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Auburn is the colour of Autumn

 

 

Dear reader,

I do not own ear buds, a laptop, iPad or a kindle. I have noticed when I am out walking, people with their ears jammed in with ear buds. I smile, say hello, no response. I see bus drivers, taxi drivers, cyclist and shoppers wearing ear buds.  I like to hear voices, laughter and even a good moaner. Most of all I enjoy the sounds of nature, the wind, leaves rustling, rivers flowing, bird song. I often see and hear the speckled song thrushes, greenwood peckers, long-tailed tits, bullfinches, black birds, lesser spotted woodpecker and the robin. Not only the beautiful sounds but these birds add colour to the bareness of the trees.

Only this morning I saw the Raven a beautiful bird, I watched a buzzard soar then heard its call and the jackdaws cawed too.  Watched two magpies harass a crow. Rabbit jumped out and jumped back. More dogs now then ever and MORE DOG POO BAGS DISCARDED SOMETIME HANGING FROM TREES. DOG OWNERS WHO BEHAVE LIKE THIS SHOULD FEEL ASHAMED!!!!

I do like an evening walk

I walked out to witness the sun setting, a flock of starlings gave me a wonderful display. Raven cawed above and outstretched its wings. The cold air stung my cheeks and made my eyes water. I really enjoy evening walks, the scent of the damp earth, shadows and light. The birds going home to roost and sometimes I see the fox. Bats have gone now, I will see them again in the new year along with the swifts, swallows and the cuckoo.

I watched the documentary  Bobby Sands : 66 Days. Bobby Sands was born on the 9th March 1954. Bobby went on hunger strike on my twentieth birthday March 1st 1981. He died 5th May 1981. He achieved many things as a political prisoner at  H- Block. A writer, an MP standing for the Anti H-Block and was the youngest MP. Sadly he never took his seat. He was also a poet, a raw real rip your heart out poet and to me a very courageous man.

Quotes by Bobby Sands

 “Things must come to pass as one
so hope should never die
there is no height or bloody might
that a freeman can’t defy.
There is no source or foreign force
can break one man who knows,
that his free will nothing can kill
And from that freedom grows”

Quotes “Our revenge will be the laughter in our children”

“They have nothing in their whole imperial arsenal that can break the spirit of one Irishmen who doesn’t want to be broken”

The poem The Rhythm of Time  had a profound effect on me.

From his collection titled Prison Poems Haunting Whistling Winds

I have written a novel unpublished, titled “Maggie’s Ireland”. I cover Ireland and Wales over a hundred years. The novel is about  love during the Anglo-Irish War / War of Independence. I write on the social and political history of Ireland and Wales. 1870’s to 1971.

Photo of my grandparents, Maggie and Dick, this photo will be the front cover of the novel.

It has taken me 5 years to write and 1 year to re – edit. My grandmother would tell me stories of her Ireland and I kept them locked inside of me.

“Ah did I tell you about Kevin Barry?” A tear would fall and I caught her memories and gave them life. I believe in “Maggie’s Ireland” so passionately and I know it will be published.

First time for everything

While following the river Rhymney I caught the electric blue wing of a Kingfisher. This was my  first Kingfisher on the river Rhymney. I have seen the Kingfisher on the river Taff many times but in my own back yard was special. Later I stood stupefied, watched my first willow tit pour joy, it is always the simple things in life.

Walked out to a sun rise and the frost, followed the moon, while the sun warmed my back.

Caught a rainbow on my healing garden sun rays glinted on the underbelly of a red kite, reflecting auburn. Liquid sound of the skylark warmed my soul.

Pink shell sky

 

Downside of walking is not the weather it is rubbish being dumped.

I am a keen walker and yes I often come across dumped rubbish mostly dumped by  the lazy builder, plummer and painter decorator and the car bootie people. Yes I have written blogs on this subject, phoned, emailed, CCBC and their response was good. However, the day I spoke to council workers (who’s job it was to take the dumped rubbish) in person, was a dreadful moment for me. I was called a mental case, loony and care in the community. Yes I complained about this abuse too. But if everyone complained then maybe something can be done. I am self-employed and I know that if the builder, plummer, painter decorator, used the proper services (Refuges) they can claim their money back from the tax man!!! As for the car bootie’s who dump their rubbish shame on you!!!!

Be careful where you put your time.

Take time to listen to sea-shore of your breathing you may find waves of calmness.

Be mindful not mind full.

At the end of the day we all want to be understood.

Always remember racism is the disease of the ignorant.

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Amroth, frost, robin and beautiful people.

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Dear reader,

This blog is dedicated to my dear friend for over thirty years and my sister-in-law for twenty-five years, Brenda Pritchard. In your life’s journey you come across some beautiful people.  Brenda is one of life’s beautiful people.

I do like Amroth. Amroth is sandwiched between Pendine sands and Wiseman’s bridge across the way is Saundersfoot and Tenby. You have views of Caldy Island and the beautiful Lundy Island. I have visited Lundy many times but that is another story.

Amroth was like a summer’s day, enough blue sky to make granddad a shirt. The view from where we stayed was breath-taking.

