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Posts Tagged ‘travel in the UK’

Ready?….no, not really. Set…..all packed. Go…oh okay, if I must…

Walking The Pilgrim’s Way

I had been planning my pilgrimage from Winchester to Canterbury for nearly a year. After my Camino in 2017 I was all ready to just go and walk another, but with one thing and another (like finances and work) I couldn’t just up and go, so I decided that in 2018 I would walk the Camino Ingles. But, before I did that, I thought it would be a good idea to walk another UK pilgrimage first…it seemed like the right thing to do.the pilgrims way winchester to canterbury, the pilgrims way uk, walking the pilgrims way, walking the camino, pilgrimage to canterburym

So I set about planning for a walk along The Pilgrim’s Way for 2 weeks and then home for a few days to refresh, repack and then fly to Spain to walk the Camino Ingles, starting on the same date I had in 2017. Plans……?

With that in mind I set up my spreadsheets, bought the books and started planning. It all went really well and I had most of my accommodation booked, put money aside every month, repacked Pepe (my backpack) for the umpteenth time and started with some training.

Then life, as it does, decided differently and a number of issues arose..

  1. I investigated the possibility of taking a ferry from Southampton to Spain, but firstly it was extortionately expensive and 2nd the ferries only went to Santander, which is not what I had in mind.
  2. Investigating flights, I found that the prices had almost doubled since the previous year (Brexit??) hmmm. Not sure I want to spend that much money.
  3. In May I got the best news a mother could ever get….my daughter was pregnant and I was going to be a Granny Suddenly knitting seemed way more important than getting out and practising, getting fit. LOL
  4. Summer 2018 happened. I do not like the heat. I do enjoy lovely blue skies, and pleasant summer days, but I do not enjoy extreme heat, and most especially if I have to go out in the midday sun and walk in said heat.

And so it came to pass that

A) I never did book any flights. Which was just as well considering….

B) I spent more time knitting than anything else…the needles were in my hands at any          given free moment….I have loads of beautiful cardigans, bootees and matinee jackets.

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I even took my knitting with me and made a pair of ‘adventure’ bootees for my grandchild 🙂

knitting for babies, walking the pilgrims way, walking the camino de santiago

Peanut’s ‘adventure’ bootees

C) My plans to walk during my breaks to keep up my fitness levels were scuppered by           the heat, and I was resting on my 2017 fitness laurels. Tut! Tut! Not good.

I did get to do some walking in preparation, but truthfully I really didn’t get anywhere near enough walking done as what I did preparing for my Camino in 2017.

And as August rapidly approached I suddenly found that actually I didn’t want to walk at all…..I felt like all I wanted to do was be at home with my family and knit LOL

But after a few weeks of deliberation as well as a lot of uhmming and ahhing, and some discussion with my daughter I decided to go ahead with the UK walk but postpone the EU/Camino walk till 2019…..which is what I did.

And so it was ready, set, go……

Andddd I’m on my way; finally on the 18th August 2018, after nearly a year of planning and some preparation, Pepe, Gemini and I were on the train and on the way….BSR to SOU via London.

First up, Southampton, where I had planned to spend a couple of days exploring the city, as well as spend a day in Winchester revisiting favourite places. Then starting off on 21st August for the long walk; 136 miles and counting 🚶🚶🚶 Excited. Trepidatious.

This is what I’d be doing for the 15 days bar one. Coddiwomple! What a marvellous word. Love the English language.

walking the pilgrims way, the pilgrims way winchester to canterbury, long distance walks in england, solo walking, women walking solo, walk 1000 miles

coddiwomple

Wow, how much excitement!! After months of talking and walking (some) and packing and preparing, I was finally on my way Ready to coddiwomple across England; a  pilgrimage Winchester to Canterbury; along The Pilgrim’s Way.

Initially I had planned to stay for just 2 nights in Southampton, but I probably wouldn’t visit the city again in the future so decided to extend my stay by one extra night and have a whole extra day to explore. The other day would be spent in Winchester revisiting favourite places and get myself ready for the big walk.

the pilgrims way winchester to canterbury, walking the pilgrims way, long distance walking in the uk, the pilgrims way, walk 1000 miles, baby boomers

The Pilgrim’s Way passport – how gorgeous is this passport

On arriving in Southampton I made my way over to my AirBnb venue and checked in. The room was very basic and simple, but comfortable and had a t.v. Even pilgrims like a bit of luxury LOL I didn’t do much by way of exploring that night since I was quite tired and it had been a long journey, so I just took a stroll up to the nearest food store and bought myself some supper and snacks for the night.

I settled in to bed after a lovely hot shower and watched t.v. till lights out. Big explore tomorrow.

More blogs in the series:

Revisiting the City of Winchester

Exploring Southampton

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I’ve often seen posts where people do a round up of the places they’ve been in any particular month or year, so I thought I’d do a first quarter round up of the places I’ve been since January 1st. I saw in the New Year in front of the telly at home with my daughter and future son-in-law LOL Although I used to love going into London to watch the New Year fireworks live, since they introduced the £10 admittance fee and having to queue for hours before getting in, I’ve decided….no more!

As part of the #walk1000 miles challenge for 2018, I’ve kept note of the km’s/miles covered on my various excursions, via mapmywalk. Some of the walks look like a drunken spider has been let loose! But what fun to look at the maps afterwards and see the places I walked through.

