Kathryn Harries - Soprano

Thursday, May 18, 2006

A couple of old drunks?

It was raining – how very surprising – and all our clothes from yesterday were still sodden. But the sky looked marginally more promising so we could but pray for an improvement in the weather.
Lorna drove us back to the lay-by where we’d finished and Diana and I set off north-east on minor roads. The A4 was a complete no-no. It was far too dangerous.
What a relief to be walking in quiet country lanes and the hills were ridiculously exciting after days of walking on the flat. Suddenly we could feel muscles that had hitherto been redundant and there was a strange kind of delight in puffing up and down the short sharp Berkshire hills. The sun came out, a breeze got up and as we walked we admired the glorious views. To our left the densely packed crops in an enormous field rippled in the wind. It looked like a gigantic Mexican Wave and with bluebells, violets and a myriad of wild flowers in the hedgerows we were seeing England at its best.
We walked through Ramsbury – an idyllic, pretty village – and on to Ogbourne St George. Lorna had set up table and chairs ready for our arrival and we had a lovely lunch on the grass verge whilst hanging on to all our belongings; the wind was growing stronger and stronger.
In our inimitable fashion, we set off in the wrong direction. But spotting our error in a matter of two hundred yards, we turned round and got it right on the second attempt. When you’ve got blisters, every extra step is a disagreeable one!
But the good news for me was that, having had to remove the insoles from my trainers because they were soaked, I discovered that without them my blister ceased to pain me. So, I shan’t be using them again.
We followed the Ridgeway and began to cross the Marlborough Downs. The strength of the wind was unbelievable. We had fantastic views in every direction but had to battle to stay upright.
Leaning into the wind, which was blowing from our left, was a great idea; until the wind suddenly dropped and we fell the other way.
Diana and I reeled our way across the huge rolling expanse of downland like a couple of old drunks. Absolutely hilarious and absolutely knackering.
When we found a little respite in the lanes by the ancient hill fort at Barbary Castle, we still lurched about like sailors who’re back on dry land after months at sea.
I can only liken the force of the wind to putting your head out of a car window when it’s travelling along a motorway at about seventy miles an hour. It was really difficult even to breathe; we both ended up gasping for air out of the corners of our mouths and contorting our lips like old fashioned baritones!
We ended up at Dauntsey Lock, just short of the M4. A good landmark to finish a good day and a total of 24 miles. Diana treated us to supper in the lovely local pub at Wootton Rivers and I limited myself to Guinness. Gin is off for the time being!

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