Walk In Her Shoes: 100kms Done!

100km in six days – Boom! Made it a day ahead of schedule. And feeling great. Today I walked 17.52km which brought me to a total of 105.97km.

Within a few hundred metres of stepping out of my friend’s door in Cowley, near Oxford, I was walking through a charming churchyard.


On the path towards the river, Robin Redbreast came out to say hello.

Red Robin

I then wandered down along the river, starting near Iffley Lock and heading towards Abingdon.




It was another beautiful day to be out walking. The migratory birds seem to have started to arrive. There were swans and geese, and ducks in breeding pairs. No ducklings yet, but the first buds of spring were beginning to bloom.




As I wandered down towards Sandford, there were plenty of fishermen out enjoying the sunshine. I asked one of them if he’d caught anything, and in typical British humour he retorted ‘Just a cold’.


Although it was a beautiful clear day, it was pretty chilly even with the walking. Most of the people out walking, and there were a few, were well rugged up. It was incredibly peaceful though, and even with quite a few people out walking, it did really feel like the hustle and bustle  was a million miles away.

IMG_0567river sceneI started walking down towards Lower Radley – struggling along a very muddy path, unfortunately in my sneakers not my trusty hiking boots (I didn’t plan for mud), until I was stopped by the path being flooded completely. I was forced to turn back, and decided to walk all the way back to Oxford instead. It was a bit of shame, but still a great walk. Oxford was shining beautifully in the sun.



I was pretty hungry, and ready for a roast by now. Walked past this house, which has always been a favourite. I always wonder if someone actually lives there – I really must find out one day.


Then had my roast at The Head of the River.


Checked my k’s and realised I’d made it to 100kms! Time to head back to London town.

Was a great week of walking. I’m really keen to get out and do lots more of it. I just feel so great being out amongst it.

So – with just a few days left until I turn 43, The Answer is yet to materialise. I do feel that some part of it is about being connected to this amazing world we live in, and appreciating the awesome and amazing beauty that is around us every day, if we just stop to look. Still a couple of days to go though – so if something more profound becomes apparent, I’ll let you know.

Quite a way from my $5000 fundraising goal, but I’d still really love to at least reach $1000 for CARE Australia if I can. It would still be a good chunk of money that would really help. You can donate on my fundraising page here.

Walking home through Trafalgar Square

I needed some salty hot chips after work tonight. After indulging I needed to walk home. It was far from a trial.

This evening in London had a blue, cloudless sky. It’s warm. London was sparkling as I wandered through Trafalgar Square.


St Martin in the Fields

Everyone was smiling.


Except for this guy.


The trees are starting to sprout green. I am fascinated by how, every day, the streetscape changes as the trees bloom. It was a gorgeous walk down to the Thames. Big Ben sparkled in the sun this evening.


The Thames was sparkling too.



Arty Shot

It felt like a summer party.

Now sipping my sparkling water, and eating my fruit and yoghurt. The salty hot chips were definitely worth it.






Being Cool and Arty at the Tate Modern

Number 3 on Lonely Planet’s “London’s Top 16”, I thought the Tate Modern might be a good option for my Sunday afternoon. Had a look on Google Maps – 6 minutes walk away! I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to be so close to amazing works of art. One of the main reasons I longed to go to Europe when I was younger, was to see amazing art. And here it is – 6 minutes away.

So off I trotted. Started pondering the idea of joining up as a member – being so close and all.

The Tate Modern is famously inside an old power station.


Quite an impressive entrance.


As it turns out membership is only £69 a year. I was in. So I signed up, and headed up to the Members Room for lunch. An awesome chicken and chorizo stew, with a drink – all for under £10. And this was the view.


Not bad (apart from the cranes – man they are everywhere in London – supposedly a sign of an upwordly mobile city… ). This may be my new coffee spot. Perused my membership kit, and decided to start with one of the free tours at 2pm: Structure and Clarity.

Was great! Pete took us around and showed us some truly cool pieces. I really liked this one. Fascinated that metal can be made to look fluid.


Emma Dipper by Anthony Caro

We started with the cubists. This was Pete’s choice.


