Thursday, September 12, 2013

My Alternative Pilgrimage day 10

Not exactly a wall of separation day, in the sense that the real thing is quite upsetting, and unforgetable. Today  I was reminded briefly of the aparteid wall which separates the West bank from Israel. Rather, a wall keeping the Palestinians behind a vast managed ghetto like fence, manned every so often by armed soldiers. I willnever forget when our tourist coach was held up for an hour , our Palestinian Christian guide kept for hours, as we tried to get into Bethlehem.

Today I found a different separation barrier as my A to Z made it seem easy to get from King Street, Hammersmith down Weltje Road.There was no way we could get across the Great North Road , as a huge barrier ran across it.

I had planned a stroll down to the river , a bite to eat at the oldest pub in Hammersmith, and watching sunset on the Thames. We walked slowly back to King Street , and had supper at a Polish restaurant.  I had Gherkin Soup  and Colin had Spinach stuffed pancakes with a dill sauce  and salad followed by a pastry of Poppy seeds , honey and cinnamon, and we both had the best coffee weve had for ages. 

Our tour group will be on their way home to Heathrow now. I am sitting on the bed  here listening to all the planes flying in, and have prayed for a safe journey home for all and I am pondering on how to get easily to the river bank .

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My Alternative Pilgrimage Day 9

I am hoist on my own petard.
For the last 25 years when my children reached the age of choice, I have  served food for a variety of dietary requirements.

  • I have cooked vegetarian , avoiding all traces of animal fat, and every hint of cow heel in the jellies
  • I did dairy free for some years , soya milk, soya everything including icecream, sunflower oil and proficiency in label reading
  • Gluten free was my next triumph,  I was trained that even oats contained the stuff, and that most of the pasta was awful, but spelt was ok
  • I am presently doing  Sugar Free for diabetic spouse and am finding this the hardest as the poor man has been forbidden many fruits that have been staple for him , like grapes
My food producing for the masses has always had a Margaret Protocol: We all eat the same food. 

So now I am at the crossroads of my culinary adventures, my dining out and my reputation as a non fussy visitor.

On part 2 of our progresses North to South, and South to North, I have got us Ist class tickets on East Coast Mainline , cashing in on my Rewards Points. The food is all complimentary. I cant even eat the sandwiches. I am having a Cup a Soup , brought from home, and 3 Jamaican Water (0fat)biscuits. I have joined those I have railed against ,behind my hand ,for years. 

Simply Not true

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

My Alternative Pilgrimage day 8

Today is the day I am not going to be eaten by the Lake Galilee midges. I have packed for our return trip down south. 
The 3 packs of insect repellent wipes, 2 tubes of extra strength Jungle formula Mosquito cream , and my antihistamine cream are consigned to the history of the loft storage, along with the box of bunting from 2012, and 20 reels of florist tape and wires from the days when brides did not have hand tied bouquets.

Burgess Hill Premier Inn  via St Pancras is first stop, then 3 days in the Hammersmith one. I am looking forward to getting to know this Polish Suburb of Greater London, and the place where William Morris and the Pre-Raphaelites hung out and designed gothic nostalgia and revelled in Medieval Revival . I am going to lead spouse past and maybe into an historic pub, The Dove, and and stroll along the river path. The River Cafe is already fully booked, so we will do Polish, already a favourite cuisine from 40 years of going to Daquise. I will have to be careful as I nurse my fat intake , but Polish food  is gentle on the digestion.(IMO).

King Street Hammersmith

And My day today, my pilgrimage to the Surgery for the result of my scan. I prayed that anything and everything wrong would show up, I had already spotted the gallstone on the Screen 10days ago. Nothing more thank God. So I will manage it and say goodbye to chips.

Monday, September 09, 2013

My Alternative pilgrimage days 6 and 7

Incognito days waiting for a diagnosis are bittersweet. I had the joy of a morning alone in  the kitchen yesterday and I mean it. The Archers omnibus(radio4)  and Private Passions (radio 3) are perfect for a morning cooking Roast Beef and Yorkshire Pudding and Bramble Crumble . The mornings pleasure was not as It would have been 6 months ago as there was no Desert Island Discs seamlessly completing the time. I did not miss going to church , as Songs of Praise was really good. 
And so today.

