Offa's Dyke (N) Day 0

Offa's Dyke - North
By Colin Walford
A misplaced prologue

Date: Saturday September 4th 2010

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I got up at eight a.m. and quickly got myself packed and ready whilst listening to the cheery south-east London tones of Danny Baker. Today was going to be about nothing more than travelling to our destination (Bod, Jo and I) and settling in for the night. The walking would begin tomorrow.
I drove to Ledbury just as the day was revealing itself to be a late summer cracker; all smiley blue skies and skin-kissing sunshine. My brother had warned me a day or two before that the week ahead was set to be grim indeed, with at least one moody weather system heading our way. I was to leave my car parked outside a friend’s house for the week and felt obliged to pop in for a sociable cup of coffee. This was fine, except that their baby son, Alex, was toddling around with an epic cold and sporting a constant stalactite of snot from his nose. I had worked all week with people sneezing and snuffling and had slowly become convinced that I was going to catch what they all had just in time to carry it through a week of walking. When Alex sneezed explosively into my hot drink, I felt that my fate was sealed.
I was given a lift to Ledbury train station where I sat on a wall and bathed in the warmth of the day, glancing around appreciatively at the prettiness of it all. The trains which took me first to Hereford and then to Shrewsbury were surprisingly tidy, not to mention punctual. Things must have changed since I last used public transport, I thought to myself. Sanity was reintroduced on the train journey from Shrewsbury to Welshpool, as the train itself was a dog and the toilet I visited had a floor awash with the collective bladder contents of several men with very poor aim indeed. I assumed this was the work of the male of our species; how a woman could have contrived to miss from a sitting position was beyond my comprehension. As I stepped off the train I spied Bod, who had left the same train but from a carriage behind mine.
We walked into town together to have some lunch and on the way, Bod told me that he had a chest infection, ‘dodgy’ guts and had woken that morning with backache. He had arrived at last year’s walk with an injured foot and now confided in me that he thought that it was all psychosomatic. He didn’t really like walking and his mind was desperately trying to tell him this through his body. We had a curry and beers in a pub called, ‘The Angel’ and a very nice meal it was, too. I then phoned a taxi to take us to Little Brompton Farm B&B – our first digs of the week.
The farmhouse was at a fairly secluded and rural spot about half a mile further on from The Brompton Crossroads, where we had walked to on the Offa’s Dyke path back in July. The place itself was a lovely 17th century building and the couple who lived there were friendly and welcoming. I hadn’t noticed the clouds gathering during the afternoon and, as we settled in, it began to spit rain. I did a little filming of our accommodation and Jo arrived after a couple of hours. He was famished, so we all took off to Mellington Hall – a place we had walked through at the end of our last walk on the trail. We actually passed The Bluebell Inn where we had stopped to drink after our efforts from Knighton a couple of months before.
Mellington Hall was sumptuous and I felt my wallet lurch with fear as it contemplated the cost of a meal. The food was a little pricey, but it was also tasty and very generous in volume. I had ordered a Ploughman’s and suddenly found myself faced with chunks of cheese like granite boulders. We all had a laugh and a chat before walking ‘home’ again. It was now a fairly warm and very pleasant evening. Tawny Owls hooted challenges to each other across the woods and fields as we strode through the darkness.
On our return to Little Brompton farm Bod, who had a room to himself this night, took himself off to bed. Jo and I were sharing a room and we watched a little T.V. mainly, ‘Family Guy’. Soon after, we fell asleep.

Daily Tweets

Twitter from @BabbleRouser (Jo)
Bouncing along on space hoppers during Worth Unlimited team building day hasn't done much to help my hips prepare for the week's walk!
Sep 4th via web

Twitter from @BabbleRouser (Jo)
Offa's Dyke by space hopper. Now there's a challenge!
Sep 4th via web

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