Tuesday, 26 May 2009

14 days

Just 14 days left before my plane leaves for France the training continues with morning walks through the woods, both Rosie and me now lost in our own thoughts as we walk familiar routes yards apart no conversation.

because my camino is coming earlyer than expected money is a bit tight.
I earn a bit through e-bay and the odd car-boot-Rosie is doing temp work for the next 10 days we should be OK but no Paradors for me

the 5 bedroomed house we have rented for the last 9 years becomes an empty nest this year.
the world is our pilchard

while I am away son number 2 tom graduates from university, he's cool with that, in fact he's cool with most things.
Its hard for Rosie that her son is now moving on
our youngest daughter Emily starts university this year (history at goldsmiths London) she is spending part of the summer working in a backpacking hostel near the Spanish border I think she's strong enough to cope with the tsunami of change that's coming
I follow blogs on the Camino and time seems to go so quick for them, time for me is going so slow at the moment I need to be walking

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

3 Weeks and Counting

Evidently 3 weeks to go before I start my Camino, the flights are booked,first night in the Hotel Paris Madrid Bayonne booked as is the one night stay in St-Jean (just to breath it all in) and so as not to start too quickly booked and paid for Orisson 10k up the road, spectacular views and veranda sunset with good wine guaranteed.
But until that first step on day one of the "Route Napoleon" once described by a previous Pilgrim as his second biggest mistake after the retreat from Moscow is taken it will not seem real.
I've read and followed so many other people on their Camino from the comfort of my cosy front room it started to feel unreal, my daily soap opera, my particular favorite episode has always been that first day from St jean to Ronsavalles- from Christine's " I've just walked a freaking mountain !!" through the young couple who walked through the snow drifts he wearing flip-flops to the two Australians Michele and Chris who were truly legions "we trained for this so we're not stopping now"
today was spent mostly thinking about what to wear-what have I turned into? the time was I would just wear what had been discarded at the foot of the bed or if I was really lucky wake up fully dressed, I hope to meet that person once again on this adventure, but in the meantime will continue to juggle with the options.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009


Less than 1 month to go before I start my Camino, June the 9th I fly to Spain,I can't believe all this time planning and thinking about the Road to Santiago and now its so close I can taste it.
So close that now the doubts set in,500 mls start to finish, that's 500mls up hill and down dale, I know I've trained for this,I know for my age I'm fit and fond of telling people what I plan to do, yes I'm walking across Spain from France don't you know while I wait for the applause and well done you.
well soon it's time to stop the talking and do the walking.
500 chuffing miles just short of 800 km and at the end of each day find somewhere new to sleep. 6-7 weeks away from home comforts.!!!!
I've always said I don't like normal,give me something new something to get the pulse racing.
Well as the Chinese say be careful what you wish for
on the left is my road to nowhere, quite peaceful flat Norfolk no cars no people just me and Rosie and to be honest sometimes that's one person too many.
I'm now going to swap all this for who knows what?.

where we live in Norfolk because it turns round on itself is the only place on the East Coast to watch the sunset over water

on our morning walks,old Friends watch us pass

misty Norfolk mornings

beware hikers

not all of Norfolk is idyllic remnants of son Toms last garden party

Tuesday, 5 May 2009


"Milk Churn Joan"
a lonely stone/afloat
in the stone heavings of emptiness ( ted hughes)

these flagged stone footpaths have been part of this landscape for many years as have the sheep.

in the pic on the right the Pennine way crosses
the water via an old clapper bridge,a fact me and Rosie discovered 26 years ago while skinny dipping in what we thought was a quite spot,much to the amusement of a passing boy scout troop

Great Rock

these paths were once a main trade route and packhorse trail accross the Pennines from Burnley to Leeds

we had lunch on a bench courtesy of George and Kathleen Woodhead and like them also loved the valley vista
Since my last blog I have decided my time for the camino to Santiago is now
So June 9th 2009 is my start date the day after our 25th wedding university,Rosie has decided to sit this one out and wait a bit longer for hers.
Being ten years older I felt I didn't have the time to wait, a fact brought home to me on our visit and walk in my home county of Yorkshire and where our married life started out 25 years ago and also were our three children were born.
this walk was a bit more rugged than we are used to with lots of hills and steep descents,The younger me had strode this area with our dog "Prince" before he succumbed to old age and had to be put down,if he was still with us I feel after this weeks showing he would be leading me to the vets for that long sleep.
even the place names round here sound hard and full of poetic foreboding...Stoodley Pike...Blue Pig..Mankinholes-Lumbutts..Withens Clough...Great Rock..Hebble Hole.. Jumble Hole..Midgehole..Saltonstall..Heptonstall..Mount Zion...Hunter Hill and Slaughter Gap,Parliamentary forces were defeated here in 1644.
no wonder the poet Ted Hughes who was born brought up and later in life lived here and found so much inspiration for his work.

do you ski ???

the visit coincided with an all day music festival at our old local pub.
old Friends were met and new ones made