Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Day 9 : Crediton to Tiverton

Tuesday 23rd January 2007



Distance Walked: 16.9 miles
Start Time: 8:15
End Time: 14:56
Elapsed Time: 6:41
Weather: Beautiful. Cold but clear, bright and sunny.
Distance walked so far: 193.5 miles




“Hello. That’s a big bag. Where are you walking to?”
“Scotland”
“Really? That’s a long way”
“It feels like it”
“Are you doing it for charity?”
“Nope”
“Why are you doing it then?”
“Er…”

………………….

No child dreams of working in IT. Children dream of being heroes and adventurers, explorers and superstars. I was no different. I also dreamt of the day someone would open a Mousetrap theme pub. It would be fantastic. An entire pub dedicated to the fiendishly overcomplicated, Heath Robinson-esque board game, in which each trap would be set after a certain amount of alcohol had been purchased, up to the point when the ‘diver’ was set to spring and the cage would descend upon a random table, resulting in free drinks for the captured revellers.

My dreams never came true. Somehow, the last ten years of my life have been spent staring at a computer, in an office, in an industrial estate. It’s highly likely that the next thirty years of my life will be exactly the same. I’ve been told that I’m crazy to be doing this walk. I think I’d be crazy not to do it.

People get trapped. There are houses to buy, children to feed, careers to pursue. And somehow the point of it all is forgotten. Some people aren’t lucky enough to have a choice, but right now I do have a choice. I choose to see some of the country that I live in whilst it still might mean something to me. I choose experience over money. I choose dreams over reality.

And I’m still waiting for that pub to be built.

……………………

At last a view. After days of greyness, the sun was out and the sky was clear. After a quick jaunt eastwards through Shobrooke and Thorverton, the route turned north and the Exe valley was laid out below me. With a relatively short day of walking planned, the pace was easy and more rewarding as a result. After a first five miles of hobbling, I resorted to ripping off all the plasters swathing the toe and immediately I was able to walk comfortably for the first time in days. Vowing never to stick another plaster on my feet, I cruised on, joining the Exe Valley Way as it wound down towards Bickleigh, with it’s small but elegant castle and five arched bridge (the inspiration for “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, no less). The waters of the Exe were both high and troubled, and the path along the river to Tiverton was a mess of boggy clay, but the town was reached and accommodation found in good time. An evening of drinking and writing, of sausage and mash, and renewed confidence for the days ahead.




Song of the day:

Vashti Bunyan
“Diamond Day”

Just another life to live /
And a word to say /
Just another love to give /
And a diamond day

1 comment:

BenDev said...

Just wanted to say thank you for introducing me to Vashti Bunyan and for sharing your story. There are not many blogs I would find three years after the fact and read end-to-end (ta-da!).

I am myself preparing for a, hopefully blister-free, two weeks of cycling from LE to JOG in a months time. I'm toying with the idea of an mp3 player but the safety/enjoyment balance is a delicate one.

I wondered if another song on the Diamond Day album might have been more apt for you:

Come wind come rain we're off again,
Our muddy boots plod down the lane
The snow has snowed now the grass has growed
And it's time that we were on the road.
...
We're on our way and everyday
Is another ten miles and an armful of hay