Monday, 19 March 2012
A note from Epping
A little weary, but fortunately none the worse for wear, I have reached Epping, a small town in the middle of what was once a great and ancient forest. The map shows this isn't very far from London, but I have breached the M25 motorway, and feel that I am now on my way. The first day was largely spent walking northwards along the Lee Valley tow path. At the start of the journey I was so very glad to be seen off by my oldest and closest friend, Roger Watson, and his wife Deb who kindly drove me to Mile End Road, under which the Lee passes. Also bidding me farewell in the bright early spring sunshine were Diana Hogg and Nigel Benn, who had come all the way to London from Devon, and Zeny Gatenby, a dear friend from the Philippines. It was a lovely send-off, though once I was on my way I was suddenly conscious of absolute solitude, with my back-pack digging into my shoulders, swans and row boats on the river, and the long walk ahead. After a first night in Enfield in the home of a kind and generous distant relative, Judy Perryman, I resumed my journey this morning, walking initially to Waltham Abbey where I paused for a while in the church in which King Harold (killed by a Norman arrow in the eye at Hastings in 1066) is said to have been buried. After sitting for while in the quiet shadows, contemplating the folly of life, I fell into conversation with one of the church volunteers. She informed me that she was a widow, but had recently decided to remarry. She then added that she was almost 70: "A new bride, but an old broad!" -- a remark which kept me smiling all the way to Epping. But now, it's pub time.