Walking in the World

Monthly Archives: January 2015

Heart Sighting

I walked with new enthusiasm this afternoon; it really helps to have the proper kit! It’s very cold outside but now that I have a full month of daily walks under my belt, I decided it’s high time to start outfitting myself properly. So thanks to an hour of shopping at our local outdoor store, I’ll be traveling next month with a brand new (and deeply discounted) Jack Murphy waterproof that has enough zippered pockets to carry my gear and no velcro to snag my scarves. (I always like to have my lip gloss, a notebook and pen, a bit of cash, a few tissues, etc. with me when I walk. Doesn’t everybody?)

And while I was at it, I picked up a pair of warm welly boot socks and a pair of touchscreen gloves that will let me use my phone and its camera without freezing my fingers, or dropping my gloves in the mud. Admittedly, they look a little geeky, but I’m hoping that warm fingers will lead to more patient and prolific photography.

Encouraged and inspired by fellow heart collectors and walkers Karin Lonegren and Lisa Moriarty, I am always on the lookout for heart sightings. Today’s was a real delight, an uneven bit of concrete just waiting to be noticed:

Heart

31 Jan 2015

Winter on the River

I am a self-confessed Hermit who has to remind herself to say yes to people, adventure, and life. It snowed a little last night (for the first time in 2 years), so it was especially tempting to stay curled up in front of the fire all day, well away from slushy roads and cold winds. Let me reiterate, it snowed a little. Just enough to provide a light dusting on trees and shrubs, and a layer of mucky slush on the roads, just enough to remind me that I don’t really have appropriate snow clothes.

SnowBerries

I only battled with myself for a few minutes when a friend called to ask me to join her and her little boy on a walk along the seafront. I’m learning that when I say yes to adventure, I inevitably have fun — and today was no exception.

Crowestone

The snow was all but gone by midmorning, but the wind coming was still frigid as we walked along the sea wall, past the Crowstone, the obelisk that marks the end of the Port of London’s authority on the River Thames, and the beginning of the North Sea. Even in grey weather, it is mesmerizing to watch the the estuary shift and change with the tides.

30 Jan 2015

Fit for a Queen

HadleighKimEvery Queen needs a bit of castle time, and I’m no exception. We walked out to one of my happy spots, the ruins of Hadleigh Castle, to take advantage of this morning’s crisp, clear weather. Set on high ground overlooking the Thames Estuary, the ruins of the 13th century castle are beautifully maintained, and provide a lovely but windy place for a picnic in warm weather. It’s pretty brisk and can be quite bleak at this time of year, but today the sun was out and the skies were blue, affording us spectacular views both up and down the river. We could make out the taller London landmarks in the distance, the Shard and Canary Wharf in particular, and to the east we could see Herne Bay and Reculver- a span of at least 60 miles.

HadleighTower

Once occupied buy such notables as Edward III, Catherine of Aragon and Anne of Cleves, the castle has clearly seen better days, but centuries on, it’s remnants are still a beloved and much-visited local landmark.

HadleighPlan

29 Jan 2015

Ancient Holy Ground

rlykUWpb9UVD6rMD.jpg

The wind was bitter this afternoon, but it served to chase the rain away, and the beauty of the remaining clouds racing across the sky more than made up for the shivering. St. Peter’s Church stands on ancient holy ground just on the other side of Coombe Wood, so is only a short walk from home, a perfect destination for a cold day. I like the thought that people have come to this place for centuries, possibly millennia, seeking divine connection. The sense of peace is profound.

28 Jan 2015

Winter Berry Spotting

Berries1

Tuesday. The busiest day of my week, every week. A short walk through the neigbourhood was all I could manage, just long enough to breathe a bit of fresh air and do a bit of berry-spotting.

Berries2

27 Jan 2015

Winter Brighteners

Dotty Cup

Once again, our village tea shop offered the perfect destination for a chilly afternoon walk. What can be nicer than a warm drink and a chat with a good friend to kick off the new week? Hurrying home afterwards, I was stopped in my tracks by these trembling glimmers of hope just beginning to bloom in an otherwise bleak winter garden.

Snowdrops

The first snowdrops, or galanthus nivalis, of the season, remind us to hope for spring even while the skies are still grey and our forecasters are mumbling something about snow later in the week. It is said that soldiers in the Crimean war were so touched by these seasonal harbingers that they brought the bulbs back for their English gardens once the war was over. We have some in a protected corner of our garden already, but there was something unexpectedly brave and heartening about these little guys pushing up through open ground.

26 Jan 2015

Tick-the-box Walking

I’m feeling swamped here at my desk today, and really had to force myself into shoes and out the door for what I was calling a tick-the-box walk. I told myself I’d just take a quick swing around the (long) block, then come home and get back to work. But it didn’t work like that, and I have to admit, it never does. Yes, I only went out because of my commitment to walk daily for all of 2015, and yes, I was trying to get by with minimal effort… but then my body responded to the rhythm of my feet, and I felt myself relax into the walking, and then I looked up and saw this:

London RoadAnd my heart leaped. I’m in England. I really do live here, and I will never get over the fact that London Road really does mean the road to London. How amazing is that? Ten minutes later I was back home and back to work, happier and more relaxed than when I started.

Maybe there really isn’t any such thing as tick-the-box walking.

25 Jan 2015

Winter Woodland

I wanted a gentle stroll through the woods not a scramble through the underbrush, but the day was so beautiful that I let myself be talked into walking down into Thundersley Glen.

Glen

Looks are deceiving, however, so Jeff was quickly pressed into carving sticks to help keep us upright as we scrambled along the (grossly) muddy paths.

8wGZk1Nm7L5ZHq3B.jpgI promise I’ll show you much more of Thundersley Glen in coming months as the weather warms up and the paths dry out. The Glen is a lovely woodland with ancient footpaths running through; Jeff remembers going down with his father to hunt for Sunday dinner, a traditional activity that could never happen now.

24 Jan 2015

Magic Happens

I wrote a silly little post about going walking in glorious sunshine this morning and seeing a ridiculously big and sunny bus parked on a very small road, but I didn’t feel quite right about hitting that no-going-back publish button. I then worked on Desk Stuff all afternoon (including a few tweaks and a Twitter link on this website), then made a phone call that I think might just change my life in a very nice way.

Thundersley WalksI saw this book at a friend’s house today, and I wanted a copy. In an out-of-character act, I called the author and asked if I could buy one directly from her. I could, I did, and in the doing, got in an extra walk and met an extraordinary woman. You know how sometimes you just know that something is meant to be? Watch this space… I think some new adventures are heading my way.

And just for fun, here’s the Big Bus on the Little Road. Hope your day has sparkled with magic, too!bigbus

 

23 Jan 2015

The Rosy Glow of Casual Conversation

Our drab weather continues, though it isn’t quite as bitter outside today. Every dog walker in town seemed to be out, and everyone seemed chatty, which was nice. I love the quirkiness of conversations with casual strangers, people you don’t know, whom you may or may not never see again, but who brush up against you in passing and leave an impression. I was photographing these beautiful rose hips when a gentleman asked what I was doing and we walked on and chatted a bit, leaving me with a warm glow inside and an unexpected new idea to explore. Simple pleasures!

22 Jan 2015

%d bloggers like this: