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Posts Tagged ‘walking as inspiration’

Inspiration On the Hoof

The best walks, like the best writing, happen when I end up in places I never really expected to be places I didn’t even know were there. That’s exactly what happened this past Saturday. With plans to spend the afternoon in the British Museum, I tagged along with Raymond to Regent’s Park, where he does martial arts training every Saturday until early afternoon. We planned to grab a sandwich then catch the Sicily exhibit before it ended. I figured I might as well get some walking in, and Regent’s Park in July is a great place for a walk.

 

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I sometimes forget how amazing London parks can be for long walks, addicted to the countryside as I am, but that means that when I go back to London, when I just follow my nose and let my feet take me there, I find myself totally enthralled.

There were babies everywhere, and mums showing them off. I got some really up close and personal shots of a lovely mallard family:

 

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And a crèche of coots.

 

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I couldn’t really tell family groups, and coots and moorhens, like humans, have asynchronous hatchings, so the chicks vary in size.

 

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And of course there were plenty of human fledglings there as well. One delightful little girl, who looked to be maybe three or four, was prancing around the rose garden with her mum and dad sniffing roses as she went and actually commenting on the different scents or lack thereof. I didn’t take a piccie of her. Thought her parents might not appreciate that.

 

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Besides the fledglings, there were also some gorgeous grown-ups there as well. I only got shots of the feathered kind though. Didn’t want to be stalky. 🙂

 

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There were lovely little hide- holes and romantic waterfalls and lots of places to be inspired, as I let my feet take me deeper into the park

 

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As often is the case, I ended up thinking about nothing at all really, just inhabiting the space and moving through it at an observer’s pace. I’ve long believed that you never really get to know the soul of a place unless you explore it with your soles. For every little place I did explore, there were at least a dozen I had to pass up. Next time! … and the time after that …

 

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After awhile, I found that the hard exploring had left me in need of caffeine, so I got coffee with an extra shot (to keep me going) and thought I’d find a quiet place on the grass to sit and read. Didn’t happen. My coffee and I discovered the Regent’s Canal and the Jubilee Greenway! The canal is 13.8 kilometres long and is connected to the Grand Union Canal on one end and the River Thames on the other. I’m already envisioning more fabulous walks in my future.

 

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Apparently every summer when the weather heats up, there’s a bloom of green water plants. Couldn’t help but wonder if that’s why they called it the Greenway. But it did lend a very different ambience to the canal.

 

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BTW, that house there opposite the Tui, that’s my dream London writer’s retreat. Also I think it just might be the inspiration for a place Magda Gardener might have in London. The woman has cottages and flats everywhere, you know.

 

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I discovered the Regents Canal is an art gallery of sorts, with Dr. Manhattan looking rather thoughtful while enjoying a soft drink.

 

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I headed toward Camden Locks reminding myself that my time was limited. But promising myself I’d be back.

 

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Sadly I was a bit late for the market. Next time! The place was fascinating, but a bit to crowded for this introvert — especially when she’s trying to walk, so I turned back toward the park.

 

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Along the way I found this reminder that at one time the canal was for more than just fun, and it certainly was no fun for the horses!

 

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The best part of the canal on the Camden side of the park is there’s a wonderful mix of urban decay and pure romance. What more could a novelist ask of a good walk?

 

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I reached the point where the canal turns under a bridge and leads back past the zoo. The Chinese restaurant was tempting, if for nothing else its fabulous location!

 

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The canal meanders past the aviary of the zoo and while this isn’t my best photo, imagine my delight when I was greeted by a tree full of ibises … er ibi???

 

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Sadly I didn’t get as many photos on the zoo side of the canal because I was trying to cover as much distance as I could before it was time to meet Raymond. As much as I enjoyed the Sicily exhibit at the British Museum — and I do highly recommend it, from an inspirational point of view, at least for me, the walk was the best bit of my day. It was only a little niggle of a walk that demands more – lots more, but it left me feeling refreshed and open to the Muse and her big stick. Sometimes walking a story actually becomes just walking to open myself to what’s beyond the blinders I often wear as a writer focused on my work. Whether I’m walking the story or whether I’m walking to be renewed, from an author’s point of view, from a human point of view, a good walk never disappoints.

 

Retiring the Boots

IMG_5556It’s a solemn occasion, one that should be handled with great dignity and serious introspection. Just kidding! It’s actually a happy occasion. It’s time to retire not one, but two pairs of walking boots. One pair has walked across England through bogs and bracken, through bolder fields and fast moving streams. The other has lived fast and dangerously mostly with city walking. From London to Rome, from Dubrovnik to Guildford, they’ve made the winter in-town walks a pleasure for my feet while protecting my delicate knees.