January 2018 – walked 41 miles

chirbury, project 101, travel in the uk, places of the uk, montgomery wales, not just a granny travels, montgomery castle,

London’s New Year fireworks on the telly. Key to the Kingdom; Montgomery, Wales and Chirbury, Shropshire

February 2018 – walked 48 miles

nottingham, nottingham castle, greens windmilll, project 101, not just a granny travels, places of the uk, domesday book towns

Nottingham

March 2019 – walked 63 miles

chester, eastgate clock, project 101, not just a granny travels, places of the uk, domesday book towns

Chester

chester, eastgate clock, project 101, not just a granny travels, places of the uk, domesday book towns, christleton

a walk along the Chester Canal to Christleton, a Domesday Book Village

quex park, isle of thanet, kent, places of the uk

Quex Park and a tour of the towers

places of the uk, explore england, domesday book villages, fordham, wicken, soham

Fordham, Wicken, Soham

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Ely

ely, ship of the fens, exexning, domeday book towns, explore ely, project 101, Exning; birthplace of St Etheldreda and home of Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni

Exning; birthplace of St Etheldreda and home of Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni

ely cathedral, ship of the fens, explore ely, places of the uk, project 101, cities of the uk

Ely Cathedral

oliver cromwells house, explore ely, places of the uk, project 101, cities of the uk,

Oliver Cromwell’s House, Ely

And there it is; my first quarter round up of places I’ve been in January, February and March of 2018, and 152 miles from 01/01/18-31/03/2018 – I’m slacking and need to get out more if I want to reach my 1000 mile target. I had thought I’d stretch myself this year and aim for 2018 miles (LOL – yeah right) but most of the jobs I’ve had so far haven’t been conducive to much time for walking. I haven’t kept track of every step I’ve taken, and only count #bootson walks where I specifically set off to ‘have a walk’. My pilgrimage from Winchester to Canterbury in August/September will add at least 133 miles to the total, but even so…..

I wonder what April, May and June will bring. I know that most of May will be spent at home, what with my daughter’s impending wedding and everything involved with that, as well as which I’ll be flying in a Spitfire from Biggin Hill for my birthday later on this month….watch this space 🙂 I wonder if I can add ‘flying’ to my miles hahaha. I’m also planning a walk from Broadstairs to Folkestone later this month and a trip ‘up noooth’ for 3 days which will add a substantial mileage as I explore the city, however I shall have to motivate myself to get out more inbetween times.

 

 

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It is my dream and goal to visit as many places in the UK as I possibly can, especially places relative to my Project 101.

If I could spend every day travelling and going to new places I surely would…in between visiting home and my family of course 😉 I’m looking forward to the day I buy my motor home.

A few weeks ago I contacted the agency I get my assignments from and asked if they could send me farther afield than Kent…I’ve been to so many places in Kent already as well as many in the neighbouring counties, and I really wanted to extend my range again. Since Nottingham is on my list of places to go, so when they suggested a position in the city for 2 weeks I jumped at the chance.

After a long day of travel I finally arrived at Nottingham Station. It’s a long way from Broadstairs to Nottingham…5.5 hours and 3 train changes.

The Nottingham Canal that I crossed over on my way from the station to the B&B opened in 1796. I love seeing canal boats on a river, they always look so quaint and intriguing.

This is my first visit to Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, which is really exciting, as I’m now able to add this visit to a few categories on my Project 101: Domesday Book town, walled city, a major river, a castle, a cathedral city, a cathedral…which remarkably is linked to the Architect Augustus Pugin and ties in to the walk I did last year : The Way of St Augustine.

Can’t wait to explore, although proper exploration will have to wait till the assignment is finished, to which end I’ve booked to stay for a couple of days after. However there is no reason why I couldn’t pop out for a short walk around the city even though it was already dark out.

Nottingham is mentioned in the 1086 Domesday Book as “Snotingeham” and “Snotingham”. Named for a Saxon Chieftain ‘Snot’, it was dubbed “Snotingaham” meaning literally, “the homestead of Snot’s people” (Inga = the people of; Ham = homestead).

First on the agenda was a visit to Nottingham Castle. I’d walked past it on my way to the B&B and seriously it was quite simply amazing…..

Nottingham Castle was constructed in the 11th century on a sandstone outcrop by the River Trent. I have never seen any such location for a castle in my life. The outcrop appears to be pock marked with caves and holes…and apparently, after reading the storyboard nearby, it seems that there are in fact tunnels and caves below the castle…..now I’m really intrigued and excited. The opening time is March which means my timing is perfect…thankfully. At the side of the castle is a fab statue of Robin Hood, he of Nottingham Forest and Maid Marion fame…..steal from the rich to feed the poor. Remember the film Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves… I wonder if he looked anything like Kevin Costner 😉

On the way there I passed Ye Olde trip to Jerusalem Inn which according to the blurb, is the oldest inn in England. Apparently this too has tunnels running beneath so of course I absolutely have to go back for a tour.

From there I took a stroll through the streets passing a fab little Tudor style house. I didn’t see many medieval style houses – I must try to find out if there are any.

The pedestrianised area is lined with the usual high street shops and stores…it look so familiar to many places I’ve been I could have been almost anywhere. Is there a template?

I did enjoy seeing the electrified trams…reminded me of Amsterdam and Dublin.

I stopped for a quick bite at Five Guys, I haven’t ever eaten there before, and probably won’t again. The sandwich I had was okay, and the fries edible but nothing to write home about.

Since it was was already very dark I decided to head back to the B&B and settle in for a nice hot bath, some T.V. – one of my favourite shows: Call the Midwife and then an early night is in order.

I’m looking forward to when the assignment is over and I can explore more thoroughly. I enjoyed finding these coats of arms and of course a door is always intriguing..

