Before welcoming the New Year I like to reflect on the past 12 months and think about where I have been and what I have done. Visiting new countries as I did with Mexico, Canada and Poland continues to quench my thirst for new adventures. My travels didn't just take me to other countries but also around the UK. In April I completed my walk across England which was quite a physical challenge. I also visited Liverpool and the Jurassic coast in Dorset/Devon.
One of the biggest challenges that I am undertaking is to visit every one of the 269 Underground stations to research above the station and its surroundings. So far I have been to 38 stations so I have some way to go.
Spending time in Manchester with Mum and also with my granddaughter here in London has meant I have less time for voluntary work but I still help out as a sighted guide as often as I can.
Blogging gives me a great deal of pleasure as I read about new places around the world and view some incredible photos. Your continued support of my blogs and the numerous comments you write give me such a thrill.
So thank you, each and everyone of my readers and followers.
None of us know what the future holds but I wish you all a healthy, happy and blogging good year.
Whilst visiting Mum in Manchester this week I took her for a walk along the towpaths in Caslefield. Castlefield in Manchester was designated a conservation area in 1980 and the first UK Urban heritage park. It was here the site of a Roman fort was discovered known as Mancunium which gave Manchester its name.
Bridgewater Canal, the world's first industrial canal, terminated here with the oldest canal warehouse opening in 1779. There is no doubting the industrial heritage as you walk along the towpaths. In parts it still had the old cobbled roads which made pushing the wheelchair not only difficult but uncomfortable for Mum so the newish towpaths seemed a much better option.
All the warehouses have now been converted into apartments.
All along here was flooded on Boxing Day. Fortunately the water had all receded by today.
Lock 92 where the Rochdale canal joins the Bridgewater Canal.
Flooding on Boxing Day
Castlefield, Manchester Credit: Anthony Gee
The Rochdale canal entering the Castlefield basin
Mum and I finished our walk with lunch in this beautiful pub, The Wharf.
This is what Trafalgar Square in London looked like tonight. The tree is a gift from Oslo in Norway to the people of London and is in gratitude for the help Britain gave to Norway in the war. The tree is reflected on the wet paving slabs in the square. At the base of the tree there is a group of carol singers.
Various charities apply for permission to sing carols under the tree and to collect donations for their respective charity. So, this evening, I was part of a choir singing under this famous Christmas Tree. I am a sighted guide for the charity Royal London Society for the Blind and felt privileged to be there.
This is a view from the other side of the Square with the tree reflected in the water from the fountain. Behind the tree you can see St Martin-in-the-Field church and to the left is The National Gallery.
The fountain changes colour from shades of blue to red.
I was in Krakow for 5 days and had a wonderful time enjoying the sights, Christmas markets, food and drink but one cannot forget what happened just an hour's drive away. During the second world war the Nazis set up 3 main concentration camps in this part of Poland, known as Auschwitz 1, Auschwitz 11-Berkenau and Auschwitz 111- Monowitz
This is the entrance into the first Auschwitz camp. I visited this camp and Berkenau. It was not an easy visit to make but I felt it was one not to ignore. It was harrowing walking around and seeing some of the exhibits, none of which I photographed.
This is where hundreds of thousands of people, mainly Jews, disembarked from trains into the death camp at Berkenau. More people died at Auschwitz than at any other Nazi concentration camp. The camps are not a tourist attraction but a memorial to those who were murdered there in the hope that history will not repeat itself.
This photo was taken at the old Jewish cemetery in Kazimierz, Krakow
I spent a morning on my own in Krakow just wandering around gazing at the architecture and of course remembering to look up. Come with me and see what you think. I didn't make notes so the names and purpose of the buildings escapes me.
The Singing Frog Building. So I apologise in advance to Gosia who is probably shouted out all the names of the buildings.
Known as The House under the Globe.
Jan Matejko, a well known Polish painter lived here from 1888-98
I just managed to catch sight of the bugler in the high tower of St Mary's Basilica who plays a five note anthem four times on the hour, to the North, South East and West. At noon it is broadcast on Polish national radio so the whole country can hear it.