It had been a mixed couple of days – the weather had been, er, feisty, positively far eastern in it’s monsooniness.
I’d been adopted by a family – Jim, who’d just retired, his wife, Anna and her brother, Tony. They were up here to go on a week long steam train excursion – a train that had, of all things, a steam powered record player (ask your parents parents) that only plays 78’s…
Am I losing you?
Anyway, I camped in a proper campsite in Lochgilphead – indulging in all manners of luxuries including flat grass. They asked me over and furnished me with lager and stimulating conversation covering everything from the Olympics, politics and religion.
It was lovely to be invited into their world – so much so they invited me to have cooked breakfast with them the following day.
Jim told me that I was doing them a favour because there was clearly too much for them to eat.
They also invited me to stay with them when I go careering through Bournmouth – they live a few miles from the coast, but they’ll come and pick me up and drop me off to fit in.
It was like getting together with old mates – the chat – the silly humour – constant references to Monty Python and Not the Nine O’clock News abounded.
And I’m a little wiser….did you know the reason why streets in the old westerns and some streets in New Zealand are so wide is so that they can accommodate the turning circle of a coach and horses…
Recharged and refreshed I charged on into – well, more monsoons really.
There came a break in the rain, so I thought I’d have a seat and phone the lovely Ella in a lay by – no, I was in the lay by…Ella was in…look, does it matter where she was? This is my story…do please, no more interruptions…
I was in said lay by when a young man (god, that makes me sound about a million) got out of a car and handed me £5….his mum had told him to – she’d read about me in the paper apparently.
Lovely – random acts of kindness – you can’t beat them.
So, the rain started again and off I went.
I got into Tarbert, what must have once been a fishing town, but had now yielded to tourism, in the late afternoon.
Ella suggested that I should recharge properly in a B & B or some such.
Curses! I’d been having a fine time blending with nature – the world was so lush with all the rain there’d been…
Also, I can’t honestly say I’ve seen anything cuter than sparrows bouncing…
Once the idea was planted, a scene from the nativity ensued.
I was the virgin Mary, heavy with my inverted dromedary set up, but there was no room at the inn (s).
I got to one place where the proprietors were out – the door was answered by a woman who was staying there. She reckoned by the fact that all the tables were set for breakfast that there’d be no room here either.
Her husband appeared and I told them all about walk a mile – they really got it – it was lovely getting that kind of reaction from folk I’d just met – anyway, they thrust £5 into my hand and I trundled off down the road.
Minutes later a car drew level with me – it was them again. Her husband said, “We’re doing a special for people with mental health problems this week. If you can give me a fiver, then I’ll give you a tenner…”
“It just so happens that I do have a fiver on me,” I said.
And the playful exchange was made.
What a hoot!
I ended up camping in a marshy field – but that’s another story…
Walk a mile