I have booked a play for Colins Birthday , at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith , when we are back on our royal progress of the Premier Inns. The play will be a surprise to us both . I dont know its name , only its starting time of 7.30pm. I have already clocked that the Lyric does food and wine, and for back up we may have his birthday lunch at the Polish restaurant across from our  Hammersmith hostelry. 

Saturday, September 07, 2013

My Alternative Pilgrimage day 5

This is not a forward journey completely. Today I have been backward. I have just listened to' Lark Ascending ' played  by Nigel Kennedy at the last Night of the Proms. I had barely time to get over the sublime voice of the counter tenor in the wonderful Chichester Psalms  when on strolls Nigel Kennedy looking like a tramp. So I had to close my eyes to listen to the music. I was back in the 1950s and 60s walking every Sunday after lunch up East Carr Lane from our  house in Saltshouse Road ,Sutton on Hull to the Holderness Drain and back. We often stopped and listened to the lark ascending , real time , big time.

Friday, September 06, 2013

My Alternative Pilgrimage day 4

This has day has had some unexpected pleasures.

220  to Kings Cross from Hammersmith 8.30am

In the height of what I imagined was RUSH hour, our  bus to Kings Cross took 15mins less than  transport for London Journey Planner said. I could be the Margaret on the buses equivalent of all the trainspotters at Doncaster station. I update my collection of bus maps every year, I know all the symbols of the bus map, I know where all the termini are, and I always try to start a journey with a husband and a suitcase from one. The fact that we were so early for the 11:08 from Kings Cross to York was neither here nor there we had so much enjoyment from watching people from the mezzanine.

So unique are we that apart from the occasional identical twin sightings (and Scarborough is good for those), that time passes very quickly when used wisely by people watching.

Todays best Group Spot, and I make no apologies for this pic, they were asking to be noticed, was this group of men off for a pre wedding get together with their friend the bridegroom in the onesie. He looked so much more respectable and stupid than the bridegroom in a Mankini we saw in York last year.

Thursday, September 05, 2013

My Alternative Pilgrimage Day 3

TODAY was to have been our free day in JERUSALEM .I had planned that we would go to the Burnt House. So Colin and I went to a house which had had a large fire instead;OR RATHER to its gardens.In the still sweltering heat of the metropolis we took the cool travel option,  the river Thames.(Richmond to Hampton Court)

I have been around the surrounds of Hampton Court Palace dozens of times. I have escorted elderly aunts, pushed prams,treated foreign visitors and in desperation tried to interest teenagers.I have been in springtime to see the daffs, walked dogs along the path from Kingston Bridge and prepared endless sessions for teaching the Tudors. I dont like the Tudors but its Colins favourite historical period, and he reads every book going, from Terry Deary to Hilary Mantel. Today he also wanted to see the restored William and Mary gardens.
All I can show you are some hot photos, of red flowers , desert flowers, and acres of boring formal gardens which had to be viewed but not enjoyed as the aesthetics of them would have been ruined if a seat had been placed near enough to view the vistas. The one seat I did find was so hot I could hardly stay there. The fountain looked cool but wasnt , and there was no way from straying from the gravel paths on to cooler grass borders. Not complaining really,I am glad that all the Italian and Spanish tourists felt at home.


Hampton Court, resored South Wing

I have been praying every day for David Cloake the vicar of St Phillip and St James Whitton, so said a special one today as we sailed past Strawberry Hill and into Teddington  Lock.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

My Alternative Pilgrimage Day 2

Nothing about this photo gives a hint of how bittersweet was the afternoon. And it so reminds me of our visit to Masada .I dont like heat, I like sun, I like fresh British Summer sun in Yorkshire, with the bracing air. I have never been as hot or uncomfortable as we were by the Dead Sea on that Herodian Palace Fortress, until TODAY that is. 
The sun poured down relentlessly on us in the Middle Tier of Sam Wanamaker's Globe watching HenryVI. The groundlings were in the shade. I thanked God that I had remembered my hat, my fan, my complete cover up in Linen and 2 bottles of water. I was about to walk out when the interval came, and I stood in the air near a glassless window frame  and watched the scene below. Spouse appeared beside me with a glass of homemade lemonade, cost a fortune, worth every penny. 

