Kathryn Harries - Soprano

Friday, May 19, 2006

And then there were four

And off we went again; we had to pack everything up inside the cottage and then stuff it all into the car. It made us realise for the umpteenth time what a good job Will did when he packed the car in the first place outside the Coliseum. It’s never been quite as good since!
Back to Dauntsey Lock and we were now heading northwest for Chipping Sodbury. Diana’s foot was still troubling her but she’s made of steel; she soldiers on regardless. Her determination is reminiscent of those formidable Ladies who ruled India and put the Great in Great Britain! She’ll kill me for that.
My blister really is so much better since I took out the insoles from my trainers. They’d been recommended and I’d trained perfectly satisfactorily in them – but slap, slap, slap on tarmac and concrete proved their and my undoing.
Will and Sharon were to join us for a bit of walking today. They’d both taken time off work and were driving from Surrey to Malmesbury, or thereabouts, sometime late morning.
We crossed the M4 and went cross-country on what looked like a direct route to our first meeting point with the ever patient Lorna. Joke! The farmer, whose land we had to cross, obviously had it in for walkers because there were no footpaths signed and everything was overgrown or barred. We trudged through a horribly claggy and muddy field only to find ourselves on the wrong side of a river. So back we trudged carrying most of the field on our shoes and, cursing the farmer, finally made it across a weir and onto well maintained paths and then lanes.
As my foot was now pain free, I kept up a good pace and Diana followed at a speed that was comfortable for her. This meant regular phone calls to check on directions as the gap between us widened.
We met Lorna for refreshments every so often and before lunch Will phoned to say he and Sharon were running late; no surprise there, then. So we carried on and, happily, stayed relatively dry. The wind was still very blustery but as the land lay were lower we looked less like two drunks.
Will and Sharon joined us at around 3 pm and then, with grim inevitability, it started to rain really hard. We all were soaked – but I have to say, remarkably cheerful.
By this time and sadly for W and S, we were on a B road – that’s B for bloody busy – and we were obliged to walk in single file. Several leaps into the hedgerows later and one swift climb onto a wall to avoid being crushed by a container lorry, and we decided to find an off-road alternative.
We were lucky enough to find a series of footpaths that mirrored the main road. But the big disadvantage was that the grass and crops through which we waded were soaking wet. And in a matter of minutes our shoes, boots, socks and trousers were too.
It really didn’t matter, however. Once you’re that wet, you just get on with it and we had a great walk and great talk all the way to the other side of Yate.
Lorna took Will and Sharon back to their car in Acton Turville while Diana and I carried on walking; we tried some off-road and ended the day as we began; cursing a miserable landowner for failing to properly mark the footpaths. Mud, mud and more mud attached itself to our sodden shoes and boots and it was with huge relief that we clambered over our last gate and onto the nice clean road. I ended at Latteridge after 25 ½ miles.
And I still could have done another 4 miles which was very encouraging. Then the forty minute journey to Uley in Gloucestershire where we were all staying for two nights.
Jill Phillips, Diana and I were being put up by Tim and Sue Powell – two of the nicest, kindest people in the world. Will and Sharon were over the road in another beautiful house and with lovely hosts and Lorna was a short drive away in yet another magnificent house owned by a charming couple with three young daughters.
This walk is turning into a tour of the most desirable homes in Britain!
After bathing, changing and putting things to wash and dry, we had a delicious supper cooked by Sue, lots to drink and fell into our respective beds with gratitude.


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