Kathryn Harries - Soprano

Monday, May 29, 2006

Wetter and Wetter

Breakfast and then off to Far Forest. It was a funny day; I dithered rather more than usual and managed to press a wrong button on my GPS watch so it didn’t display what I needed. That’ll teach me to read the instructions.
All in all it was pretty uneventful after yesterday. I enjoyed the minor roads to Button Bridge and was then plunged into a leap, dodge, leap, dodge nightmare on a very busy B road to Bridgnorth.
I gave up in the end because motorist after motorist ignored my presence and drove past me at sixty and seventy miles an hour while only three feet away from my cringing person.
I tried another B road and gave up on that too; a quick dive down a minor road to the left gave me some respite from dicing with death and then I actually had a stretch of B road that possessed – yes, a pavement.
But that didn’t last long; as the pavement disappeared and the verge looked impossible, I looked at the map, and while I was deciding whether or not to carry on this unequal struggle, a local gentleman asked me if I needed help. He asked where I was going and though I mentioned twice I was walking to Leeds, he gave no sign that he’d heard what I said, which struck me as unusual to say the very least.
Perhaps he thought I was mad and he’d better gloss over my nonsense. Whatever; I followed his excellent instructions and made my way across the fields. And then it rained. It really, really rained and in two minutes my feet were as wet as if I’d been standing in a bath of water for half an hour.
I slipped and skidded down filthy muddy slopes, trying not to fall A over T and finally reached a cycle path beside the railway. Following the tarmac path was a pleasure but not for long. It was going to end up on the ghastly B road in a couple of miles, so I opted to walk all the way to Bridgnorth beside the River Severn.
On a fine day it would have been paradise. As everything was soaked and dripping and I squelched for the next 8 miles across muddy fields and waist high greenery, I suppose paradise was a bit below par. But in spite of the swimming feet and sodden socks, the cold, wet leggings and the drenching showers, the countryside was still breathtakingly beautiful.
The River Severn was brown and oleaginous and the waters swirled around half drowned trees as the weight of water rolled by dangerously swiftly.
A steam train huffed along the single track, first one way then the other and reminded me of all the journeys I made to West Wales when I was a child.
The sun came out and everything steamed till the next torrential downpour; startled ducks dashed quacking into the river as I passed and my trusty stick kept me upright; another wet and muddy derriere was mercifully avoided. I began to talk to my stick in a way that was reminiscent of Shirley Valentine and her Wall. Well, it’s company… It took absolutely ages to reach Bridgnorth and my filthy wet legs were like lead by the time I walked into town.
Having consulted the map, I crossed the river by the old bridge and rang Lorna to arrange a meeting point. Suddenly the black sky opened and the rain came down as if someone had turned on a giant faucet. I dashed into a hotel and while I waited for Lorna and a much-needed change of clothes I had a cup of tea and biscuits.
The lady who served me was deeply unimpressed by my tale of walking to Leeds and told me to go into the lounge where I could sit on a leather Chesterfield which wouldn’t mark, what with me being so wet and all…
Lorna joined and was nearly as wet as me-the downpour had caught her out.
I surreptitiously changed in the Ladies loos, and did another four miles in my walking boots along the side of the A454. It goes to Wolverhampton, which I am not, but when I finished at Worfield I was poised to head north east to Stafford and beyond. Between 20 and 22 miles. I’ll have to use a ruler on the map to be accurate as the watch was a dead loss thanks to my technological stupidity.
Home to Bridget’s and a last lovely meal in excellent company here in Kingsland. Catherine and Charles MacCarthy joined us; what delightful and clever people. And how kind of them to host the soiree last Friday, which by all accounts is regarded as a huge success.
I’m going to miss Bridget, but the good news is that we’re planning a concert in 2007 to raise money for the local hospice and for Hereford Cathedral. So, I’ll just have to come up to Kingsland regularly to check everything’s going ok. No ulterior motive, naturally.

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