 

I’m sure a lot of you are scratching your head right now wondering what the hell I’m talking about, but anyone who is passionate about walking will understand. And really, those of you who know me, those of you who have read my bio and followed my blog know that I measure inspiration in boot soles. There! That’s the key! That’s why I’m writing this post. I’m retiring two pairs of boots – one has been with me for the long hard walks; one has been with me only since October, only since I recovered enough from my knee surgeries to get serious about walking again. To me, that’s really exciting. I’ve literally worn them out in six months, and most of that in town because of the winter mud on the country walks.

 

Since I measure inspiration in boot soles, all I can say it’s been a helluva six months!

 

During that time, those boots have inspired the writing of two novels, with several more still unwritten. They’ve taken me on walks that have cheered me up, walks on which I have vented anger and frustration, walks on which I have lost myself in the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other … over and over and over again, and walks on which every step inspired story, plot, characters and filthy sex.

 

IMG_5559As a lot of you already know, my walking has been enhanced by the addition of a Fitbit to my daily routine, which, at the very least, functions as a reminder to walk ten thousand steps a day if I don’t do anything else, and at the most, challenges me on to walk farther that I’ve ever waked before. By the very act of pushing my walking boundaries, I’ve reached new depths of creativity and new levels of fitness. Why yes! I do love my Fitbit!

 

One of the best side effects of owning a Fitbit is connecting with other walkers. I’ve had some fabulous walks in London this winter with my good friend and Brit Babes Street Team member, Emma Louise Burbidge. They were walks filled with laughter and good conversation and lots of selfies – Emma is the queen of selfies. I look forward to more city walks with Emma and more laughs and selfies.

 

But just because I don’t live close to someone doesn’t mean I can’t walk with them. Maybe the very best thing about my Fitbit is that it has connected me with a world-wide community of people who are fitness minded, but especially love walking. I’ve done Work Week Hustle and Weekend Warrior walking challenges with other enthusiasts all over the world. But one of those lovely walkers has a special place in my heart – a woman I admire and adore in spite of the fact that on more than one Work Week Hustle, she has handed me my arse on a platter, a woman I walk with every week in spite of the fact that she lives in New York City! A lot of you know this lovely, talented lady, the fabulous F. Leonora Solomon, who bolgs as F Dot. When I asked her if she’d write a couple of paragraphs for my Boot Retirement post, she happily agreed, so take it away, F Dot!

 

I love movement, it is a simple but lovely thing. I have never been an athlete, my preferred forms of exercise have been walking and yoga. Very subtle, but both make my body feel fantastic. Before I got my Fitbit, co-workers mused about how many steps I made a day. I easily fell into 10+ K a day…and then I got into a work week hustle with K.D., and watched my steps increase exponentially! K.D. is my hero on many counts because, she is dedicated to whatever she does. When we did NaNoWriMo together, she also helped keep me inspired. It has been the same with our Fitbits.

 

We have been doing the challenge for almost a month–funny how time flies when you are having fun! First of all, we Fidencia's shoes13045640_649412445207825_1992982793_ncheer each other on all day. I want her to go as hard as she can, because then it means that I have to go harder. I got fancy walking shoes–they look like Mary Janes but they are powerful! I take time to stop and smell all of the flowers, even though I envy K.D.’s walks in the countryside. But we luckily will be in each other’s countries in the next few months, and I am excited to walk together…and maybe reach our highest step counts ever…together…

 

Thank you, F Dot! I SO can’t wait to walk with you in the UK and in NYC later this year! Thanks for making what is one of the very best parts of my life even better!

 

And now I can think of no better way to send my tired worn-out Keens and Hedgehogs into happy retirement than with a little naughty excerpt from a walking related story from the fabulous Brit Boys with Toys Book Bundle and my story Toys for Boys.

 

Toys for Boys Excerpt:

“You’re late,” Doc said to Will fucking Charles, who was supposed to meet him at St. Bee’s Head an hour ago.

At Toys for Boys, Will Charles’ moniker was ‘the Alpha Nerd.’ Doc had read some of his reviews and articles but never met him. Since T4B, as they all called it, was an online magazine, he’d never met any of the people who worked there, and he liked that just fine. The best part of free-lancing was no neurotic colleagues and no idiot supervisor looking over his shoulder. Will Charles reviewed computers, smart phones, and games – rubbish like that, while Doc reviewed all the stuff that gave the outdoorsy blokes a hard-on. It was late in the season to be walking the Coast to Coast, but T4B wanted the walk and the boys toys that would accompany Will and Doc on said walk to be a part of their big Christmas issue, which was always driven by shameless consumerism and chock full of the expensive shit to buy for the man who has everything. The article would be atmospheric, they said. It would be fun, they said.