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

My Alternative Pilgrimage Day 1

Well, the rest of our Holy land group are in the air right now. We have prayed  that they have a good flight. That is the only part of my missed trip that would have been no joy for me. 

We have not travelled far , just from leafy Hammersmith to leafy Putney. Hammersmith Bus station is fantastic. I thought Croydon last year was good, and Hull is good, Leeds is awful, Doncaster worse, but the atmosphere at Hammersmith is seriously calm and hopeful. People smile, the station is clean, and the electronic displays accurate. 
So today started with an appreciation and thanks for London Transport.
Staff at Premier Inns have been trained well . The customer does indeed know they are going to have a good sleep guaranteed and the service personnel make them feel genuinely welcome . So today I am grateful to the receptionist who encouraged spouse that we walk  to the London Wetland Centre. I had already planned the 2 buses, and was delighted that my not the walking sort of husband decided that the stroll along the towpath from here would be worth doing .And so it was. I lived for12 years not 2 miles from the Thames at Putney and yet had never walked along the towpath towards Hammersmith Bridge. The London Wetlands Centre for Day 1 of my Alternative Pilgrimage taught me that in the middle of the chaos and bustle, dirt and noise, colour and friction here is a place for reflection and quiet.

Even so, this is not always,so I am  going to be trite.
“Happiness isn't something that depends on our surroundings...It's something we make inside ourselves.” ― Corrie ten Boom

Monday, September 02, 2013

Not far south bound

Today was the day that I started my journey as far south as I normally go , not being much of a flyer. We booked our return trip to Israel over a year ago,OUR THIRD TIME THERE.  I have bought enough fly repellent for our hotel by Lake Galilee, and enough new summer tops for evening formal dinners to keep even a seasoned traveller happy. We dont usually go as far. We are happy having urban break: But Israel is such a special place to visit for me.
We enjoyed our first trip to Birmingham very much in June. I am the mistress of the free bus maps, and my spirit of adventure has been so enabled by the use of the  instant internet on my smartphone.

  •  I am able to look up birds and wildflowers I don't recognize
  •  Check opening times of interesting museums,gardens and shops spotted from the front seat of the top of a double decker
  • Check the weather forecast on rhe wonderful BBC weather app
  • send photos direct to Facebook with an accurate GPS so my children can check that we are having a good time, and know we are where we say we are
I love being surprized by new places. We are on our way to Hammersmith now via Kings Cross on East Coast Mainline. Even though I lived in London for my years, just over the bridge in Wandsworth, I dont really know Hammersmith. I know Shepherds Bush, Barnes and Putney, and even the White City Estate of 40 years ago is a fond memory.  I can no longer find on a map the White City Stadium, where the father  of  my college roomate lost his money on the dogs every single week, and his wife pawned her engagement ring every Monday to redeem on Pay Day.
Spouse and I have had to cancel our trip with Baptists and the retired principal of Spurgeons Bible Collegeto the Holy Land. We cancelled yesterday , as my insurance was withdrawn.  I have already read all the Psalms of Ascent , and got Dr Constables Bible notes on the Psalms ready downloaded.. We have just done the whole of  the book of Exodus in EDWJ.
BUT I doing what a friend in our homegroup calls being positive.
 So, watch this space . I am on holiday in this country, using our existing train bookings , and hotels well placed for Heathrow , Terminal  1. We have added 3 nights in Putney, a  night with daughter In Burgess Hill, and 3 more nights in Hammersmith . We will go home for 6 nights, so will be able to watch Last Night of the Proms. I have booked extra  train train journeys creatively , and First class using my saved up Reward Points  with East Coast Mainline. Funny really, I have been trying to spend them for 3 years, but not , UNTIL this morning worked out how to do it.

Cant write any more as the sun is in my eyes, and there is no way Im going to draw the curtains on my fellow travellers.