Yesterday I travelled twenty one miles on foot, starting and finishing in Ogbourne Maizey. I would have told you about it last night but I was too knackered to even switch on my computing machine, let alone type in a self proclaimed amusing manner.
But now, having rested (it was such an easy day at work today) I can relate my day's events. Much to my delight I managed to walk almost non stop for seven and a half hours, up and down some pretty steep hills but mostly along byways and bridleways and largely along the Ridgeway Path without contracting a blister or dying. The ascent and the altitude may have been no match for what will be expected of me in Peru but the distance covered and the stamina level I achieved did a lot to convince me that when I get there I will survive. First I was afraid, I was petrified, etc.
I’m not sure I can do much more walking in the Marlborough Downs. They’re a bit all the same and I get bored of all those tracks and the fact that the whole area seems dedicated to training horse race horses. I walked along Smeathe’s Ridge which was nice but not as stunningly gorgeous as it looks from a distance or as the contours on my trusty Ordnance Survey map would suggest. I walked along the rocky road to Rockley without actually going into the village of Rockley which I suspect is little more than a clutch of really posh houses with Agas, and coat stands creaking under the weight of tweed and waxed jackets, and Land Rovers parked outside on long sweeping gravel drives waiting for Hermione or Arabella or Chlamydia to jump in to drive off to the tack shop. I walked through Barbury Castle again which may well have been impressive during the Iron Age but yesterday was just a big mound of earth and the toilets were closed but I weed through the gap in the doorway anyway. The mud didn’t help (the walking that is, not the weeing) but it made my boots heavy so I suppose it promoted muscle development a little.
I will go back to the Marlborough Downs but I’ll probably concentrate on the bit near Avebury which is much more picturesque as well as mystical and nearer home.
I saw an owl today. It flew up from a hedgerow as I walked down the hill near Four Mile Clump. It was the nearest I’ve ever been to an owl outside of a zoo. What a beautiful creature it was, though I’m not sure what sort it was. It was mostly white with brown bits so it could have been either a snowy owl or a brown owl, or more likely a mixed-race owl. The Wiltshire wilderness is becoming such a cosmopolitan place these days.
Last night I travelled to Bristol Airport but didn’t get on a plane. I went there to meet my travelling third born daughter who was coming home from her seat of learning in Maastrichtfor a couple of weeks. I’m very proud of all three of my children for who they are and what they have achieved but with my daughter in the nether regions of the Netherlands I’m as envious as I am proud.
But it was just as well that I wasn’t flying off to somewhere fantastically foreign because my limbs were so stiff from my walking that even if Mr Easyjet himself had dragged me across the runway I would have had to resist as the discomfort would have killed me.
Normally when I do something that hurts as much as that I swear to myself, “Never again!” but I couldn’t wait to get out in the countryside and have another crack. Ah, the things we do for love . . . and my love at the moment is far away Peru. . . where I will be going in eighty days. Woo hoo!