Sunday, 3 May 2015

Sunday Summary

Happy Bank Holiday!

Well hello there! It is I, QB!

I'm back this week to issue forth a Sunday Summary from the realms of, well, walking a lot and talking about almost nothing but walking... So, bet ya can't guess what the thrust...

... OK, let's try again.

Bet ya can't guess what the crux of this week's post will be (!)

That said, I will try to shake things up a tiny bit with subject matter other than walking as well. Radical, non?

This week (and the previous week, come to think of it), I have mostly been...

Finishing reading


Playing hooky Taking a legitimate day off

to trot on down to Bexhill and take in the Ladybird By Design exhibition at the De La Warr Pavilion with Ma QB. (It was not, as I kept calling, 100 Years of Ladybird Books. Sometimes I get these ideas in my head. Those ideas are fiction and fluff. Ignore me.)

It's only on now until 10th May but worth a look to see the painstaking level of photo-real detail in some of the artwork, and to sigh with vicarious nostalgia at images of bygone days...

{(c) Ladybird Books, 1958 via here}
Do have a look at this video from the DLWP about the exhibit and the book series itself:

I'm currently patting myself on the back for recognising the artwork of John Kenney in the Ladybird book Tootles the Taxi as alarmingly similar to artwork from the classic Thomas the Tank Engine series; and as it 'appens, Kenney illustrated the Thomas books for a few years. All these years of immersion on Sodor have finally begun to pay off!

{Millie the Milk float, from Tootles the Taxi}

{The Twin Engines (c) Gullane (Thomas) LLC. A HIT Entertainment company}
You see? You see?

It wouldn't be a day trip with QB without piccies for you to scroll past to get to the more interesting content:

And... you got it... 


On Saturday 25th the Training Plan did decree a seven-hour walk; a seven-hour walk I did do. And you know what? In spite of blisters, and in spite of hidden alleyways, and the need to traverse that wretched golf course in Kingswood yet again, it was a good walk! I mean, there were more bluebells, and everything!

{Bluebells on Reigate Hill}
My intention was to follow the Millennium Trail from Belmont (nr Banstead) to Horley, and tack on enough mileage at the start to take me up to seven hours' walking, given my average is 3.5 mph (allowing lapses at 3 mph for mud and fatigue).

So I trogged over to Ewell on the train, and walked from there to the start of the trail in Belmont. Was surprised (and not in a good way) by how obscurely marked the route was, and how oddly the directions were worded, and also how badly concealed by greenery some of the footpaths were. (Did someone order a curmudgeon, straight up?)

The website claims this: 
Well waymarked
The Millennium Trail is thoroughly waymarked and together with this leaflet [complete with the lowest-res images you ever did see, fyi], you can be confident that you won't lose your way.
Ha! No. My experience warranted this face:

You'll see from the map review where I spent a slightly fraught fifteen minutes or so looking for a particularly obscuro alleyway (right before I spent another slightly fraught fifteen minutes trying to navigate that wretched golf course in Kingswood again)...

And you'll also spot a little loop in the Reigate vicinity. That's where I lost the track completely (after hunting in vain for "the first bridleway on your left") and thought, blow this, and did a circuit of Priory Park for just about long enough to make up the time. Ha! In your face, Millennium Trail! (Maybe I'll finish it on a shorter walk. Maybe. If it's lucky.)

{This, my friends, is apparently the Inglis Memorial.
Not, as I referred to it previously, just a 'topograph'}
{View from Wray Lane Car Park, Gatton | bit nice, that}
{"I'm on... top of the world, looking... down on creation..."}
Then, last Sunday, I incurred the wrath of my neighbour (soz, Julian…) when I left the house at the sickeningly unhourly hour of 7am to embark on the programme-prescribed five-hour walk. And, it being lil' sister's birthday, I walked those five hours* to her door whereupon I demanded a) a pee (TMI? …Hey, everyone pees; let's not be shy about it…) b) a shower, c) roast meat of some description, and d) wine. But mostly wine.

Having written out a laborious route guide entirely via footpaths using the Open Street Map site (just to shake things up a tad), I'd got The Fear at about half six that morning that I wouldn't actually understand a word of instruction I'd written, take a wrong turn and end up in Reading mid-afternoon, damp, hungry and in need of a pee and meat and wine.

So I chickened out of my scrupulously-written route and ended up going back along the Millennium Trail I'd lumbered down on Saturday. And it worked. While my cartography and navigation skills still need some honing, my visual geography is getting ever so slightly better with experience. Not only did I successfully navigate the WKGC** (yes, that's **Wretched Kingswood Golf Course…) in reverse without any diversions, I also found my way through the Obscuro Alley.

