Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Fun Stuff’ Category

As the year moves on, the time for me to step up and out on my dream of and goal to walk the Camino de Santiago (the Portuguese Coastal Route) is getting closer and closer, I’m reminded that no matter how old you are…….

In order to get more fit, I recently joined the #walk1000miles 2017 challenge. I’ve always loved walking and have done loads over the last year, but what I love about this challenge is that there are thousand of people around the world also walking and sharing their experiences and photos. Just brilliant.

What I loved about this quote, besides the image and the words, is that a few months ago I worked in Great Malvern where C.S. Lewis once spent some time, and where urban legend has it, he found inspiration for the lamps in The Witch and The Wardrobe after seeing the lamps there.

lamps in great malvern

lamps in Great Malvern; inspiration for C.S. Lewis

p.s. I had planned on walking the Camino last year, but money or lack thereof got in the way. This year then…..

Read Full Post »

London is truly my absolute favourite city in the world….I’ve had a love-affair with this city since the day back in March 2002 when I cautiously made my way from London Bridge station and stepped tentatively onto London Bridge looking downstream. Instant love!

hello london and magic lantern festival

View of the River Thames towards Tower Bridge from London Bridge

After a wonderful adventure on the Isle of Wight I was in transit on my way home in Kent. But first I had to stop over in London, there was much to see and do – 1. go see the fabulous Magic Lantern Festival at Chiswick House and 2. meet my best friend Valy at Guildhall Art Gallery where we were to see that extraordinary and totally amazing sliver of history: William the Conqueror’s London Charter dating from 1067!!! I mean seriously!!

The train hurtled up the line from Portsmouth to London Victoria; 148.6 km’s 🙂 I had mapmywalk on just for fun and it was weird watching myself walking 1 km in 1.20 seconds!! If I had actually walked the distance it would have been 108850 steps!!! Crikey.

Before too long we arrived at Victoria Station. I lugged my bag below ground and onto the Victoria line to Earls Court where I had planned to stay the night at the YHA…my favourite choice of accommodation. I checked in, located my bed (which had been ‘acquired’ by a young lady, whom I very kindly informed had to move to the top bunk.) We swapped bedding, I made sure to put my stuff all over the bed to indicate that it was in use and headed out into the cold and dark to Chiswick House for the Magic Lantern Festival.

Wow!!! What an extraordinary exhibition! when I told my daughter I was planning on going she was aghast….I loathe those lanterns that people tend to send off into the air for arbitrary reasons and various events, and she initially thought “what??? but you hate those things!!” I do and it wasn’t.

Magic Lantern Festival - Chiswick House, London

Magic Lantern Festival – Chiswick House, London

This is the 2nd year that Chiswick House has hosted this amazing festival. The beautifully sculpted and decorated items shone out like a beacon and I’m sure could probably have been seen from space 😉 It was fantastic. My jaw literally dropped at the splendour as I gasped in wonder at each new exhibit. After passing through security the path wove and meandered around the grounds and gardens of the house, weaving between hedges, past the lake, over the bridge, past the house and lit up the night with wonder! I can’t even begin to describe how exquisite each piece was. Lifelike figures, delicate flowers, bold horsemen on charging mounts, magnificent palaces, temples and towering ships in full sail. Magnificent.

Magic Lantern Festival - Chiswick House, London

lifelike figures – exquisite

Despite the ticket sell-out, the venue wasn’t over-crowded and people tended to thin out and then gather in a group at each new wonder. The path was muddy of course and in order to showcase the full splendour of the pieces, there were only intermittent low lights on the ground to guide the way. But seriously there was so much light from the exhibits you hardly needed anything else to guide the way.

Magic Lantern Festival - Chiswick House, London

Magic Lantern Festival – Chiswick House, London

The only downside that I can think of were the food stall sort of half way round and the ‘fun-fair’ and tent and stalls at the end. But even though they were a distraction, they were necessary of course for the venue to generate income to offset the costs of hosting such an event. Well worth the ticket price…which may I add was exceptionally cheap considering the stunning stunning exhibition. I’ll let the photos do the talking.

Sunday dawned more or less bright and of course, being the YHA…quite early. People have no idea how to keep quiet LOL.

