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Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

Okay so after deciding to not continue keeping a ‘diary’ of this weird, surreal situation we’re living in, called ‘Lockdown,’ I changed my mind…these are strange times and after thinking about it, I just felt like I needed to record my thoughts and feelings and links of interest…one day my grandson might be interested to read them and get a very tiny glimpse of this weird weird time.

My client keeps saying ‘we’ve never lived through anything like this before ‘ and of course she’s right…we haven’t. Other countries have dealt with similar issues like the Ebola virus that is still causing death in the Congo, or the HIV virus that has caused so much death worldwide, and we’ve had other flu virus epidemics but this, this is different….no other crisis has caused a worldwide lockdown with 90% of businesses shut down. Although the word is/has been overused, it is unprecedented….

There are so many tragic tragic stories, heartbreaking stories that flatten you with sadness for the people living and dying in those stories….

Then we have the heartwarming stories like the now world-famous 99 year old Capt Tom. I mean what a perfect name for someone who will go down in history….

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-beds-bucks-herts-52290976

What started out as a generous idea to raise £1000 for the NHS, has turned into a worldwide phenomenon with thousands now calling for him to be on the Queen’s Honours list….for a Knighthood. 👏👏👏👏🎖🎖

As I write the amount donated has gone over the £10million threshold. Wowwww. Extraordinary doesn’t even begin to describe it. Beyond incredible. Bless his socks!!!

Amongst all the chaos of Covid-19 we keep hearing about inspiring stories, see people doing fantastic things and learning more about how in times of crisis, so many people step up and be amazing. And there are so many!!! I simply love that the rainbow has become a symbol of the times…🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈🌈

On the home front, I ventured out of doors during my break today for the first time since last week and covered a decent 2.54kms and got back to the house in my designated hour. The weather is absolutely fabulous and I’m convinced Mother Nature is teasing us…..I don’t recall seeing so many blue sky days in a row in all the years I’ve lived in the UK.

Enroute I noticed this crowd not practicing social distancing….clearly they didn’t get the memo 🙄🙄🙄

2 metres chaps!!

Along the way my daughter phoned and I got to spend some virtual time chatting to her and my grandson and a brief hello to son-in-law 🥰🥰🥰 I miss them so much. He was reading a book and my daughter let me watch how good he is at turning the pages…for a 15 month old he’s very impressive. Most toddlers his age tend to rip books apart, but he’s ever so careful with his books.

On my way back to the house I passed the shelter next to the clock tower and found a lot of free stuff, so carefully selected a few books and a toy to take home for him

Books and more books 😍😍

I doubt many children have as many books as this boy.

I stopped off at the castle mound and climbed to the top where I noticed this beautiful installation

Easter Cross
❤❤❤

Its really weird to realise that I’ve been here now for just over 3 weeks and we’ve settled in really well together. Sadly it also means that my time here is rapidly nearing the end. Despite the really awful start, I’ve been quite happy here and although I do get bored, I am quite content. Not something I experience very often. Unfortunately the day draws near to when I have to venture out into the wide world again and I can honestly say that I am afraid.

I’ve done everything in my power to keep myself and my client safe from the virus; being absolutely vigilant about washing anything that may have come into contact with the virus and baking the newspaper and magazines etc on the Rayburn. But once I start travelling it’s all out of my hands and I’m not embarrassed to say I’m afraid.

Afraid some idiot may think they’re above all this and travel despite having symptoms. I’m afraid some moron will think its clever to spit at me or anyone else like they’ve done to others. Krist, what kind of twisted mind would do that??? Afraid I might accidentally come into contact with the virus…despite my precautions.

I’m dreading the long journey on 2 trains and the tube…its going to take bloody hours from here to there and that’s assuming there are no cancellations. And all the time I’ll be exposed. Urgh.

And then when I do get back I won’t even have the joy of spending time with my family….I’ll possibly be exposed to the virus at some point of my journey and I’ll have no way of knowing. So to keep them safe I’ve decided to keep my distance. I can only hope that by the time my next assignment ends in mid-May that the worst of this thing is over.

