Browsing "Days of rest"

Day 5 A day of rest in Abcott

Shame that I had an attack of the munchies before retiring to bed last night. It is somewhat disconcerting to rise out of bed in the morning after having dropped bits of chocolate the night before into one’s bed.

Today is Easter Monday and the first dancing day of the year for The Shropshire Bedlams and Martha Rhoden’s Tuppenny Dish. We are very pleased to be dancing today as it will probably be the last one for quite a long time. When I said that today was a day of rest I didn’t really mean it.

Day 12 Kit evaluation

We are 11 days into the trip and having a rest day in Great Malvern. Despite all of the comments about the weight of my rucksack, 12+ Kg, I am finding it quite comfortable and, as yet, have no intention of ditching any of the contents. There were a few comments about my Braun electric toothbrush plus charger but these were from people who like to walk 100 miles in one day. We, on the other hand, are walking 1500 miles in 6 months so need a little more comfort

I would never have bought a Swiss Army knife for myself but, thanks to the generosity of my former colleagues who gave it to me, I would not now be without it.

The most difficult practical matter is how to attach stuff to the straps of my rucksack. During the day it would be great to have satmap, binoculars, camera, knife etc readily to hand rather than in the depths of my capacious trouser pockets. My trouser pockets are so heavy with all of this stuff that I am in constant danger of a sudden catastrophic debagging and consequent loss of personal dignity. I am going to try string today and see how that goes.

We have really undergone a drastic downsizing over the last 4 months. Large 4 bedroom house to small 1 bedroom cottage to 2 rucksacks. The only thing I should like to have had room for in the rucksack, and the strength to carry, is an accordion.

Around Great Malvern





Day 17 Stow on the Wold Day of rest

Today we have rested. apart from a trip to the laundrette. The White Hart is very comfortable with an enormous bed and bath in the room. Last night we disovered that the people in the adjacent room have a bathroom abutting our bedroom. I now know that the bloke in that room coughs when he goes to the loo and that the fan in their bathroom runs for a longer time than ours.

The laundrette is in Moreton in Marsh, another pretty Cotswold town. It was quite a treat to take the bus and to travel four miles in only 8 minutes. I thought that we might faint travelling at this breakneck speed.

Stow is rather quiet in the evenings, I was talking to a barman who said that nothing happened in the evenings. He was right, all is tranquil just the quiet hum of grey hairs having a quiet pint.


Day 18 Stow on the Wold day of rest and cream tea

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Another rest day for us at Stow. It is quite odd to see how busy the town is this Sunday morning. Tourist buses are arriving in the square regularly and most shops seem to be open.

We went into the tourist information place in order to get some ‘phone numbers for tomorrow and realised that the assistant gave incredibly detailed information  when asked for things to do in Stow. It was our great misfortune to be second in the queue so we were able to benefit from this information as much as did the enquirer to whom it was directed. I would have quite liked the opportunity to sit him in the stocks and heave stuff in his direction.

These rest days have enabled us to sort out our kit, make some running repairs and get some stiff brushes with which to clean the dried mud off our shoes.

Last night we were awoken by a strange, unearthly, glow appearing in the corner of our bedroom. On further examination it became apparent that the power had gone off and that the emergency light had come on.  On waking up, the power in the bathroom was still not working which made the usual morning activities problematic as thebathroom  fan was inactive. The maintenance bloke showed me the distribution board so, if this happens again, I can reset the trip and lavatorial comfort will be restored.

I can recommend highly the cream tea produced by the Tea Shop here in Stow as well as the sweet shop which sells aniseed balls with an aniseed in the centre.

Day 29 A day of rest in Basingstoke


Platform 9 Reading railway station

Today is a day of no stroll. The weather is dull and drizzly so we haven’t missed out on anything very much by having an indoor day. I am realising how useful it is to be near to a railway station which has frequent trains going to useful places and at useful times.


Mind the step


I have been wrestling with an application which will show on a map the progress of the trip so far but am coming to the conclusion that I shall have to do some manual work on the files in order to get them to show properly on the blog.

