I felt a bit odd, setting out on my own again yesterday morning, after having had a week of constant companionship.
But as I got ready to set off, a gregarious cat pranced up to me, purring, and investigated my rucksack.
And by lunchtime I remembered that I still had someone with me.
And after lunch I got lovely texts from friends and family that reminded me that I have company all around me.
Then in the afternoon I saw my first swallows. Spring hasn’t gone AWOL after all. Primroses, celandines, and a sleepy bee. All signs of life.
I stopped to chat with a chap who was walking the SW Coast Path, laden with camping gear. (Unlike wimpy me, deciding to wait until warmer weather). This guy had walked most of the length of the country, in different spells, so he passed on some nuggets of advice.
Later in the day, I chatted to more people, locals, out doing their favourite daily walk. It’s amazing what you can learn about people’s lives in a 5 minute conversation.
Today was my first flat day, which I had looked forward to, but it wasn’t the most exciting of walks. Long sections followed the Tarka Trail, which is a tarmac ex railway line. Frequently running straight as a die for several miles, it seemed a bit monotonous. I was thankful for the thoroughly entertaining audiobook version of Danny Baker’s autobiography.
On one of these long stretches, I caught up with a man who was picking up rubbish as he walked along. What a joy these chance meetings are. How lovely it is to have time to chat to people. This super man lives near the Tarka Trail, and has always been annoyed by the amount of litter people leave when they walk and picnic along this popular cycle/walking path. When he retired 10 years ago, he decided to stop complaining and do something about it. So he cleaned up the litter, and has continued to do so for the past 10 years. He says that the local council want nothing to do with it. Crazy, when this path is such a tourist draw. But such a selfless and kind thing for this man to do. Hats off.