Jo’s Monday walk : to Camden and beyond!

Isn't this a heart warming sight?

Isn’t this a heart warming sight?

I don’t know if any of you have been watching ‘Great Canal Journeys’, presented by Timothy West and Prunella Scales?  I have a real fondness for this couple and the way in which they are dealing with advancing years and health issues.  For me, they are fulfilling a dream that I’ve always had, to take to a boat and putter away my days.  As near as I’ve come is the towpath so far, unless you count a long ago week in a narrowboat in a permanent mooring at Reading!

It was pure coincidence that last week’s episode featured Regent’s Canal, because that is precisely where I had planned on taking you.  Sadly for all of us, we’re on foot!  Still, as a bonus we can pick up a book before we start, and keep a lookout for a sunny bench.  I begin my journey along the canal behind King’s Cross railway station. With time to spare you could pop into the London Canal Museum, but I need to be in Camden Town by 11.00, so it’s best foot forward.

Goodbye bookshop!  Nice meeting you.

Goodbye bookshop! Nice meeting you.

The boardwalk looks brand new!

The boardwalk looks brand new!

Apparently this gas tower is a listed building

Apparently this gas tower is a listed building

There'd been a spot of overnight rain

There’d been a spot of overnight rain

Super smart canalside living

Super smart canalside living

But no escaping graffiti!

But there’s no escaping graffiti!

More desirable housing

More desirable housing

Lots of it!

Lots of it!

I'd love to do this!

I’d love to do this!

Approaching my first destination

Approaching my first destination

Camden Lock

Camden Lock

I think I’ll have to split this walk into two halves.  My eventual destination along the towpath is Little Venice, but in Camden Town I take a small detour to join Judith from London Walks.

A guided tour of ‘Old Camden Town’ sounded irresistible to me, and so it proved.  Judith, a local artist with a twinkle in her eye, regaled us with stories of characters as diverse as Dickens, Amy Winehouse, George Bernard Shaw and Dylan Thomas.  Better yet, she showed me a London that, in all my years of first living there and then return visits to the capital, I had never managed to find for myself.  Now that’s what I call a good walk leader!  If given the opportunity, do join her. You won’t regret it.

There can be few high streets that look like this!

There can be very few high streets that look like this!

I’ve been to Camden Town several times and it’s a favourite of my daughter.  The mix of quirky shops, outrageous clothing and sparkly things is a magnet to her magpie nature.  It was just 11.00 when I arrived and anxiously scanned the High St., looking for Judith in the Saturday morning swell.  As promised, she was outside the Metro Station entrance, cheerfully rounding up her flock.  Introductions made, we were off at a brisk pace, on our 2 hour Camden tour.

The Town Crier seemed perfectly happy to chat

The Town Crier seemed perfectly happy to chat

Click on any photo to view gallery

We head back towards the canal and cross over Hampstead Road Lock- arguably the most picturesque lock on the canal- about to delve into Camden Market.

Hampstead Road Lock

Hampstead Road Lock

Judith, recounting a little history to the group

Judith, recounting a little history to the group

And I think that is a good place to leave her.  I hope that you’ll come back next week, when we’ll explore the incredible Stables, and I’ll continue on along the Regent’s Canal.

Many thanks to Jude for reminding me about ‘Take a walk in the park day’, which just happens to be today.  I’ve linked back to Ailsa’s Outdoors.  What could be more outdoors than the canals?

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Time to look at my contributors and to say a big thank you for their kindness in joining me. Details of how to join in are on my Jo’s Monday walks page, or simply click on the logo above.  All you need right now are a cuppa and a comfy seat.


Debbie first this week!  A boardwalk and boats are just my style.  Thanks, Debs!

Walking the boardwalk at Wicken Fen

Geoff is staying with the Street Art, which seems highly popular at the moment  :

Dulwich Street Art- part two

Amy has some more of her beautiful captures, and guess what?  It’s Spring!

Monday walk : Spring is here…

Gilly has us wandering on the Exe Trail.  The dogs needed a gentle stroll  :

Strolling Route 2

Can you find a dog on Meg’s post this week?

Eurobodalla beaches : Yabbara Beach

Meanwhile, Esther has a tempting proposition?

Walk on Mars

And Anabel has some wonderful tapestry for us to look at  :

New Lanark and the Falls of Clyde

Drake gives us a glimpse of summer time in Denmark.  It’s beautiful!

Walkabout last Summer

Next a delightful surprise from Cloud of Lace in Lebanon.  Byblos is almost as beautiful as her blog.  Please go and say ‘hi!’ to Hiba.