I have been surprised by the usefulness of walking poles. When strolling over Offa’s Dyke they came into first use and have been in almost daily use since then. It is a shame that Janet’s poles have failed and that mine are too long to go under the rainproof covering of my rucksack. Today we have bought a pair of replacements and look forward to tomorrow to try them out. Whilst staring at the fine array of poles on display I foolishly showed a passing interest in a pair of gaiters. The assistant then demonstrated how to attach the gaiters to me, I couldn’t see how they would work with trainers, my chosen strolling footwear, but the bloke tried with all his might to make them work for me. It was only after abject failure that he confessed that he hated gaiters and never wore them himself.

We are sitting quietly in sarah’s sitting room, Janet scanning some notes we made in a French lesson last December and me staring out at Basingstoke.

Tomorrow we shall stroll from Reading to California.

Day 33 Lower Bourne

Today’s Monday, today’s Monday is everybody ‘appy? You bet your life we are!

Monday is washing day, both us and our clothes. Long soak in a comfortable bath and then a visit from Will, Rachel, Annabel, Lucy, Alana, Gwen, loads of scones, butter and homemade jam. Another highlight to add to the many we have already had, the delivery of a take away afternoon tea.

We are not having an official stroll today but went for an unofficial stroll through the Bourne Woods in the sunshine instead. I am always astonished to see how sandy and flinty the soil is here, yet the trees flourish.

For much of the early part of the journey we have been accompanied by the sound of larks in the damp air. It has been quite odd that, since approaching Reading, we have heard none. Yesterday we saw our first House Martin/Swallow type bird zooming low and scooping up insects.

Day 54 Aire-sur-la-Lys

As it was a public holiday here restaurants were shut last night so we went to look for some supper. Near to the hotel was a  sort of chip shop filled with eager chip eaters. The chips are served on trays, not little plastic efforts as in the UK but on enormous things that you could use to bring in the tea things, cups. saucers, plates, scones etc. People had one each of these monsters in front of them!

This morning we had a lie in after yesterday’s epic trek. I asked the receptionist if a map shop would be open today. She shrugged hopelessly and said probably not. We went out to seek breakfast and to find out if the map shops were truly closed, they were closed, as were most bars.

Decision time, go forth without  map again and with little chance of getting one before Arras? Or stay here for another day, rest and listen to the last day of the Windies test?

The clock in the Mairie has a carillon which plays a different tune on the hour and at each quarter. I think that I know the hour one but can’t remember its name.


Day 59 Arras

Our host has an uncanny resemblance to Herbert Lom and I find this quite distracting as I eat my breakfast every day.

As we had made very little forward provision for our accommodation, we had to move rooms this morning, up to the third floor. When I had finished packing my stuff Janet was fairly keen to have a clear run at doing her stuff without me tapping my fingers and cracking my finger joints so I went out to look at what was happening in the square. It was very interesting to look at the enormous street market which was getting itself established.


Arras Saturday Street Market

The stalls contained all manner of things from small home grown vegetable and home made sausage stalls to large outfits selling meat, cheese, clothing etc. A wonderfully colourful sight with thousands of people cramming into the square and little roads which run from it.


Janet as Juliet peering at me

We had been told by a laundrette person in Dover that some Australians had not been able to find a laundrette in France and so had had to wait until they got to Blighty to wash their clothes. Well, we have seen loads of the things in every town. This morning we set of eagerly towards one of these frequent laundrettes to get our smalls and bigs clean.


I’m not too sure from where France gets its reputation for good regional food. In every town and village we have visited so far getting a plate of food without a massive portion of chips has been impossible. Last night the starter was a bowl of crudities so the first veg of this leg of the trip was eagerly devoured. We spent part of this afternoon in the tourist office trying to find out about the next leg of our trip. The girl behind the counter suggested that there were only fields where we want to go.  As we came and went into the tourist office we saw two wedding parties going in and coming out of the registry office. Quite nice to think that they and we all share the same anniversary date.



A high spot was a trip up the Beffroi on the Mairie. One ascends partly in a lift and then up some open stairs which then finally open out onto a narrow balcony with a stone parapet. The views over Arras are wonderful from this point. I had a squeak of surprise when a local mother raised her child up to the parapet so that he could look over the top.


In order to avoid chips, tonight we ate a pizza. One would imagine that a pizza would taste the same wherever made but tonight’s pizza was definitely French.