I HAVE to admit that, as I lay awake at night listening to the wind drive intermittent sleet against my bedroom window, I wondered if the Met Office’s forecast of ‘sunny intervals’ was perhaps a tad optimistic and that maybe I shouldn’t get up early to catch a train back to Hastings.
It was admittedly still bitterly cold when I did catch that train, and indeed had not stopped being so by the time I got to Hastings at around 9 am.
YESTERDAY, I awoke at an ungodly hour and thought back to this time last year, when I was surrounded by friends and family, all dressed as pirates on a boat on the Thames. This year I opted to be more downscale and spent the day ambling about on my own. When I wasn’t unexpectedly recumbent in several inches of mud, that is…
If I had to sum up today’s walk in one word, that word would have to be ‘windswept’. And ‘muddy’. My two words would be ‘windswept’ and ‘muddy’. And ‘grey’. I’ll start again…
FOLLOWING last Saturday’s fun and games, in which I came interestingly close to not so much shuffling off this mortal coil as slipping from it, I decided that I would continue my excursion around the Kentish coast. After all, the weather forecast was ‘sunny intervals with rain later’ and I still had more lovely cliffs to walk, with their slippery-when-wet clay topsoil.
As it happened, the rain didn’t even try to make a showing until after I’d come down from the cliffs and for this I was glad because one or two of them were quite scary enough as it was (I don’t like heights all that much and at a couple of points there was about a foot and half between the edge of the path and a very long way down.
TODAY I learned a terribly important lesson about the White Cliffs of Dover…
Do not walk them in the rain.
I also learned that while the Met Office is one of the world’s best weather forecasters, and not at all the running joke it was when I was little, they are still not always right. Today’s forecast for Kent was mostly for ‘sunny intervals’ giving way to rain tonight. What we actually got was intermittent showers giving way to rain by about four o’clock.
LAST week, after getting home from my walk to Westgate-on-Sea, I sat down and kicked off my walking boots. Or so I thought.
As I looked at the sole I had kicked across the room and waggled my toes in the boot upper still on my foot, I thought to myself ‘time to buy some new boots’. I was impressed with my boots’ longevity though—they were old, battered, had missing eyelets and in some places were held together with two-part epoxy resin but they had lasted an amazing fifteen or so years.
OVER the weekend it started to occur to me that I might not be entirely well, a development that threatened my further perambulation around Kent.
I first suspected on Saturday when I was wrapped up in a jumper and coat and still shivering, while others passed me in t-shirts enjoying a balmy evening. Given that I normally am impervious to cold, this was a bad sign. Waking up on Sunday morning drenched in sweat after a night of surreal, feverish and oddly disturbing dreams (involving my OS map of North Kent, characters from the original Swedish series of Wallander and Harry Lime’s theme from The Third Man) was pretty much the icing on the cake.
YESTERDAY, I had a plan to get up bright and early and perambulate part of the Saxon Shore Way from Gravesend to Strood in Kent.
Not out of the blue, you understand, but as part of a wider project. I have long wanted to walk the South West Coast Path, which is some distance from me (I live in London). But then, I wondered, could I walk to the SWCP?
From there it was a short mental step (and a promise of many physical ones) to wonder why I should stop there? A vague intention to walk the coast of Great Britainemerged. Well, more-or-less; I’m no purist about these things.