Kathryn Harries - Soprano

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Bloody brilliant

My Dad was 83 today! Bloody brilliant. I wish both my parents could go on in good health forever.
And, another dry day – it’s a miracle! I said goodbye to Wyn and Jane; Wyn was off to Montreal for ten days’ rehearsal on a modern ensemble piece and Jane was off to Manchester until Friday evening. She runs a Science Park and calls herself a glorified landlady; given she’s one of the brightest and most formidable people I’ve ever met, her lodgers must count themselves extraordinarily lucky.
Lorna arrived in the Jag; thanks again to David Edwards at Guy Salmon of Thames Ditton. It’s a wonderful piece of sponsorship and David is about to embark on a cycle ride to Berlin to raise money for charity. I’ll find out more about it and let you know.
We had a very long drive back to Church Eaton – when we cover ground in the car that I’m going to have to walk, I can’t believe I’ll ever do it. Then I do, and it doesn’t seem nearly as far. Strange.
The walking was nice and straightforward along country lanes – just the odd pile of cow muck to avoid – and I walked through several villages to Great Bridgford where Lorna had some lunch ready for me.
I don’t stop for long now because I want to cover as many miles as possible each day, and when the day begins with a long drive, my walking starts rather late. And if I stop for very long everything seizes up somewhat…oh the joys of middle age!
I crossed the M6, which was unbelievably noisy and brought a phone conversation to an abrupt halt, and then followed a dead straight bridleway which paralleled the M6 and the A34. It was bliss not having to worry about traffic and it meant I could really look at the countryside properly.
I took off my fluorescent tabard – cows and sheep seem to find it disconcerting – and swung along just enjoying the day.
As I passed a beef farm, two farmers called out hello and asked if I was walking a long way. Well, I had to answer ‘Leeds’, didn’t I?
They came over and we had a good chat about the walk, beef cattle, the state of farming and life in general. They looked me up and down and plainly thought I was barking mad but after an enjoyable ten minutes wished me all the best for the rest of my journey and waved me goodbye.
I found Lorna outside a pub near Stone – she’s going to get a terrible reputation at this rate – and had the profound pleasure of using proper facilities inside the said pub.
I’d had to leap into a field for a pee earlier in the day and unwittingly parked my behind on a stinging nettle – that’ll teach me to look more closely in future!
I marched swiftly through Stone and out the other side; there was a pavement for several miles which was such a relief. But then it petered out and I was obliged to walk on grass verges and it was interminable.
Grass verges are rutted and uneven and sometimes turn into steep banks that are useless for a pedestrian. Cars and lorries passed by at high speed and only a few feet away. I would have to say that this was not the time for meditation or reflection; total concentration was required in order not to twist/break an ankle or, indeed, fall under a lorry.
Eventually, the grass verge turned into a pavement – I literally cheered – and I walked with rather hot and tired feet through Meir Heath.
I was determined to do a good mileage today so carried on to Cellarhead – an interesting name the origin of which I know nothing as yet.
I finished the day having walked 23 miles but my feet were really very tired for the first time. Perhaps the heat and the turning and twisting as I stumbled mile after mile along the grass verges made the poor old plates of meat a bit bruised. Whatever the reason, I was very happy to travel back to Rainow with my shoes off and sitting cross-legged on the front passenger seat. A ten minute shop at Tesco, supper and then bed. A girl can’t ask for more than that, I reckon.
I caught sight of myself in a convex mirror at the edge of a driveway last night and I honestly looked like a mad person. I’ve been wearing my old navy blue leggings (no chafing or flapping, if you’re interested), Opera Walk T-shirt, a blue baseball cap and either using my new stick or umbrella to propel me along. No wonder people don’t offer me lifts!

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