Alpha Nerd, his left nut, Doc thought. The skinny geek with the expensive looking iPhone could have passed for a twelve-years-old — spotty face, heavy-rimmed glasses and all. Looked like Doc’s dream walk was about to become a britboyswithtoysbabysitting job for some whimpy-arsed kid who would whine every time he didn’t have a Wifi connection for his little games on his little phone. Doc wondered how the hell the bloke could even heft the backpack sitting on the floor beside him, and those brand new, straight-out-of-the-box walking boots guaranteed major blisters. This was supposed to be twelve glorious days alone on the Wainwright Coast to Coast path across England. This was supposed to be total outdoor bliss. He had been looking forward to it for months and then, at the last minute, T4B ruined it all by insisting Will fucking Charles tag along with his expensive little camera phone to record the event. Bromance, they said. Adventure and companionship, they said. Merry fucking Christmas! T4B didn’t pay him nearly enough for this shit.

“We’ve got fourteen and a half miles to walk today, and the rain isn’t going to make it any easier.” He nodded to where his own pack sat by the table in the corner of the Seacote Hotel where he’d slugged back enough coffee to guarantee he’d be caffeine-fueled for at least part of that distance; the rest he’d be off in the bushes pissing.

As he turned to go, the lad just looked at him like he’d spoke Chinese. “Is that the Smart phone you’re supposed to be reviewing?” Doc snapped. “Do you need it to translate for you maybe? Hope it’s smart enough to figure out how we can make up for the lost time you cost us.”

“That’s just an iPhone,” came a voice from behind. “This is the device I’ll be reviewing.” To Doc’s horror, he turned to find himself being videoed by a man who definitely passed as an alpha – an alpha bastard at the moment. The sleek black device he pointed at Doc was labeled urBrain in gold letters. Seriously? Were T4B having a laugh?

Doc gritted his teeth and tried to count to ten, but only made it to three. “Perhaps you’d like to turn off urBrain before I cram it up urArse?”

Undaunted by Doc’s threat, the bloke continued to video as he added, “as for young Nigel here, well I rather think his boss at the Seacote might have something to say about him following us on the Coast to Coast. Nice boots,” he said to the kid.

Just then an American tourist the size of a bus blew in through the door, tipped Nigel and thanked him in a very southern accent. He hefted the backpack with a grunt, and headed out into the rain. “As for this little jewel,” Doc turned his attention back to the real Will fucking Charles, “well if I hadn’t had this lovely piece of kit to guide me on an alternative route, I’d still be sitting in traffic behind the overturned tractor with everyone else heading for St. Bee’s Head this lovely morning. So there, you see. It’s already saved us time. Oh, sorry,” he said, offering his hand. I’m Will.” Before Doc could do more than gop, the man slid an arm around him and guided him seamlessly into a selfie.

“Day one of the Wainwright Coast to Coast, and after a near disaster,” he spoke for the camera, “I’m here with Caradoc Doc Jones, the Welsh Woodsman and outdoorsman extraordinaire, about to head into the rain toward our first stop at Ennerdale Bridge. Say hi, Doc.”

Doc managed a wave and a grimace of a smile at urBrain, and Will continued. “We have 192 miles and twelve days to get from St. Bee’s Head on the Irish Sea all the way across England to Robin Hood’s Bay on the North Sea, with fourteen and a half miles to make today, so best get on with it.”

 

Brit Boys: With Toys Bundle blurb:

From coast to coast and city to country Brit boys enjoy playing with each other and their toys. Not any old toys, though; guitars, rope, plugs and Moleskine journals all prove to be enormous fun. Throw in a shop that’s wall to wall with kinky ideas, a journalist on the lookout for the next big thing, and Dominants who insist on obedience and there’s sure to be something to cater for everyone’s taste.

Whether it’s a quickie or a slow indulgence, Brit boys know how to hit the spot and they aim to please every time. So take a ride, fly high, come enjoy these sexy boys and their toys.

 

Brit Boys: With Toys is an anthology of M/M stories written by British authors, featuring British characters in British locations. If this steamy set of stories has whet your appetite for more don’t miss Brit Boys: On Boys.

 

raymond 018Toys for Boys blurb:

Alpha Nerd, Will Charles teams up with Caridoc ‘Doc’ Jones in a coast to coast walk across England reviewing outdoor gift suggestions for the Christmas edition of Toys for Boys—an online magazine dedicated to the latest gadgets to tickle a man’s fancy. Will is recording their adventures with the latest smart phone technology. Doc is reviewing the latest outdoor gear. The two quickly discover the great outdoors provides even better toys for boys, toys best shared al fresco, toys that, in spite of Will’s great camera work, will never be reviewed in Toys for Boys.

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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