DISTANCE WALKED: 21.9 miles
BRAVEST PERSON: No award. So, the award goes automatically to the bravest person on day three, which was Julian.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I have a fetish for shower caps” – Bev “Sorry about her” – Julian “Can I just say, you have very nice eyelashes” – Bev “Test it and see how hard it is” – Bev “It’s still a bit fluffy” – Susanna “I thought you were Ian Botham” – random member of the public about Dave “Can you put a finger in?” – Susanna “She always presses her treasures between her buttocks” – Susanna
Well, that was another long day. We set off early and I’m writing this at 00.23, primarily because I’ve been kept chatting in the bar. It’s a hard business this walking… I also know I’m behind with photos, but they will be added this week!
Anyway, I had breakfast at the Miller of Mansfield in Goring and I had a rather lovely selection of yoghurts and a bacon sandwich. I had a good night’s sleep and was ready at 09:15, which was the agreed time. Susanna however faffed about and so we didn’t actually meet until 09.30, although no-one complained. Other than Bev.
The walk in the morning was leisurely and I reassured everyone how well they were doing. We look a relaxed pace and started to eat through the miles, which made me full of confidence. We reached the only church where the Ridgeway actually crossed their churchyard and we thought we’d go in.
So, at the church I had a go at getting through the door, but as I’m a slight idiot, I couldn’t get through. So Bev, Steve, Dave and Susanna had a go, and at that stage we realised that it was locked. As I’m British, I thought that was the end of the matter, even though there were interesting medieval wall paintings inside. But Susanna was having none of it, she bravely phoned up the number on the board and a very kind man went to open the church up.
We spent some time looking around the church and it was a delight, the photos of that will come in due course. We all enjoyed that little slice of history and we continued on our walk, all confident because I reassured everyone how well we were doing.
We had a very leisurely lunch, plonking ourselves on the path itself on a little grassy knoll. Bev enjoyed her sausage whilst we all decided who would play us in a film. Bev managed to come up with a load of offensive suggestions for everyone, but I agreed with Susanna that Marlon Brandon could have played me, but only in his very younger days.
After our long lunch of nearly an hour we ploughed on, really enjoying the rather more interesting terrain that we’ve had in recent days. It was less exposed today and we had much more walking through trees and by the river, and that change made things much easier on my feet.
I haven’t mentioned my feet yet today, the very feet that nearly fell off yesterday. Fortunately, they held up well today and I didn’t encounter any real problems. Everyone had tired feet that were quite sore, but that’s different from broken feet.
We stopped a church in Nuffield as they advertised outside that they had tea and coffee available, now that the village’s pub was shut. It was a lovely church, although the quality of the coffee was questionable, but I was really impressed that the church opened itself up. This was very much the Christian spirit and Bev rewarded them with a large donation. She probably thought it was some form of religious indulgence to forgive her sins, but nonetheless everyone appreciated the stop.
The stop in the church was also interesting as a couple came in who were in charge of the floral displays. They gave us some information that was particularly intriguing, including telling us that David Frost was buried in the churchyard, and we went to look at their graves.
At this point, a little problem appeared on the horizon. Everyone thought that we were around two hours away from the end of the walk, about five or six miles. I looked at my map, and to my confusion, we were only half-way. I had seriously under-estimated where the hotel was, and although that’s good news for tomorrow as the distance is shorter, it was very bad news for today.
So, given this dreadful news, I sidled out of the church to have a panic outside. I took the opinion that a trouble shared is a trouble doubled, so I told Steve who was calm, cool and collected. This is why he’s the group’s official driver, as he doesn’t buckle under pressure.
I don’t think it’s sexist to admit that I told the men first about the situation. We all agreed that we would rush the next few miles and then come clean. I say we, but I take responsibility for my little miscalculation. Anyway, we rushed through several miles and no-one complained. Other than Bev obviously, who came running at the front. She thought she was making a subtle point about the speed, but I can read her like a book.
We continued on and I told the ladies in the group what I had done, but only when we had ninety minutes left. Maggie walked off during the explanation, but I think that was because she was distracted with her feet rather than being angry at my little mistake. Bev went loopy, but I have her wrapped around my little finger, so I wasn’t too bothered.
The last ninety minutes weren’t the easiest, as everyone was tired and had hurting feet. Reaching the hotel was particularly exciting, as it had been a long day and the afternoon was hard work. The rooms were clean though and I got my free drinks vouchers for Accor status.
We had dinner and I was very impressed, my sausages and mash were lovely, although I replaced the mash for chips. Lots of gravy and everyone enjoyed their meal. Well, other than Bev, who complained about the croutons.
I thought we’d be having an early night at 21.00, but no such luck, the chat went on until the early hours of the following morning. I will probably regret that tomorrow, but such is life. There was a lot of gossip and a lot of chat about people who we know. We also talked about the people we miss, and there are some who would have really added to this week. But that’s the great thing about Hike Norfolk, we’re welcoming and we miss some of our members.
So, that’s pretty much it for today. We all had fun, but it was a difficult day that was full of challenges. Well, one challenge really, the bloody long way that we had to go. The distance tomorrow is a little lower, and I hope that we can sail through without too many problems. My foot will need some repair, but hopefully that can be managed and I can be as brave tomorrow as I was today.
Just one full day and one half day now left, the end is in sight!