Downside of Amroth beach, dog walkers are allowed on the beach from 30th September until May. The beach was awash with dog walkers, many dogs were off the lead. Three  times I was attacked. One stupid dog owner, threw a ball from a plastic object (The object is designed to make dog walkers lazy) the ball landed on the side of my head, while the dog went for my ankles. I walked away gracefully but under my breath I swore many times. DOG MUST BE ON LEADS AT ALL TIMES!!!!!! Simple statement. Rant out the way.

We walked to the New Inn the other end of Amroth. The food was good. The real ale called “Summer Rock” Blue Stone was brewed in Newport, Pembrokeshire and John enjoyed. Their house white wine was not good. We walked back in the dark, with only the moon and stars for company. It was a beautiful walk back, bats came out and we heard the owl.

Photo of the sun setting over Saundersfoot.

 

The following day we did a circular walk, included coastal path, river walk and a lane. I do like lane walking. We walked up the zig zag steps and made our way to Wiseman’s Bridge. Walked up the Peaceful Valley, to Stepaside through a lane that lead to Summer hill. We found a farm called Ambridge we both like “The Archers” and back to Armorth.

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The following day we decided to catch the bus to Tenby and go on a boat trip to Caldy Island. I was up early as always, to catch the sun rising and scouted for bus times. Beautiful sun rise, Lundy is to the right.

At the one bus stop, was the one and only person going to school. I spoke to the young school boy, who was sat inside the bus shelter and in front of the bus time-table (I had forgotten my glasses) I  asked the lad for the bus time to Tenby. 9 23am he replied. I thanked him and made way. We were at the bus stop 9 10am. 9 30am no bus but we saw a bus coming the opposite way. I stopped the bus and asked the driver was he our bus. He replied no unless you want to go to Pendine Sands. I said the bus time-table states 9 23am. He replied the bus time-table was 2 years out of date. Red faced, opened mouth and speechless. The only school person from Amroth to use the bus was oblivious too and why not. His 7 40am school bus was always on time.

Bus arrived 9 50am. The bus driver was rude, opinionated and racists anyone who came from outside Pembrokeshire was a foreigner. I love people like him!! Racism is the disease of the ignorant.

At Tenby we made our way to the dock and a boat trip to Caldy. The boat to Caldy would not be sailing until October 23rd. We could have gone on a boat trip around Caldy, costing £24 for two. We declined. I love islands and I wanted to get the feel of Caldy beneath our feet, not see it from a distance.

 

We walked on to the beach, Caldy lying on its back lonely

 

Off into the town, these very old Tudor buildings fascinate me. We stopped for fish and chips in the best fish and ship shop in Tenby since 1935. Fecci’s

While at bus station I called at the tourist information centre. I told the lovely helpful woman about the bus time-table being two years out of date. Dear reader, some of you know I am a lone walker and I go on very long walks. To me, a bus time-table 2 years out of date says a lot about the place and to me it is paramount that you know your song before you sing it. ie time tables are correct. The woman in the tourist information was astounded. straight away she was on the case and phoned Pembrokeshire Council. I like women like her. Bus arrived with the same driver. I told him I passed the information to Tourist information centre. Strange he was not happy, then there is nowt queer than some folk.

That evening we went out to watch the Wales & Ireland football match. At the spit and sawdust Temple Bar. Wales chance to qualify for the world cup. The last time was sixty years ago. I have a Welsh heart but an old Irish soul. However I supported Wales. We played terrible, we just did not turn up. Ireland were hungry for a win and yes some of their football was ugly but the desire to win was stronger than ours. Being in a pub we have never been before, I tried to keep my passion at bay, alas my Irish soul, took over and I shouted at Arron Ramsay. “Ramsay you wouldn’t play like that for Arsenal!!!” The pub all looked at me. Well football is a passionate game. Ireland deserved to win. Lets hope Wales does not have to wait, another sixty years.

Following day weather was not good, but hey I am not a fair weather walker. I went out and scouted for a different walk. Colby wood what a beautiful place. I found a lovely circular but John would have had difficulty walking. So I walked alone. He was fine, he had his books and was very happy to be at the cottage, with the great view. Later we walked the back of Amroth.

  

 

The cottage had a conservatory with amazing views and we spent the afternoon reading and glancing at the views. What bliss, How many times do we sit and just be.?As I glanced up a Hobby breathed in the garden and breathed out again what a sight.

We were walking to Pendine sands and the weather was not good, high winds, lashing down with rain. We wore the proper gear but it was futile. So we called in the New Inn and John enjoyed a couple of pints of real ale “Summer Rock” I had a pot of tea and people watched. I have walked the Pembrokeshire coastal path in long bits and bobs and John has walked some of the coast too. The coast of Pembrokeshire will be my next long walk.

I was up early and the weather was very cold, freezing in fact. I caught the first frost of the autumn.

 

Later that morning John and I walked Colby wood. The sun was up and the frost had cleared. The trees were in their autumn best.

We walked round the walled garden at Colby. unusual plants, a fig tree and a robin befriended us.

 

After a cream scone tea, coffee for me. We walked back. John hunted for fossils and I watched the waves. See the fossil in the large rock, it was far to heavy for us to take it home. Look at the light I captured in the waves priceless.