Walking around in Byblos

Tobias uses light and shade brilliantly.  Take a look!

A Walk in Berlin 

Hooray!!!  Jude’s back!  I know you’ll have missed her walks.  I did!

Take a Walk in the Park Day

It will be Easter Monday next week.  I’ll still be hosting my walk, and if the weather cooperates I’m hoping lots of you will be out there walking too.  Whatever happens, I wish you all a very happy Easter holiday.



Something I always struggle to capture but can spend endless hours watching!  Sea spray flying through the air. That’s ephemeral for me.

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Ephemeral.”

Six word Saturday


I went looking for reflections, but…

I didn't find many

I didn’t find many

I did find lots of boats

But I did find lots of boats

And you know I like a boat or two

And you know I like a boat or two

This wasn't quite the reflection I had in mind

This wasn’t quite the reflection I had in mind

Isn't it looking pretty today?

Isn’t it looking pretty today?

Just a whisper of reflection

Found a whisper of a reflection

Light patterns play in the water

And the sun playing in the water

The Black Diamond training ship

And around the Black Diamond training ship

Hooray!  A cloud reflected in the window

Hooray! A cloud reflected in the window

The inner harbour is flat calm

Flat calm- fluffy clouds in the inner harbour

At last!  A full on reflection

At last! A full on reflection

Next week’s Thursday’s Special has the theme ‘reflections’.  On a clear bright day this week I thought I’d get ahead of the game.  But there was just enough wind to ripple the water and make my task that little bit harder.  No matter!  I enjoyed playing anyway.

I won’t be going anywhere near Hartlepool marina this weekend.  It’s grey and wet!   Maybe we’re saving the sunshine for next weekend’s long Easter Break.  Wherever you are I hope you have a happy weekend.   And don’t forget to visit Cate at Show My Face to play Six word Saturday.




It seems to me that nature has a host of them up her sleeve.  Let’s tumble in, shall we?





Get creative Paula said.  I wasn’t very creative.  I just surrounded myself with a Multitude of flowers.  How will you express “multitude”?

If you’re looking for something Special, just click on the icon below.


Jo’s Monday walk : Loulé Uncovered

Nossa Senhora

Nossa Senhora da Piedade

Perched high on a hill, overlooking the Algarve, Nossa Senhora da Piedade at Loulé is one of those places I’d always meant to visit.  When I finally did, it had a wonderful surprise in store.

A ‘scramble’ of a market town, Loulé dates back at least till Roman times.  We’ll have a wander through the historic centre shortly, but first I want to take you up to the heights with me.

It's a long way up!

Looking down from the Chapel

The original Chapel of our Lady of Mercy (Nossa Senhora da Piedade) was built in 1553, but was partially destroyed in the earthquake of 1755.  Driving along the A22 motorway past Loulé, the modern dome is clearly visible above the town.  I had often wondered how it looked in close up.

The dome

The dome in close up, with alarmingly grey skies

Looking up to the bell tower

Looking up to the bell tower

On Easter Sunday a huge celebration begins here, Festa da Mãe Soberana (the feast of the Sovereign Mother).  A statue of the patron saint is carried from her resting place, in the Sanctuary, down the hill to the Church of San Francisco, on Festa Pequena.(Small Feast)  Two weeks later, on Festa Grande, she is returned to her home on the holy mountain, with full ceremony, prayers and fireworks.  I would love to see the spectacle of the procession.  For now I have to content myself with a look at Mãe Soberana, quietly waiting.

The statue, resting inside the Sanctuary

The statue, resting inside the Sanctuary

From afar the domed building appears to be the entirety of the church, so I was delighted to find the chapel restoration alongside. Known as the ‘House of Candles’, the tiny space is exquisite. Ceiling paintings dating from 1760 had been damaged by smoke from the candle offerings but were restored when the modern building was constructed.  The wall panels depicting the Passion of Christ are from a later date.

Ceiling paintings from 1760

Ceiling paintings from 1760



I love the contrast of old and new.  Time to come back down to earth and begin our stroll.  I would not recommend climbing the steps to Nossa Senhora. Doing so carrying the saint must be quite an ordeal.  Unless it’s Easter, there’s ample parking up there.

Leaving the Sanctuary behind

Leaving the Sanctuary behind

The streets below are made for strolling.  Tile patterns beneath your feet enhance your wander.

