Many remarkable people found their identities on rivers: Cleopatra on the Nile; Lewis and Clark on the Missouri; Mark Twain on the Mississippi; Jeff Bezos on the Amazon. This is the story of my 600+ mile walk along the waterways of southern England in the summer of 2014, and the remarkable people I met along the way. It is best read in chronological order, so I recommend starting with the earliest posting in the Blog Archive list in the right margin.
Walk completed August 16, 2014
Sunday, July 27, 2014
July 27, 2014 -- Day 42, Harrietsham to Wateringbury, 7.5 miles
you may have noticed from my pictures, England works hard to preserve
tradition. As I strolled through Harrietsham this morning, I came across more
tradition being preserved. How interesting it would be if they were still
pumping gas – petrol – from these old pumps. But as I got closer, I realized
that the pump price hasn’t changed in half a century, relegating these pumps to
welcome cloud cover relieved some of the sun’s intensity, but did not cool the
temperatures or reduce the humidity. Not wanting to commit to a 14 mile walk
through rural countryside without transportation alternatives, I took a bus to
Maidstone, where I commenced a shorter walk along the River Medway. Within the
city limits I encountered a few dog walkers, but once off the paved footpath,
the only persons I saw were boaters – many boaters, in large boats (not the
narrow boats I had seen on the canals).
after marina lined the river. One pub, a few hundred yards off the river, called
to me for a cool drink, but from the number of boats moored by the footpath, I
thought better of stopping. Besides, I didn’t have my deck shoes.
any other walkers, I concentrated upon the scenery and the houses. “Oast”
houses seem popular in this area. From what I understand, they are former grain
drying buildings converted to houses. The rooflines seem to have been inspired
by witches’ hats.
the village of Wateringbury, I came upon a touching scene. A foal was lying in
a pasture. As I passed, it lifted its head slowly and looked at me, and then
set it down again slowly closing its eyes, as if it were too tired to do
anything more. Mama was standing over it, and three horses from the pasture
across the road were watching. I don’t know if the foal was dying or merely
sleeping, but the other horses seemed to be giving it inordinate attention.
that scene, I needed someone to talk to. John was the perfect for the role, and
he also poured me something refreshing to drink. My “no alcohol while walking”
rule doesn’t apply when I’m within a quarter mile of my destination.