Along with the shopping voucher, I also received a voucher for £40. The redeeming instructions stated that I needed to go to any outlet that processes something called Pay Point. There, I would be able to cash in the voucher, then use the money to put towards the cost of a bottle of gas. A gas bottle had coincidentally, run out a few days previous. I had a look on the internet to find out where the nearest such outlet was. It turned out that the petrol station at the top of the village was my nearest. So, I ordered a bottle of gas from Adrian, who as you may remember, delivered one to me in Mountain Street* I then popped up to cash in the voucher. However, the proprietors were insistent that they could only transfer the value to a gas or electricity meter key. They did however, suggest that I try the post office in Eccles. So when the gas bottle turned up, Michael kindly paid the bill.
As I was taking the universal joint out of its knuckle on the propshaft, a man appeared. He stood and watched for a couple of minutes. We got chatting. He offered me some kindling, which I gratefully accepted. A final gift from a very generous community.
As the test drive was so successful, I decided that I wanted to get going right away. Also, I had a niggling feeling that my intended next park up was going to be an issue; gut feeling. I therefore asked the boys to come with me, Michael leading the way and Daniel with me. Over a cup of tea, we formulated a plan of action.
We first walked up to gather some firewood. I popped into the pub briefly to say farewell. On the way back, I popped into the Butcher’s Block to also say farewell.
Michael then went over to the post office in Eccles to cash in the voucher. He then went to the supermarket to get some groceries. He also took a jerrycan and filled that with diesel, using the voucher money to pay for it.
In the meantime, Daniel and I chopped the wood and replaced a wheel on the truck. Soon, we were tacked down, hitched up and ready to go.
It was just as well that I heeded my fears. Partway along the route, a 6’6” width restriction along a section of road that was part of our intended route meant a diversion. Michael was quickly able to revise our route by the time we caught up with him. We soon picked up the road through Ryarsh to Trottiscliffe. From there, we climbed to the settlement of Coldrum. Michael was waiting as we reached the lane that I correctly suspected I was going to have to reverse along. Fortunately, there is enough room to complete the manoeuvre. The problem came with reversing along to the car park. I reversed back to where I thought the car park was. At this point, Daniel got out. Bushes growing out into the lane blocked my mirrors, meaning that I could not see where I was going. I couldn’t hear Michael behind me, but Daniel could. He was relaying the directions. I still had quite a way to go. The car park itself is surprisingly big and is very peaceful.
The residents whose house on the corner I had navigated pass walked down. I was asked, “Where are you from?” by the lady of the house.
Not knowing what she could mean, I answered, “Planet Earth.”
She laughed, introduced herself as Rose, then explained that that they were expecting people from National Trust. NT are responsible for the upkeep of the monument nearby. I explained that I was there for the night, will be going for a walk in the morning, then gone again. She took a leaflet saying that she would have a look at the blog.
Shortly thereafter, Michael and Daniel headed home.
The signal there is awfully poor. However, it is peaceful. The only downside was the empty fizzy beer cans thrown just out of reach to pick up. Being able to leave the curtains open and waking up to the morning chorus is something that I haven’t enjoyed for a while.
Later in the morning, Rowan and I went for a walk. We followed the signs along the track
and the footpath
to open downland.
View across to Ryarsh Wood
View back towards Burham Down in the far distance
We soon reached Coldrum longbarrow. The best surviving burial chamber of the Medway Megaliths.
The motorway traffic could clearly be heard, which sadly disturbed the peace of the place.
After a brief chat with a lady walking a dog (Rowan disappeared for the duration), we headed back.
*see entry Mountain Street (?)