Sunday, 10 April 2011
Spring has hit England with a force not seen for years,A week of glorious Sun,we Brits so love it when it happens that everyone sheds clothes and head for the beach-park or anywhere where we can display our white bodies and bask in the rays,we spend more money and make plans for the rest of the year as if the warmth will stay with us for ever.
I was no different,and with thoughts of my next Camino in mind decided to walk 20km through Thetford Forest, one of if not the largest Forest in England an old old path that links up with an even older Roman road that goes up through Norfolk to the coast,in the past I had walked the coastal route and now had a fancy to link this up with the "Pedders Way", my walk I hoped for the next 3 days
Also I wanted a taste of reality and with this in mind was carrying a tent in my 12k rucksack-I hope to carry one on the Camino Norte a walk along the coast of northern Spain,mainly because of money reasons but also because I want to walk in the early evening and not have to worry about the hostels being full, which in the past meant booking in by 2/3pm.
I had pitched a tent in my garden the previous weekend, to be used by one or all of my 3 youngest children who were visiting the old man for his birthday in his one bed roomed bungalow,needless to say it was me who finished up in the tent-daughters 2 and 3 taking over the bed and son number 2 the sofa.
Tom son number 2 the artist even did a large poster for the event,it now hangs on my wall.His web site tom-kitchen.co.uk
it was good to have them there and fun was had but each night I had to creep into the tent and lay down these old bones-doubts creeped into my mind about sleeping in Spain in one never mind carrying the bugger hence the reality walk.
The day turned out to be the warmest April day on record and a small Norfolk village I walked through the hottest in England.
it was so good to be on the road again with the sun on my back not one person was seen on this walk through the woods and just to lay down on the mossy banks with my bread and cheese (and wine) was sheer heaven, naps were taken as I slowly walked this old drovers route-the rests became more frequent as the sun and the weight of my pack took its toll.The stillness of the woods only being spoilt by the fact this path lies on the flightpath of American jets from the 2 large American bases nearby,for all I knew the conflict in the Arab states had escalated !!
but even the warplanes couldn't distract from the peace and quite and timeless stillness of this English country lane,but the burdening weight and the hot day did-it was time to lay down my bed for the night but I had reached a part of the Forest that is closed to the public an area used by the military for war maneuvers and firing range,maybe not the best place to sleep the night so I walked on to a small village pub and rested for a while,the locals at first welcoming but increasingly hostile as they questioned me about my plans for camping out-this being Norfolk (rural rural) and quite a small place my face was known from the time I owned a pub 40miles away and memories were invoked of a night I took a cut down pool cue to a bunch of gypsy types intent on wreaking the place, it seemed that the pub I now sat quietly drinking in watching the big football match on the TV was filled with friends of these people,my first thoughts were could I divert the army from their maneuvers nearby or maybe call in the American warjets,I settled instead for phoning my nearby brother for a lift home,the thought of my own safe bed too hard to resist.
in penance for not walking the whole 3 days I spent the next day walking through and out of my local village to the water overflow channel one of many that cross low laying Norfolk,I love the local newspaper headline advert that stands outside the village stores it makes me smile every time.
the local paper is famous for its headline "Titanic sinks 1 Norfolk man killed"
The sight of the sun on the furrows of the newly plowed fields,the deer that scatter as I turn the corners,rabbits everywhere-the birds that shout and scream in order to frighten this poolcue wheelding maniac away,the strange horned highland cattle and the mated for life pair of swans that come back each year at this time patroling their stretch of water by the bridge, bring back the serenity of the day before,"its a new day its a new year and I'm feeling good"