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Day 2: After a very disturbed night, and struggling to get back to sleep after being woken at 01:30 in the morning by a hell of a ruckus downstairs (I did look but couldn’t see who or what), I was tempted to just shut my eyes and snuggle back under the covers when my alarm went off at 7:30! Urgh. But, I had adventures ahead so after a most welcome cup of tea I got dressed, partook of the ‘continental’ breakfast the B&B had kindly provided for me, and set off for the bus to my first stop……Brading Roman Villa.

visit Brading Roman Villa on the Isle of Wight

Brading Roman Villa on the Isle of Wight

It was great travelling along a different route and of course in the daylight I could see so much more of the countryside. Before too long the driver let me off at my requested stop and directed me to the entrance to the villa. On the whole I found the bus drivers on the IoW to be very helpful. It was a real thrill to walk along the route that had possibly been traversed by the Romans nearly two centuries ago. I was quite early so I enjoyed a 30 minute excursion of the site before entering the building.

visit brading roman villa isle of wight

the outside area of Brading Roman Villa

The Brading Roman Villa heritage site is owned and operated by the Oglander Roman Trust and they have done a superb job of preserving the remains. There are a number of cabinets exhibiting ancient artefacts..fab!!

visit brading roman villa

Brading Roman Villa

I had a very entertaining guide give me a head start and then I was off to explore. Oh my gosh! I cannot tell you how stunning the place is. Imagine being able to see the stunning mosaics insitu as they had been laid all those hundreds of years ago. And they are astoundingly beautiful. It always gives me a thrill to walk in the footsteps of long ago civilizations…..I always wish I could just time-travel for an hour or so…just to experience what it must have looked like.

visit brading roman villa isle of wight

some of the stunning mosaics. what a wonderful way to decorate your house

After thoroughly exploring the villa I set off once again for the next leg of my journey to Shanklin. The route took us through Sandown and since I had already visited the town previously, decided to not get off there again.

whistle stop tour of the isle of wight shanklin

scenes of Shanklin

Shanklin was lovely and I had a fantastic walk around the town, discovered some beautiful places and managed a short walk along the clifftop before heading back into town centre to the little tea-shop I had seen earlier: Cinderella’s Tea Room and Dress Shop…how could I not stop off 😉

whistle stop tour of the isle of wight shanklin

Cinderella Tea Room and dress shop

Then it was off back uphill through the town and since my bus wasn’t due for another 30 minutes I decided to walk as far as I could before the next one was due. Along the way I passed the most delightful set of cottages you could imagine. Totally quintessential England. The Old Thatch Teashop was closed for the winter, I am most certainly going to plan a visit the next time I visit the island.

whistle stop tour of the isle of wight shanklin

Chocolate Box perfect – quintessential England – Shanklin Isle of Wight

Unfortunately the clouds had by now settled and it began to rain…I had already walked a fair distance so wasn’t too unhappy to wait for the bus – it arrived just before the heavens opened!! Glad of the snug warmth of the bus I enjoyed the scenery whizzing by. One of the things that surprised me the most about the IoW is how hilly it is. I thought it might be fun to walk around the island next visit, and that thought was uppermost in my mind as we traversed the hills and dales…..those hills will be a test of my endurance, that’s for sure.

Next stop was Newport. Located at the point where the River Medina splits into two; one branch, the Medina continues almost all the way across the island to the southern most point, splitting into lots of smaller tributaries and off shoots along the way, and the other continues as the Lukely Brook to Bowcombe where it peters out.

visit newport isle of wight

Newport Harbour and the River Medina, Isle of Wight

Newport, located in the centre of the island, is the principal town on the IoW and often referred to as the capital. With the town’s quay a short distance away, the town centre is made up of 2 squares surrounded by elegant Victorian and Georgian architecture.

visit newport isle of wight

scenes of Newport, Isle of Wight

With a historic past that goes back 40,000 years to the Neanderthal period, mousterian remains; tools made by Neanderthals were found in the 1970’s, there are also Roman remains and two Roman villas, as well as links to the Norman Conquest.  I spent an hour or so walking around and visited The Guildhall Museum which is a delightful showcase for the history of the island. Well worth a visit.

guildhall museum visit newport isle of wight

Guildhall Museum, Newport, Isle of Wight – only £2 entry fee, it’s so worth a visit

As mentioned previously, the buses are not exactly very regular so instead of waiting for 45 minutes for the next one out of town, I walked to Carisbrooke Castle which was next on my agenda. Carisbrooke was for centuries the Isle of Wight’s capital and was once called Buccombe or Beaucombe, and means the ‘ fair valley’ and I’m sure on a fine day it would be an amazing sight from the top of the hill across the valley.

visit Carisbrooke, Newport, Isle of Wight

Carisbrooke, Newport, Isle of Wight

I so enjoyed the walk; it took no time at all and I was within sight of the castle…only at the top of a great big bloody hill LOL. I wasn’t in the mood for climbing!!! Jeez. Anyway, I put on my big girl panties and started trudging uphill. Ever so worth it.

visit carisbrooke castle newport isle of wight

Carisbrooke Castle – Charles I was detained here before his trial

Carisbrooke Castle is stunning!! Carrisbrooke, an historic Motte-and-Bailey castle, originally a Roman fort, is located in the village of Carisbrooke, not too far from Newport. The castle was built soon after William the Conqueror came to England and the following centuries saw a tumultuous history with a number of owners. In 1293 the castle became the property of Edward I and the crown. In 1647 Charles I took refuge at the castle, but this later turned into his prison from which he tried to escape in the months prior to his trial. His daughter princess Elizabeth later died there aged 14. Also managed by English Heritage the castle was unfortunately closed on weekdays at the time of my visit. I’ll definitely have to visit again.

carisbrooke isle of wight

the village of Carisbrooke with the castle on the other side of the river Lukely

The village of Carisbrooke appears to be split in two by the River Lukely with a major part of the town on one side and the castle on the other.  The views from the hill on which the castle perches are outstanding, even though it was a grey and glum day.

