Friday, 29 June 2012

Day 8 begins

Day 8 begins

The morning is clear when I wake and soon I am packed and ready to get walking and see the sights. It looks like it might rain later, some clouds in the distance, and what with the dew on the ground I decide to go fully loaded, with waterproof trousers, gaiters and coat. I soon take the fleece off as it becomes too warm and I am beginning to sweat. The canal is very long. Well it feels as though it is, and I am dawdling through the long grasses grateful that I thought to wear all the wet gear. 

Many interesting things to see on the way, especially more cows and plenty of water, what drought? I stopped after an hour or so on a foot bridge over the canal to rest. Even a ten minute break can make it feel like you've only just started walking for the day. And the bag felt heavy, but I was getting accustomed to the weight now, tho' putting it off my shoulders occasionally was a fantastic idea. I must have fell asleep and the rain coming soon woke me. As my hunger now began to grow, a handful of nuts not quite enough to curb the desire to have something more, I found signs for Marshchapel.

Marshchapel is a sleepy little Lincolnshire village quite near to the sea. About 3 miles away to be precise. Walking along the leafy lanes here, I noticed that, rather, I observed, that only one out of a possible fifteen or so people actually acknowledged me and that I had gotten out of the road as they approached. They drove passed without so much of a wave or a nod of the head or even a toot on the car horn. Now forgive me for saying, I felt this rather rude. I mean yes you have a shiny big Range Rover or Volvo, but what would they have done if I hadn't gotten off the black top? Ran me over? 
I think if you check the high way code I might see a difference in the responses. Or maybe I wasn't smiling big enough.....!!
What is it about people the minute they get into a car? I am sure this wasn't the case during my first few days of walking, I remember a lot of responses and waves and the like. Don't think that I am moaning here, far from it. My enquiry into the way people are in Britain is all about observing what happens under certain circumstances and walking along a road filled with traffic can tell a lot about people and their foibles. I don't expect a really overblown response when I get off the tarmac, therefore I am not disappointed, but a little bit of acknowledgement would not go amiss people. One day we'll all be walking again and then what?
So on my way into this quiet village I met a few people (not in cars) and they were more than cordial, very pleasant in fact. I have this habit of stopping people and asking them things, directions, even if I am more than capable of finding them myself or in another way, solely to get an impression about them and the environment into which I walk. Here as has been common, they nearly always assist in whatever way they can. A lady who was not of the village said that she believed the shop was  somewhere off the left of the main road and was well signposted. She was correct and I soon arrived outside the local convenience store. 
I was so thirsty, all my water ran out ages ago, that I rushed in and bought a pint of milk, telling the young woman behind the counter, I would be back in after I had cooled down somewhat. When I did come back in a few minutes later we got chatting and she asked all about my walk. 

Vikki a local woman was also born to an R.A.F family and had moved around considerably through ther life. She offered me a cup of tea, and I wasn't going to turn that down now was I? Very nice it was too, she brought it out to me in the street as I was talking already to several other people. And you could blow me down with a feather if one of them wasn't Sean, who had bought me that pint yesterday evening. Small world eh???
Vikki popped back into the shop and I carried on getting to know all about Lesley Brown, a lady from the area who worked at a micro brewery in louth and also cared for an elderly gentleman in Louth. The brewery I believe to be in the town, called Gas Lighters Micro Brewery, were recently announced best pub in somewhere, possibly Lincolnshire. I shall have to do some research here)
Anyway I asked if she did the caring as a paid job or other and it would seem that she has been looking after this Gentleman, Pete, for about 6 years through her own kindness. Whilst Pete does have family Lesley continued to pop in and see him and do errands for him and help with his care as he approaches a ripe old age, through sheer love of helping. In fact she said, she had just popped in to get him some milk before she went over to see him. What a lovely person, and so generous. Helping me through a random conversation to see just what a lot of loyal and kind happy people there actually are here in the sleepy back waters. Doing things that matter to the less able and sharing a smile with a stranger too.
Lesley offered me her best wishes and hope that my walk went well. We shook hands in farewell and she smiled again as she drove off to Louth. 
My conversation with Vikki carried on between customers coming and going. This was a very popular place. Maybe because of the location or more possibly because of the sense of community here. 
I bought some supplies, and Vikki kindly filled my walking water bottle. I was set for the evening by the beach and a relaxing rest even if I had not really walked that far today. 
The walk out to the coast took me about an hour I suppose, I arrived quite early in the day, and saw a few people working on a building project near to the seafront at Horseshoe point. I had passed something I suspected to be a secret (well as secret as anything is when it is hidden in plain sight) government storehouse. Underground bunkers and airplane hangers full of food is my guess.

Walking along the sea bank I could see a dead whale lying on it's side. It must have been there for some time by the looks of it. Fortunately the wind was keeping the flies down and the smell away from my direction.