The pedestrianised streets of the centre

The pedestrianised streets of the centre

The excellent website  Loulé Uncovered will guide you around Loulé better than I could ever hope to do.  There you will find a map and suggestions of what you can hope to see.  On Saturday mornings the market will be in full swing. At most other times you will still be treated to the splendour of the Arabian style market hall.  Poke your nose inside. The sights and smells will capture your senses.

The main street and the Arabian market

The main street and the Arabian market

Loulé Castle dates from 13th century and still retains its imposing walls and a keep. Artisans practise their crafts in the surrounding streets.  Follow them through to the Largo da Matriz and the main church of Loulé, Igreja de S. Clemente.  The procession will pass by here on Festa Grande.  A small garden, Jardim dos Amuados (Garden of Sulks) nestles behind the church. The view sweeps out across the valley and there on the hill, Nossa Senhora da Piedade.

Click on the gallery and we’ll stroll


I hope that you found Loulé interesting.  I was so glad I finally made it up that hill.  My L is for Loule has a few more details, including some lively Carnival scenes.

Next week my walk will bring me nearer home.  I would love it if you could join me there.

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How to join in with the walks?  Click on the logo or my Jo’s Monday walk page for the details. Thank you so much to all my contributors.  You brighten up my Mondays.  Let’s get that kettle on and settle back for a good read, shall we?


Sit beside the fire in a cosy armchair with Drake.  Or party at magnificent St. George Hall!  :

Beyond the Frontage

Debbie’s found another intriguing canal in the city(with street art!) :

Vienna’s Arty Canal

I asked Esther for a walking song and this is what I got!  Applaud the lady!

Walk with a Crocodile

Amy has such fun on her Sunday walks.  You have to join her!

The Final Race

Geoff’s been checking up on street art too, including the famous Stik :

Dulwich Street Art 

What can you say about Yvette?  A heart of gold comes to mind :

Florida and B & W Day 3 

Please welcome Becky everybody.  She likes to spend some of her Winter on the Algarve, and enjoys bird watching :

Ludo and Lago de Sao Lourenco

Not so fortunate, Violet Sky joins us again with some seriously depressing weather  :

Expect delays

Japan has a culture all its own, and I’m enjoying learning about it with the Eternal Traveller  :

Do you speak English?

And lastly, a riverside walk beside the Exe, with lovely Gilly (and her dogs)  :

Strolling Route 2

I’m nearly ready to head off out now.  Hope you all have a wonderful week and can make time for a walk or two.

Six word Saturday


Fresh as a buttercup, or daisy?





The Weekly Photo Challenge asks for Fresh images this week.  Or even a little chilly?

I hope it’s warming up nicely wherever you are.  Have a happy week and don’t forget to pop over to Cate at Show My Face to share your six words.


In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Fresh.”

A bench for all seasons

Trainspotting, anyone?

Trainspotting, anyone?

There's one!

There’s one!

Such a blue sky! Yes, it is England.

Blue skies! It’s an English Summer.

Delving deep into my archives, I’ve concluded that I don’t take many photos of benches.

But I do like to get out into the countryside

But I do like to get out into the countryside

Coastal footpaths are great places for a bench or two.

Especially if you have to climb up there

Especially if you have to climb up there

Ahhh, that's better!

Ahhh, that’s better!

In Giverny, at the Monet Garden, I tried to capture a very cute butterfly and her sister.

Got the bench, but not the butterfly!

Got the bench, but the butterfly nearly got away!

It was such a lovely place! Spot the bench?

It was such a lovely place, with just an occasional free bench

Wasn't it Patrick's Day this week?

It’s not every day you find a bench for St Patrick’s!

Spring has been quite unpredictable too this year.  Walking has brought a few surprises.

No sitting on this one!

No sitting on this one!

Or this!

Or this!

I can’t wait for those sunny days to get here so I can begin hunting for benches in earnest.  Have you joined Jude’s Bench Challenge yet?  Come with me!  You don’t want to miss it.

Explore the Elements

I’ve left it ‘oh, so late’ to enter the Explore the Elements competition hosted by Thomas Cook. I was tagged just a couple of days ago by Becky at Hidden Delights of Olhao.  The prizes are so nice, but looking at the entries I already know I stand no chance!  What finally decided me to enter was this shot, which I took yesterday.



I wasn’t thinking about the competition, but was drawn to the water, as I always am, even on a dull day beside the River Tees. Formless.  Emotional.  Magnetic.  Water holds me in its spell.



In complete contrast, this blaze in the dark of a Paris night seemed to me to have all the crackle and energy of fire. Shooting upwards it brought a glow of admiration to my face.



A wind farm off the north east coast of England stirs the air with vigour.  You can climb the Vertical Pier at Redcar to be a little closer to the elements and the swirling motion of the clouds.

Beneath the towering giants


Gravity defying, the red cliffs of the Algarve stubbornly persist, despite the insidious forces of erosion.  The earth here awes and yet is the same substance that binds us all together.

These are my impressions of the elements.  In order to enter the competition I have to nominate 5 bloggers.  At this late stage it is of no benefit to them, but had it been possible I would have loved to see the impressions of Rommel at Sophomore Slump, Debbie at Travel with Intent, Lucile de Godoy, Sylvia at Another Day in Paradise and Sherri Matthews.  Sorry guys- I guess the prizes have gone!




Jo’s Monday walk : Just boats!

A sea of boats at Santa Luzia

A sea of boats, at Santa Luzia

Today’s walk is going to be pure self indulgence, so I apologise in advance if you’re not a lover of boats.  I’ve taken you to the Algarve’s Santa Luzia before, and we’ve loitered in the tiled bliss of the back streets.  One of the walks I did with my Stroller friends this past holiday was in territory very familiar to me.  We started at a cafe (of course) in Santa Luzia, and walked across to Barril (remember the Anchor Graveyard?) on Tavira Island.

I was busy chatting and ‘catching up’ with people, so I forgot to wield the camera until we began to walk back.  We headed through the holiday village Pedras d’el Rei and turned right, down a path I didn’t know, and suddenly I began to take notice.

Walking with the group doesn’t really work well for photographs, especially once they get the bit between their teeth and are headed for lunch.  We emerged on a back lane in Santa Luzia and bundled into the restaurant “Moura”. Plentiful food and wine was consumed, but then I was eager to get back into the sunshine.  I deposited my husband on a bench, gazing at the salt marshes through half closed eyes, and I was off, camera in hand.

Mick's view!

Mick’s view!

Not a bad place to sit, is it?  But I prefer to wander.


I’m content to amble up and down the gangways, admiring the boats from every angle.  Nobody seems to mind, and the few people not lazing after lunch simply nod and smile.  The fishermen are too busy discussing the day’s catch to care, and I am careful to step over the coils of rope.




Are your eyes beginning to glaze over?  I should have warned you that I can look at boats for hours.  I expect Mick’s asleep on his bench by now.  Not too many more and then I’ll head back.



Thank you so much for your patience.  I enjoyed the indulgence.  It was easy to sit in my armchair and turn the clock back.  I hope you didn’t mind ambling in the sunshine.  Or you could join me in the back streets of Santa Luzia?

Can you believe it’s a whole year since I started sharing walks? It all started here.  I’ve led you on a merry dance since then and can only be grateful that so many of you have stayed with me.

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Thank you again for all the lovely shares this week.  If any of you have a walk you’d like to share, the details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page.  Just click on the logo or the link.  All comers welcome!  And now I really must put that kettle on.  Coffee, anyone?


Now, what have I got for you this week?

Drake first!  Don’t miss his incredibly spooky photo in an abandoned orphanage!

The World in one City 

Debbie’s on a mission to bring us canals.  And she does it in style!

Milan’s Grand Canal

Who would have thought a Tokyo suburb would be so interesting?  In like-minded company, of course.

Calling all Travellers 

Geoff takes us back to his old London haunts and a host of memories :

My Kinda Town 

Join Esther in the clouds.  You know you want to!

Walk in the Clouds

Amy and egrets!  A winning combination if ever I saw one :

Monday walk : A Race

And finally, please welcome Susan.  Beaches are always a hit with me :

Walkin’ Wednesday

It just remains to wish you all a happy week, and I hope it’s full of pleasant walks.

Six word Saturday


 Wake up and smell the hyacinths!






I’ve been playing again.  Can you tell?  It all started when Suzanne wrote a guest post for Thursday’s Special entitled Abstract.  Looking for a subject matter with which to create an abstract or two, I turned to the flowers I’d bought that day.  I have never seen hyacinths used as cut flowers before, but I think they work rather well alongside a purple iris or two.  And when I come downstairs on a morning, I have the wonderful fragrance of Spring.

I do have a tendency to get carried away though.  Remember Lunapic?


It hurts your eyes after a while, but isn’t it clever?  I used to love my kaleidoscope as a child, and what could be more abstract?

I hope you find something that makes you happy this weekend.  Why not share it, in six words, with Cate at Show My Face.  And Happy Mother’s Day to you ladies!