Meanwhile we got news today that my beloved brother-in-law had a minor (thankfully) heart-attack last night and is now in hospital 😥😥😥 I feel absolutely distressed for my sister as she and her hubby are joined at the hip. And he’s not yet even 50. Its insane. But he’s in hospital and the procedure they’ll perform is simple and hopefully he’ll be home soon.

Worrying times and we’re all so far away.

Anyhow, that’s me for today. I finished my 7th book yesterday 😂😂😂 and have just started the 8th….this has been a real treat for me as I don’t often get time to read as much. Oh and I’m working my way through a few polygons…a bit like scrabble but with only one word. My daughter maintains I’m some kind of weird word person 😁😁😁

So there we are, or is that here we are 😏😏😏 in the 4th week of lockdown….who knew at 00:01 on 1st January 2020 as we celebrated the arrival of the new year what a bastard of a year it was going to be…

Keep safe folks, maintain social distancing, wash your hands and please don’t take chances…stay home.

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I’m going to try keeping a diary over this period and blog on a daily basis….

However, I do get lazy and distracted by reading/social media/tv/OPB/BBC 🤪🤪😂😂😂 but I’ll try my best. (OPB = other people’s blogs).

Frankly my life hasn’t changed that much. As a Carer for the elderly I’m classified as a ‘key worker’, and yesterday, after a 6.5 hour journey on 2 trains, 2 tube rides and 2 taxis, I arrived at my next assignment. I’m meant to be here for 2 weeks, but that could change due to the lockdown, and I may end up being here for 4 weeks….not longer. My birthday is coming up soon and I DO. NOT. WORK. ON. MY. BIRTHDAY.

So for me its same old same….different place, different client, same difference. In other words, my jobs entails pretty much the same thing every day for 14 days, but just a different location and different person, but same issues.

I get sent all over the country and sometimes to places well off the map, mostly never heard of except by the residents.

But often the dice falls in my favour and I get sent to a place that has all the elements that get me excited…. in this instance, not only is this village a Domesday Book Village, but it has had some famous residents and boasts the ruins of a Norman motte and bailey.

Following Johnson’s announcement of a nationwide lockdown last night, I took my 1st ‘allowed’ excursion this morning to the store for basics. I’m going to make use of this time every day for a breather and stock up on the basics needed to feed my client, and other such things.

Then this afternoon I used my 2 hour break to take advantage of the allowable exercise outing. I usually do take this time to get out and walk anyway but now of course it’s a privilege rather than an expectation.

What a charming little village this is. Quaint old houses, a little brook dashing through the streets, a clock tower, and oodles of history….one of the Guy Fawkes protagonists was born here. How awesome is that!!!

Quaint old cottages and a clock tower
A bubbling brook
Bad lad…boom!!

I’m staying in a quirky 16th century cottage with more steps and landings than I care to count 😂😂😂😂 if I lift my hand I can touch the ceiling….and I am not tall…just 5ft 5 inches. I’m guessing people were much shorter in the 16th century. Last night when I went to bed, last thing before I switched off the light…I reminded myself about the step outside my room so that I don’t fall flat on my face in the middle of the night.

I pretty much have the house to myself as my client has been practicing ‘social distancing’ for the last 4 years…apparently she took to her room 4 years ago and refuses to come out unless she has a medical appointment. This is not unusual.

I set off at 2pm and after a short walk I found an information board about the village and that’s where I discovered there’s a castle. Whoop whoop. Needless to say it’s on the top of the hill 🤪🤪🤪🚶🏻‍♀️🚶🏻‍♀️⛰🏰 a steep climb. What’s with those Normans anyway, building their castles at the top of the hills…I mean seriously, no cars, no buses, no escalators, no lifts…but they build on the top of the hill 🤨🤨😉

It’s at this point that I miss my walking poles the most. It really feels weird being out walking without them. But onwards….

I soon reached the crest of the hill and to my delight there was the castle. Okay its totally overgrown now and there’s nary a stone or wooden pole to be seen, but it’s so exciting to walk in the footsteps of people who lived here nearly 1000 years ago.

Norman motte and bailey
Hinkley Point in the distance

The views are spectacular…you can see for miles and miles, even the Bristol Channel, and in the distance I could see Hinkley Point Power Station. The village looked cosy snuggled as it is in the folds of the valley.

