Friday, February 2, 2007

Day 13 : Glastonbury to Midsomer Norton

Saturday 27th January 2007

Distance Walked: 19.7 miles
Start Time: 9:08
End Time: 15:45
Elapsed Time: 6:37
Weather: Overcast but mild.
Distance walked so far: 270.9 miles

I guess that there had to be day of boring walking and nondescript scenery, and this was it. To say that the early morning, two mile, dead straight stretch of tarmac that is the Queen’s Sedge Moor was the highlight of the day gives some indication of the mind numbing tedium of the route. This road through the drainage channels has fading views of the Tor to the right, silhouetted by the weak morning sky, and, after the day of recuperation, at least allowed me to get acclimatised to the idea of walking again. Somewhere to the east was Worthy Farm, the site of the Festival itself and, negotiating this safe route through the wetlands, it emphasised the peculiarity of hosting a major public event in an area that is clearly so unstable.

I walked on. On roads like this the process of walking itself becomes automatic, almost mechanical. You start to think about the movements of each component of the body, to try to make everything as efficient as possible. All that exists is the road ahead and the feet that meet it. You are machine. You stride and pull the horizon towards you. You stride again, and the planet is rotated beneath you. I walked on.

After briefly losing my way near the non-event of a mound that is Maesbury Castle, I headed through the pebble-dash wasteland of Chilcompton and reached Midsomer Norton by mid-afternoon. Now, if your only knowledge of Midsomer Norton is from the sunny, fluffy, country-death show, Midsomer Murders, you may believe that the town would be an attractive place to visit or even live. Except for all the murders, obviously. In fact, it is an ugly lump of a town with ugly roads and ugly houses and ugly people. A place of rust, litter and decay. Of caps and prams. Booming bass bins, concrete walls and alloy wheels. The bungled and the botched.

Unsurprisingly, there are few B&Bs in Midsomer Norton, nor in the neighbouring town of Radstock, another former colliery town. The Support Crew tracks down an aspirational and overpriced hotel/country club near Radstock, and there the feet are pampered and the soul is fed. I will not happily return here.

Song of the day:

Ron Sexsmith
"Gold in them hills"

There’s gold in them hills /
There’s gold in them hills /
So don’t lose heart /
Give the day a chance to start

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