I lugged my bag downstairs to the luggage room, prayed it would be okay and stepped out into the then sunshine. I had planned on going to Hampton Court Palace but frankly I was just wayyyy too tired so instead I meandered about the area, just exploring the streets enroute to City of London and Guildhall Art Gallery to view the charter given to the City of London by William the Conqueror soon after he was crowned at Westminster.

colourful houses in london

scenes of London

On the way I visited the V&A Museum…where I saw a fantastic exhibition featuring Lockwood Kipling (Rudyard Kipling’s father), and his time in India…which seemed rather congruent as how I had just the day before visited Osborne House where you can see the influence India had on ‘Empress’ Victoria.

a magnificent Dale Chihuly glass sculpture in the V&A Museum foyer

a magnificent Dale Chihuly glass sculpture in the V&A Museum foyer

Then I popped in at the Science Museum to see the capsule the Tim Peake travelled back to earth in after his stint on the ISS International Space Station last year. Wow!!! Amazing. The Science Museum is a particular favourite of mine and I love to see all the amazing exhibits they have there.

Tim Peake's Capsule at The Science Museum

Tim Peake’s Capsule at The Science Museum

You could spend days and not see everything…much like the V&A and the many other fantastic museums in London. From there I meandered through Kensington Gardens and popped into Kensington Palace. My Historic Royal Palaces membership was due to expire and I really wanted to make one more visit before that happened. It was perfect really as I had visited Osborne House on the Isle of Wight just the day before.

The young Queen Victoria at Kensington palace

The young Queen Victoria at Kensington palace

I met my lovely Belgian friend Valy there at 12noon and we immediately went to have a look. Extraordinary! It’s just mind-blowing to see these treasures. How these things survive is incredible. I often wonder that if people had had more ….I suppose respect for things in the past few centuries, we might have more such treasures. Nevertheless, those that we do have are a wonder to behold and I appreciate every one of them.

On till 27 April 2017: A celebration of the 950th anniversary of the 1067 charter, the oldest item from the City of London Corporation’s 100 km of archives.

The charter was given to the City by William the Conqueror soon after he was crowned at Westminster, but before he entered the City of London. It is key to how William won the support of London and how the City itself began to gain its special autonomy.  Written in Old English, the Charter is tiny, less than 16cm x 2cm in size with one of the earliest seal impressions of William I.

Enchanting!!! Extraordinary!! Amazing!! Incredible!! Ancient!!

We spent another 30 minutes or so in the art gallery…oh those paintings….just stunning. Sometimes I look at them and just wonder at the skill and patience and love the artists must have had…very often you can look at a paintings and it is so finely executed you thinks it’s a photograph.

Procession of Sir James Whitehead, Lord Mayor 1888-1889

“The Ninth of November, 1888”; shows the Procession of Sir James Whitehead, Lord Mayor 1888-1889, passing the Royal Exchange. – artist William Logsdail (1859-1944)

From there we set off across the City of London intending to walk all the way back to Westminster but unfortunately it started to rain so we jumped on a bus instead. On our way to Leicester Square we briefly  passed by the Chinese New Year celebrations in Trafalgar Square.

Chinese New Year 2017 - Trafalgar Square

Chinese New Year 2017 – Trafalgar Square

For the very first time in a very long while I lost my beatings and ended up taking the LONG way round to Leicester Square. Urgh. I can blame lack of sleep LOL.

new LEGO store at Leicester Square

The huge new LEGO store at Leicester Square

All too soon it was time to say goodbye and Valy headed over to St Pancras for the Eurostar back to Belgium and I onto the tube to Earls Court and then back to the mainline station for my train home.

What a fab end to a wonderful trip to the Isle of Wight. I’d SO love to go back there sometime, but the chances of that are pretty slender. I love to see new places and have so many travel goals to achieve on my wish list, that it’s improbable. Although The Needles are calling for a 2nd look 😉 so who knows…..

Next time I’ll be in Surrey working in what I was to discover was one of the Domesday Book towns and………blog coming soon….the place of the oaks.

 

 

Read Full Post »

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

 

Read Full Post »

As I said in my previous post; It’s alright on the Isle of Wight I have to admit that when the time came to leave I felt really reluctant to go. But before departure I had to make the most of the 2 half and 1 full day I had left on the island after my job ended.

