From Milngavie to York to Grantham to Folkingham where I spent 4 days with a Joy sister in a beautifully renovated grade 2 apartment. Then Grantham to London to Grove Park to Bromley North to Old Netley where I am now standing still.
Old Netley is a small and quaint village near Southampton to the very south of England. It is not as cold here as Glasgow or Folkingham but it sure does get windy and rains a lot. It has rained almost every day since I arrived five days ago and it has rained solidly for the last 5 hours. Not that it really matters anymore. I am dry and warm and there is nowhere in particular I need to walk.
I am staying with my dear friend Viv once again, sharing her attic room on the third storey of a narrow terraced house. My bed, a hard futon, lies along the length of the floor to ceiling window with a view of Southampton water above the terrace houses roofs, although the vista is slightly marred by the oil refinery on the other side of the bay. Sleeping close to the ground on a hard mattress feels like I am sleeping directly on the earth. The connection is grounding and comforting.
Being able to see the sea and walk beside it is a sweet torment; it ignites my longing to dive and swim in a tropical sea once again.
I have spent quite a few hours just gazing out the window watching the trees sway in the wind, the gulls hang on the invisible but audible breeze, the clouds drift over the ever changing-sky and the ferries, cargo ships, yachts and occasional cruise-liner sail into and out of the harbour. I have done a little strolling along the sea, into the woodlands and into the village to buy supplies for dinner. I have enjoyed being able to cook and nurture myself and Viv through nutritious meals, to hand-wash dishes, to launder my own clothes. I even went for a run for the first time in 3.5 months. My feet protested; sore heels, tight arches, some lingering numbness in a couple of toes from a suspected neuroma I can feel in my left foot. I have returned to hobbling around the house.
Finally I feel like I have been able to come to a complete stop and enjoy it. From the momentum of 12 weeks walking 4 kilometres per hour to being in the one place with no destination I needed to walk was a difficult adjustment to make. I started calling myself lazy several times a day. A lazy person does not walk 2,000 kilometres. Lazy is now gone from my vocabulary. I am relaxing, regrouping, reverbing, reviewing this incredible year that is coming to a close and feeling into the next year. All I can say for now is it is going to be Fierce. Fierce with a capital F. Fierce. Fierce. Fierce.
Watch this space.
Loch Lomond Shores (at 4pm)