I enjoyed a beautiful home cooked breakfast at Orchardere House. Homemade toast, local eggs, honey from the hive in the backyard. After breakfast I was handed a pile of clean laundry. Ahh to not me the stinky kid for at least the morning. It was delightful. I struggled getting my bags ready this morning. I thought that I had that down to a science now. I knew it was only an 11-mile day so I wasn't to worried. I stopped in town for some water and more crisps to finish off my lunch. At the corner of the "town square" and the food store was a typical red phone booth. You know the ones everyone takes their picture in. I had forgotten to call the house where I was staying tonight. My notes said to call them to let them know if I was going directly to the house or needed to be picked up in the town. I entered the booth and placed my wallet and I phone down to place a call. I got out some kind of coin only to realize that the phone wasn't operational. As I hung up the phone I knocked my I phone on the ground. I winced as it hit the ground and pile of cobwebs that had inhabited the phone booth. I picked up my phone and was hoping to just brush off the cobwebs that appeared to be on the screen. Nope they weren't just cobwebs the screen had shattered but luckily was still functional.
Annoyed I packed up my things and headed out to find the start of my walk today. Since yet again I came in via the street I wasn’t sure where I was ending up. I looked at my “trusty” guidebook, which I am learning to hate more and more each day to point me in the “right direction”. Alas it did not. I was meant to cross a playing field, which I did only to not find the yellow marker with the acorn (my destined signage). There were a bunch of older ladies playing croquet on the field so I asked them. They weren’t sure the exact location of the trail but pointed me in a direction that “all the hikers head towards and disappear”. I headed in that direction and eventually found the sign. Again the signage was a bit dodgy and I ended up in the wrong end of a cornfield on the road again. It had some pretty stray sunflowers in it though.
Using my map skills I realized that if I just went up the hill I would meet up with the trail after the church, which is what happened. I hiked up what seemed to be a hill that went on forever. I passed through a field with 3 ponies one came over to nudge me and say good morning. Some of the gates I go through have are actual gates. Some are stone stiles and some are wood. I figured out what the handle on the side of the stile like pictured below. It's a dog portal. You lift it up so your dog can go through the fence too. So clever.
I came across a new fence stile today that obviously wasn't for big people. It was a tight squeeze for me an my bag.
Again I came to a junction and the sign pointed me in the wrong direction. Looking again at the map realizing that it indicated I should be going up and I was heading downwards I turned around and 10 feet after the first marker was a second surprisingly going upward even more. On this new path I came across what must have been a recent memorial with candles and flowers. Great that can’t be a good omen.
The weather was being persnickety and I had to take my coat on and off. I felt fidgety like I was completely off my game today. Those days where you just want to scream cause nothing seems to be going right. Those moments you need to sit back and take a deep breath. A lesson I should have told myself. Finally getting situated. I strolled on listening to my music once again in the rolling Robin Hood woods. I passed a few people out walking their dogs today and a few walkers going the opposite direction.
I got a much later start than usual today and I think that caused some of my agitations. Like I said I was off my game. I decided to have a later lunch today so I kept walking having a snack on the way. I came to a beautiful park outcropping. It had a few burns (ancient burial grounds). I would have taken some pictures but some kids were playing on them and ruined my shot. At the edge of the cliff it looked out over the valley and had a map pointing to major land markings and towns. It was cool to be able to look over the valley and see where I was heading. Also a bit daunting seeing how much farther I had to go. I trudged on trying to find a good lunch spot. I was looking forward to my sandwiches and treats for lunch today.
Sign poetry along the way today.
I came out to a road crossing and was excited to see the 3-½ miles to Dursley sign. Sweet that shouldn’t be so bad. Dursley like in Harry Potter. I didn’t realize I was going to see the Dursleys on Privet Drive. I hope Harry is home.
Once I entered the woods I realized that I much prefer climbing the hills instead of descending them. I would rather have the glut workout than kill my knees.
What goes up.......
Must come down....
I came to a nice clearing overlooking the valley (after I climbed yet another hill) and it would have been a nice place for lunch except they were doing road construction and the workers had stolen my spot. Again back down a hill and up yet another one. The trail leads to a big open field with some horses and cows.
I have been wearing my hat every day (should have put that through the wash last night.) I reached for my sunglasses only to not find them. Bloody hell I must have dropped them along the trail. This day is getting worse. There was a big black cloud that was following me all day and as hungry as I was I didn’t want to be caught in the open if it started to rain. My goal was to find a tree and enjoy my lunch.
I looked in my book and on the map to see what direction I was headed. There was a large open field that led very steeply up to a small forest at the top. But of course the trail headed up this giant hill. Hauling butt up the hill to avoid the clouds coming in I made it to the top and started extracting things for my lunch.
As the common theme for this day goes the mustard had opened in the bag and spilled everywhere. Seriously come on. I cleaned up the mess and made my self a yummy cheese mustard and tomato sandwich with some salt and vinegar chips. Yummy.. oh and Cadbury Chocolate with caramel.. yum.