I’m sure the air is fresher….I sat out on the highest point I could find and just enjoyed the quiet, the brisk breeze and the delicious sunshine on my skin. There’s a grassy bowl towards the middle of the castle where I could easily spend the day…a blanket, a good book, flask of hot tea and packet of biscuits and I’d not leave all day.

Perfect spot to spend the day

I phoned my little family on the other side of the country and enjoyed seeing my adorable grandson and chatting to my daughter and son-in-law. They’re bearing up and enjoying being home, creating fun things to do for the baby.

A few other people made the most of the lovely weather and walked around the perimeter of the mound.

After 20 minutes of gorgeous warmth I walked back down into the village and along one street to the outer edge then turned back and made my way back to the cottage. A pleasing break and added 3.2 kms to my walk 1000 miles challenge….although as things are going, its unlikely I’ll reach my target this year.

Edge of the village

Then it was back to work and supper preparation and frequent visits from downstairs to upstairs 🤪🤪🤪 I told my client that at this rate, with the number of times I respond to the bell, I’m sure to get fit and lose weight.

At the moment I’m watching TV and writing this blog while counting the minutes till bedtime 😁😁 end of day one of 21 days of lockdown. 20 to go…its frustrating of course, upsetting and unsettling and we have no idea how things are going to pan out, but in the greater scheme of things…time out is no bad thing, and like I said, my life has not changed that much…

I saw this sculpture at the edge of the village…it made me smile and think of bonkers Boris….”stay home or else ”

Stay at home 😂😂😂

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Watching Boris Johnson on BBC1 last night was an exercise in frustration. As usual he waffles on ??? using highfalutting, fancy words most people don’t even understand (I love a good fancy word myself; but time and place Boris!!) We all know you have a preppy education, have written books, and use words no-one has used since Shakespeare died…..now is not the time to show off.

So instead of saying “I am putting the UK on lockdown for 3 weeks with immediate effect”, he scurries about scrambling for placating words; words he strings together in long rambling sentences that by the time he ends it, we’re no wiser and have lost track of the message….. meanwhile his eyes and hands betraying his uncertainty. Talk about clenched. 👊👊

Is he trying to protect his city buddies investments? Just say “lockdown” ffs. You’re not dealing with reasonable people (on the whole). The number of people who are flouting the recommendations and still making unnecessary trips are thick, they need their heads banged together….use strong, solid, forceful words that get the message across. 💪💪💪

As for Michael Gove….can someone sew up his lips for the duration and ban him from speaking on TV…what a tosser. Seriously. 🛎🛎🛎🔔🔚

I was so impressed with the action taken by the South African President, Cyril Ramaphosa….a short, concise, clear message “….decided to enforce a nationwide lockdown for 21 days with effect from midnight on Thursday”. Boom!!💣💥💣💥 end of. 🚷🚷🚷🚷🚷🚷 We’re on 🔐⬇️ “…a decisive measure to save lives”. ergo…stay at home.

https://youtu.be/tkOWlBF7aC0

We are living in uncertain times, Covid-19 is an unprecedented issue and if we don’t get our act together, we are going to be culpable for the deaths of any number of people…. people you may not even know, but they’re loved by someone else, but your selfish actions have caused their untimely death.

I messaged my daughter yesterday to say that even if I do finish this current job in 2 weeks time, I am not going to visit them at their home. Anyone who knows me, would know how terribly hard that will be for me to do….but I do not want to inadvertently infect the people most precious to me…my beloved daughter, my cherished grandson and my lovely son-in-law.

Instead we’re going to do video messaging and keep in touch on WhatsApp with lots of photos.

Be safe folks, please follow government guidelines and let’s beat this bastard virus

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Gloves on, gloves off, gloves on, gloves off. Its been a right pain with the gloves, but since I’m exposed to so many different surfaces, some of which might be carrying the virus, I thought it best to play safe. Especially  as I love taking photos on my travels, I don’t want to ‘infect’ my phone 🤪🤪🤪🤢

Gloves off…

So, well done to South Eastern railway for getting us to St Pancras only 5 minutes behind schedule despite the trespassers on the line at Margate. I’ve never seen St Pancras station or trains so empty.

