Just Going For A Walk

I had been planning to blog about our earliest form of transport for a while, then walking took on yet another aspect last week with the royal funeral, the various processions leading up to it and of course The Queue. But first back to basics.

Have you heard people comment, or perhaps you have said it yourself…

I don’t do hills. I don’t do walking. I don’t like walking.

I was once watching a comedy in which the teenager daughter greets her mother’s return home. ‘I didn’t know where you were, I thought you’d gone for a walk.‘ Mother replies ‘Walk! I’ve never been for a walk in my life.’

Someone describing how the heat was not a problem in Singapore with the air conditioned malls… I asked ‘What if you want to go for a walk?’ He replied looking puzzled ‘Why would you want to go for a walk?’

Why would you not want to walk, the most natural activity for humans, exercise that costs nothing and a handy way to get where you want to go. During Covid lockdown it was one of the few activities allowed and non dog owners discovered new delights. I love walking, but I have no desire to trek to either pole or up to Everest base camp; solo or with companions, who I would be intensely irritated with by the third day… But ordinary walking, enjoying the fresh air, scenery, perhaps photography and probably ending up at a nice cafe or pub is fun for everyone… What do non walkers do when they go for a day out or on holiday? You may think National Trust Houses have large grounds because the original owners owned all the local land; no, it’s so we can have a nice walk before having lunch in the restaurant and looking round the house. No holiday is complete without a walk along a cliff path or a steep ascent up a hill to enjoy the view.

Modern technology, from super electronic wheelchairs to state of the art artificial limbs allow many who are disabled to get out and about with their friends and family who are fit and able to walk. Walking is freedom and not to be taken for granted; those under repressive regimes or living in dangerous areas cannot just go out for a walk. If you are used to walking everywhere it’s a reminder of the privilege when you ‘do something’ to your back or knee and suddenly can’t walk. The leaflets we were given when having chemotherapy suggest that ‘going for a short walk will help combat fatigue’ – this turned out to be a joke as most of each three week cycle it was a struggle to get to the front gate or up the stairs. It was an insight into the chronic fatigue that people with Long Covid and other debilitating medical conditions have to cope with.

So back to the funeral of Queen Elizabeth 11. Whatever your views on royalty or television ( blanket ) coverage of the events, there was a fascination with both the formal traditions and the spontaneous acts of those who came to queue to watch a procession or for The Queen’s lying in. There is something dignified and humbling about the men of the family and others close to the royals walking slowly behind the coffin. Princess Anne joined them, as she did for her father’s funeral, a token man for the day? Presumably it is tradition that only the men walk. If any of the chaps didn’t like walking they were in for a tiring time. I like a brisk walk, walking slowly at a measured pace is much harder, I have tried it round the house. Nor did I go up to London to join The Queue, almost a pilgrimage. They had a long distance to cover at a very slow pace, I wondered if there were escape points for those who changed their minds and just wanted to go home.

There are environmental benefits if everyone walked on short journeys and for writers it is one of the best ways to see real life, but those are topics for another blog.

Are you a walker or non walker? If you enjoy walking what is your favourite sort of walk?

Beach Hut Tales

We are having a heatwave, bad for my garden, but perfect for being in the sea, except first you have to get to the beach or your beach hut…

Yesterday after writers’ group I decided to get on a bus and get off at Woodland Walk, which as its name suggests is a cool and pleasant walk from a busy road to the cliff top. As soon as I left the shade of the trees the heat hit me. I crunched across our toasted cliff top to approach my beach hut from the other direction to my usual walk from home.

The stone building is not a castle, but the toilet block by our beach huts.
The descent down the ravine, more fun going down than up.

The hot weather reminded me of last year when my daughter-in-law sent a clip of a beach hut on fire. I quickly ascertained it wasn’t our strip. Everyone was safe, but I imagine there wasn’t much left of the beach hut or its neighbours! Gas rings, flapping curtains and wooden huts are a recipe for disaster perhaps. In the local paper the owner was quoted ’my nephew came to fetch me and said Aunty I think the beach hut is on fire… ’ hmm, my suspicious mind wondered what the boy might have been up to..

I fully expect that one day calamity will strike my hut, either one of the regular cliff falls or a cliff fire in scorching weather. But other dramas also occur. I am now a member of that group ’widows who sit in beach huts.’ There are three of us in my little strip and it is only recently I heard the stories of the other two ladies, widowed a good while. We were all chatting when the most senior said to the other ’I don’t think you were here back then when my husband died.’

‘Oh yes I was,’ she replied ’I remember doing CPR on him on the beach hut floor!’

Beach Boxes

Winter walk on the promenade.