Later that evening we had a delicious 3 course meal in the Amroth Arms. We had a wonderful waiter called Jack. Despite Jack being shy, he served us well. I found out later Jack worked with Rhinos in the local zoo and the other waitress worked with lions at the same zoo. You never know who you are going to meet along life’s journey, where possible greet everyone with a smile.

Never wish anyone harm, keep your own counsel.If anger does rise, take the anger on a walk, a bike ride or a run. Never allow anger or spite to rule your heart and mind.

Capturing autumn colours & walking with my thoughts.

My favourite season is autumn. The smells, colours and the tilt in the sunsets and sunrises and a harvest moon.

While walking early one morning, I came across a fairy ring, Tylwyth Teg. Entrance to the other world and where fairy folk live. I thought on my friend Chris Torrance and his epic book titled “The Magic Door” It has taken Chris over forty years to write. I am looking forward to Chris’s book launch.

Thursday evening 5th October harvest moon rising above the Sirhowy Valley at the front of our house.

 Walking to work through the back lanes of Maes -Y -Cwmmer the river Rhymney flowed.

Walking to work, Images I captured back of Ystrad Mynach

The earth sinks to a lemon and silver  sun, rises and tilts to a dramatic setting sun

 

A path dotted with leaves, a lesser spotted wood pecker flew out and made me jump. I think on the many birds & wild animals I have encountered over the years. The Dog Otter I saved, from being mauled by a rock weiler, on Little Haven Beach, Pembrokeshire. While walking the last part of Offa’s Dyke, with my old walking friend Jennifer Franklyn. We spied an Otter swimming in the river Wye. Later, a shy Fallow deer peeped out and quickly ran off. The Hare I saw off Lavenock Point. Two golden Eagles floated above me as I walked through Glenveagh National park, Donegal, Ireland. Walking the Caerphilly Boar walk with my dear friend Keith Fairhall, we heard and saw a Night jar on top Mynyddislwyn. The Adder I nearly picked up off the Llyn Pensular. John’s wise hand stopped me.  Electric blue wing of the Kingfisher. Two tawny owls sat on a fence at midnight. The bats in abundance outside our home.  The Puffins on Skoma Island with John, Michelle and Ron. The Vixen with her young on the Cwm Darran trail. We stood and stared at each other. The evening walk when I saw two foxes playing in on Gelligaer Common. Dear reader, all the above I encountered with the naked eye not a camara insight.

PS anyone who thinks hunting is okay please read the book “Tarka the Otter” by Henry Williamson.

This morning Sunday 15th October out walking,  a flock of Red wings sitting on telegraph wire. My first thoughts were they swifts or swallows. Far to big to be either. I drew near, yes red wings. A crow being harassed by two magpies. The crow dipped and swiftly did a back flip. Golden beech tree caught my eye. I stopped and stared and out flew three Red Kites they gave me a beautiful display.

Monday 2nd of October I heard today Tom Petty died. I liked Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers. Tom was popular during my late teenage years. I also liked the Travelling Wilburys. George Harrison, poet in my heart Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne (ELO) and Tom Petty. Great band, with the worlds best singer Roy Orbison and the worlds best lyricist Bob Dylan. George Harrison and Tom Petty added their greatness. Very talented Jeff Lynne world-class producer. On Tuesday evening John and I held a wake in Tom Petty’s honour. We played Travelling Wilburys DVD and Cd and we danced in our kitchen. The moon came out and shone down. I hope your astral light is shining bright Tom Petty.

Walking through Bargoed Country Park, the only park with a train station in the middle. I think on the shootings in America. One man with a massive cachet of fire arms. No good man or woman, would want to own a gun. Laws need to be changed in (the land of the free my arse) America

I communicated with a buzzard he squawked and so did I. Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and green woodpecker, blue tits, skylarks. What a morning then the dam sang a lament

Fruits of autumn.

 

 

Walking in my local park and where Bargoed Rugby team play their home games.

In times of difficulty take refuge in compassion and truth. Never wish anyone badness and never allow anyone to walk through your mind with their dirty feet. Remember love conquers all.

 

Don’t Gamble with your family!!!

 

Gambling can bring poverty to the home

September 22nd 1935 my father Francis Griffin was born. He was born into a warm working class Irish/ Welsh family. He was the seventh child, his mother went on to have three more children. A large working class Celtic family, hardworking, cultured, storytelling and with lots of singing. Francis was a bright boy, with good footballing skills and a beautiful singing voice. Aged ten he sang at his school teachers funeral. The teacher was run over by a car outside the school gates of St Francis RC school Ely, Cardiff. Francis sang the song “Beautiful Dreamer” at the school mistress’s funeral.

He left school and worked in Phillips Electric, Docks, Cardiff. He also had a promising football career but sadly he broke his leg having football trails. I was told by his family, that he had trails with Preston North End and then told later with a Dutch team. His beautiful singing voice followed him into adulthood. 1957 he cut a record but lost the confidence to see the record through. Also in 1957 my father won a vast amount of money on the football pools and married my mother. He travelled  to Ireland to visit his mother’s family with his parents and my mother. My parents are on the right at the back. My Irish grandmother Maggie is seated on the front, her eldest daughter Charlotte hands are her mother’s shoulders. Along with my uncle and my Irish and Welsh cousins.

