just incredible.

So we’re at 14 weeks now and incredibly it’s already 10 weeks since I first learned that after a very long wait, I am to be a Granny πŸ™‚ Bring it on!!! I can’t wait. Of course besides reading the apps, and now the sheer joy of having listened to baby’s heartbeat and seeing that tiny little body on the screen, we’ve been shopping like nobody’s business (keeping the economy afloat)

and of course I have been knitting like mad.

This is such an exciting and amazing and awesome time. We are all so over the moon and holding our breaths …….keep this baby safe. We can hardly wait to meet this little baby. Peanut is on the wayΒ  and I’m going to be a Granny πŸ™‚

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Hot on the heels of remembering my Mother on what would have been her birthday, yesterday. “I wasn’t there that morning my father passed away“…….Today I’m reminded of my Father who died 2 years ago.

For many years, probably decades in fact, I had a really fractious relationship with my Father and as yet I find it difficult to mourn for someone that left home when I was just 5 years old and my little sister just 2.

Of course while growing up he was my idol, I adored him and cried many desperate tears when he left after a visit. But in time he moved on, remarried and then the visits became less frequent, birthdays missed and behaviour criticised. The first 8 years weren’t too bad, we saw him on holidays and due to 2nd his marriage acquired a new brother, the same age as me.

But as the years went by, the criticisms grew more frequent and the disappointment began to show, and so the relationship deteriorated. I grew up and wanted to get married, he refused to give me away and I never forgave him for that. He went on to have another son, divorced that wife and married again, having 2 new daughters.

He only ever wanted sons. I got that. But I never got that despite that he didn’t raise me, he still felt it was his place to criticise me and find fault. I spent many years trying to please my father, to no avail. When I was in my 30’s I was promoted to Regional Personnel and Admin Manager for a large Courier Company in South Africa with 5 branches countrywide and the Head Office…..his response “are you sure you can manage that?”. I gave up.

After that I didn’t seek his approval. Time moved on, we grew up, I got older and eventually I moved to the UK. A relationship that was tenuous at best, was further strained by distance.Β Years went by without any much contact and the last time I remember really talking to him was on my 60th birthday 2 years ago. That was such a surprise, but time, as time proved, was running out. There was to be no opportunity to repair the relationship. C’est la vie.

One of my favourite songs that I love listening to is ‘The Living Years’ by Mike & The Mechanics. I remember how, when I first heard this song, how much it resonated. It reminded me of the relationship I had with my father…or lack thereof.

And so the years go by and although a sense of regret lingers, I feel no pain and no loss, but I think of him every time I hear this song….That’s good. I hope.

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About 6 months ago I decided to go ‘great’ free. I was having one of my ‘ffs I hate D. Trump’ days after one of his latest vicious bigoted narcissistic misogynistic rants on a video I saw on Facebook (why do I EVEN watch them???) One of his favourite words is ‘great’. So I decided there and then to never again use the word ‘great’ in any written articles, replies or responses to anything anywhere. Since I am a bit of a ‘linguaphile’ anyway, it suits me to try my darndest to find alternative words.

 

received-7

English is such a magical language, it’s expressive, descriptive and manipulative, and by using certain words you can change the whole meaning of something e.g. I will toast my bread. If you do that you are toast! I particularly love/enjoy/like words that have the same spelling but have different meanings – consider the word ‘bow’ – depending on how you use it, it’s spelt the same, but has a different meaning in context of the action, and even the pronunciation changes accordingly:

Can you make a ‘bow’ out of this ribbon?

When you meet the Queen you must ‘bow’.

The front of the boat is the ‘bow’.

An archer shoots an arrow from his ‘bow’.

A whole sentence: When we loosen the bow, the Queen will smash the bottle against the bow of the ship, but remember to bow when she arrives or her archer will shoot you with their bow. hahahaha. I just made that up. I love it. πŸ™‚

We have become incredible lazy when responding to a situation by using the word ‘great’ for just about anything…that’s a great hairdo. Your hair looks great. What a great party. I had a great walk. That was great fun. She’s such a great person. The sea looks great today….etc etc You get the picture. Urgh. Why do we use that simplistic word when we have so many interesting, splendiferous, expressive, descriptive words to use in the English language.

So here’s how we can change that:

That’s a great hairdo. = That’s a really stunning hair style, it suits you.

Your hair looks great. = Your hair is looking lovely today.

What a great party. = What a fantastic party. What an enjoyable party.

I had a great walk. = I had an enjoyable walk. I had an exhilarating walk.

That was great fun. = That was so much fun. That was terrific fun.

She’s such a great person. = She’s an admirable person. She’s so personable.

The sea looks great today = The sea looks beautiful/gorgeous/amazing today.

What a great day. = What a terrific/brilliant/superb day.

And so it goes. Since I made the decision to dispel that awful word from my vocabulary, when I’m replying to something on facebook or making a comment I try to find suitable words that are more descriptive, more expressive.Funny-Quotes-English-Language-1 - Mr Tumblr

When I write my blogs, I avoid the word great altogether. While writing this blog I did a google search ‘words to use rather than great’ and look at this ‘fun’ ‘funky’ ‘useful’ ‘brilliant’ ‘clever’ ‘interesting’ website I found πŸ˜‰

111 words to use instead of great’ https://www.grammarcheck.net/synonyms-great/

I have managed very successfully to avoid using the word except now and then when I accidentally vocalise the word without thinking. Down with great I say….

