Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The London Loop

Help, I'm turning into a LOOPY!

Give me a mission, and I can't put it down. Tomorrow David and I will embark on stage 6 (and maybe even stage 7) of the London Loop. In posh terms that is the London Outer Orbital Path. Sounds good doesn't it?

Well, it's great fun. We head out, once or even twice a week, with our packed lunch, and our pack-a-macs, usually on the bus, but sometimes on the train, or even the tram from Beckenham. David is armed with the official map, taken from the Loop web site, and the directions (which are not always correct). And I have my sturdy stick (to ward off man or beast should that ever be necessary). Here are a few pics to give you an idea of how lovely the green belt surrounding London really is.

 We set off from Erith and followed the Thames estuary ending our first 9/10 miles at Bexley, and a welcome pint.
 From Bexley (stage 2) we headed for Petts Wood, and quickly located Wetherspoons, where we downed a well earned beer. About 7 miles.
 Stage 3 began at Jubilee Park, Petts Wood, and followed the river Cray, a beautiful spot, to West Wickham. 9 miles (a good 9 miles because we walked on to Hays).

Stage 3, in search of a pub at Coney Hall, and great disappointment, we even continued walking to Hays for our 'pat on the back' pint. But no luck there either, and we ended up so tired that all we really wanted was to get home, boots off, shower and sleep.
 Stage 4 was West Wickham to Hamsey Green, with fabulous views of London in the distance.
Another 9 miles.
And guess what? The pub we expected to find at Hamsey Green has been pulled down. Not good! Not good at all! We ended up in the Bricklayers on Beckenham High Street.

From Hampsey Green we completed stage 5, which took us to Coulsden across the downs. This was, for me, the most beautiful walk so far because it crossed open countryside, lovely flower filled meadows, and a very pleasant woodland area.

So, that brings us to tomorrow and stage 6. Coulsden to Bamstead Downs, a mere 4.5 miles. Bring it on!

And in between all that walking about the English countryside I have done hours of cello practice, and even spent a very rainy afternoon at a family barbecue.

Oh, and I wrote and entered a poem in the Proms Poetry Competion, and wrote a poem for another competition. If there was any bad news during the last few weeks, it was the first rejection of my novel from the publisher I sent it to. It's not the end of the world, I'll just have to try again with another publisher.

And now to get an early night so that I'm bright and breezy in the morning.

Watch this space to see how we get on with the LOOP. If you fancy doing it yourself take a look at the web site for all the details. CLICK HERE if you want to become a little LOOPY!

Monday, August 11, 2014


Hello dear reader,

I have finally come out of the blog blues, and feel ready to resume normal life again, (whatever that is).

See these lovely flowers? They were given to me by a very good friend, on the occasion of my 46th wedding anniversary.

Now, last year, things were quite 'lumpy' in the flow of married bliss. I don't mind to admit it. But then, it wasn't surprising, considering the alignment of the planets, or was it something to do with moon?

Anyway, year 46, I am assured, (by a healthy reading of the Tarot) is going to be more than fabulously wonderful. And, it has got off to a great start.

As a special treat, we hived off after church, to the Globe Theatre on the South Bank. The 'we' being my lifelong partner, David, my bunch of pink roses, and me. And, for £5 each, no expense spared, we took up a position where we could lean against the wooden barrier, between those who had a seat (with a cushion) and those who had to stand, in the area near the stage, from where we watched the new play, Holy Warriors, by David Eldridge. It was a wonderful experience, our first time at the Globe, and a very thought provoking play about Saladin and Richard the Lionheart v. present day players in Middle Eastern politics. It seems we have a replay of history.

Anyway, off to our new start, we have also decided to take our health in hand. And that means... yes you have it...exercise. Now I have a little problem with exercise, in that I have to be careful about lifting, and stretching. It's only a little hernia, but my goodness it has caused me some trouble. But walking is great. In fact, I am better on my feet than sitting down. And for someone who spends hours playing piano and cello, not to mention writing, walking is a necessity. Who was it said we have two good doctors, our right leg, and our left leg? Well actually, I have three good doctors, I must not forget my lovely doctor at the Cator Medical Centre in Beckenham.

So, it is out with the boots, and, 'Legs. Get walking'. David and I have embarked on a quest which should keep us putting one foot in front of the other for the foreseeable future. We are walking the London Loop, which is a signed footpath circling the outskirts of London. In total it covers 152 miles, which is in 24 stages. Tomorrow we will set off by train to Petts Wood, where we shall start walk number 3, a tidy 9 miler. NINE MILES! Some of you will think that's a long way, others may be used to walking further in a day. This being walk number 3, I already know that it will take about 5 hours, with a short break for lunch, as walk number 1 from Erith to Bexley, was about the same distance. We did that a couple of weeks ago, completing walk 2, Bexley to Petts Wood, last week, a mere 7 miler. And it is such good fun. We are discovering the area we live in, and walking by rivers, and through park land and woods. I'm looking forward to tomorrow. It may rain, but hey, what respectable walker doesn't have a pack-a-mac? For pensioners it's a cheap day out. We have our freedom pass, and we take a packed lunch. Our little treat at the end of the walk is a pint of Doom Bar, or other such ale, at the first pub we come to.

I'm glad I'm back on track with my life, and my blog. The golden adventures of Crete are history, and new adventures await in England. I'm looking forward to sharing them.

I think there is a music festival in Beckenham this coming weekend - bring it on!

Love Jane x

Tears From The Sun - The Story