Sheila Chris Mary with Aunt Margaret & family from Wales Red Cow Lane

He gave money to  St Francis RC Church, Ely, Cardiff. He also gave money to all his 9 siblings. He was a generous young man. tragedy struck in December 1957. When their first-born Michael died aged 3 days.

1960 my brother was born. March 1st 1961 when I was born we were homeless and my father was in prison. I am not ashamed that my father went to prison or that on my birth certificate my address was Greenfarm hostel for the homeless. Circumstances at the time played a big part.

The adrenalin rush, hyper mood then the massive come down after losing was horrific to witness.

My father’s gambling addiction started with pitch and toss in school, later card games and then the football pools onto horses. From a young age I witnessed my father’s gambling addiction rule our house. The mood swings into action, sweating, ranting raging. We ran away from the nutter as his betting slips into the gutter. He chased the big win of 1957 and destroyed his own life and made ours a brutal and bloody  misery. The young talented man had gone and was replaced by a gambling alcoholic.

2014 I was asked to perform poetry at an anti gambling conference down Cardiff docks at the Coal exchange. I read the poem I wrote “Daughter of an Addicts”. The press took my story and gave their own and used inflammatory language and also portrayed me as a victim and the consequences of this are. I lost my father’s family, they disowned me and to this day will not speak to me.

However from that conference. I was invited to run a writing group in all woman addiction clinic called “Ashcroft house”. It was a wonderful experience for me and humbling too. I inspired and encouraged the women to write for the first time in their lives and helped to produce and edit “A is for Addicts” All proceeds went back into the clinic.

 

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Last week Wednesday 13th September while in the middle of walking Hadrian’s wall. I received a phone call from Lynn Courtney, ITV Wales, from “Wales This Week” program. I told her that I am walking 84 miles for charity and I will speak to her when I arrived home. In the meantime she text me and emailed me on my computer back home in my study. I phoned the journalist 8am Sunday September 17th. She was on her way to speak to ex footballer John Hartson and ex service people. I found out today Friday 22nd September, my father’s 82nd birthday. They do not need me, I am not famous or an ex service women. I am not a victim either of my father’s addiction!!!! My father was the best teacher I ever had of how not to be and in his darkest moments he would preach to me “Don’t do as I did do as i say”

My mother had alcoholic problems too. Both my parents  were frustrated and disappointed in each other. They became aggressively vocal and very  violent towards each other. Their five children sat in the middle of it all. Only my parents knew why they had problems yet we their five children were constantly being blamed. Back in the 60’s and 70’s parents who abused children were called “strict”. Relatives who looked the other way and showed indifference towards me and my siblings ought to hang their heads in shame.

He died aged 43 a very sad man who had a massive drink and gambling addiction.

1978 the last year of my father’s life was not good, he was becoming more violent towards me. If he could not reach with his fist he would throw a shoe. He was being taken to court for a botched up building job. He was caught drink driving and was banned from driving. His life saver and the women he loved and confided in the most his mother Maggie had died. Though I was only seventeen at the time I knew my father would die and he did. 9 months after his mother.

He died knowing he was a fool, not addict, the knowledge was not out there back then regarding gambling. In the 60’s and 70’s gambling and hard-drinking was socially accepted. He died a lonely sad broken man.

I remember the time he stopped drinking and gambling and took up gardening. He would give tours of his work to the rent man, friends, milkman, relatives. I loved walking through his master piece breathing in the black currants, carrots to see in the dark. I would survey the view and it filled my heart with happiness.

He was self-employed and worked as a builder.  I remember the time 1968 my father brought home a desk from a building job, he gave it to me. I told him one day I will be a writer. Today I have three collections of my poetry, published in many articles, Red Poets, I am not the Silent Poet. Roundyhouse, Art galleries and many anthologies.  Two unpublished novels. I lead a very good successful life.

I learnt a lot from my father of how not to be but I have a lot of him in me. I love football. I am self-employed. I have a love of all things Irish. I can talk to anybody and everybody as he did. However, I have never gambled not even bought a lottery ticket.

You never see a poor bookie either.

I use to respect Ray Winston as an actor I have no respect for him now. He plays the diamond geezer, jack the lad in gambling adverts. Please like he needs the money!!!

Yes I hear some cry “Well I can put one bet on and walk way”. Well lucky you!!!! There are a lot more who cannot walk away!!!!!

But I know what it is like to have your spirit and trust broken. Deep seated wounds scabbed over, later seep out in low self-esteem, failed relationships and addiction yes the gambling gene still exists in my family but thank goodness not in me!!!!

My poem daughter of Addict

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Hadrian’s Wall Walk

 I had an emotional breakdown August 2016. I decided to walk the whole of Hadrian’s wall over 5 days to challenge myself mentally and physically. Also to raise money for Beresford Centre Newport. Beresford Center encouraged me to talk my past out of me.Hadrian's wall walk September 11th to 16th 2017 027.jpg

Dear reader,

Monday 11th September at 7 15am I flew from a very stormy wet Bristol airport and at 7 50am I arrived in sunny Newcastle. Where I began my walk on Hadrian’s Wall.

