Well I suppose if you had given me the choice this weekend as to which two days were going to be wet and which one was going to be dry, I would have chosen this combination. A dry Saturday and a full game of cricket, even if the result was a disappointing ‘losing draw’ (don’t ask me to explain that here – if you are bothered about it, please refer to the SEPL website for details of playing conditions of timed games). Two wet days, Friday and Sunday, the first of which was much wetter than today. Still sufficiently rainy on the walk on the Wight side to require the waterproof jacket, but there were a few runners, joggers and cyclists here and there on the long woodland path from my b&b in Carisbrooke to Cowes. Much of the path is pretty straight and you can see a fair way into the distance and the only disappointment was there was very little wildlife, all presumably sheltering from the weather.
At cricket yesterday we did get the occasional view of an alpaca in a neighbouring field but the most I encountered this morning was a flock of seagulls cawing in a slightly mocking tone, possibly at me walking in such inclement weather.
I noticed that the IOW link ferry between East Cowes and Cowes will start charging foot passengers and cyclists from Monday 27th, i.e. tomorrow, 40p return. This is a really useful service given the island’s geography and I wouldn’t take exception to paying that, but it is a shame when a free service ceases and I would imagine there has been some reaction locally.
Before boarding the ferry back to Southampton, and given 45 minutes to wait, I nipped outside to the coffee stall next door and asked for my usual skinny latte with caramel. The young girl had a real twinkle in her eye as she told me, “sorry, we don’t have skimmed milk, I can only give you semi.” I am sure she could have done better than that given half a chance but I accepted her offer and took my coffee on board, chuckling to myself that I was almost old enough to be her grandfather.
And that was that for the next hour or so as an uneventful ferry journey brought me to the start of the second leg of today’s walk. The first leg had cheered me up considerably despite the rain. I had woken up grumpy and even a lovely breakfast including home made croissants hadn’t quite moved the mood too much, especially as the landlady had erroneously prounced the final ‘s’ in croissants. Now that really was grumpy of me because they were really really tasty, very very tasty indeed. But I think that long walks, or even short walks, can clear some of the clutter from my mind and lift my mood. And that was the case today.
Back to the second leg. I took a pretty standard route for me, as predictable and unimaginative in fact as Clive Tyldesley screeching, “this is Ronaldo / Messi etc. territory” whenever there is any free-kick in the final third of the pitch during any Champions League match, whether or not said players are playing in the featured game. I had said before in an earlier post that this wasn’t really a proper challenge, and the gods of weather have subsequently tried their damnedest to upgrade at least to a mini-challenge by throwing rain and (today) wind in my direction. My thoughts turned to The Truman Show like the director was doing everything to stop me traveling from a to b. At least he hadn’t tried to capsize the ferry but the Itchen Bridge was a tough few minutes with the wind in my face. But wind, rain, nothing was going to stop me, not like those wussy sailing types who can’t hack it in the America’s Cup.
I was pretty tired in the last hour or so and kept telling myself that it would be only 50/45/40 etc minutes until I was home. I had had a minor stomach upset in the morning and needed the facilities at both Cowes ferry port and when I arrived in Southampton. I didn’t have the energy to kick on quickly as I had planned to and resorted to head music to pass the time as the miles and tenths of miles ticked away. Often this is a random song but if I do hear a tune at breakfast it can reappear. Ironically, The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine Anymore (Walker Brothers) came on the radio and that one, along with Tom Jones’ Sexbomb and Mama Told Me Not To Come were in my head for much of the walk on the second leg. Did take my mind off an achyfooted and leadenlegged period and the completion of 13.5 miles.
So that was the weekend that was. All in all, very enjoyable but I did miss my Pammy. Thankfully, I am with her now.