I saw a woman in a high viz top with some weird equipment walking up and down the beach area. I noticed that this was marked as a private beach, but still people were out walking dogs along the sands. Being nosy, I walked down to where she was and asked her what she was doing with something strapped to her back that looked like it had been made on Blue Peter. She explained that she was a Geo/scientist, come mapping expert and was conducting highly secret research for an unnamed company, finding out what metals and Phosphorus materials were lying beneath the surface. I guess she was looking for old warplanes and submarines from the world wars...
Rosie, who preferred not to be filmed or photographed was working in one of her first jobs since finishing her degree and masters at Glasgow University. (Preferred not to be photoed because of her company rules, not because she was unattractive in her glamorous wellies and outfit) We had a very wide and open discussion about all manner of things as I accompanied her wandering up and down for a while. She seemed to need the break from only hearing beeping noises and watching the screen of her Gps devices, and we got on well.
I could see that the weather was turning sour, so said that if she needed a break I would happily share my tent, that I had hastily erected earlier to stow my bag in case it rained soon. She thanked me, but said she needed to carry on regardless. I went off to have some of my lunch. A salad and some crisps, washed down with Lucozade. (Other energy drinks are available)
I was in heaven, watching the goings on and eating and breathing clear sea swept air. After a brief time I said to Rosie as she came near that I had seen some Lightening behind us and she decided to take off the equipment just in case. Just then the heavens opened and a storm began in earnest. I feel sure she would have appreciated the cover, but she waited until her survey partner came to her aid in the buggy machine that they used to do the greater parts of the area. 
So I sat smiling and enjoying the rain the light show from the comfort of my canopied tent. 

I was feeling very warm and cozy as the storm raged overhead. The pop-up tent was doing a marvelous job in the circumstances and my spirits were high. I watched as the survey team eventually packed it in for the day, and marveled at my solitude and the wonders of nature all about. I'm not much of a bird watcher, but I could see a huge range of different little birds who were nesting nearby.
Later on I was just thinking to myself about how it was a pity that the actual sea was so far away across the sand, I would have loved a quick dip and a chance to wash. Though saying this, washing in the North sea is more likely to have the opposite affect. The tides here in summer cause the water to be about one to two kilometers from the shoreline, and what with the gradient of the sand being so flat, I wasn't about to head off there in case I became stranded. 
Then a Eureka moment as the rains began again in haste. No-one about, so I went back to the nature way of dealing with this predicament. I took a shower in the rain. Undressed and even naked....!!
Us modern men do like the idea of being somewhat less odorous than our Neanderthal counterparts, or the early civilizations of Britain who hardly ever washed themselves it would seem.
The shower soap I use is environmentally friendly and only a little is needed, so I don't think that I have adversely  affected the Eco balance irreparably, or cause harm to the plant life. The electric storm raged overhead and I was enjoying the weirdness of this rare and not before had experience. How safe it was from a health and safety perspective, I cannot say. Maybe I should have borrowed Rosies hi-viz....
Back in the tent, drying was easy, the rain and general temperatures were still warm. I lay for a while, sipping my Brandy and eating a few nice biscuits, ah the joys of life are sweet.....

And so I set myself up for the night, and a decent sleep wondering what joys tomorrow would bring.

Day 8 comes to an end.


Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Day 7 Begins

Day 7 Begins

The morning was warm if not over humid, and clouds gathered in the distance for a real dumping later. I set off cleared up and was soon on my way to see the glory of the Olympic torch relay. I had to shead the jacket and fleece early on as my temperature soon got up to speed. The hills rolled on by, these Wolds are something special and soon the church spire of Louth was in sight. I was able to get off the roads even if traffic here had been light this morning.

Once in the small town it became humorously clear that I had just missed the Torch celebrations and passing of it, everyone was walking towards me....Awww...

Anyway I needed a breakfast and soon found a place to my liking. I am here now and have been for quite a few hours. The bacon sandwiches were lovely and tea almost non stop since. Mike the joint owner with Ang allowed me to put my bag and tent out of the way in the alleyway along side Larders Coffee House situated in a passageway, Little Butchers Lane, Mercer Row. (01507 602888)

I asked if they knew where there was Internet services available and Mike replied, "here". 
I should have known. The service was second to none and there have been a  few extras on behalf of my cause, particularly a ginger flavoured flapjack.... OOh...
Thank you also for the service and conversations with Evie and Zara who have been wonderfully attentive too.

So services all thoroughly used and sadness to leave and face more weather I set off to find more lovely people on my way towards the coast.

As I strolled through the town taking in the ambiance, I remembered that I needed a roll mat for the floor in the tent. Good old Millets...
I saw one in the window, for about £8 and smiled as it was in a sale for £6. I asked one of the kind assistants to show me where the range was and actually chose a different one because of the colour (well a guy needs to be co-ordinated you know) and because it had straps. It was only £5 in the end so a result I would say.
I needed some supplies and drinks before I set out so visited the Coop, and soon was munching on strawberries I saw in one of those old fashioned shops. You know the ones that sell only fruit and vegetables and not much besides.... The strawberries were wonderful. I lead such a terrible life of sustenance you see.