Wearing walking trousers, fleecy hoody, blue beeny, coat wrapped round my waist. On my back my old faithful back pack.

Inside the back pack

Two Books titled  Hadrian’s wall” by Henry Steadman, “Notes from Walnut Farm” by Roger Deaking and my journal

Two tops, 1 pair of leggings, 1 trousers and waterproof trousers

underwear for 5 days, 2 pairs of socks and a nighty,

toiletries,

Pair of fat face sandals,

Small first aid kit, compass, torch and my water bottle.

For the first leg of my walk I have no photos the Luddite in me accidentally deleted the photos. I was devastated then I got a grip and thought of when I walked. Exmoor, Snowden North Cornwall, Somerset coast and part of Offa’s Dyke without a camara or phone.

Monday September 11th 10am

The real walk starts at Heddon on the Wall, behind the Three Tun pub. Changed into my shorts at the petrol station toilet. The roaring B6528 brought me to farm fields. Where I saw a dead Hare. I have only ever seen one live Hare, off Lavernock point 1991. Through a wooded glade and unusual sheep. I had not eaten since 3 30am I stopped at the Robin Hood pub where there was lovely greeting from the landlady. I ordered some food, four Dutch ladies looking slightly flushed came in wearing huge back packs. I felt for them then realised they were young and fit. I chatted with an elderly punter named Ian. Ian was riddled with arthritis. He shook my hand and I made my way. Between Robin Hood pub and Halton Chesters I came across a trig point built into the wall surrounded by brambles. onto an open space beauty with stunning views. I saw four walkers picnicking. I took their photo and they took mine. They also asked me to join them. I declined and made way towards Chollerford. Following the military road. Reaching St Oswald church I made a mistake. I followed two walkers and not the sign. The two walkers were ahead of me so I followed but unbeknown to me they were inside the church. I do not do churches or religion. After walking quarter of a mile I saw the two coming from the church. I sighed in frustration and retraced my steps. I saw the sign post. Down through a very busy lane brought me to Cholloerford and The George Hotel.

My room had a bath, pour luxury. After a good soak I cat napped. Went down stairs for my meal while waiting I looked at the days photos and deleted them. I was horrified the lovely bar man named Lewis tried to retrieve my photos alas all 18 photos had gone. Lovely meal went out to look at the North Tyne River what a beaut.

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The view from my room.

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George Hotel is a fairly posh hotel, expensive £80 but it was the only place I could book at the time. Penny, Barnupus and Lewis were a credit to the owners of the George hotel.

Tuesday 12th September

Slept well up with sunshine fed and watered I left Chollerford at 7 40am wearing shorts. 4 miles later autumn nipped at me calf’s. Changed into my trousers. Came across many of these stair stiles that I was not keen on. Reason being I am built like a Welsh mountain goat sturdy, strong, little arms and short legs.

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Brocolitia Fort and the stiles I liked.

   

The views took my breath away physically and mentally. Now the real walk starts.

 

Met three women from Bowness they had never walked Hadrian’s wall before. I took their photo they took mine. They were really impressed by my pink walking coat. In the back ground of the photo is Bromlee Lough. The weather was cold with showers in between. My eyes and nose were streaming but my man’s size hankie was always at hand.

 

Amazing views I now I had to walk the back of the wall. It was like walking the equivalent of the wild Cornish coast and West Wales. Up down in out, a Jezebel of a walk. I stopped to eat and drink watched bull finches catch flies and cloud sheep shaving the earth then dance with the sun. Walking up the steep path, head down backside up load of Scottish children were coming the other way. They stopped to let the stooping Welsh mountain goat through.

I turned off at Cawfield Quarry and my mile walk up a tarmac lane with drizzle trickling my face. Pass the Mile Castle pub and the Bridgehouse B & B. I am a very keen walker with tremendous stamina, the walk hurt me, right to the marrow. Very clean and clinical B& B run by Angie and Norman. Nice ornaments with sayings on. I had a large room with shower en suite. Showered and cat napped. Made my way to the very busy Mile Castle pub busy with walkers, tourists and locals. Nice young waitress named Jasmin. The woman in charge of the pub was rude and aggressive. I ordered starter pate and a curry, assuming it was an Indian curry. The curry was not Indian. It was Chinese I am allergic to oyster and soy sauce that is used in Chines curry. I told the aggressive woman who proceeded to  ignore me. I spoke to her again explaining why. She stood there hands on hips and said it’s not chinese. I replied “I think it is”. She snatched the food and stormed off into the kitchen. Then came out with smug look and said it is not Chinese it is Malaysia. I just looked at her and said I cannot eat it.

What do you want?

I said a chilli.

“Are you sure that’s spicy you do not like spicy food”

Dear reader I had just walked 21 miles I was tired and hungry I replied.

“I am not allergic to spicy food”. She then said you ought to careful what you order in here in future. I sighed and said I have never been in this area or you pub before. The chef was by the bar she asked him did he have any Chilli he said no. The chilli was on the board and two people just ordered chilli. I felt sad inside and asked for the bill. I followed her to bar. Told her she was rude and aggressive and customers should come before money and I will put her in my blog. Walked out into the rain, cold and damp in bed 8pm with that stupid woman inside my head.