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Since deciding to walk The Camino, I’ve read a wide range of blogs written by the vast array of people; both men and women of all agesΒ that walk the different Camino routes – some blogs are documentary, some short, some long, many are very personal; walking the Camino and lessons learned.

different paths; different journeys

different paths; different journeys

I have learned a lot about how some folks behave on the pilgrim routes – which honestly has come as quite a surprise.

One of the most profound stories I’ve read so far relates to sunflowers;

It started when I really considered the sunflower plant. I often leave town in the early morning darkness. That’s when the sunflower has its head bowed low awaiting that first ray of sunlight. Then it perks up and turns its face toward the sun and absorbs sunlight and energy all day. Then, at evening, it again bows low and rests for the night. After a period of time, it starts to lose the beautiful yellow crown surrounding its seedy face. It becomes more difficult to raise its head toward the sun. At last, it dies. That is, the plant dies, but the seeds live on.

Another interesting blog I read, also spoke about sunflowers:

That is, I had never considered their significance until the life cycle of a sunflower was explained to me by a German opera singer named Anja.Β  As she explained it, just before sunflowers die, they give up their seeds from the brown part of the flower (the seed head).Β  Their last act, if you will, is to give of themselves to ensure that future sunflowers will grow in that area next season.

and continued with a story about keeping the peace; relating a situation with a man called Ted – a story I found to be both interesting and shocking. It described how this man would get drunk and behaved in a manner totally unacceptable in normal society, never mind on a pilgrims route; it never entered my head that people would behave like that on the Camino!!

What I found so interesting was how they both said the same thing: I had never considered.

Another fascinating journey that I am following on instagram is Walking for Peace. It’s been so interesting to follow Mony and Alberto and see the lessons they are learning; some of which have reduced me to tears, given me goosebumps. It’s marvellous that they are so aware of what is being learned. So often in life the lessons we are meant to learn present themselves again and again before we finally accept them.

Since I started my ‘journey’ and even though I haven’t yet walked even one step on ‘The Camino’, I feel as though my journey has already begun. I’ve been walking a lot (604.89 miles since 01/01/2017), practising with my backpack, feeling my way with how much I can or cannot cope with. I have enjoyed hours and hours of travelling, walking and exploration by myself. I am becoming more observant of my surroundings, something that would please my daughter who gets very frustrated with my usual lack of observation!! My usual answer when she says “did you see that Mom?” – and I’m like “What?” But it was right in front of you!!! LOL

I find that I am slowly learning how to ‘let go’, although that is still a really difficult and annoying part of my personality; replaying over and over and over in my mind after an incident that disturbs me: ‘I should have said this’ or ‘I should have done that’, the emotions of the moment churning and churning till I want to go mad.do not let the behaviour of others destroy your inner peace - dalai lama xiv

I am beginning to believe that this churning incidents over and over in my mind relates very much to my childhood, a long period of time when I found myself in bad situations, times when I felt completely helpless, unable to verbalise my fears, afraid of what might happen if I did speak up.

I’ve noticed a common thread among these pilgrim stories; the real Camino begins once a peregrino returns home.

And as my journey draws nearer, I do muse on what lessons The Camino will hold for me. It has certainly consumed pretty much my every waking thought in the meantime.

walking the camino and lessons learned

the many paths in life we get to choose…..

Do join me on my journey as I prepare for what is the 2nd most important journey of my life. Follow along on instagram as I travel around the country, working, walking, learning and discovering more about myself and the country I now call home.

Buen Camino.

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I love books. I have a weakness for books. I have a shelf of books (now in storage) that I love to look at and recall the tales between the covers. In South Africa I had hundreds of books…some as old as 60+. Sadly when I moved my possessions over from SA to UK I had to leave a great many behind due to lack of space in my current home and plans for the future….100’s of books won’t fit into a campervan πŸ˜‰

I read voraciously as a child, seldom without a book in my hand, I read at every opportunity from morning till night and then some. At school my teachers were hard put to keep up with me….I’d get a class book and bring it back within a few days having read it right through. My teachers would get suspicious and ask me questions…..they soon learned to not bother but just kept me topped up.

Even today, I love nothing more than a quiet corner and a good book. As for organising them…..sometime, maybe, I may. But mostly they just live happily wherever they land. πŸ˜‰Β Most recently a very lovely and dear friend of mine sent me a book on the eve of my visit to Florence, Italy. – ‘A Florence Diary’ by Diane Athill.

a florence diary diane athill

One of the many fun things about coming ‘home’ after being away for 3 weeks is opening my mail. To my delight one of the envelopes contained this wonderful book ‘A Florence Diary’ from my lovely friend Lucy

 

What a delight. I started reading immediately, but unfortunately, once I actually arrived in Florence I was out from early morning till late a night, returning to the apartment only to brush my teeth, change into pyjamas and fall into bed till the morning; at which time I would repeat it all over again LOL So no time to continue reading in Florence I’m afraid.

But I have brought it with me to Ireland and with a few days of mucky weather in store I plan to read it…..Thanks Lucy my sweet, I shall treasure this little book and add it to my collection in the campervan πŸ™‚

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