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.



  1. Keep up the good work bro.
    Really enjoyed the story so far and great to see the best of British kindness still permeating in the Great British people of this green and pleasant land.
    You tell a great story and i have been mesmorised, no really!!
    Love from all of us , Take care .xx

  2. Hi it's Rosie! I've just remembered that I would pass on the title of the book that had come to mind during our discussion on the beach. It's called 'A Big Boy Did It And Ran Away' by Christopher Brookmyre. You've certainly walked a lot further north than when we met! Hope it's going well for you and all the best :)