Wednesday 13th September

Slept okay weather was not good rain and low cloud. Down to breakfast and where I met Haji. Haji parents were from North India he was born in Britain. He was walking the wall with his in-laws and wife. They were not walking all but Haji was. The battery on my mobile was low and I had no charger with me. This lovely man loaned me his. We talked about walks when his family came into the room. Haji told them about me. His father in law loudly said to his wife and daughter. No women should not be allowed to walk alone. I said I can hear you. “Well I am ex army and I think it is wrong”.  I disagreed with him. Ironic it is Haji culture which  is supposed to be not fair to women. However, his father in law who was white, English and ex army  was a misogynist. I shook Haji’s hand and thanked him for the use of his charger and told him he was a real gentleman.

Bridgehouse B&B cost me £60 very pricey I think I paid for the love sayings and the ornaments. Those who are walking the whole of Hadrian’s wall do not want a massive fry up. Ceral fruit, toast is sufficient. A price of a fry up in a lunch bag instead. That would be good.

Left  Bridgehouse B&B at 8 40am the swifts were ducking diving and the sun came out and cast my shadow before me. A steep incline past Burnhead B&B. At great Chesters fort Aecisa. I met Deric and Barry from Exeter Devon. We chatted and I took their photo and they took mine.

 

The two were staying at Gilsland I was making for Walton. Just outside BirdsOswald I stopped to eat and was losing hope. I gave myself a telling off, fed and watered I carried on.

The path was boggy very boggy slippery and flooded.  The accident I had on Boxing day 2014 where I was stuck waist deep in a bog. Was in my mind constantly and I became vocal and coloured the air blue. Saw walkers walking on the road so I did the same. Many American’s Canadians, Dutch and German. The wall was built at the time of the Roman Empire and the workers came from Europe, Africa, Syria The soldiers were British European, African and from the middle East. Today the wall was walked by others for leisure from all over the world. Through flooded farm fields that were guarded by cattle and calf’s. I changed my accent to Ruth Archer from the radio program “Archer’s”. “Wey up cow wey up”.

I could see a steeple in the distance this kept me focused. About 2 miles up a lane and I saw a blue metal bicycle advertising Florrie’s On the Wall Walton.

A wonderful bunk house run by two beautiful people Jos and Rebecca. Clean fresh and inviting. Florrie’s is named after Rebecca’s grandmother who lived in the house with her husband and would often greet walkers offering refreshments and encouragement. They left the house to Rebecca and the bunk house opposite was the chicken barn.

I had my four bedded bunk room en suite to my self. The community room was light and open. I met Florin he was with the four people I saw picnicking on Monday he remembered me. His wife was Sylvia their friends were Karen from Canada and her English husband Corin. Lovely intelligent people with a great sense of humor. Witnessed a dramatic sun set, peach orange and gold through the showers of rain.

Later Rebecca’s mother Rita joined us. A wonderful story-teller of her travels when younger. Also Francesco from Italy a Geology student working at Florrie’s. A warm-hearted clever gentleman. I read and performed my poetry that evening. Went to bed late 9 30pm.

Thursday September 14th

Sunshine warmed the dew away fed and watered said my goodbyes hugs and smiles were given. Rebecca gave me £10 towards my charity I was humbled. Florrie’s cost me £40.

Florrie’s is a wonderful peaceful place, run by two beautiful people I would recommend Florrie’s to anyone.

Out of Walton to Carlisle left 8am onto more squelching, soaking paths. One path was flooded so much I climbed round a huge beech tree. Peaceful sound of the river Eden.

I stopped in Crosby on Eden and lost hope again. Told myself off in a reassuring way, fed and watered I made my way. A massive flock of starlings lifted my spirits. Following the river I missed my the sign post and was lost. Saw boot prints and I carried on. The roar of traffic and sirens told me the big city of Carlisle was not far. At Rickerby park following the river Eden there was a massive diversion. I followed the diversion. Into the busy center of Carlisle. to my abode Howard Lodge. Nice room, good shower, clean and tidy. Tony and Charlotte who run Howard Lodge were good down to earth people. showered cat napped. Out to dinner at Dempsey’s. 3 course meal £19 it was very good. Paul was a very efficient waiter. Bed 8pm. Early hours heard the rain and the eek eek sound of an owl.

Friday September 15th

Awoken by a blue tit sound “teacher teacher” and the “caw caw” sound of the Jackdaws and wall to wall sunshine. Breakfast eaten said my goodbyes to Charlotte. My room and breakfast cost me £40 which was very good.

8am on the road again. To another diversion that cost me 3 miles. Met a fellow walker told him about the diversion he was not happy and expressed this vocally. I suggested we walk and find the diversion. He was carrying a small back pack, his clothes and other belongings were in his friend’s car. He stopped turned to me and said “I cannot walk at you pace I have my own and it is faster than yours and I need to me Bowness on Solway to get the bus back”. I looked at him and said “No worries I have large back pack you carrying on”. He went storming off and missed the diversion. I could not shout to him because of the roar of the traffic. I would never have caught up with him. I carried on but my shoulders were hurting very badly I took two pain killers. Threw away trousers, a top and underwear. 5 miles later road runner turned up. “Oh you found the diversion okay then” I ignored him and walked at my pace. Paths were flooded from farm fields and tarmac it was cruel. 6 miles outside Bowness on Solway I met two lovely gentlemen Tommy Rickerby and Ed Miller both were 80. We chatted and used banter. They wished me well and I needed good wishes. I was tired and very weary. My boots were bogging my legs mud splattered. I found Edward “Oh flower of Scotland” Yes I sang the Scottish anthem.