St Pancras

After a couple of changes on the Underground I finally made it to Paddington Station, well ahead of time, only to find my next train had been cancelled…😕😕🙄 so a long wait of 1.5 hours ensued

Just 43 minutes more….

and I’m sure I clocked up at least 3 kms pacing up and down…the seats are too cold to sit on. Besides which I know how long the virus lingers on stainless steel and I am trying to avoid any contact.

Underground- Bakerloo line
Paddington Station

However, on the plus side I had time to visit Paddington Bear and grab a cuppachino from Nero.

Paddington Bear

I’m finally on my train and all being well I’ll get to my destination…only 1 hour 13 minutes behind schedule.

Paddington Station

Thankfully the outgoing Carer is taking a few days break and is not enroute to another job. I really should have insisted that the agency give me a job closer to ‘home’.

I was impressed to note that even the finer details have been thought of

Wrapped up tightly against Covid-19

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My next job/assignment starts today and the day hasn’t had the most auspicious start.

My alarm didn’t go off when it was supposed to 🤪🤪 Fortunately I had been awake for a few hours already and thought to check the time….only 10 minutes out, but with a taxi booked, I had to hustle.

I got to the station with plenty of time to spare and whilst waiting for the train, heard the dreaded announcement….my train was cancelled due to trespassers on the line 2 stations down.

I immediately sought out one of the station staff and secured authorisation to travel on the highspeed route instead…so

At the moment I’m travelling on the highspeed route to St Pancras. And its surreal….

This route is always packed to the rafters with commuters and you would be lucky to get a seat. The train is virtually empty…besides that

The train is stopping at all the small stations it doesn’t normally stop at, and I had a momentary flutter of concern…am I on the right train? But yes, it seems I am.

These are extraordinary times. Very few cars on the road, people few and far between- social distancing 😉 and an empty train

I’m just hoping that I don’t have any issues with the underground getting to my next departure point. The services have been drastically reduced and I am a tad nervous about making my connection. Besides the reduced service, I have 2 heavy grocery bags to carry and an unwieldy suitcase to lug around. 😕😕

I haven’t seen anyone wearing a mask yet 😷😷😷 and no-one has sneezed 🤧🤧 in my vicinity…so far so good. I’m being careful about what I touch and my elbows are getting a good workout 😂😂

One of the people in the houseshare coughed pretty much right through the night (hence my lack of sleep), so I used a sock on my hand to open or close doors, turn on taps and flush the 🚽 and I’m diligently washing my hands at every opportunity 🧼🧼🧼🧼

Fortunately I haven’t had any contact with her, so I can only hope her note on the fridge door was truthful “Sorry for the coughing, I have a cold.” Everyone and everything is suspect now and its quite unnerving.

Strange times. But the air feels cleaner and last night the sky was so clear I could see hundreds of stars.

Stay well every one and please be sensible about following government guidelines. I have a healthy distrust of the government on most days, and I have a healthy regard for some of the conspiracy theories that abound, but I’m still not at all keen to either contract this virus or pass it on to my loved ones….so to that end, I’ll take the news at face value and I’m being a good girl and not rebelling against the advice….

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I’m not someone who panics easily. I tend to be calm and logical in the face of adversity and hold my meltdown for the after party…..LOL

Whether panic is needed seems to depend on those who seed it …~Na’ama Yehuda

But I must admit to having gone from “bloody Chinese eating wild animals and treating those and other animals in a most appalling way – the animals have risen and are taking revenge” a couple of months ago, to the faint stirrings of unease, and concern at how fast this virus has spread and how vicious it is.

I’m guessing that none of us expected this virus to jump borders and spread so rapidly, taking down swathes of people and leaving fear and despair in its wake.

But suddenly we’re in the midst of a pandemic that the authorities seem unable to contain. And so the infected numbers and deaths mount up. Every day now the figures go up in the hundreds rather than the occasional report of one or two.

For obvious reasons this has brought about a sense of panic and the possibility of a lockdown is causing irrational behaviour.

I know that I for one have started to feel somewhat stressed….mainly for my little family; my daughter, son-in-law and my cherished grandson.