I purchased a 48 hour rover bus ticket for £15 which allowed me unlimited bus travel till Saturday morning. The very first thing I did after checking in at the B&B in Ryde was head over to the HoverCraft station and book a ride to the mainland. I have a ‘thing’ for first, last and only #thingstodo and without a doubt, after watching these amazing craft either arriving or leaving I simply had to take a trip, and what a trip it was.

HoverCraft on the Isle of Wight

HoverCraft on the Isle of Wight

I purchased a ‘Hover Experience’ ticket at £10 which allowed me to travel across to the mainland, stay on the craft and then travel back again to Ryde, all in the space of 30 minutes 🙂 It was fun. I managed to film one of the craft coming in to land just before I hopped onto the one that was heading out….they are fast, noisy and totally fascinating.

ride on the hovercraft on the isle of wight

The Hover Experience – from Ryde to Southsea Portsmouth and back…

Hovertravel is the world’s longest running commercial hovercraft service and is the only scheduled passenger hovercraft service in the Europe. Hovertravel offers the fastest way to cross the Solent between Southsea, Portsmouth and Ryde, Isle of Wight and for 50 years, the Hovercraft has been the fastest and most convenient way to cross the Solent.

Once the trip was over I spent the rest of the afternoon exploring Ryde more fully. There are a number of wonderful old buildings, some lovely churches and a fascinating array of street names with links to a nautical history.

explore ryde on the isle of wight

discovering Ryde

After that I managed to catch a glimpse of the sun going down behind the trees, and then totally on impulse I hopped on a bus to East Cowes. I had hoped to see the place in the light but by the time we got there it was already quite dark….so I boarded the ferry; Jenny Lee that crossed the River Medina to West Cowes and made the most of my half hour there to explore. I plan to go back again sometime and see it in daylight, but even though it was very dark I still managed to cover a fair bit of ground and got as far as the magnificent esplanade. Then the aroma of hot chips wafted through the air and before leaving I bought a packet for the trip home. I got some weird looks on the ferry crossing LOL.

a trip to cowes on the isle of wight

a quick trip to Cowes – east and west

The trip back to Ryde was uneventful and once back at the B&B I settled into bed and enjoyed the fact that I was no longer on duty.  Looking forward to tomorrow and the adventures that lay ahead…..a whistle-stop tour of the island, I had planned out my route to encompass as many places as possible with the limited time I had and taking into account that many of the routes only had one bus service an hour I think I did pretty good.

Day 2…..the whistle-stop tour

 

Read Full Post »

I can’t tell you how delighted I was to get the call from my agency asking if I was interested in taking on a job on the Isle of Wight!!! Was I ever!! Yes, for sure. It’s on my list of plans for 2017; 2 islands to visit this year, so definitely. As well as which it’s one of the places I’ve always wanted to visit but never seemed to get this far….I’ve been to Portsmouth a number of times but never got to the ferry. So here I am, in Ryde!  On the Isle of Wight.

visit the isle of wight

the Isle of Wight

Just a 10 minute journey by ferry, catamaran or hovercraft from Portsmouth Harbour or Portsmouth Southsea and you’re here. Easy peasy 😉 I imagine the scenery crossing The Solent during the day would be marvellous.

After arrival at Ryde Pier Head, I set off at a brisk pace along the pier…keen to experience what is an early 19th century pier (built before Victoria came to the throne) and the world’s oldest seaside pleasure pier; opened 26 July 1814. Within 6 minutes I was in the town of Ryde……I’ve got a ticket to Ryde 😉 Surprised to find quite such a large town, to my relief the B&B where I was to stay was a short walk from the esplanade.

visit the isle of wight, ryde pier head

Ryde Pier

Welcomed at the Kasbah by Josh, I was shown up to my room. Hallelujah I had a beautiful double bed room off the main road. Very comfortable and cosy, the room was beautifully decorated with a small ensuite, a t.v. and a kettle with accessories. A cup of tea was immediately brewed 🙂

visit the isle of wight, kasbah b&b

The Kasbah B&B in Ryde, Isle of Wight

I rested awhile having my tea and then, since it was still relatively early…just on 19:40 in fact, I decided to have a bit of an explore….despite that it was already pitch dark. I ain’t afraid of no ghosts!! LOL I meandered along to the esplanade and never one to be having a short walk….I ended up walking the length of the esplanade all the way to Appley Tower – 4.66 kms with 7250 steps there and back.