Hadrian's wall walk September 11th to 16th 2017 044.jpg

Onto the long tarmac road that followed the Solway.

The song of the sea birds lifted my soul. A lady on a racing bike stopped to speak with me. Her name was Millie, Millie was 72.  What a women. Millie was a tonic and lifted my spirits.

 

Sea of humanity was walking towards me. I wished them well and warned them of the diversion and to look out for the acorn sign on lamp posts. Round the corner from port Carlisle to Drumburgh I met Roger what a man!!! He made the signs himself and I saw Cardiff on the post, the city of my birth. He said a young man from Cardiff aged 19 was running Hadrian’s wall for charity. We chatted and laughed I told him I was walking for me and Beresford center he put the name Beresford on the sign. All proceeds go to Cancer research I told Roger for the past 18 years I have money taken monthly from my  bank account to Cancer research. We hugged each other and said goodbye

Walking towards me was the young Cardiff lad I wished him well. He was thumbing a lift back to Carlisle to his train and home. Out of view I wiped a tear. There are such beautiful people in the world.

Bowness on Solway

The end of my walk a lovely man waiting for his son to finish his walk, took my photo.

Found my B & B Chapel house run by the beautiful and courageous Maureen. Boots were left by past walkers Maureen planted geraniums. I did the same to my old boots when I walked part of the Camino 2014.

 

Chapel House B & B was warm clean and homely. My room had a bath pour joy. After my bath, writing my hand written blog I heard voices down stairs. I head a man voice say Julie Pritchard I know her. It was only Barry and Deric my Exmoor friends I met on Wednesday. We chatted over tea and coffee. Later up to the busy Kings Head full of walkers, tourists and locals. I ate on my own, later Deric and Barry came in and bought me a glass of red wine. As I looked towards the bar, there was road runner he must have walked so fast he missed his bus back. I left my friends to catch the sun setting.

I know you can see the Northern lights sometimes from Bowness on Solway. Look at what I captured. Yes the Northern lights!!!! In the photo on the left. I cried tears of joy.

 

The following morning I went out and captured the sun rise over the Solway. Breakfast eaten goodbyes to Maureen. Chapel House cost me £35 what can I say. Bus ride and train journey home.

The walk was 83 miles and it was hard very hard. Cried twice but they were tears of joy. Swore many times and sang folk songs. I ached everywhere but I rested well. Basic B&B and places like Florrie’s on the wall are the best places to stay. I am near 57 I do not wish to camp.

The views on the real Hadrian’s wall will stay in my mind’s eye for ever. The people I met will remain in my heart. I would not like to walk Hadrian’s wall again. If others would like to walk this beautiful place. Train well and become fit before you go. Know your song before you sing it. My fitness and stamina kept me strong. I am not sure how much sponsorship I  have raised when I do I will put it out on this blog.

All photo’s are mine all thoughts and words are my own.

Breathe deep and become beautiful.

 

 

Training for “Hadrian’s Wall Walk” Walked 55 miles over 4 days

15 miles Monday 28th Aug 013

I will be walking Hadrian’s wall two weeks today!!!!

From Friday 25 the August to Monday August 28th I have walked 55 miles. On Hadrian’s Wall I will be walking 73 miles over 5 days.

Friday 25th I walked 12 miles to and from work.

Saturday 26th intended to leave the house at 7am but overslept.

Left the house at 8 30am, the weather was good. Big skies and the orange orb spread its warm and light, casting my shadow before me. I wore shorts, tee-shirt hoodie fleece, good walking boot and my back pack. The weight in my back pack  will be the same as when I walk Hadrian’s Wall.

Walked through my barefoot meadow,  the meadow was full with dew. Onto the open space beauty of Gelligaer common. Towards the Roman road and making my way to Capel Bugail. The only sound was sheep, gold finches and sky larks and the lovely sound of my back pack. I stopped to survey the view, ate an apple and banana drank some of my honey water.

Photos taken at the top of Capel Bugail and surrounding area. Information from Ian Jenkins who is an expert on Capel Bugail and the surrounding area

.https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=Carn+Bugail.&rlz=1C1AOHY_enGB709GB709&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiZr8KstPXVAhXLDsAKHdBoA78Q_AUICygC&biw=1280&bih=709

  

 

Walked from Capel Bugail turned left into the beautiful Bedlinog Valley. The views were stunning. The welcoming light breeze turned the dried thistles into white fairies creating fluffed up snow in summer. Cut across the common, with every step  sky larks leapt, making their liquid sound. The sun was high in the sky sapping me of energy.

Sunday August 27th 7am.

