A cozy afternoon in Lostwithiel. I feel as though I have walked this pilgrimage to come here, and now find myself a little nervous to actually go out to explore and experience this place. Yet I haven't walked here...yet. I came down in the car with Diana after our wonderful weekend together up at Port Isaac on the north coast. Tomorrow I will walk here from St. Austell, so perhaps then I will explore more directly what I came here for.
I am using my little room in the Earl of Chatham Pub/Inn as my base from which to walk the Mary Michael Line from St. Austell to Lostwithiel, and Restormel and perhaps Lanhydrock and Baconnoc as well. From here I will go up to St. Neot and St. Cleer to complete my pilgrimage in Liskeard, where my father was born and brought up.
So much has transpired since I last wrote. First of all, I realized that while the weight of my pack is fine for my hips, back and legs, it does shift how my feet are positioned in my boots, and as a result, I have developed some very painful blisters in my right foot baby toe. So, I am inviting ways to walk without my pack. I thought that I would be staying in St. Austell tonight and walking to Lostwithiel tomorrow, but Diana suggested that I stay here, take the train to St. Austell in the morning and walk back here. Brilliant! I hadn't even thought of that option. So the next two days will be lightweight, day pack days! So much easier on my feet and also to climb over the stiles!
My interlude with Diana up at Port Isaac was perfect on so many levels. We had last been there together at Easter in 1982 when we came down with her parents to visit her grandmother. We had a lovely weekend then, and we had a lovely weekend now. We stayed at an old Victorian house converted into a hotel and restaurant above Port Isaac where we had a lovely simple room and a restaurant with delicious food right there. They also had "Orchard" Golden Cider brewed by a local brewery in Rock, called Sharps. www.sharpsbrewery.co.uk Last fall, I discovered their cider and Steve discovered their beer, Doom Bar. We had even gone to the brewery to buy gifts of t-shirts and glasses, and I knew that I wanted to go back and buy a collection of pint and cider glasses. Diana and I made it just before they shut for the weekend and I now have my special glasses to take back to the States with me! Don't worry- I am not carrying them. Diana took them home with her, and I wll pick them up next weekend when I go to stay with her.
A view of the sunset and rainbow that blessed during our first dinner together.
Yesterday, we took a lovely coastal path 4-hour walk from Port Quin to Port Isaac and then back up through waving fields of grain. The sun came in and out, the wind blew, and there were wildflowers, cows and seagulls coloring our path. We walked up and down steep paths, and over hills to come in Port Isaac, where Diana's grandfather had been the town doctor for many years. Diana grew up visiting this small town every year, coming to know the area well, and getting to meet and know many of the locals through her family. She loves this area, and feels a deep connection. We talked alot about stories of her grandmother, who outlived her grandfather by many, many years, and also about the changes in the village. Whereas the locals used to live down by the sea, and the shops served the locals with a bakery, butcher, etc, now the shops cater to the visitors (the tourists). We ate lunch in the building that used to be the local schoolhouse. When a new, more modern school was built up the hills, the children lamented that "how will we know when the tide comes in/goes out." I wonder if the children began to lose some of their connection to the natural forces when they moved their learning away from the sea.
Diana and I have known each other since we were babies and our mothers would get together daily for a morning coffee while their husbands went off to work at Procter and Gamble in Newcastle. Both families came from the south of England and had to make new friends while living so far up north. Our mothers are now eighty, and my father too. Unfortunately, Diana's father died back in 1990. It is very special for our parents, and now Diana and I, to be such good friends fifty plus years later!