visit the isle of wight, ryde esplanade

Ryde Esplanade and scenes at night

Hah! It was quite chilly, but not unpleasant, a few dog-walkers, evening strollers and joggers about and at no time did I feel unsafe. I passed the train station, the hover-craft platform, the tiny harbour and a row of shops and lovely old houses. All along the way I could see and hear the sea slapping up again the rocks…I love the sounds of the sea.

visit the isle of wight, appley tower

Appley Tower – built in 1875 by Sir William Hutt

The Appley Tower, a coastal folly built in 1875 by one, Sir William Hutt, is also referred to as the Watch Tower. It’s awesome. Thanks mate…we love your folly.

By now there was not a soul in sight, I was on my own. On my way back I passed by the pond in Appley Park and a swimming pool that looked so inviting. Wish I had my swim costume. Oh well, if I ever come back this way…

visit the isle of wight, appley park

Appley Park pond and the swimming pool

Then it was back to the B&B for the night….work due to start on Monday.

I had a brilliant sleep, very comfortable bed and before the sun was even up I was out and onto the esplanade. A beautiful day for walking, again I saw a few people about, but by golly nothing at all like London where you can barely move for people.

I had a marvellous 45 minute walk all the way to the edge of Seaview where I caught the last of the sunrise. I had left it a tad late after all to get going. Then a brisk walk back to the B&B for breakfast.

visit the isle of wight, sunrise in ryde

sunrise in Ryde, Isle of Wight

On the way I stopped off at the hovercraft station to watch one of them come in to land. wow, fascinating and loud! I’m so going to take an opportunity one day while I’m here to cross The Solent to Portsmouth Southsea. The Isle of Wight Hovercraft is the last remaining commercial hovercraft service in the world.

visit the isle of wight, hover craft

Isle of Wight Hover Craft

I was well impressed with my ‘mileage’, and so enjoyed all the sights and sounds. Total 6.2kms and 9905 steps. At this rate I’m definitely achieving the desired 10,000 steps per day for good health 😉 and of course getting myself fitter for the Camino!

From what I’ve seen of Ryde so far; the esplanade and parks, it’s a really pretty place with fantastic views across The Solent towards Portsmouth in England – in fact I can see The Spinnaker in Portsmouth from the seafront and also from Seaview.

The Spinnaker in Portsmouth - across The Solent from Ryde, Isle of Wight

The Spinnaker in Portsmouth – across The Solent from Ryde, Isle of Wight

Watching all the shipping traffic is fascinating…..lends an exotic air to the place…ships from the far-flung corners of the earth….I think I quite like Ryde 🙂

 

 

Read Full Post »

It’s normal at this time of the year to think about and consider what, if any, resolutions you may want to make. Hundreds of articles are written each year on the ‘how to’, ‘ the why’, ‘the when’ etc etc, only for many of them to fall by the wayside when real life takes over.

Personally I stopped making resolutions decades ago (urgh, that word ‘decades’ ages me LOL). I seldom kept to them. I am a procrastinator, something I’ve recently named and shamed, and my philosophy in life has always been ‘if it can be done tomorrow….’ And so my resolutions usually fell by the wayside. I’m also fairly lazy…especially if my resolution doesn’t match my values. Ergo…..the “I want to lose weight” resolution simply doesn’t work well if you love food! And chocolate. And cake. And ice-cream. And Vogels bread with latherings of butter and Robertson’s Lime jelly…….and so on and so on; you get my drift. So I’ve pretty much given up on making any resolutions that have anything to do with dieting – besides being unhealthy for my psyche, as soon as I decide to cut something out…I start to crave it.

So no, resolutions don’t work for me. Goals….hmmm, there are so many goals I would like to set and I went through a stage of trying to learn how to set goals but I find it incredibly difficult to make a goal only for my circumstances to change and the goal disappears (my personal development journey that didn’t work too well for me…) and so we get down to plans and intentions.

