In search of bluebells

In a week that had snow, rain, sleet and thunder, it was a bit of a surprise to wake up yesterday to blue skies and sunshine (on a Bank Holiday weekend – what?!). And just as well, because my friends and I had planned to head out for a walk and find some bluebells, after an aborted attempt a few weeks ago when we were still in the depths of winter.

We started in Chilham, a village between Ashford and Canterbury, with a pub lunch in the sun at the Woolpack Inn (no, not that Woolpack). Then we headed off on a six-mile walk inspired by Jane Austen, who apparently used to visit the neighbouring village of Godmersham and dined regularly at Chilham Castle. In fact I think the route was even called Mr Darcy’s Chilham Walk, although unfortunately we didn’t run into him.

It all started well; we set out from Chilham Castle, admiring the beautiful houses we could never afford, and into the woods where we finally found some bluebells. We crossed a pretty river, disturbed a flock of sheep and climbed over some very wobbly stiles. Despite a few wrong turns, we were well on track to make it back in the estimated three hours… and then we went quite spectacularly wrong. After climbing the world’s steepest hill* and continuing for quite a long way at the top in the stubborn belief that if we kept going long enough we’d eventually find a right turn to get us back on track, we realised that what we’d identified as a fence might actually have been a gate. (It was a gate.)

So what was supposed to be a six-mile walk ended up closer to nine, we ended up power walking the last mile (the last bit of which was also uphill), and my legs hate me today… but hey, at least we worked off the pub lunch.

*possibly an exaggeration

Photo Sunday: On the doorstep

After a busy few weeks (yep, I know I keep saying it, but it has been totally manic) I decided to stay close to home for this week’s Photo Sunday, and take the camera for a brief riverside walk in Greenhithe. On a lovely sunny day, and with autumn well underway, the views were pretty amazing; I’m officially jealous of the people who get to live along the river and enjoy it every day.

All these photos were taken on the short stretch of riverside walk close to Ingress Park, Greenhithe, about 15 minutes away from where I live. What great views do you have on your doorstep?

Photo Sunday: Kent County Show

Last week, I shared pictures from my photo walk in the City of London. This week, in complete contrast, we’re off to the country, with images from yesterday’s visit to the Kent County Show.

The annual event, held at the Kent Showground in Detling, is a celebration of everything to do with farming and rural life. So it’s got livestock, crafts, entertainment, music – and food. So much food. It’s the kind of place you could quite easily bankrupt yourself just on strawberries and cream alone. But you can also buy clothes, jewellery, tractors, hot tubs, art… pretty much anything you can think of, so it’s a good idea to go with a fixed budget in mind. And there’s a funfair, a flower tent and a woodland area. We were there for nearly six hours and still didn’t see everything.

Highlights of our day included a display by the Metropolitan Police Mounted Branch, and the terrier racing, which is hilarious and adorable – if a tad noisy. The low point was when I stepped in something unmentionable in the cattle marquee. Yuck.

Introducing the Great Home Time Detour

I decided last week that I need to do more exercise. Which is a great idea, obviously, except I don’t really have the time (or, if I’m honest, the inclination) to join a gym, and I never run anywhere unless it’s literally a matter of life and death. With death being the more likely outcome. I’ve got an exercise bike at home, but it rarely gets used, because, again, there never seem to be enough hours in the day.

So how to fit exercise into a busy life? Well, I’m starting off gently, by trying to walk the recommended 10,000 steps a day. Although, as it turns out, that’s actually quite a lot of walking, especially when you’re working full-time then have a two-hour journey home. I thought the walk to and from the train station must be a decent amount of steps, but it turns out it’s only 1,500 each way.

Doh.

But it’s okay, because I have a cunning plan. I work in south west London and have to get back to Charing Cross to catch my train home in the evening. That journey’s about 4 miles, and I have walked it before, but I wouldn’t want to do it every day – mostly because I have to walk through Chelsea, which makes me feel poor and shabby. So instead the plan is to walk a different bit of the route every day; this way, I get to explore bits of London I don’t usually get to see because I’m underground, and take lots of photos along the way.

Obviously, this is limited to days I’m not going out or needing to rush home. At some point, I may try to fit it in on the way to work in the morning – but realistically, I don’t know if that’s going to happen, my relationship with mornings being what it is. (Mutual loathing, in case you were wondering.)

So anyway, this Tuesday, my home time detour took me from Victoria Station, past Buckingham Palace, then up through St James’s Park, down to Westminster, and back along the river to Charing Cross. It was a sunny afternoon and the walk took about 45 minutes at a brisk pace. And even though it woke up my hayfever, it was totally worth it.

In case you were worried, I’m not going to bore you with every post-work trip, but I thought I’d share a few of my photos from St James’s Park, if only to show off how pretty London can be on a nice day. Enjoy – and if anyone has any suggestions on detours I can take between Fulham and Charing Cross, give me a shout.

By the way, this sudden desire for exercise has been partly inspired by a friend and fellow blogger, who’s infinitely more determined and committed than I am. You can follow her 8 Week Transformation over at mygriffinway.co.uk.

Photo Sunday: Down by the river

These photos were taken at Riverside Country Park in Gillingham, Kent. My family and I were there for a walk on Easter Sunday, taking advantage of the fact that spring had finally sprung.

The River Medway is not usually a particularly attractive sight, but with the sun shining, it was actually really pretty, and I couldn’t resist getting the camera out.

Happy Spring, everyone! 🙂