While we were away in Devon last week the first reports of panic buying started to filter through. I said to my daughter that as soon as we get back we must go shopping. Well that turned out to be a bit of a fright since the shelves were practically bare of essentials and necessities…..panic buying was in full swing.

However, we calmly walked along the aisles and bought whatever we could find, particularly things that can be used in soups and stews. Baby food was high on the list of essentials and nappies. We bought as much by way of prepared food as we could without emptying the shelves.

Since then I have raided my tax savings and on a daily basis I buy a small quantity of whatever I can find focusing on dry goods and tins where there’s availability.

We went shopping at Tesco’s a few days ago and the shock of the empty shelves was so overwhelming for my daughter that she had a meltdown in the store. Like she said, she has a baby to consider, and besides that her levels of empathy for older people wandering about looking for something they could buy was just too much.

I’m due to leave tomorrow morning for my next job…in the depths of Somerset, a 4.5 hour journey on 2 trains and the tube, and frankly I have no idea what will happen in the next few weeks. Will I contract the virus? Will my elderly client? How long will I be stuck there? If I do get ill basically I have no home to return to for either recovery or self-isolation.

Of course I wouldn’t want to return to my daughter’s home because I may well end up infecting them, and it begs the question….when my assignment is completed in 2 weeks time, should I even have any physical contact with them at all? And what of my accommodation? It’s on a very tenuous basis anyway. I rent a tiny room on an adhoc basis in a shared house. I have no lease and no guarantee that the landlady who currently rents out the room would even allow me to return to the property if I need to self-isolate.

Besides that, I have no food where I stay between jobs. I can’t store stuff there because not only have the permanent residents recently helped themselves to some of my fridge stuff, but where would I keep it….its not a permanent place of residence with a secure place to store anything? And even if she agrees to let me stay there, I wouldn’t be able to prepare anything in the shared kitchen if I was ill as it may affect the other residents.

So even though I don’t normally panic, I do confess to feeling rather uneasy and uncertain. I can only hope that the person I’m going to care for over the next couple of weeks doesn’t turn out to be a nightmare, and if I’m required to extend my stay due to a lockdown, that we’ll have sufficient food to see us through.

The other aspect is the worry I have for my family….will they have sufficient food for an extended period if there’s a lockdown? Will they be safe from the virus? Will I be able to return to help out if they happen to get ill? I have urged my daughter to be very conservative with her food and to not waste anything….I can only hope that they do.

My grandson is right in the middle of weaning and I worry that she will not have enough food to cope with his requirements. A lot of food already goes to waste when he plays with the food instead of eating it and it ends up on the floor and subsequently into the trash.

So while I am not normally given to panicking, I do admit that I’m beginning to feel incredibly stressed and worried, especially if there is a lockdown and all that that implies.

Onwards….

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I’m going to have to start getting up earlier in the morning if I want to catch the sunrise 🌅 Got to the promenade at just before 8am but the sun was already above the horizon albeit behind the clouds.

The weather is amazing once again, its so mild out. And we’re still waiting to say #Peanutisontheway❣️ 👶🏻 💙 This lad is surely taking his own sweet time…. although actually it’s exactly 40 weeks tomorrow, so perhaps will arrive he is ready and not when the NHS say he should arrive.

I went to see the film ‘Wildlife’ last night. Its an incredibly weird film and the jury is out on whether or not I actually enjoyed it… I didn’t. 🤔🙄

It was such a mild evening I decided to take a short walk along the beach… What a blessing to live so near to the sea.

I could hear the crashing of the waves behind the harbour wall so walked over to see what I could ‘sea’… Which wasn’t much, but I could hear it and that sound is like music to my ears.

Afterwards my daughter (the very pregnant soon to be Mummy), her hubby and I took a slow midnight stroll along the promenade in the hope it might encourage baby to start his journey…

The evening air, albeit only 2 degrees out, was perfectly still with a 3/4 moon and a canopy of ✨ crispy clear and really mild.