Plans I can do!! I love lists. I love spreadsheets. So plans I can do. I find it a thrill to make plans to do something. It’s like Dr John Demartini says “find someone’s highest values and they will be more likely to succeed”.

quote# “Whatever course you decide upon, there is always someone to tell you that you are wrong. There are always difficulties arising, which tempt you to believe that your critics are right. To map out a course of action and follow it to an end requires courage.’’  Ralph Waldo Emerson – Poet and Essayist

So what are my plans and intentions for 2017?

  1. To walk more – dead easy…I love walking. I would walk for miles every day if I could.
  2. To travel more – I love travelling. The thrill of going somewhere new. Visiting a new place for me is like discovering a closed door….open the door and all manner of delights await.
  3. I intend to spend more quality time with my daughter. Again this is just so easy!! I will be moving to new accommodation at the end of January, so we will be able to plan to get together 🙂
  4. To start saving for my daughter’s 2018 June wedding – I intend to work a few extra days each month to achieve this.
  5. To visit at least 2 islands I haven’t been to yet.
  6. To visit at least 4 new cities in England – I can ask the agency to send me to different locations and while I’m there I can explore the area.
  7. To visit my brother and his family in Budapest.
  8. To improve my photographs and learn more about what makes a great photo. I love taking photos…in fact I take way too many, but I enjoy keeping a record of where I was when and photographing everything I see 😉
  9. To explore healthier options in the food line. While I was working at my last job I discovered the joy of experimenting with recipes. This however could lead to a bit of a challenge…..if there’s more than 3 ingredients…I get bored. hahaha. Also many of my clients prefer plain simple English cooking….
  10. To read more books. To that end I’ve listed a few books on my Amazon wish list that I plan to buy.
  11.  To reduce my debt. This is still a very sore point with me. Thanks to the personal development journey in 2007/2008, and the said guru’s advice on OPM I am still struggling to pay off my debt. But I’ve reduced it from £50k in 2008 to just over £15k in 2017. eish. 10 years on. Anyway that issue still irks me so best to leave it alone. Suffice to say, I am slowly getting there…paying the credit cards off while still having a life.
  12. And the biggie for me this year…..to walk the Camino de Santiago. I had planned to walk the Portuguese route last year in September, but the UK Customs & Excise taxes on my SA shipment put paid to that. New Year = New Intention!!
  13. To see more sunrises or sunsets…depending on where I am in the world. “The Universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” Eden Phillpots
  14. To blog more often……hence this blog 😉
  15. To walk the Worcestershire Way.
  16. To book to watch the 2018 London fireworks….they are amazing.

    plans, goals, intentions and resolutions

    Happy New Year 2017 – London

Where and when to start? Needless to say the easiest plan to start with is the walking. It is my intention to walk the Camino this year. To do that I must at least have achieved a certain level of fitness to make the walk pleasant….I do not want blisters and sore feet!

So with that in mind, and despite it being a perfectly vile day; wet and cold and windy….typical New Year’s Day weather in the UK, I set off on the first of my intentions; to walk more.  Bundled up in my winter woollies and raincoat I set off along the coast and walked to just past Dumpton Gap and back – 1 hour; 5.1 kms; 7282 steps; yes!!!

goals, plans, intentions and resolutions

New Year’s Day – Camino practice walk

Happy New Year folks…..I’d love to hear what your Plans, Goals, Intentions and Resolutions might be….

 

 

Read Full Post »

2016 was indeed a very weird year. For some it was marred by tragedy, for some it will be remembered with love. We all watched in horror as the tragedies in Syria unfolded, many sobbed at the deaths of favoured pop stars, actors, musicians and the like, either cheered or reacted with fury at the result of Brexit, and millions watched amazed and not without trepidation as America elected Trump as their next president (I use the diminutive ‘p’ deliberately). So much has happened in 2016 it seems that it was a year of extremes.

For me personally it was a year of highs and more highs, of love and laughter and a few tears. These were the highlights of my 2016

January:

goodbye 2016

January 2016

My daughter and I saw in 2016 at the London Eye and then went for waffles and cream at Caffe Concerto in London

Saw the amazing Les Lumineoles in London

February:

goodbye 2016

February 2016

I got my citizenship – my daughter attended the ceremony with me at the Archbishop’s Palace in Maidstone.

