Kathryn Harries - Soprano

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

More than halfway there...

I packed up all my belongings and put them downstairs beside the front door. It was strange to be moving again and sad to be saying goodbye to Bridget and Kingsland. By the time I’d moved all the boxes of concert shells, donations forms, water and odds and sods from the dining room to the hall, I did have to wonder how on earth all this stuff was going to make it back into the car.
Bridget and her two long haired Dachsunds, Harriet and Stukeley bounced downstairs and we sorted out the world over breakfast.
Lorna joined and then we loaded up the Jag and were off.
I popped into Jackie and Brian’s to say goodbye and leave them a gift of wine and chocolates as a thank you; nipped into the post office to write and send a birthday card to my Dad who’s 83 tomorrow, and finally, we waved Kingsland farewell and drove for about an hour to reach yesterday’s stopping point at Worfield.
A quick consultation over the map and I started walking. Today was going to be a day of small country roads.
The weather was DRY and SUNNY. I couldn’t believe it would hold so marched along using my plaid umbrella as a walking stick. The lanes were meandering and rose up and down over the rolling hills with splendid views to each side.
I’d left Lorna with the instruction booklet for my watch and the watch itself as she’d kindly offered to have a go at finding the right screen for me.
Mum and Dad phoned, several people checked in to see how I was and then I had a long conversation with a charming lady from Radio Scotland. We arranged a time for a phone interview tomorrow and I heard myself say that I’d be happy to do a fund-raiser for Scottish Opera. I would, actually, because it’s a lovely company and they’ve had a really hard time of it over the last few years.
I turned off towards Badger; what a great name for a tiny village and it happens to be the name of a fantastic terrier I once had. I bought him as a minute black and white fur ball back in 1998 after I divorced my serially unfaithful husband. Badger kept our Labrador, Sox, company until poor old Sox suddenly died at the end of 1999 while I was working in Paris. Badger needed constant company and my make-up artist friend Lois Mackintosh was happy to take him on. They’ve been inseparable ever since and Badger has appeared in a number of films and TV programmes as well as making hordes of admiring fans wherever he goes.
Lorna and I met in Beckbury for a cup of tea standing by the car and then onwards. The sun shone, the traffic was sparse and the drivers mannerly. It was enjoyable walking.
Lorna and I met around 3pm at a rose garden/tea room but as they’d stopped serving lunch, I took an apple with me to eat as I walked; I’d started at midday and needed to keep going if I was to make decent mileage.
There are some amazing buildings in this part of Staffordshire; huge barns of red brick around large courtyards placed on ridges with far-reaching panoramic views.
I’d walked past Donnington aerodrome and watched a gleaming black jet fighter fly past at low altitude; as it rolled and banked, its wings shimmered in the sunshine and the roar of the engines ripped through the peace of the afternoon. It was a thrilling sight, but maybe not on a daily basis.
I crossed the A41 and then the M 54 and slowly made my way up the map towards Church Eaton west of Stafford where I stopped at 6.30 pm. There was one hairy stretch of road which had me leaping up and down onto the verge or into the hedge to avoid being mown down; it certainly concentrates the mind when you regard each car as your possible doom and as I stared the motorists down and leapt back and forth onto the grass as they raced past, I felt rather like a matador dodging a series of bulls doing seventy miles an hour.
Bishops Wood was an interesting little village with guys (as in Guy Fawkes not chaps) in every garden and by the name plate entering and leaving the village. I’m not sure what they were celebrating but it probably had its roots in ancient history and it gave a rather pagan air to the place.
I’d made 14.7 miles according to the GPS watch since Beckbury so today’s total was 20.7 miles. Not bad in an afternoon.
Lorna drove me to Rainow near Macclesfield where I shall be staying with friends, Wyn and Jane Davies, for just under a week.
The views from every window are astonishingly beautiful and it’s going to be a treat to stay in one place again for more than a day or two.
And it was great to catch up with two long-standing friends who happen to be two of the brightest people I’ve ever met. We talked about everything under the sun including my plans to start a business with Toria when she comes home from Oz next year. They were full of commonsense advice and when the walk is over, I’m going to have a longer chat with them about the project.
Lorna went back to Milton near Stoke-on-Trent to stay with her mum and I’ll be seeing her back here at around 9.30 am tomorrow.
An uneventful and very pleasant day and my total mileage is now 322.4 miles, which must mean I’ve passed the halfway point. Wahey!

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