Kathryn Harries - Soprano

Monday, June 12, 2006

On the move again

I got up at 7am and packed, ready for the resumption of the Walk. Linda and Jim arrived just before 9am and I took them in the Boat to Gatwick for their flight back to Scotland. They are such stars and yet have no overweening airs and graces; rather the reverse because they are self-deprecating and modest about their great gifts.
We said goodbye; well, Linda and I said ‘see you tomorrow,’ which felt bizarre in the extreme given that ‘tomorrow’ would be Harewood House in Yorkshire. And then back home via the doctor’s to pick up a couple of scripts. Thyroxine keeps my metabolism going, as I’ve said, and I needed new supplies or I’d become fat, hairless and tired somewhere near Barnsley…
Lorna, bless her cotton socks, was not only early but had packed the Jag with the help of my aged parents. So it was time for the off.
I slept quite a lot of the journey back to Rotherham; Coverwood is always knackering and this year was no exception.
We arrived at Ridgeway, where the girls had picked me up on Wednesday and I set off just after 3pm.
Within five minutes it was hissing down in torrents; unbelievably heavy rain that lasted for a drenching half hour. Then it was fine till 8pm after which I’d covered 17 miles. Not bad because I was quite tired from the weekend. It was great to be moving again and out in the fresh air without having to worry about pollen because I was singing.
The route was very easy and unremarkable; all pavements for ages until an attention-focusing B road for the last hour. I spent as much time in the hedge as I did walking because the traffic was fast and had nowhere to go – except over me if I didn’t move sharpish!
I’m acutely aware when I’m walking into traffic that I have a great responsibility towards everyone’s safety. It’s the same as when you’re riding a horse or riding a bike; you have to be aware at all times, be grateful to those who slow down or move out for you, and learn strong swear words and gesticulations for the bastards who don’t give a toss whether you live or die. I reckon that four out of ten motorists will actually try not to kill you and the rest don’t even notice that you’re there. And there are those who, should they by some perverse chance spot you, think it’s a jolly good wheeze to swerve towards you and force you into the hedge, wall, or even better, run you over. What in God’s name has happened to this country when it comes to manners and consideration for the welfare of others? Are these people just thick? Or aliens? All answers to the present government please.
I sweltered all the time I was walking this afternoon; it was the hottest June day on record apparently, and I felt rather like a goldfish in a very small bowl trying to suck in oxygen for dear life. The air was heavy and humid and thunder rolled and grumbled from time to time as I sweated damply up hill and down dale. Not a pretty sight as many startled passers-by could testify.
The towns were all slightly run down and glumly depressing. Lovely countryside surrounded man-made ugliness and the industrial past resounded throughout the landscape. Remains of mines stood starkly and accusingly silent as I passed and the buildings often had an air of down-at-heel neglect.
When I stopped I was just east of Bolsover in Derbyshire and it was a fairly simple journey back to Leeds on the M1. We found our flats at the first attempt so retired for the night justifiably proud of ourselves. We were both weary after a long day and I’m afraid my supper consisted of two boiled eggs and two whiskies – or was it three? Lorna very kindly had offered to cook for me, but I knew I’d fall face down into my supper if I accepted. Not an appetising prospect, all in all, so I declined and said I’d see her sometime the next day. Zzzzzzzz.


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