From there I made the insane decision to make the long journey to see The Needles. I had planned on doing this as part of my whistle-stop tour, but the day was already closing in, it was raining and I was cold and hungry. But after a quick whatsapp discussion with my daughter I drew breath and started walking…yes, you guessed…the next bus was 37 minutes away and I don’t like standing endlessly waiting!!! ….LOL I tell you it was a real challenge getting around the island with the ludicrous bus timetable. On the way I passed through the village of Gunville, of which I saw little besides the name and a convenience store where I bought something to eat….I was famished by that time : 15:30!! I decided at this point to wait for the bus….the road out of the village was narrow with high hedges and it was raining…..I didn’t fancy becoming a statistic on the Isle of Wight!

Located at the South Western tip of the Isle of Wight above Alum Bay, The Needles, an iconic image, immediately spring to mind when you think of the island.  Am I ever so glad I decided to go!! We got to The Needles tourist area at 16:50 – completely deserted. The bus I arrived on was due to leave again at 17:05. It was raining. It was getting dark. The next bus after was at 17:35…..I did not feel like hanging around. So I dashed over to the viewing platform, had a quick look, took some photos and dashed back to the warmth of the bus. Wow, what a thrill to see them in the distance even though the light was fading rapidly and I could barely see.

visit the needles on the isle of wight

The Needles above Alum Bay on the south-western tip of the Isle of Wight

An added bonus was being able to see the Marconi Monument. Located at The Needles, the monument marks the precise location where Guglielmo Marconi undertook his pioneering work at the end of the 19th Century.  This led to radio and all telecommunications as we know it today.

The Needles and the Marconi Monument, Isle of Wight

The Needles and the Marconi Monument, Isle of Wight

And then we were off and on the way back to Newport where once again and for the final time that day I had to change buses to get back to Ryde.

A magical day, albeit exhausting. I got to see 90% of what I had planned on seeing and even though it was a whistle-stop tour, it was fun. I was however really really glad to get back to the B&B and bed!

The following day; Saturday was my final morning on the Isle of Wight and I had planned a trip to see Osborne House; once the seaside home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

For more about my first day of adventure….

Day 3 – 1/2

 

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How exciting…..I have now added Lancashire to the list of counties I have visited in the UK.  Slowly but surely I am getting there….in the not too distant future I will have visited all the counties in England at least 😉

I started this job on Wednesday this week and after a VERY early morning start from Broadstairs

Preston lancashire

Broadstairs 07:11 on 16th November

and three train changes I was on my way up nooooth!!  The landscape from the train is just stunning. We whizzed along past towns and cities, briefly glimpsed as the train rushed by. There’s something quite thrilling about high-speed train travel…

Preston Lancashire

My view from the train….stunning scenery and a rainbow

The further north we travelled, the more beautiful the landscape got….the autumnal colours are astounding; richer, brighter colours that made me want to stop the train so I could take photos; rich red, burnt orange, vibrant yellow and crispy brown all paint a bright palette against the evergreens. I was lucky enough to glimpse a rainbow too!!

As we drew nearer to Preston (my destination) we crossed over a river!!! Absolutely stunning. Unfortunately I was just too slow with my camera to capture it. I will have to investigate…can’t let a river go by and not explore!

Preston Station is a relic of those marvellous Victorians who created so many beautiful structures, structures that have stood the test of time and continue to amaze us still today. Welcome to Lancashire!

Preston Lancashire

Welcome to Lancashire

I hopped into a taxi and hoped it would head towards the river, but no, to my intense disappointment we are miles away from the centre of Preston 😦 in a suburb called Ribbleton; a seemingly purpose-built town that’s been absorbed into the fabric of the city and now features as a suburb; Ribbleton was a civil parish from 1866 until 1 April 1934 at which time it was absorbed into the County Borough. According to wikipedia, Ribbleton has a library, a number of shops, a pub, post offices and schools. Whoaaaa….I’m definitely going to be exploring that then #not!!! LOL Oh well.

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Preston station, Lancashire

My assignment is a double-up with a second Carer and since the notes from the agency said that the Carer can leave the house for their breaks, I thought (mistakenly) that I would be able to hop on a bus and go explore the city centre…but no, the outgoing carer said we can’t leave for more than an hour!! ffs. It really annoys me when I get fed misinformation.

I do believe that the house is near to the Preston Cemetery, so at least I can get to check that out. The cemetery opened July 2nd, in 1855 and according to their website there are 60,108 people interred there with 14,458 gravestones and 3816 different surnames. The earliest year of death is 1781, with the first interment being one: Elizabeth Frances Christian. I did a bit of research on surnames just for fun and although I found a few ‘Eves’ I didn’t find any ‘Eve’ surnames, so I’m guessing we didn’t head this way then…..

I had occasion to step out yesterday to buy the paper for M’Lady and walked past the cemetery….the trees look amazing

Preston Lancashire

Autumn colours in the cemetery

So if I am to explore Preston and see the city it will have to be within the two hours before I leave the city. What a shame. Meanwhile with a bit of research I have discovered the following:

Preston is the birthplace of Teetotalism and the Temperance Founder one Edward Grubb; The Last Survivor of that Heroic Band of Preston Pioneer Advocates by Whose Devoted and Self-Sacrificing Labours the TEETOTAL REFORM was extended from a Local to a National and World-Wide Movement. You can read a little more about Edward Grubb here.

