Chasing the Dream

Can it really get better than being paid to go for a walk – not just any old walk, like the errands I used to be asked to undertake as a child whenever my pocket money was depleted, but instead go and discover the Lake District, the north Norfolk coast, or the South Downs, and all the while get paid for doing just that.

I know when I interviewed Nick Hallissey, the Deputy Editor of Country Walking Magazine, he tried to convince me that his job wasn’t just walking, but entailed some office-bound work, but I will let you decide, when you listen to the latest episode of Talking Walking.  The interview took place on balmy mid summer’s day and I travelled by train to Shelford, where Nick and photographer Richard Faulks, met me, and then drove me to Trumpington on the outskirts of Cambridge.

Walking from there, the plan was to keep close to the Cam, walking across the Grantchester meadows, and eventually along “the Backs” into the heart of Cambridge itself.  It’s a route that I have walked and cycled many times before.  Grantchester made famous by Rupert Brooke, and more recently, Jeffrey Archer, was home to me in my final year at university.  I partied for my 21st along the Cam and in and amongst the pubs, the Red Lion and the Green Man.  We frequently strode over to the Green Man to fill up our coffee pot with Greene King IPA and carry it back to our flat above Tony Sargeant’s Skoda showroom.  I lived there before Jeffrey did, so I realised I hadn’t been back to Grantchester for over 30 years, and yet the flat above the showroom looked as bedraggled as it did when I lived there.  Jeffrey has done a splendid job on tidying up the vicarage, but beyond that, the hamlet still has that feel of charming backwater.

Well, you can read more about where Nick and I trod on that day, as Nick has written it up as a feature in the March edition of Country Walking Magazine – and I am rather flattered to have been included, when he has had all those other paid walks to write about. 

So not only did we conduct joint interviews that day, but we have also negotiated an reciprocal offer – as a listener, you can qualify for a discount off the a subscription to Country Walking Magazine, and as a subscriber, you can get a discount on any of our walkshops in 2018.  What greater invitation do you want before listening to Nick Hallissey talking walking?

“Amazing walk in spite of the weather”

So wrote Rachel Gomme, live art performer, ecological walking artist and Peckham resident to boot, but her comments were echoed by the 25 diehards who joined Museum Co-creator Paul Wood for an Exploration of the Urban Forest in Peckham last Sunday. Oh did it rain and never stopped.  This didn’t deter the group, and although I was a tad confused as Paul deviated off our carefully planned route, we managed a circular walk full of intriguing trees, local myths, and a lovely meeting with a local hero.  Eileen Conn has been a community activist for more than 40 years.  Indeed it is the 40th anniversary since she won over Southwark council to plant an avenue of birch trees in Nutbrook Road – selected by Paul as one London’s best street tree avenues. It was terrific to meet her and hear her talk with such enthusiasm about Peckham and how she has galvanised the community and the authorities to invest in civic buildings and public space.

We have managed to get Paul’s choice of 9 best street trees in London in the on-line edition of Time Out, with a handy link to the Museum of Walking website, and next week, we hear, there will be map of street trees included in their print edition too.  All the more reason, why we recommend you book your place on forthcoming walkshops in our Explore the Urban Forest series.

  • Sunday 4 February 10.30am-12 Noon
  • Hackney – Haggerston
  • Exploring the Urban Forest with Paul Wood
  • Read more or Book now
  • Sunday 25 February 10.30am-12.30pm
  • Pimlico
  • Exploring the Urban Forest with Paul Wood
  • Read more or Book now

Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you on a walk in not too distant future.

All about walking blog posting is unpredictable – if it’s raining biblical downpours then a blog post is more likely to appear, in most other weather conditions we are out walking and not blogging on a keyboard…..