Same walking gear but different tee-shirt and I wore my new walking scarf a gift from my dear friends Rhiannon and Dan. The sun yawned and smiled, skies were big and clear. Past the cattle from farmer Powell’s farm. Across Gelligaer common onto the old Deri road. I cut down passed the dam waved to my secret meadow and spied all theses spiders webs very mystical in deed.

Onto Cwm Darran Trail, the trail was bare only shadows from the trees and me. On the trail I spied a buzzard but out the corner of my eye saw two red kites. One kite had a bird in its claws the other was behind covering its partner back. It was spectacular  but the cries from the black bird stayed with me for a while.

Past the visitors center saw a couple of runners and two dog walkers. Walked towards Focrhiw I wanted to walk the back of Focrhiw mountain but cannot find the route. I passed the path where they are felling non indigenous trees. I turned left and crawled my way up through the heather. Up the top to where I wanted to be. The views were breath-taking. Views at the top of our beautiful Rhymney valley and me hot faced, wearing my new scarf.

Sat and ate and had a good drink, soaked up the views. Walked towards Groes-faen. Above big skies, below to my left Rhymney Valley below to my right the Darran Valley. Waved to the farmer cutting grass. Through the shade of Deri woods. Saw these and thought of Amanda Birch my walking friend.

 

Back onto to the Cwm Darran Trail. I saw two cyclist in the distance and behind me.

I was a cyclist myself for many years. I would often cycle from Bargoed to Cardiff do some shopping and cycle back. I used my bike for work. I stopped cycling after a nasty experience. When I was a cyclist I knew I had to give way the pedestrians, dink my bell to let others know I am coming through.

I heard the man shout “get out-of-the-way”. I ignored him and carried on. “Hey you get out of my way”. As he drew near I noticed him and the woman he was with were in their late 60’s shame on them!! I told him to go away and take his misery with him and no I did not get out of his way. I walked through my secret meadow passed the young oak trees onto the old Deri road and back home.

Monday 28th August left the house at 6 50am. The reason why I leave early, I am Celt in colour and I do not like the heat or the sun on top of my head it saps my energy.

The sky was on fire  as I walked the sky blazed flaming red creating a golden glow.

I left my boot prints in the heavy soaked dew grass. Walked the road way towards the five houses then veered right. Through the right of way and more heavy soaked grass.

Where I encountered a herd of Welsh Black. I am not afraid of cattle. They began to run towards me. I put my hand up and said “Cow up cow up”. They ran towards the kissing gate and my right of way. As I drew near I saw two bulls among the herd. I  shouted not yelled “Cow up cow up”. I thanked them and made my way

 

My boots are good boots and well dubbed. Making my way towards Cwm Bargoed park and the Vale of Merthyr. The views from the Graig were wonderful.

 

Walked back onto Gelligaer common to the cross-road of Deri, Merthyr and Gelligaer.

I saw people stood around a one seater aeroplane. I stopped and we all chatted. The owner of the plane was David Gwynn Carreg the others were man and wife Rob and Adel. David had never flown this plane before but in Australia where he lives six month of the year he flies similar planes regularly.

I made my leave walked on the old Roman road and I was freezing. I stopped to long to chat and I was on one of the highest points of the common. Also my arms were bare my fleece was tucked inside my Back pack. I stopped put on my fleece pulled the hood up. These wild horses and foals warmed my heart but not my bones.

Just before Capel Bugail I stopped on a boulder pulled my water proof coat out wrapped the coat round my legs. Ate an apple, banana and drank my honey water. Warmed up I passed where the elevated Roman villas stood, down the back lane onto the old Deri road and back home.

Tips for walking.

Make sure everything fits and nothing rubs that includes underwear and socks.

Always wear good walking boots when you walk on uneven ground.

A man’s handkerchief or flannel is better than any tissue.

Warm water is better than cold. Reason being when you are warm so is your belly. By you drinking cold liquid your belly can be upset. Honey added to hot water is just as good as any plastic bottle water.

When you do stop to chat remember to put on another layer of clothing.

If you get bitten rub Vick on to the bite, it works I have tried it!!

If you encounter cattle stay calm walk a good distance from the cattle. If you have a dog with you let the dog go they will chase the dog and you can get away. Through the eyes of cattle we humans look enormous, giant like. The dog will look like a dinosaur. Just gingerly walk and keep your distance.

Remember cyclist must go round the walker, wheel chair user, mam with a pram and by law the cyclist must dink their bell to warn you.

Monday 7th August launching my latest collection titled Spirit Cracked not Broken

Lovely quote from me old Socialist friend Ian Thomas.

A big thank you to Julie Pritchard who launched her new collection of poetry ‘ spirit cracked not broken’ in the capel in bargoed tonight. Extremely powerful and moving , if art is meant to move you emotionally this succeeds big time, as a compliment the last time I felt similar feelings was after watching ken loaches film ‘ the wind shakes the barley’ in the cinema, Julie’s poetry is as Patrick jones writes ‘so powerful. Raw. Honest’ thank you Julie.

the launch of S CNB 005.jpg

 

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Reading this evening my latest collection of poetry Spirit Cracked not Broken this collection taken from my unpublished novel “Spirit Cracked not Broken”. This collection is poetry with pathos.

NEW SCNB Front cover