Clarinet and a Bottle of Rum, Georges Braque

We had a lovely trip, all the way to the minimalists.


Supremist Painting by Kazimir Malevich


Paintings by Elsworth Kelly


Bird in Flight by Elsworth Kelly


Painting by Elsworth Kelly


Fish by Constantin Brancusi

Not everyone’s cup of tea I know, but I love the colours and shapes.

But we didn’t stop at my favourite. I had spotted a Kandinsky – I had to go back and have a look. Kandinsky is as close as I can get to choosing my favourite artist. I really love Picasso too. His pictures are amazing, I can at look them for hours, seeing more each time. But they are so dark, and dismal feeling…


Seated Nude by Pablo Picasso


Bust of a Woman by Pablo Picasso

Kandinksy, or at least the paintings of his that I love, are full of colour.


Swinging by Wassily Kandinsky

Paintings never look the same in a photo – it flattens them, both in colour and perspective. This painting is vibrant, wonderful. I love it.

And it’s only 6 minutes walk from my flat. I shall be paying it a visit quite often, and then retiring for a quiet bevvie in the Members Lounge, overlooking the Thames.




A Walk Along the Thames

So much to do in London – it’s exciting! So much to do – it can be overwhelming. Where to start?

After spending a rainy morning poring over Time Out (I don’t know why Time Out can’t just give you a list of what’s on by date. Really – how hard can it be?) – I was more confused than ever. When the sun came out after lunch (notice I’m getting British already – talking about the weather), I decided to do what is always important to do in a crisis: go and find a book shop and a good coffee.

I wandered down to London Bridge (about 10 mins from home), where I had a vague idea that a book shop might be lurking. Hoorah! Found one, and as fate would have it, right near the door was a copy of Lonely Planet London. Ah – Lonely Planet my old friend, where have I been without you?

Round the corner I wandered into this;


found a nice cafe, and settled down with my Lonely Planet. Just opening it made me excited. After perusing it for a while, I decide that I have a new mission: to see if I can tick off everything listed in the Lonely Planet to do in London. Quite an ask – oh but it will be fun!

With a nice full belly, and the sun now shining in full, a walk along the Thames was in order. This is the view that greeted me as I walked outside:


The modern London. You can guess which one is nick named the Walkie-Talkie, and which one the Gherkin.

From here I crossed the road at London Bridge, went beside Borough Market (to be explored another day), to Southwark Cathedral.


Southwark Cathedral is the oldest cathedral church building in London (wow!). I’m guessing that would be because it is on the south side of the river, and escaped The Great Fire (but don’t quote me on this). Archaeological evidence shows there was Roman pagan worship here well before that. Some believe there was a church here as early as AD 606.

I loved that the courtyard was filled with young people eating food they had bought at the market next door, relaxing with a cigarette (or if they were cool hipsters, an e-cigarette).

I ducked in to check it out. Wow – awesome stuff. I didn’t have any cash on me for the photo permit, so no photos to show you here. I saw Chaucer’s window, dedicated to pilgrims aka Canterbury Tales. William Shakespeare’s brother is buried there as well. There is a lot of wood inside – and it made me wonder if this is what the old St Paul’s might have been like. Oldest wooden effigy of a knight – unknown identity. Was quite moving and beautiful. Truly beautiful place. Will definitely be heading back to explore some more, and maybe check out a choral performance or two.

I followed my feet, and within a few hundred metres found The Golden Hinde. Evidently Sir Francis Drake completed the second-ever circumnavigation of the world between 1577-80 in this galleon ship.


You can do tours – another thing to add to the list. I couldn’t concentrate on the ship because I was distracted by some cool loud music nearby. I had to go and check it out.

Was great music actually. Playing right beside the ruins of Winchester Palace, one of the largest and most important buildings of medieval London.

IMG_0744_2 IMG_0747_2

Wandered some more…



And finally came out by Southwark Bridge. IMG_0769

I say finally, but this whole walk (slow wander really) took me about an hour. Every inch of this city has a story to tell. I’m not sure if I crossed anything off my list, or just added to it.

What’s next?