An Australian visitor once commented ’Why would you go to the beach and sit in a wooden box.’ Fair comment, though we hope to sit outside it in the sun, it is good to retreat into if it rains or gets very windy. jThere has been unexpected blogger interest in beach huts. They are all different, no that’s not true, rows and rows of identical huts all the same size, though interiors can be very creative. our huts have no facilities except callor gas rings, perfect for mulled wine at Christmas.

When we first moved here the late Cyberspouse was at work and thought he would ring up the council and ask for a beach hut. He was told there was a six year waiting list and we did wait six years! It was worth it if you consider that had we not gone on the list we would not have got one at all. He liked to cycle there after work and have some peace and quiet – if I wasn’t there…


Beach Lodges with kitchen, toilet, shower and sleeping for six. Rent from the council for mid week or weekend stays. I can’t tell you how much, that would depend on the date and I couldn’t negotiate the website, though I gather you have to be quick.

Next time – beach hut drama!

Tuesday Today

Several bloggers mentioned they had not heard of beach huts, so I could not resist taking these pictures today, stopping for lunch at my beach hut on a walk to Bournemouth.
I won’t tell you where these are as there is not enough room for everyone to visit at once. As you can see, I was the only one at home today, though generally there were many people out and about.

Silly Saturday – About and Out

WHEN YOU GO TO THE SHOPS AND THEY HAVE DISAPPEARED
WHEN YOU GO TO THE HOSPITAL AND END UP BACK IN TIME
WHEN YOU GO ON THE FERRY AND HAVE DOUBTS ABOUT THE CAPTAIN.
WHEN YOU GO FOR A STROLL IN THE PARK AND END UP ON A SCHOOL OUTING.

WHEN YOU’RE NOT SURE WHICH SIGN TO FOLLOW

...AND END UP IN SOMEONE'S GARDEN
…AND END UP IN SOMEONE’S GARDEN

WHEN YOU ARE ASKED TO ORGANISE A BIG PARTY…

WHEN YOU ARE OUT AND ABOUT AND ABOUT AND OUT AND WONDER WHO YOU WILL MEET.

No Sweet Home

On BBC Radio at the weekend they talked on the phone to a family who have taken in a young Ukrainian man. They sounded like one of those larger than life families who are so fascinating to we lesser mortals. The parents are both vicars ( one was in training ) and have five children and numerous pets. As Christians they have always used their spare room for whatever needy person has come into their lives, not for them the valid excuses of not enough room or too busy. The children love meeting new people and their new Ukrainian is having lots of fun and improving his English.

Meanwhile on the home front my younger son and daughter-in-law have just bought their own place and I am on my own again. Lots of their stuff is still here so I might not have room for any refugees just yet, especially as the rest of the family want to come and see the many improvements they have done – that’s for another blog.

But far from the terrible war in Ukraine and Chez Tidalscribe, two stories in the news caught my imagination, one local tiny tale and one big story on the other side of the world.

Before Christmas there was a fire in a block of flats in Bournemouth, luckily the elderly residents were safely evacuated and quickly transferred to the Premiere Inn next door. But a News South story the other day revealed they were still there; so close to home and yet so far. They are being well looked after, have their friends and neighbours close and don’t have to bother with cooking. But it’s not HOME. Premiere Inns are usually reliable ( all look exactly the same ) and comfortable as long as you like the colour purple. Very handy as stopovers on long journeys or to stay near relatives who have a full house, but you would not want to live there for months on end. Ensuite bathroom yes, but the furnishings are basically a few shelves, some coat hangers and a hard chair. A lady of 93 was shown sitting on the big bed knitting, much the same position you would find me on a short Premiere break. I prefer to avoid the hard chair, gathering all the pillows and lounging with my knitting, book or iPhone. With all that’s happened, the last place I actually stayed away from home was Margate Premiere Inn Christmas 2019, a handy location twixt railway station and beach, overlooking the shelter where TS Eliot wrote The Wasteland, which still lies languishing on my Kindle… you can read more about the delights of Margate in this blog…

The Wonder of Wetherspoons | Times and Tides of a Beachwriter (tidalscribe.com)

A more chilling story came from China in the news one evening. Anyone testing positive for Covid was being forced into quarantine in the most basic facilities ( or lack of facilities ) but the people screaming and fighting ‘security forces’ were not being taken away for quarantine. They were being evicted from their flats, their homes, so the whole block could be taken over as a quarantine centre; perhaps an effort to improve accommodation for the quarantees! Where the residents were going to live was not clear, but there are so many ways to lose one’s home. Never take your home for granted, one day you may have No Sweet Home.

Really Surreal

When you get back into town and nothing is quite how you remembered…

A jolly day out…
…meeting friends…
…for coffee…
Think the weather’s brightening up?
Shopping centre’s changed since I was last here.
Wonder what the new book shop is like.
…or the new department store?
Very nice, but I haven’t seen any human beings yet…