Preston obtained city status in 2002, becoming England’s 50th city in the 50th year of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.  Located on the north band of the River Ribble that runs through North Yorkshire and Lancashire, the Angles established Preston; its name is derived from the Old English meaning “priest’s settlement”.  In the 1086 Domesday Book it is recorded as “Prestune”. Needless to say the Romans have been here….and during that period Roman roads passed close to what is now the centre of Preston. The Romans built some amazing roads during their tenure, one of which ran from Luguvalium (Carlisle) to Mamucium (Manchester) and crossed the River Ribble at Walton-le-Dale, 3⁄4 mile (1 km) southeast of the centre of the city.

So, in summary, I’m dying to get out and explore!!! But when?  Urgh. The joys of my job.

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Just over a month ago to my absolute dismay I banged my hard-drive and damaged the reader. Essentially this meant that my computer couldn’t ‘see’ the information. I spoke to my computer person who after looking at the hard-drive said that the data was still there but that it needed an expert to recover it. He did some research and after I had followed up on some of the testimonials I decided to go with a company called R3 (or Tierra) of who do data recovery. They arranged with UPS to pick up the parcel (my hard-drive) and there endeth the tale….or not. UPS have in their own words ‘lost’ the package and after a number of requests to please continue looking for it, have pretty much said “sorry but….”

received-7

I’m sure that this is what UPS would like me to do…….

Now it may not be important to them, and as they say they handle thousands of parcels every day, but this little hard-drive is vitally important to me. It contains the photos of all my adventures, travels and events that I have attended for the last 10 years, as well as so many documents, spreadsheets and downloads and information that I can’t even begin to remember it all.  The hard-drive was my back up because I keep being told to not store everything on my computer and after the last computer crashed and I had to pay to have the data recovered from that, I bought the hard-drive.

However……

I have spent the morning trying to not lose my equilibrium about this, but frankly it is just devastating. The documentation I can live without, it sucks, but cést la vie, I’ll just have to start all over again (like I have decades in front me y’know LOL), But it’s my photos I am most distressed about. 10 years of places that I have been to, events I have attended, special celebrations and things I have done….in essence, all my memories are on that small piece of plastic (can’t rely on my brain anymore).

Fortunately I have downloaded many photos to facebook and have those albums which I am now going to download and I recently made this video, but oh my gosh….

So, here it is….a youtube video of places I have been

I guess I will just have to visit all those places again…… LOL

Meanwhile I am so totally unimpressed with UPS. They really just don’t care, much like most big corporations, they grow to a size where the customer no longer matters.

One of their replies which really is no reply at all:

“UPS has an automated sorting system, and packages are rarely handled by people in transit facilities. Our investigation team has already thoroughly worked on this and were not able to locate it. I apologise about this, but a claim has been issued for this already.” ….. Uhmmm, Okay, so who will benefit from this claim?

or

“Hello Cindy, I’m really sorry if there’s been trouble with your delivery. If the package is considered lost it just need a little attention from the shipper and our investigation team would start working on locating the goods and getting them to you. In some unfortunate situations when the goods cannot be found a claim is issued.” Again…would UPS please come to the party and tell me who is going to benefit from this claim?  I’m guessing it’s not going to be me.

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My sister Sioux came to live and work in the UK last year in November. The time has flown and she has travelled far and wide in the last 11 months. This is her birthday month (I won’t give her age away 😉 ), but it is her 1st birthday in the UK. She decided some months ago that she wanted to visit somewhere special for her birthday; initially a trip to the Isle of Wight was planned….but after seeing an article on Rye – Mermaid Street in particular, she decided that this was where she wanted to go.

a trip to 1066 country

Mermaid Street in Rye

And so the plans were made.

I was to join her and so that we could make the most of the trip and explore the area, my daughter lent me her car; Fiona. With 4 days and a car, we made the most of every minute.

a trip to 1066 country

Sisters – happy birthday to you; Sioux. I’m delighted I could join you 🙂

a trip to 1066 country

a day trip to Hastings

a trip to 1066 country

a day in Rye

day-4

making the most of our last day

We visited churches, explored castles, admired some amazing views, ate good food, played scrabble, photographed just about every house in Rye, watched the sunrise and the sunset,

a trip to 1066 country

sunset at Dungeness – the ends of the earth

laughed and exchanged stories, and watched the footie in a pub LOL (she’s a Liverpool supporter!).

This is the first time in 58 years that we have been on holiday together without parents, step-parents, siblings, family or children……just the two of us. We had a great time 🙂

Happy birthday Sioux!Happy birthday Sioux!

 

 

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One of the benefits of my job as I’ve mentioned before is that I get to travel around the country…not just in England but Scotland and occasionally Wales too. Since 2007 I’ve travelled east, south, north and west of the UK. In that time I’ve pretty much been to nearly every county in England, a few in Scotland and over the border into Wales, then out again. In the years between 2002 and 2007 I mostly worked in London, and that of course has become my passion. However, it is brilliant to be able to travel to new places and see the country.

uk-mapA while ago I was working in East Sussex, not the first time in this county, but in a new town. I was chatting to my client, sharing travel stories (she’s also quite well travelled), and just for fun I had a look at the map of Britain and listed all the counties I had either worked in, or travelled to during the course of my job…..i.e. some clients enjoys driving so we get to travel far and wide. Needless to say I do the driving 😉

I have been to villages so small that they don’t even have a Post Office never mind a traffic light or stop street, where the evening traffic jam is sheep going home! I’ve worked in numerous towns, and quite a few cities…namely London of course…I always jump at the chance to work in London although I’m not sure why since my breaks are so short I seldom get time to do much exploring…but still it’s a constant thrill to me to wake up in the city that never sleeps. I’ve also visited a few counties in Scotland and Wales, but those in the capacity of a tourist, rather than for work. For the purposes of this article, I’ll stick to those I’ve been to for work….

