It was raining – it was pouring – with some concentration I could hear the old man sn…
It belted down all night and walking was looking unlikely in the promised deluge.
Imagine my joy then when I was cordially invited by Noel to come back to their place to indulge in some eating, drinking and sleeping in an army truck.
I did my best not to sound too desperate – although I did say ‘Yes please’ and ‘Thank you’ to excess.
I was told that his mother in law and granny to be, Jane, would be passing my way and may try to jam me into her gardening van.
Sadly, there was no room in the van. However, Jane more than compensated for this by thrusting 2 potato scone and onion rolls into my hands – keeping me occupied until her return about half an hour later.
I was welcomed back to the homestead – it was lovely to hear that Noel and Sarah had been frustrated at my early departure the day before – they wanted to hear more about the ramble – and me – and all things surrounding it.
Noel described the instant when he first saw me…”There was no way you weren’t coming in,” he grinned.
It was true – there was no way I was going to get past their hospitality traction beam.
Sarah’s mum, Jane, was so proud of them both for inviting the wandering lunatic into their home.
It was delightful. I felt part of their world so quickly.
Jane invited us all round for a roast dinner later on.
Well, it would be rude not to, wouldn’t it?
It was a great evening – I got to meet Max, Sarah’s 10 year old brother – who I couldn’t resist entertaining…
I am a bit of a show off….
I did my strange upper lip trick – I rolled my eyes – I did my baby crying noise – my flipper the dolphin (ask your parents) noise – my William Tell overture on my teeth with a pen trick – on my head trick – and my dripping tap trick.
As you can imagine – when I was at school I was a big hit in maths.
My young and older audience appeared rather impressed.
My friend, Jim, many years ago described me as the man with a thousand talents – none of them useful.
Max laughed – but then a little later said it was great that I’d fitted into their family so quickly.
I went back to Noel and Sarah’s – where I was happily ensconced into the army truck. I slept like a log.
My laundry done – myself washed and fed – my rucksack filled with jammy doughnuts – I set off on my way to Stranraer.
Sarah thanked me for coming back…
She thanked me!!
It was still wet…this fine group of folk were far from finished with me.
Jane asked me if I wanted to come in for tea on my way through – Noel told me he’d popped into the Stranraer free press – and now this local paper wanted to interview me for their 24/10/12 edition.
So I was happily interviewed and photographed by the lovely Cameron from the local news and then whisked away for my tea.
I was fed – entertained – and pulled into a world of photorealistic drawing – in amongst all this lovely hospitality, Jane showed me some of her exquisite art – you can see it here
It was lovely to see the wonderfully positive reaction I got from Jane regarding the walk.
I met friends and family as they passed in and out – I’m smiling now as I think of the feeling of being a minor celebrity they gave me.
It turns out I wasn’t quite what Jane had expected – she admitted to expecting me to look much more like, er, you know, one….
None taken – it kind of made the experience more valuable.
Refreshed, I slept on her sofa, Jane ensured I had something to eat on the road.
With the encouragement of Jane, Sarah and Noel I was now on my way to the Mull of Galloway – Scotland’s most southerly point.
As has been the way in these here parts, the weather closed in and it rained. I thought I’d seen rain in the past few days, but this was not unlike having a fireman walking backwards in front of me giving all the fire tender had to offer.
The wettest I’ve ever been outside of a bath.
Bravely I bailed. Tent up in record time and tucked up.
The hospitality was not yet done.
Jane got in touch saying she could pop by with a flask of tea…
This turned into lunch with a couple of pints of shandy in amongst a group of entertaining locals at the Queens Head in Drummore.
It’s hard to express what this wonderful episode – this unforgettable chapter of the walk has given me.
It has galvanised my number one belief – ‘Never turn down hospitality’ – there’s no telling where it will take you.
Let it rain
Walk a mile