This morning, although I was tempted to stay in bed, I made the effort to get out to capture the sunrise. I really want to be sure to have a photo for Peanut’s book…on the day that he is born. I hope that’s soon 😀👶🏻💙❣️

Meanwhile I’ve started reading Simon Reeve’s book Step by Step. He’s my favourite travel presenter and I’ve watched all his travel documentaries which are a real eye-opener. By page 33 I’ve concluded he was a naughty little shit 😂 😂 😂 which explains the ever present twinkle in his eye and the quirky smile.  I also discovered quite weirdly that his Dad’s name was Alan which is my middle name. His Mum’s name is Cindy 🤔🤔 and his brothers’s name is James (my grandson’s name). Totally weird.

Meanwhile I shall get back to the book I’m compiling for said grandson and hold thumbs that soon I can say with absolute certainty that Peanut is on the way 😀😀😀👶🏻💙❣️

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I’d never been to Southampton and as it’s on my Project 101 list, I thought that since I’d be close enough by train I may as well stay there for a couple of days and explore the city.  Besides which…it was also a whole lot cheaper than staying in Winchester LOL (I actually told one lady that I didn’t want to buy the house, just stay there for one night! – she wasn’t impressed hahahaha).

seaside square in southampton, southampton england, explore southampton, visit southampton (1)

tired after a day of exploring…take a seat why don’t you.

I had initially planned to explore Southampton on the 19th but instead decided to head over to Winchester instead. Most places appeared to be closed in Southampton on a Sunday, and since I was wanting to do the King Alfred walk in Winchester and the weather was going to be cloudy both days anyway, I decided to change plans. Benefit of being a solo traveller.

So, the day before I was due to start my walk along the Pilgrim’s Way, I had a super day exploring Southampton Old Town. I walked along sections of the old city walls; quite a thrill. I was delighted to find that there were still whole sections that you could walk along and I made the most of the opportunity.

spanish civil war, southampton england, explore southampton, visit southampton (2)

wonderful history of the UK…welcoming refugees

A little bit of history to tickle your fancy:

Southampton; located on a major estuary on the English Channel has been settled since the Stone Age.
Known as Clausentum in Roman times, Southampton was an important trading port, but abandoned circa 410 when the Romans up and left.
The settlement was known as Hamwic and or Hamtum during the Anglo-Saxon period
After defeating the Anglo-Saxon King Ethelred the Unready in 1014, the Viking King, Canute the Great, was crowned in Southampton.
Southampton became a major port of transit between Winchester (capital of England until early 12th C) and Normandy following the Norman Conquest in 1066.
The 1086 Domesday Book indicates that Southampton already had distinct French and English quarters at the time of the Norman Conquest.
The foundation of St. Michael’s Church has been dated at 1070.
Mary Magdalen Leperosy Hospital was established to the north of the town by 1173.
St Julians Hospital, also known as God’s House Hospital, was founded around 1196 by Gervase ‘le Riche’. A Franciscan friary was later built alongside God’s House hospital.
The Medieval Wool House was built in the 14th century to serve the wool trade and store wool for export to Italy. It’s been through various changes since then and served as a prison during the Napoleonic wars to house French prisoners of war “some of whose names may be seen carved on the beams of the roof”, the Maritime Museum circa 1966, a workshop; The Moonbeam Engineering Company Limited who built motor launches, Element Arts; a pop-up arts organisation – who used the space as a gallery and community arts venue featuring exhibitions and live events – music, dance, poetry, theatre, and now the Dancing Man Brewery a brewpub/restaurant.
Southampton was awarded City status by The Queen in 1964.

On my way towards the Old Town I passed the area of Holy Rood; a series of metal sculptures were erected around the estate in tribute to the area’s role in the Merchant Navy’s history of Southampton.
Holyrood Church, which was damaged in World War II, now serves as a memorial to the Merchant Navy.

I started off at the edge of the city walls, once the boundary of a Franciscan friary (settled in 1224). By the end of the 14th century, the town of Southampton was entirely enclosed by stone walls.