A little way along the road, whilst the taste of the strawberries was still on my lips, a guy outside a pub called out to me and asked if I needed a drink. The Poachers in Louth was a large old building with character, and the folk outside it had too. The guy, Sean asked me what I was doing, and then disappeared into the pub returning soon with my pint. I felt guilty as I drank the cool liquid. Not because it was not a welcome thirst quencher, but because I was drinking and the kids didn't have one. Still, his offer and delivery of said kindness has not gone unnoticed. Like I said before, it is sometimes the simple things, the things that prove a desire to kind that get the most recognition. The price of a drink may have been lot to this guy and his family, but he still shared it with me.
Soon I was saying my goodbyes and setting out to walk along the Louth canal, toward the coast and a chance to see the mighty North Sea. After I had walked a while I noticed that I must have dropped my flannel. It is a special flannel with emotional attachment, so I had to return about a half mile and rescue it. I found it at the entrance to Louth canal, where the path met the town. Still I thought, the exercise will do me good eh??? And then I was trotting happily along the fields and banks of the canal towards a welcome evening break.

The sun was shining and I was in teeshirt again,  using said flannel to mop my brow as I walked and enjoyed the tranquil evening and scenery never before seen, by me. Along the way, farmers have taken to letting the cattle walk the river banks, as most fields contain other produce, Corn, Barley and the like. A great idea one would imagine, unless you are a bit scared by the size of cows. Not that I am, but sure it can be a bit intimidating if you are vying for the same patch of ground and you are outnumbered by about 20 to 1. The cows don't really move unless you scare them away and I was not about to go causing an annoying ruck and have them jump into the canal. With careful eye contact and the old Jedi mind trick, I was soon able to convince them that they didn't want to harm me, now move along.

The day was coming to an end now and I had the precious views with sunlight to fall asleep to. Using the freshly cut path was a godsend, as it was very comfy and my new roll mat came in very handy indeed. Temperatures were very warm so no concerns as to being cold throughout the night. 
I wonder where I shall get to tomorrow?

Day 7 ends.

Day 6 Walking

Day 6 Walking

And it was all going so well......!!!!

I woke to find a huge puddle inside the tent, Arrrgh....

Luckily I hadn't rolled into it because my rucksack had been in the doorway. But it, was soaked. At first I thought that it must have rained, even if I hadn't been woken by it. It had been cold of course I needed extra clothes in the sleeping bag. But no signs that it had rained. The inside of the tent was covered in condensation, from me breathing and had produced a puddle of at least half a pint of water, possibly more. The straps of my bag had been on the floor of the tent and so soaked most of it up...
Oh you gotta laugh......
Still a learning curve if ever there was....!!!

The sun was coming out so I hung things around all the local bushes etc to get them dry. After a few hours of relaxing I was ready for the off. 
I now realise that because I have no roll mat, the ground had sapped my heat and made me perspire more than usual. Next thing on the shopping list. The tent had not leaked, I had......!!!

The day was warm, views great and walking in teeshirt only for most of the day. (Yes of course I had trousers on too....Durgh...) I passed a pub and cursed because it was closed, only opening evenings, and all my water had gone. On entering Burgh on Bain, I asked a local lady where the nearest watering hole was. It would seem nowhere near my direction ahead, but the road was beginning to tire me out. All that lorry dodging and car hooters malarchy, odd fellows yelling obscenities out of the windows. Most people waved as I stepped out of their way, few forgot.
I decided to follow the intuitive decision in the direction of this far off pub. The walk was amazing, down old lanes and passed an old mill house. Across the fields and into an old abandoned village called Biscathorpe, which it would appear was in the Doomsday book. Here a tiny old church was a welcome break and a delight to my explorative desires. Fabulous architectures and all here hidden amidst the trees, for few folk to find. That said I saw a current visitors book which was littered with visitors who like myself had stumbled across it as they followed the Viking way footpaths.

It was a very nice change from the normal kind of random church visit, this place was in no great shape, but it was quaint. I left the ghosts behind and continued along the Viking way towards liquid refreshment, and another kind of spirit. Well maybe not alcohol, but certainly some hot food.....Wahey..... The day was cooling off and I spotted the rain clouds plotting against me. The walk was perilously close to the cows with their young, and a Big Boy all muscle and brute strength reminding me of another encounter with his kind, that had put the fear of god into me. When it eventually decided to hammer down on me I had made cover beneath a mighty Chestnut. I gave the weather a victorious finger.....!!!
It got me back......!!!
Soon the Village of Donington on Bain was in sight.

And very soon after the golden, warming light of the Pub. The Black Horse was a delightful place to have a meal. Actually I was so hungry, a rabbit passing might have looked tasty enough to catch. Still the bangers and mustard mash were real heaven. I managed to get all my needs met, water, batteries recharged and a warm stomach.

I hoped to finally reach Louth tomorrow and even catch a glimpse of this famous Olympic torch as it did its relay around Britain. The signs were a disappointment, but well I needed to walk off some of this food, I had eaten loads.

And then to bed, and a well earned rest. I made better provisions this time and found a pile of hay from a cut grass field entrance to pile under the tent and provide some insulation against the floor and sapping my heat. 

Typically the evening proved to be very warm in the end and I slept most of the night with the door open. I slept very well as a result and no wetness in the morning. 

Day 6 over.