Two girls were hiking up the hill as I was eating lunch. One of them was hiking the whole route and the second girl was just doing the day. The girl hiking through the whole route had a different friend for each day of the trip joining her. I packed up after lunch and kept trudging on, upward of course.
At the top of this hill I looked back to the right and saw across the valley the bluff that I had been standing on earlier in the day. I find this the most satisfying looking back and seeing how far you have come. Also note scary dark cloud that was stalking me all day.
The next bit was rolling hills into the town of Dursley.
The clouds had cleared at this point (except the black one that was stalking me) and I was really hoping I could find another pair of sungasses to buy in Dursley. The two girls were about 200 yards in front of me at this point. Right at that moment I started thinking hmm I don’t recall seeing my white and blue purse (you know the one with my life in it) when I made my lunch.. The bile started to rise in my mouth.. the bad words started spewing. The entire backpack got dumped out in someone’s driveway.. SHIT! BLOODY HELL and many other words.. When I went to make the call this morning and dropped my Iphone I must have forgotten to pick up my purse.. Tears flowing I repacked everything in my bag and tried to catch up with the girls hoping they would have a phone I could use. They did. I called ahead to where I was going to be staying the night cause of course on my shattered Iphone I only had the email address of the place I stayed last night. I called to my B&B tonight and they got me the number for where I stayed last night. I got a hold of them just as they were heading out and asked if they could check the phone booth where I was sure I forgot it. She said that they would look. I thanked the girls who lent me their phone I realized at this point I had left my walking stick wrapped with my bandana where I had dumped out my bag. Oh well this really isn’t my day. Hopefully someone finds it (it was just a stick I had picked up in the woods) and can use it.
I trudged through Dursley honestly I didn’t even look at the town. My goal was to get to the place where I was staying and hopefully hear the best news ever that my purse had been found. The house I am staying at is on a golf course and the directions said to turn right at the golf club. Where perhaps was this course located? Oh yes on top of the world/mountain. Seriously???? At this point I was freaking out.. What if the wallet wasn’t there…what was I going to do. I tried to calm myself down no point of really panicking unless it couldn’t be found. Plus hysterically crying while trying to climb a very very steep hill is difficult. Bad signage again put me in a downward direction so I turned around and retraced my steps back up more of the hill until I came to the golf club. A nice lady walking her puppy Winnie took pity on me (I must have looked absolutely defeated at this point) and pointed me in the right direction “follow the road through the golf course watch out for flying golf balls and you will find the house. It’s the only one”
Somehow I didn’t get hit with any golf balls after today I was almost expecting to get hit with one. I came into the courtyard of a beautiful manor house. There were two ponies as greeters and I patted their noses, which helped me, calm down. There was a big old chocolate lab passed out in the driveway. As I walked in I expected it to jump up and say hello.. Nope just flat out in the sun. I checked for breathing.. yep alive just not interested in playing guard dog. I pulled the bell since the one you push was apparently broken.
Janet the hostess greeted me with the best news in the world. My purse had been found and her husband would drive me to get it later this evening.. Apparently the phone boxes aren’t in service and never get used except for me I guess. Janet showed me to my beautiful room and bath and I decided to shower before a pot of tea.. Well of course the hot water didn’t work. Their Jack Russell Gizzy entertained me while Graham the husband took apart the shower and got the hot water working. How could this face not cheer me up?
The hot water not working was not my fault. Success. I plugged up the sink to wash my bra and underwear for today.. Luckily I didn’t take a long shower because apparently the water in the sink wasn’t turned off all the way and I caused it to overflow.. Panic again and tears. I was able to mop up the sink over flow and wash their floors at the same time. The sink was to full to pull the stopper without causing more overflow so I started bailing it out with a teacup. When dumping the water in the shower was causing it to splash out on the floor.. Can this day get any worse? I also managed to lean over the sink to look in the mirror and dunked my towel I was wearing into the full sink and almost broke the teacup. I can’t get the stopper to release and at that point I just walked away from the whole situation.
I went down to the lovely back yard for tea and a piece of cake which surprisingly I didn’t spill either of these. WIN!!! Gizzy joined me for tea and a game of fetch. I chatted with the other couple that is staying here who walked in 20 miles today.. Ouch. Graham was ready to drive me back to Kings Stanley to pick up my purse. The drive was intense cause I’m not use to the winded roads and the wrong side of the car it made me a tad bit carsick. I arrived back where I started and was handed my purse and everything was in it down to the last pence. Thank the travel gods on that one. Back to the house I decided not to chance fate and go to town for dinner instead make a sandwich and retire early. I’m sitting in a very different garden tonight but still just as lovely. I’m getting chilly so I’m going to head up to my room with a view and crawl into bed physically and mentally exhausted.
p.s The couple who I ran into yesterday that I couldn't understand are staying at the same place as me tonight. Janet who runs the house couldn't undersand them either. We both agreed that their accent wasn't an "attractive British accent"
Lessons of the day:
1. CHECK TO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE YOUR PURSE AT ALL TIMES!!!
2. 3 miles up and down and up and down hills isn’t the same as 3 straight miles
3. Again anyone can be someone’s hero.
4. Step back take a breath when having an off moment
5. Be grateful that quite towns have unused phone booths.