I ask you, though, my venerable FOQers*** (***Friends of Quirk), would you have spotted this little passageway easily from the other end…?!?

{Really? Really?? Well waymarked, my elbow…}
*Sis technically only lives three hours away as the crow waddles. I made that walk last, so I did.

Clearly not sated by the previous weekend's shenanigans (ha!), yesterday I strapped on the Salomons once more (over a ready layer of plasters, blister pads, preventative blister plasters and Vaseline...) and, after a little train journey, set out from darkest Guildford at nine in the morning for a ten-hour trot.

Ten hours. Ten freakin' hours.

Nailed it. That would be the North Downs Way, from Guildford to Merstham, right there. With a circuit round the park to make up the last twenty minutes (after another little train journey). As yer do.

It looked, scenically, a lil' bit like this (unfortunately it was a little cloudier than would benefit photos...):

{St Martha's Church on the hill, Guildford}
{One of several 'pillbox' forts on the route | look-outs during WWII}
{Inside a pillbox, looking out...}

{Slightly heinous inside-a-pillbox selfie}
{More bluebells! | Somewhere between Little Kings Wood
and White Down Lease. Probably.}
{St Barnabas' Church, Ranmore Common}
{So much potential for wine! | Denbies' Vineyard}
{Railway bridge nr Dorking}

I learned a lot on this long walk:

1) After seven hours of solo walking, I get a little delirious from too much time in my own brain

Even I need some interaction from other humans sometimes and I don't just mean the polite "hello"s of other passing walkers.

Thankfully I had my little Norgstar on WhatsApp to help me connect with the outside world. (Fankoo, GCP. Mwah. xxx)

2) Compared to the Millennium Trail, the North Downs Way has dignity and integrity 

The Millennium Trail is the disconsolate teenager who comes into your office to do Work Experience and does a pretty half-a*sed job of it because he thinks the world owes him a living.

The North Downs Way has been working there for years. Maybe he's a bit ploddy, but he's reliable and he gets the job done. You know where you are with the North Downs Way. Literally.

{NOW! That's what I call a signpost on
a well-waymarked route.}

3) It's important to choose your walk tech wisely

And sometimes that tech is a scanner from which you can filch/copy/adapt several pages of a truly excellent...

Yep. For the most part of the walk I followed a dead-tree format route description, not one from online, and y'know what, it was almost perfect (apart from the time I misinterpreted a 'fork right' instruction and ended up in a right-forking mess in the wrong direction. Had to retrace steps. Schooled.).

And after previous hours of trying to upload a GPS file to Map My Walk to follow (and failing -- it really does not like those files...) I downloaded Maverick

or, y'know, this app:

from Google Play, and uploaded the National Trails North Downs Way GPS route.

{See that little blue blob with a cape?
That's you, that is!}

And it was uhhhhmazing. Best way of ensuring I was definitely on track (and best way of re-establishing myself when I wasn't).

4) It might seem like a good idea to buy and lug around a tube of 15 Jaffa Cakes. And eat them all

Trust me. It isn't. So many reasons why not. Moving on.

5) Karma sent those groups of D of E kids in your direction for a reason



6) You will not know how stupendously excellent Nurofen Express is until you knock it back on a walk and it eradicates all the owies

All of them. Even that twinging nerve you were complaining about the night before...

7) The steps up to Box Hill from the Dorking Stepping Stones are EVIL

I NEARLY DIED (by that I mean my body was slightly challenged by the steep incline). And to think I could have not crossed the Stepping Stones (with a tube of Jaffa Cakes in one hand) and taken a more genteel footbridge instead. Seems my body needed another challenge to pile onto that much time spent walking (!)

{Photo (c) Andrew Butler | via here}
Speaking of bodies -- and this isn't more "everybody pees" talk, don't worry -- I'm just going to give a shout-out to my limbs for making it the full distance, when one of my legs looked like this:

That there bruising is the doing of someone's mahusive flipping suitcase falling on my leg on Wednesday on the train.

It doesn't hurt unless I poke it (especially not after four Nurofen Express) but it's really not a lot of help to have this much leg damage three weeks before a 100k. Just sayin'.

And this happened when I got home:

{by which I mean I hit my knee really quite hard actually against the sink
upon exit...}
I think staying in bed is the correct course of action for the rest of the long weekend.

Pinterest Pin of the Week

{Thanks to Charlie for alerting me to this little work of genius!}

Weekly Weblinks

I would like to propose that these are, actually, The Mutt's.

Non-literary Linkage
{Say hello to my ideal writing retreat...}

and finally... 
{via here}
Ciao for now...

qb xx

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