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then walked past the remains of God’s House Tower (protected the medieval town from attack),

from there I followed the perimeter of the old city walls, I discovered a link with Jane Austen 🙂 – Watergate & Quay – “Jane’s niece, 14 year old Fanny Knight, records in her diary of Tuesday 15 September 1807, that Jane and the rest of the family embarked from here to visit friends in Hythe for Afternoon Tea. Fanny writes; “Mama to everyone’s astonishment was of the party and not at all sick”.

the rear view of the Watergate ruins

the 12th century Duke of Wellington Pub

A short distance later I discovered the Wool House and popped in for a quick look (I didn’t see the prisoner’s inscriptions though) – The Medieval Wool House was built in the 14th century to serve the wool trade and store wool for export to Italy, and served as a prison during the Napoleonic wars to house French prisoners of war “some of whose names may be seen carved on the beams of the roof”

after which a short diversion took me along Bugle Street

first I passed the fabulous 12th century Duke of Wellington pub

strolling on along Bugle Street I discovered the amazing Tudor House – Restored 14th-c. Tudor house & remains of a 12th-c. Norman home, with 16th-century gardens & a cafe…where I enjoyed a superb lunch… Wow, what an extraordinary place.

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I spent ages exploring this fabulous house; a time capsule with some incredible artefacts. A visit to the cellar is a must – used as a WW2 shelter by the family who lived there at the time, there is a fantastic and spine-tingling audio that takes you right back to an air-raid.

Exploring the premises behind the house (where you find the café) I saw a canon made for Henry VIII, and the awesome ruins of King John’s Castle.

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Across the garden are some glass doors, step through…. there you will find a delightful exhibition worth having a look at

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After strolling back along Bugle Street I noticed another section of the city walls down an alley, so I climbed the steps and strolled along another section of the city walls and onto Cuckoo Lane…passing the Westgate Hall aka Tudor Merchants Hall on my way.

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Heading back to the Tudor House, I walked past and turned left down along Blue Anchor Lane towards the previous town quay…now a road.blue anchor lane southampton england, explore southampton, visit southampton The Pilgrim Fathers embarked here from the West Quay on the Mayflower in August 15 1620. Passing through the Westgate (through the archway marched some of the some of the army of Henry V on their way to Agincourt in 1415) – stupendous. It gave me goosebumps walking through the arch.

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walking through history; through this archway marched some of the some of the army of     Henry V on their way to Agincourt in 1415 – awesome

I strolled alongside the ancient walls, known as The Arcades, and found another section that could be walked (yes, I’m addicted to walking along old city walls LOL- also part of Project 101) I reached ‘Catchcold’ Tower (fortunately I didn’t catch a cold) – purpose built in the early 15th century to carry ordnance (cannon). Brilliant views of the old quay. During WW2 an anti-aircraft machine-gun was mounted on the tower.

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From there I walked along to Arundel Tower – said to be named after the magical horse of Sir Bevois, one of the founders of Southampton. Legend has it that Arundel was so fast he could out-fly swallows. When Sir Bevios died, the horse threw himself from the tower in sorrow.

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Leaving the ramparts I descended to ground level and walked across to the Bargate. Wow, just stunning. By walking through the Bargate’s grand entrance, you travel in the footsteps of generations of townspeople, visitors and kings and queens. A pair of lions has guarded the gate since the 1600s. The Jane Austen heritage trail starts at the Bargate.

Walking further I took a random turn and saw a beautiful pub and another link to Jane Austen ; Jane’s homes from 1807 to 1809 was sited here in Castle Square.

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finding Jane Austen in Southampton

Then back past the fabulous Tudor House, opposite which was St Michael’s Square; once a busy fish market selling freshly caught eels, mackerel, whiting and oysters. Built in the 1070s, St Michael’s is the only surviving parish church in Southampton.

I then continued my walk along Castle Way where I passed the fantastic medieval Merchant’s timber house (sadly closed during the week) – what was that I said about places being closed yesterday….hmmm. .

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The medieval Timber House, Castle Way, Southampton

The weather was brilliant and I even squeezed in a quick visit to the harbour. I noticed there was a ferry to the Isle of Wight and the temptation to just hop on and visit Cowes again was very strong LOL. But I resisted….I was due to start my walk the next day and it would have been awful if I hadn’t been able to get back to Southampton for some reason.

After a brilliant few hours of exploring I meandered through Queen’s Park then back along Queensway and through West (Watts) Park where I saw the plaque for the Mary Magdalen Leprosy Hospital which stood near this spot in medieval times.