So heading round the country, these are the counties I have worked in and travelled to; 27 so far:

ENGLAND

Suffolk, Middlesex, Norfolk, Essex

work and travel as a carer

and my favourite county of all Suffolk….amazing!!!

Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Buckinghamshire

work and travel as a carer

Beautiful Cambridge and surrounding areas

Shropshire, Herefordshire,

work and travel as a carer herefordshire

quirky and fabulous Weobley

Gloucestershire, Wiltshire

work and travel as a carer

the views from St Briavels are hard to match

Somerset, Devon,

work and travel as a carer somerset

another of my favourite counties, Somerset is splendid

work and travel as a carer

one of my favourite counties – Devon is on the Jurrasic coast…

Warwickshire, Hampshire

work and travel as a carer

as with Kent, there are many farms in Hampshire as well as fabulous villages

Oxfordshire

work and travel as a carer

the bells ring out in Oxford….stunning city

Surrey

work and travel as a carer

pretty as a picture, and snow…

West Sussex

work and travel as a carer

West Sussex has a most amazing array of historical towns…and quite a few castles

East Sussex

work and travel as a carer

Stunning houses and pebble beaches

Kent

work and travel as a carer kent

the garden of England – Kent is mostly farmlands and fields

Greater London

work and travel as a carer

wonderful, wonderful London I’ve worked in so many areas, I’ve lost track..

Worcestershire – which is the latest and where I am now 🙂

work and travel as a carer

Worcestershire…..what a delightful surprise, and those hills

view of the Malvern Piory and countryside of Great Malvern, Worcestershire

view of the Malvern Piory and countryside of Great Malvern, Worcestershire

I’ve visited Cornwall, Dorset and Warwickshire whilst working, but not yet actually worked in those counties. I’ve travelled through (by train), but not actually stepped on the soil of 4 others: Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland…I will have to address that pretty soon!! I have however noticed that there are still quite a few counties to go, particularly in the Midlands…see you there 😉

SCOTLAND

Inverness-shire and Ross and Cromarty – I’ve worked in both these counties and truly Scotland is amazing.

One of the most advantageous aspects of this job of mine is that I go to places I would probably never have considered, simply because they’re not on the ‘Visit England’ tourist trail so to speak. However, these places invariably have a fascinating history and if you visit the one thing you will find in every hamlet, village, town or city…..the church, you will learn the oftentimes extraordinary history of the area…sometimes stretching back as far as pre-Norman times.  Reading the epitaphs and headstones, you gain a fascinating insight to the history of the area. I’ve even been into a church where there are marks on the entrance where knights of yore used to sharpen their swords!!! Mind-blowing.

My most amazing experience was in Midhurst. As town names go it’s fairly simple, but did you know they have a castle!!!

travel and work

Midhurst….one of my most delightful discoveries

caravan

I’m desperately keen to travel the width and breadth of the UK and initially I had planned on buying a campervan…those cute little symbols of the 60’s, but since I will be spending a lot of time travelling and living in the thing, I’d prefer something I can actually stand up in…so the search is on. It is now my goal to buy a motor-home within the next few years…by my 65th birthday in fact, & then travel the width, breadth, and length of this country…visiting outlying islands, historic cathedrals, ancient villages, quirky pubs and the furtherest points of the island; north, south, east & west.

Once I find what I am looking for, I shall be off. I plan to travel and work, work and travel. Mostly in the spring, summer and autumn months and in winter I shall head to Europe. What a plan!!!  Why not come along, travel with me and see all the wonderful things I shall see.

If you have any suggestions of quirky traditions or places you think I should add to my list, then please leave a comment and I’ll add them to my itinerary.

Have a fab day.

and talking of quirky, here is a blog you should definitely follow. The Quirky Traveller 

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After much soul-searching and serious consideration I’ve made the heart-wrenching decision to close or more accurately shut down (since it’s an internet based entity), my ‘business’ 3 Days in London.goodbye

3 Days in London came about through my passion for sharing the many beautiful places and amazing secrets I had discovered in London during my many walkabouts. Born out of that passion the first few years were a labour of love, a joy that lifted my heart whenever I go into the city, and while that joy is still there, the business of 3DiL has become a weight on my heart.

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I’ve invested years, months, days and many thousands of hours on my twitter account, sharing articles and snippets of information ….for FREE. Likewise the website and my facebook page.  I get very very little interest or activity on either despite spending money on facebook ads. I’m disheartened when I look at the analytics and discover that although I spend up to 8 hours creating a website article to make it as interesting as possible and adding relevant images, people spend maybe 22 seconds on the site….evidently the content is not of sufficient interest for them to stay longer. And according to the ‘experts; those gurus of social media’ we’re meant to post at least three times a week!!!

Facebook changes it’s algorithyms more often than I change my knickers, and Google do the same!! How the heck do you keep up!FB_IMG_1444374062426

During 2010-2012 I created 3 one-day itineraries of London, full days guaranteed to give visitors a full-on experience of London. Trying to find a suitable site to upload them to for ease of use and ensure I get paid something without most of the money going to the relevant site has been…what shall I say? Difficult!. Self-publishing sites charge a fortune and I don’t have the necessary skills to set the itineraries up by myself…as well as which the cost of installing a shopping basket is mind-numbingly expensive. And by the time the publishing site and paypal have deducted their commission, I’d need to sell hundreds to have anything resembling an income and thousands to cover the initial costs.

