Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The North Downs Way continues

The weather forecast was deceiving. Yesterday was predicted to be sunny but on the cool side, a mere twelve degrees. I packed an additional base layer, fleece, woolly hat and even gloves. The sun shone all day and much of the time I was hot and sweaty, compounded by carrying so much extra weight in my rucksack. But the wind blew. It was strong enough to make me tie my bandanna a bit tighter and loud enough to make conversation hard work. Not that that puts us off talking. We have walked from Farnham to near Sevenoaks and still not nearly run out of stuff to say.
Most of yesterday's route was within the London Orbital Motorway, the M25, and yet, in twenty miles, we did not pass one shop, nowhere to buy chocolate. We took ourselves off the Way to a pub which served us a cool cup of tea and a cooler welcome. We also headed into a village, to a nearly-closed garden centre where we bought chocolate raisins and toffee popcorn which fuelled us with enough sugar for the last couple of hours. We walked a number of miles parallel to the M25, through beautiful fields - grass and oil-seed rape - which I have motored passed with barely a glance. We saw country lanes bordered by thick mixed hedgerows, we heard birds singing and all day long the sky was a clear blue. Quintessential English countryside only half-an-hour's drive from the city centre.
Today I am tired, my legs ache and my feet are sore, but I have something of the newly-emerging summer on my inside, views for my "inner eye" that bring something green and blue and yellow to concrete suburbia and, as I spend some of my carefully carved out blogging time looking up train times as I excitedly plan the next stage, something to look forward to.

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