Managed my very first ‘proper’ #selfie LOL

Got arty with my photography

March:

goodbye 2016

March 2016

My daughter treated me for Mother’s Day with a journey on the British Pullman Orient Express.

goodbye 2016

Cémanthe – my Mothers Day treat

Squeezed in a visit to my favourite palace; Hampton Court while in Thames Ditton

Bumped into my sister and Yoda at Trafalgar Square in London

I received my very first British Passport.

My daughter bought her first UK car

April:

goodbye 2016

April 2016

I travelled by ferry from Dover to Calais and got to see the White Cliffs of Dover for real

I went to Windsor to see the Queen for her 90th birthday walkabout

goodbye 2016

April 2016 Happy 90th Birthday Queen Elizabeth II

My daughter and I went to Paris for a day to celebrate both my birthday and my citizenship

I celebrated my birthday at Dover Castle and St George & his dragon

goodbye 2016

St George & the dragon 23 April

May:

goodbye 2016

May 2016

I spent 2 weeks in South Africa visiting family and preparing to send my possessions to the UK.

I got to meet my nephew and niece for the first time.

Started my Camino 2016 practice walks

June:

goodbye 2016

June 2016

I went to Trooping the Colour for the 6th year in a row – London in summer is gorgeous

I walked my first 28 km stint from Broadstairs to Sandwich (45279 steps!!)

July:

goodbye 2016

July 2016

An early and first visit to Bath to celebrate my daughter’s birthday

I saw the Clifton Suspension Bridge at Bristol – finally!!!

I visited my lovely friend Valy in Brussels and visited Antwerp

August:

goodbye 2016

August 2016

Visited Dover Castle to watch the 1216 Siege re-enactment

Spent the day in Canterbury with my daughter to celebrate her birthday

September:

goodbye 2016

September 2016

My daughter and I did our first geocaching treasure hunt.

I watched the annual Great River Race in London – my friends of the Trinity Tide won in their category again 🙂

I watched the wooden replica of City of London burn  at the 350th Anniversary event

goodbye 2016

04.09.2016 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London 1666

My first visit to Great Malvern in Worcestershire – added another county to my list

Spent the day in London and went up The Shard with my daughter and my sister

October:

goodbye 2016

October 2016

Spent a few days in Rye with my sister for her birthday and went to Hastings

Watched the cheeky Russian Navy sail their warship through our waters…

November:

goodbye 2016

November 2016

Went to my lovely friend; Lucy’s wedding – she married her sweetheart Tom

Visited Gravesend in Kent at last

My first visit to Lancashire – and added another county to my list

Reached the Worcestershire Beacon in the Malvern Hills

goodbye 2016

November 2016 – climbed the Worcestershire Beacon

December:

goodbye 2016

December 2016 – Worcester

Visited Worcester and the fabulous cathedral

Climbed to Worcestershire Beacon again

My daughter and her boyfriend got engaged at Tower of London – he asked me to be his Best Man for the South African ceremony 🙂

goodbye 2016

Cémanthe & Simon – engaged to be married in 2018

Celebrated an early Christmas with my daughter and her now fiancé Simon

goodbye 2016

2016 our first Christmas with Simon, first of many more

And along the way I watched hundreds of sunrises and a few sunsets, travelled far and wide and visited quite a few new places.

goodbye 2016

2016 sunrise and sunset around the country

I started my Camino practice walks that changed from 2016 to 2017 ;).

 

UPS lost my hard-drive with 10 years worth of my photos, memories and incalculable information (bastards). I finally upgraded my phone and made great strides in figuring out how to do stuff on the internet on my own.

goodbye 2016

2016 – some of the books I’ve read and 2 of my Camino practice walks

My daughter and I had many amazing mini adventures,

goodbye 2016

2016 mini adventures with my daughter

enjoyed numerous cream teas, I read a number of terrific books, watched The Queen’s Speech at the State Opening of Parliament and on Christmas Day.

goodbye 2016

2016 treats and the Queen

I’m no richer, no poorer, not thinner or fatter…my hair has grown down past my shoulder again and I have spent innumerable hours of fun and laughter with my daughter.

This is my last blog for 2016.

It’s been a good year all in all; goodbye 2016….see you soon 2017!!!

Happy New Year

 

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »