Julie's Jabber - This week with London LDWA

Julie's Jabber - This week with London LDWA
Julie's Jabber - This week with London LDWA

For me the best thing about being an author is typing The End on a manuscript and the worst is the realisation almost immediately afterwards that now I have to find another saleable idea for the next book. So I've started work on a thriller set in the last days of  Queen Victoria's reign. One of the characters is an eccentric and prolific inventor of items that meet with varying degrees of ridicule and disaster, like bicycles designed to be pedalled along rivers and flying machines that deposited their owners in Epping Forest from great heights. In fact there was one in my own family, though in his case he did strike the jackpot with the widget that made the pneumatic tyre workable. His name was Charles Kingston Welch and I believe there are some photos and bits of blurb about him in the British Museum, if they haven't been ripped out and replaced with a child-friendly interactive display of spaceships.

Uncle King registered patents for loads of other objects, all now consigned to the oubliette of time, but he missed a trick. Why couldn't he have invented a  sort of bicycle bell for walkers? With the current push in London to get people out of their cars, Greenwich Council is dedicatedly cordoning off large parts of the road and blocking streets. The result is that swathes of people are now making journeys on foot which is, of course, an excellent development. The downside is that if you're an LDWA type you walk faster than everyone else. I now frequently find myself seething  at being held up by bumblers, waddlers, amblers and strollers. If anyone can come up with a lightweight, easily attached bell fhat could politely indicate they need to move aside, I'd buy one like a shot.




The two most frequently used sentences in our household on Saturday were, 'It's raining,' and, 'Has it stopped raining yet?' and wimpishly I took to the exercise bike rather than endure a protracted soaking in the great outdoors. So all credit to the doughty London LDWA-ers below who braved the elements on Gavin's walk. 


gavin dorking croydon w

Dorking to Croydon (slightly damp)

PHOTO Gavin Fuller




And now for something slightly different. Norfolk & Suffolk Group have trialled the idea of an anytime challenge event, the Flower of Suffolk, with an 18 or 26 mile distance. The details are at https://www.sientries.co.uk/event.php?elid=Y&event_id=7384

For a fiver (or £8 including a buff) entrants can join the walk and receive the route description and GPX file. They get their time, which they submit themselves, recorded on SI Entries and the LDWA web-site as well as receiving a virtual certificate for their efforts. Members walk the route whenever they want, so there are no checkpoints or crowding issues that would be an obstacle on actual challenge events.

There have now been 90 entrants to this event (around half paid for the buff as well) and it has helped raised a few hundred pounds for the group / IT Fund. What is perhaps more important though is that it has kept the momentum going for challenge events, allowed entrants to share their photos on social media and for those that completed (the completists), they still get to go on their walk. People have been walking it on their own as well as in small groups of friends, complying with COVID regulations, who have treated it as a social day out. 

I did the Flower of Suffolk four years or so back and it was one of the nicest routes I've ever walked, so even though it won't be the same without the checkpoints and the camaraderie at the Walberswick start and finish I'm minded to give it a go. 


flower of suffolk any

Flower of Suffolk - East Anglia at its best
PHOTO Julian White




From a disgruntled resident of a borough inadvertently disparaged in last week's Jabber: 

'Oi! there are no 'grotty backstreets' in my lovely Hackney! (ref Steve Platt's commentary in Strider on the Olympic 100). A little gritty sometimes but definitely not grotty!'

Sorry, Melissa!




And finally... 

Following the enthusiastic rush to identify the bee hotel/dryad's saddle pictured in another recent Jabber, here's another interesting fungoid item (encountered on the Flower of Suffolk route) to nail down. 


fungus of suffolk




London LDWA - http://www.ldwa.org.uk/London