Then back to the AirBnb to rest and prepare myself and Pepe for the start of The Pilgrim’s Way.

In all, a very satisfactory day full of history, surprises and delights. Visit Southampton and be sure to explore the Old Town, and prepare to be delighted at the Tudor House.

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a link with Jane Austen

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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 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 🙂

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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.

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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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A few days ago I looked at my calendar and suddenly realised that this ‘big’ pilgrimage of mine that I have been talking about for months was only 3.5 months away!!! Shock and horror. Where has the time gone and how did this suddenly creep up on me. Although I have joined the #walk1000miles challenge for 2018 again, I have been quite lazydasical about getting out and walking….always at the back on my mind is the thought of ‘hey, I walked 240 kms across Portugal and Spain last year on my Camino’ ergo I should be fit!! Uhm, no!! Not really. In reality I’ve really slacked off and once I reached the magic number of 1000 miles in 2017, my brain said “okay, enough already, time for a break”.

Then we had winter. Enough said on THAT subject. Urgh. Mind you I was lucky enough to experience snowfall in Montgomery, Wales that turned the world magical.

snow in wales, snowing in the uk, winter wonderland,

the WW2 Monument in Montgomery

However……with the prospect of 136 miles from Winchester to Canterbury ahead of me, the realisation that I best kick my ass into gear has hit home.

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Pilgrims’s Chapels Winchester and Canterbury

And so I have started training in earnest once again and boy has my fitness level dropped since September 2017. Blimey. So, although I have managed just over 373 kms/ 233 miles since 01.01.2018, I figured I best get my act together and do some serious walking again.

the pilgrims way north downs, follow the pilgrims way, pilgrims way winchester to canterbury

3 in 1 : North Downs Way, Vanguard Way, Greenwich Meridian Way,

I’ve been working in Oxted since 01.05 and I’ve managed a few walks up to and through the Titsey estate, some of which takes me along the Pilgrim’s Way on the North Downs, albeit just a little way.

the pilgrims way north downs, follow the pilgrims way, pilgrims way winchester to canterbury

The Pilgrim’s Way, North Downs, Oxted

The brilliant aspect of the walks in this area is that there’s a substantial amount of uphill walking which is giving me an excellent cardiovascular workout. The first day I did that I thought my heart was going to pop right out of my chest!!

the pilgrims way north downs, follow the pilgrims way, pilgrims way winchester to canterbury

a good cardiovascular workout

This was a tad disappointing since last year, when I was working here, I used to follow that route almost daily and after a few weeks was climbing to the top of the ridge, hardly out of breath. Clearly my fitness levels have indeed dropped.

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walking along the North Downs

Walking in this area is always a pleasure and the views from whichever level you choose to walk are spectacular, at any time of the year.

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View from the ridge; Titsey House in the distance

And now on the cusp of summer is no exception. The trees are sprouting leaves by the million; some of which are that fantastic luminescent green that seems otherworldly.

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summer greens

The rapeseed fields are ablaze with tiny bright yellow blooms that spread like butter across the landscape, so bright you could surely see them from space!

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Bright yellow rapeseed fields

I’ve seen a few walkers, quite a few dogs and a number of rabbits. The weather has been spectacular albeit very hot for long distance walking. We had loads of rain over the previous weeks and the ground in many areas has been sodden, like a quagmire and traversing these areas has been a bit of a challenge!! I took a walk through a small copse of trees hoping to see bluebells like last year’s crop…but sadly most of them have already faded.

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just a smattering of bluebells left

I’m mindful of the fact that we may well have a lot of rain in August and September, in which case I’ll have to be walking through said quagmires which is decidedly unpleasant…..I may just have to get the wellies out! LOL But I’m hoping for days like this..

titsey place, the pilgrims way north downs, follow the pilgrims way, pilgrims way winchester to canterbury

across the fields at Titsey Place

And so the training has begun in earnest. I’m planning on walking from Broadstairs to Folkestone in the coming weeks and that should give me a good workout as I’ll be walking with Pepe (my backpack) fully loaded. As always Gemini (my walking poles) are in hand to support me on my walks. I really love those poles now and feel quite naked when I walk without them.

Titsey Place and Gardens

Titsey Place and Gardens

 

 

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