3DiL App

The 3 Days in London App

In 2013 I designed and set up the 3Dil app. The developer was meant to give me statistics and reports were discussed at the initial meeting. It took nearly two years just to get anything set up on-line, but to date I am still unable to get anything that resembles a decent format, certainly nothing that I’m able to access unless I have my computer with me, something that I can use, so that I can approach relevant businesses for a mutual arrangement so that I can start earning some money. Unless I sit down every day and obtain the information manually……but that was not the original agreement. Can you imagine if I approach a Boutique Hotel or Restaurant to set up a business deal for renting space on the app….. ”How many downloads do you have on a daily and monthly basis?” Uhmmmm. “Oh a lot”. “How many active users?” “Gee well, I’d have to look every day and add it up manually”. How many uninstalls do you have on a monthly basis?”  Uh gosh, actually my developer says that she is unable to give me that information”. “Oh well, sorry but we can’t do business on a wing and a fcking prayer”.  The App has cost me well over £3500.00 to date. The app itself is free for users to download. It doesn’t make any sense at ALL to continue if it can’t pay for itself.

Besides being unable to get the information I need, most of my emails, phone calls and text message are ignored. When I follow up, I’m told ‘oh I didn’t get the email’ or ‘ oh my phone wasn’t working’. Yeah right.

Lesson #1 don’t do business with a friend.

In 2014 I redesigned my website, to make it more user friendly and useful; provide a resource for visitors to London. Gave it to a website developer, someone who should have been trustworthy. After fiddle faddling for months with excuses and delays, bearing in mind I had already paid her a substantial sum of money to get started, I put a bit of pressure on to get the first draft – that alone it took nearly 6 months!!!, and the total cock-up she sent through sent me into meltdown. I fired her immediately. I didn’t get my money back.

In 2014 investing a whole lot of time, I created a calendar for 2015 showing annual and traditional events in London. That met with some success with some of my friends and family buying their copies….it was so thrilling! I didn’t make much profit on them, but I so enjoyed making them and when someone actually bought them!! Wow 🙂

2015 London calendar

so, inspired by this, I spent weeks compiling the 2016 calendar, sorting through photos, sourcing quotes to suit the images, and researching the dozens of annual and traditional events in London over the year….a few of my facebook friends bought some and an ‘Angel’ saved the day and bought 4 copies.

0 2016 calendar collated 2016 The rest lie on a shelf at home; I made a loss due to the total lack of interest… I put some money into Facebook ads, promoted it on Twitter, on my website, on instagram, but sadly there was no real interest.

In 2015 I spent months compiling the ‘While You Are There…53 Places to visit in London’ book, painstaking hours of finding interesting information and photos to fit, designing and rearranging the pages, the formatting is sheer murder; if you change one sentence you could end up having to reformat dozens of pages…after all that I sold 3 copies and made £13.46 in profit after deductions and tax.cover image sq - While You Are There Self-publishing is not for the faint-hearted!!! Thanks to my one facebook friend for his support )Peter B, you know who you are 😉 )and to my lovely instagram friend for her support (Jaeden, you know who you are 😉 ). On the plus side, I sent one to The Queen last year in September and apparently she liked it 😉 I even got a letter of thanks from her Lady-in-Waiting. – what a cool title.

Besides all of this, the website keeps crashing. I’ve got all the correct security in place, the spam blockers…et etc. But each time it crashes I have to phone the hosting company to fix it. They now won’t help unless I pay them £40 a time! It’s just getting too much. It sends me into a spiral of frustration and depression when I try to log on and a message tells me ” Bandwidth has been exceeded”. wtf??? Seriously. grrrIMG-20141203-WA0005

I can’t compete with the likes of Visit London, Londonist and Time Out. Clearly whatever it is I’m doing, is not working.

Over the last 6 years the business has cost me well over £8,000. I have maybe made £150 turnover from the sale of products. There is clearly a discrepancy here and I won’t be retiring any time soon on the proceeds! I wasn’t even looking to retire on the proceeds, I was however hoping to generate enough income to allow me to spend more time in London and have a life besides working.

They say you can’t flog a dead horse…..well at the moment that’s what it feels like…..I’m flogging a dead horse. I reached breaking-point in September 2014 at which stage I nearly shut the whole thing down out of sheer frustration. After I recovered my equilibrium I decided to give it one more go….but nothing’s changed, I still can’t get what I need from the app, the website keeps crashing, I’m not prepared to spend another £900 on having a new site designed and what’s the point of having products if no-one buys them…..clearly it’s not what people are looking for. …..I’m fed up. If I look at the reality, then it’s time to say goodbye and move on.IMG-20150311-WA0017

So after almost 6 years of working at the business every spare minute, starting early in the morning and finishing late at night when at home, seldom even getting up from my chair even to eat, and snatching every spare minute while working away from home.

Am I sad? Yes, I’m devastated, having the dream has kept me sane the last 6 years. I adore London, I love to share information, I love to attend the events and explore her many streets and alleyways, but I can no longer support what is not serving me. London will always have a very special place in my heart and I certainly won’t stop exploring and enjoying.FB_IMG_1444420460011

An ‘Angel’ said to me a few weeks ago…..”What would happen if you closed this door?” And so on the premise that when one door closes another one opens, as of 31/03/2016, just 38 days short of the 6th anniversary, 3 Days in London will cease to exist.

