© 2014 Ken Klug
Thursday, June 19, 2014
June 19, 2014 -- Day 4, Reading to Moulsford, 15 miles
After checking out of my B&B, I made my way to a city park promenade along the river. I passed several runners and dog walkers, as well as people out for a morning stroll, but as is typical in a city, all eyes were averted as they passed me and my backpack. All eyes except four, that is – and it was those four eyes that convinced that today was going to be a good day.
Two of the eyes belonged to a nice lady, and two belonged to her black Lab, Pixie. The lady actually stopped me and asked where I was going, where I was from, etc. and Pixie just wanted to play, and she didn’t care that I couldn’t bend over to pick up the stick she wanted me to throw. For security reasons, I’m not including a picture of all this, so you’ll just have to believe me. But knowing I was back on the female/dog attraction list convinced me that today would be one of the good ones.
Just after passing through the village of Purley, I encountered Bruce, from South Africa, but now living in London. Bruce started walking from Dunness in the northwest corner of Scotland, about a mile from Cape Wrath. He expects to be home within the next week, but said he may not walk all the way into London. What’s the sense, anyway – he lives there.
Two miles from Pangbourne, another walker and his two dogs stopped to chat. Well, OK, the dogs didn’t want to chat, they wanted to play. All three of them then turned around and joined me for the 2-mile walk all the way to Pangbourne. The dog- walker introduced himself as Don – Don Gray. Of course I did a double-take, because those of you who followed My 1200 Mile Summer blog may remember that Don Gray intercepted me south of Bristol and walked with me all the way to the Severn Bridge. It turned out that Don Gray number 2 isn’t the same Don Gray who met me three years ago, but the coincidence was startling. In any event it was fun to have three companions for a good part of the morning, and it took my mind off my sore knees for a while.
Some of today’s walk was through pretty countryside on nicely maintained trails, undulating through woods, at times high above the river and at times along the river, where I passed several pill boxes left over from WWII.
Nearing Goring, I met Arendo and Pauline, from the Netherlands, who mentioned to me that Jack Frost had arrived at the hotel, and had warned them that they might see me on the trail. Arendo and Pauline have been walking from the Thames source, so even Jack’s warning wasn’t enough to keep them out of my blog.
Closer to Goring, I tripped over a tree root on the trail. Fortunately, I didn’t plunge into the river. Unfortunately, I went down hard. Fortunately, stinging nettles cushioned my fall. Unfortunately, there’s a reason they are called stinging nettles. Fortunately, I was able to avoid a face-plant. Unfortunately, I landed on my shoulder. Fortunately, I didn’t break anything. Unfortunately, I don’t yet have a reason to abort this silly walk.
I arrived at the hotel, muddied but not bloodied. My clothes and I both had a proper cleaning, and I was presentable enough to meet Jack Frost. Those of you who followed My 1200 mile summer blog will remember that Jack is from Yuma, and he walked from Land’s End to John O’Groats two weeks ahead of me. We’ve been emailing each other for several years (since before we did our LEJOGs), but never had the opportunity to meet. It just so happens that Jack started walking the Thames Path from the source last week. Since I’m walking in the opposite direction, it was inevitable that we would meet. I’m even pretty sure that the Jack Frost I had dinner with tonight is the same one I followed on LEJOG.
I just knew today was going to be a good day.
PS: Double click on any picture to enlarge it.
© 2014 Ken Klug