DAY 3 ALTON TO FARNHAM
I bid farewell to my “fellow trudger” at Alton Station and God proceeded to put new friends in my way for the rest of the day. It has been a long day and I wonder if I can remember them all: dog lover Betty who I met twice; the chap in the park who told me about the “famous gardener’s house”; (picture of the hedge especially for Clare M – couldn’t see over it!);
the man who appeared seemingly out of nowhere right in the middle of a newly ploughed field just when I needed guidance on which way the path went (can’t quite see him in this picture);
the car restorer at Rawles Classic Healeys near West End Farm;
Bob the ex-ICI worker outside the Anchor Inn with his Triumph TR6 which he had owned for 40 years, bringing back memories of when I owned a Triumph car;
the wonderful flower arranging ladies at Upper Froyle, so knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their church and it’s history;
the groom at Marsh House who looked after 15 hunting horses, Bill in the shop whose house I will pass by tomorrow and I could add many more to the list.
Amazing weather, but again sufficient shade for the walking not to be too onerous. There were a few “hillets” (H will understand). I started in Hampshire and ended up in Surrey. The Hampshire countryside was at its best with the last harvests being taken in and the gardens still in bloom.
The small villages and hamlets of Hampshire gave way to grander houses set apart in their own huge grounds on the Surrey borders, all the grounds looking meticulously kept. Fields gave way to woods, gave way to villages until I eventually arrived in Farnham.
I will remember Farnham for being “a lot” – by that I mean “a lot” of noise, “a lot” of people, “a lot” of traffic, “a lot” of shops and I was glad to leave the town centre. After being out in the countryside it was a rude awakening that I did not take kindly to. In fact when one four-wheel driver honked his horn and made me jump I turned around and gave him a “look” – he then pulled over and apologised to me and I was able also to apologise to him and all was well when he pointed me in the direction of the North Downs Way. I have reached the end of the St Swithun’s Way and the rest of my route to Canterbury will be along the North Down’s Way.Prior to the pilgrimage I had been reading a lot about the whole mental, psychological and philosophical aspects of walking. Nietzche, whose walks were his remedies against mental and physical pain said “sit as little as possible; do not believe any idea that was not born in the open air and of free movement”. He walked as others work and composed in the open air. I do understand what he meant. Dorothy Wordsworth said of the outside – “that’s his office” when talking of William. Walking alone in the outside definitely clears my mind and allows new ideas to settle and that was my experience today. What, however, I find difficult is remembering those thoughts (clever as I thought they were at the time) when I stop walking. The only way to overcome this appears to be to take a notebook with me and jot ideas down as I walk along. I have not done this yet but it is something I may consider.
As mentioned in my post on Day One of walking the Pilgrims’ Way walking alone is different to walking in company. There is so much more time for inward thinking. It can distill thoughts and give peace of mind. Walking alone, one can also walk completely at one’s own pace, starting and stopping as one wishes in quite a selfish way. I have enjoyed my time alone today although of course I miss my wonderful husband but I have also delighted in the people I have met along the way.
Today has all been rather special even down to the fridge, with a pint of milk in it which is in my super hotel room. I was worried about storing a few bits and pieces I had bought to eat in the heat and my problem has been solved!
Church at Holybourne sited right next to a pond.
Oh my goodness, and Enzo………. sorry Enzo. The chap in the landscaper’s van from Graduate Landscapes, who stopped to tell me he had walked the St Swithun’s Way. How could I forget you!!
Here is a full index of my post of my Gratitude Walk along the Pilgrims’ Way from Winchester to Canterbury
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