On the plus side I have met some wonderful people, many of whom have become really good friends. I have through one of those friends been able to participate in some fantastic events; The Green Man in 2013, The Tudor Pull in 2013 & 2014 and the Magna Carta River Relay in 2015….thanks Joe (and Malcolm) 🙂 I’m forever grateful for those opportunities.2013.01.06 Green Man Event & trinity Tide

I’ve been invited to a number of previews with Historic Royal Palaces…I remember receiving my first invitation…..thrilling just doesn’t describe it.2013.08.21 Press Preview - Line of Kings ToL  I’ve also been invited to previews of exhibitions in the City of London, mostly notably through the wonderful people at Guildhall, and invited to do a few reviews at restaurants…again, what a thrill to receive the invitation. I hope I did them justice.2015.02.02 Press Review - VOC Bar

But now I can go to events and exhibitions to just enjoy the moment – without worrying about an angle to follow, without feeling like I have to share as much information about said event so that folks don’t miss out, and without feeling like I have to do anything more than just enjoy myself.

As well as which, I can now start travelling – there is so much of the UK and Europe I still want to see before leaving this earthly coil, and time is running out. Am I tired of London?13. cover No…..In the words of Samuel Johnson “Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”

Love London
I love London and it will always be my most favourite place on the planet, and I have no doubt I will return again and again.

So for now it’s au revoir 3 Days in London, and c’est la vie

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Yes! It’s done. I am now a fully-fledged British Citizen. Last week Thursday I met up with my daughter at Ashford International and from there we made out way to Maidstone and the Archbishop’s Palace….wow, I had no idea the venue was so amazing! and the history. I was like a tourist going from room to room and photographing everything….almost, but not quite forgetting the reason we were there.IMAG1660 - maidstone

We arrived about 4 hours before the time of the ceremony so had a bit of an explore first and then looked for somewhere to eat….we found the superb D’Lishious – a new Milkshake & Dessert Parlour in the historic Corn Exchange.

By then we were fairly famished so decided to go for something substantial. Well, what can I say…..D’Lishious really lived up to it’s name. My daughter ordered a pancake with nutella and strawberries with ice-cream and cream while I ordered a waffle with banana, nutella, bits of toffee with ice-cream and cream.  The portions were truly substantial and absolutely delicious, freshly made and more than met our expectations.

After satiating our bellies we headed back into the town centre and from there to the palace. Along the way we passed the fabulous Maidstone Carriage Museum…located in the 14th century palace stables. Although it was closed; it’s seasonal, I for one am going back when it’s open. The building itself is amazing and of course we took loads of photos.IMAG1652 - maidstone

The Archbishop’s Palace was just across the road, so that’s where we headed. The palace is a stunning building with a fantastic history dating back to the 7th & 8th century, thankfully saved from demolition in 1887, it is now a Grade I listed building.IMAG1662 - maidstone  Needless to say we had to explore the area, so since we still had about an hour and a half before the ceremony we walked along the riverside of the palace and onto a nearby footbridge for a better view…oh my gosh it’s gorgeous.IMAG1680 - maidstone And what a location!! We stopped briefly at the College of All Saint’s founded in 1395 by Archbishop Courtenay and admired the nearby Church of All Saints; chock a block with history.

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Finally it was time for us to register our presence and so we entered the building. I literally bounced up the steps with excitement and met at the top by one of the staff my name was ticked off the list and a red carnation pinned to my lapel.  The reason for the carnation is to easily identify the soon to be new citizens from their guests.

Then it was into the Solar Room ….wow, the history. The Solar – The 14th century Great Chamber of the Archbishop’s Palace, the main timbers dating from 1325 making this the oldest part of the original palace still standing. Much of the rafters have been repaired or replaced.

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We settled down as much as possible and were greeted by various members of staff and moderators. A lovely lady by the name of Amanda spent a few minutes with us explaining the process and procedures and then suddenly it was time for our rehearsal and off we went.  The room where the ceremony was held was lined with chairs, new citizens one side and guests the other.

We entered the room to applause from the guests and with a buzz of excitement took our seats, and so the ceremony began.IMAG1699 - maidstone In no time at all we had stood to declare our names and swear allegiance to Queen and Country.IMAG1700 - maidstone I felt totally bemused and as my daughter said, I looked a bit shell-shocked….I was in a state of disbelief. After all these years, finally I had applied and before I even had time to think about it, it was all done and dusted!!IMG-20160225-WA0026 I got my certificate, posed for photos with a representative of The Queen as well as a representative of Kent County Council and then we all, in good old British tradition, retired for tea and cake 🙂

So yes, I am now a bona fide British Citizen…..it’s been 4 days and I still wake up in the morning and go “omg I’m a British Citizen”. It feels quite surreal and although I don’t feel differently, my head is still trying to wrap itself around the fact that in the space of no time at all, I went from being a South African citizen to a British Citizen.IMAG1721  Who would have known when I bounced through Johannesburg International Airport on the 8th October 2001 for a 4 month holiday in Ireland, that I would less than 15 years later be the citizen of a different country…..but so it is. And I am thrilled beyond words. I am a British Citizen!!

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a gift from my daughter when we got home that evening 🙂

More about the history of the Archbishop’s Palace.

Located on the River Medway, the site was given to Archbishop Langton in 1207 as a resting place for Archbishops on their way from London to Canterbury.  work on the current building was ordered by Archbishop Ufford in 1348 and by the end of the 14th century it was expanded by Archbishop Courtenay, and again enlarged and improved by Archbishop Morton in 1486. Ultimately it was given to Henry VIII who granted the palace to Sir Thomas Wyatt. Subsequently forfeited to the Crown in 1554 following the rebellion led by his son Thomas Wyatt the younger against Mary I and then given to Sir John Astley by Elizabeth I.

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The Archbishop’s Palace on the River Medway in Maidstone

It was subsequently bequeathed to various members of the Astley family and finally sold to the Marsham family who finally sold the palace. It has also been used as a Territorial Army medical school.

Here’s a link for the carriage museum in Maidstone if you would like to visit

 

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