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Sunday, 24 July 2016

SWCP - Stoke Fleming to Brixham

Sunday 24th July

I had bought a tin of rice pudding for breakfast and some tea bags so I would at least have something to start the day. The chalet tin opener was useless and my own mini opener was not much better. I eventually managed to hack and scythe an opening fortunately without opening an artery! I left them a note about their defective device, and posted the key through their letterbox

I was away by 7.00am, good job too.

Easy walking on road and forest track brought me to Dartmouth Castle at 8.30am where surprisingly the café was open for my first bacon butty of the trip, plus of course a pot of tea. It took about fifteen minutes to arrive and there were no other customers at that time. Before departing I bought an attractive looking home baked sausage roll for lunch which they put in a fancy patisserie box - £3.50, crikey, it was only a sausage roll.

Much later, after crossing the Dartmouth Ferry to Kingsmere I decided to lunch. The ferry by the way is a powerful little tug that ingeniously nestles the landing stage and car carrier along side and motors the whole thing across.

Back to me lunching on a panoramic viewpoint high above the sea. I took a bite of my sausage roll. It turned out to be sickenly, and violently currie flavoured and the thick surrounding pastry was like soggy cardboard, almost impossible to bite through. I stood up and in truec baseball style threw the dam thing as far as I could over the cliff, and I'm pretty sure it went into the sea.

I met another guy who I have seen a few times who is also backpacking the SWCP and he told me there was a café a bit further on at the National Trust gardens at Coleton Fishacre. After a big climb I saw a sign pointing to car parks and guessed this would lead to the café, but decided to continue. I made the huge corresponding descent and at the bottom I met an interesting couple, he in particular a follower of Buddhism and working at their retreat near Ulverston near my home and known to me. I mentioned that I had missed the café and he said, "oh, it's just up here through this gate" and I followed. That turned out to be a fifteen minute climb equivalent to the descent I had just made, and with interesting conversation all the way I was shattered. In rock-climbing parlance that is referred to as being sandbagged; however I passed on my blog card, and I was taken aback when he presented me with a 1965 Winston Churchill commemorative silver medal. I know he will be reading this and I'm sure from his sense of humour he will not mind my anecdotal rendition of our meeting which for me was interesting and worthwhile, and I may well make a visit to the Ulverston retreat when I get back home.

I went into the café and it had just started to rain. The place was heaving and no tables were available. I ended up wandering around with a tray containing a pot of tea and cake until I found a display table and seat at the entrance to the garden centre and sat their, miserable, in the rain and then giving in to don my waterproof.

The path was strenuous, almost as if purposely deigned to descend immediately after every steep ascent. My new maxim: whichever way you walk this SWCP it is uphill all the way.

I walked into Brixham and after asking about ,found a cheap hotel that doesn't do evening meals, but at £42 B and B the en-suite had a bath and I wallowed.

I have just eaten fairly well at the Quayside Hotel, but bordering on the pretentious. Scallops, mackerel fillets and a deserty thing all dolled up to justify high price.

I will be looking out for a good tin opener tomorrow.

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


gimmer said...

We all thoroughly enjoyed your account of the dramatic scenery and exciting happenings of your Saturday stage - where was it again - I forget . . . ?

Roderick Robinson said...

I never thought I'd be making this comment.

We have in the past discussed what constitutes a good post and I have - God help me! - suggested that disasters make better reading than unalloyed pleasure. So they do but I should have added that disasters per se are not enough; they need to be treated with with a certain amount of wit (very hard to define) and detachment. Continuous disaster, especially where the events are not life-threatening, runs the risk of becoming a threnody - a poem, speech, or song of lamentation, especially for the dead; dirge; funeral song; now extended these days to a whinge.

A threnody invites participation by the reader; that he or she should become as depressed as the writer. There is only so much of this sort of thing readers can take.

The solution is to turn disasters into entertainment. One method would be to deliberately understate the shortcomings of the sausage roll; adjectives like "indifferent" can be made to sound much more condemnatory than "damn" and "soggy" or misplaced phrases like "in true baseball style" (no baseball player ever throws anything down a cliff). Better still, the sausage roll could be turned into a symbol: a dish fit to celebrate England's triumphs in the recent Euro-cup (they went out during the pool stage) or to woo back the French post-Brexit.

Here's the impression I get from reading between the lines: you're not enjoying yourself and you're beginning to sound like Mr Pooter in The Diary of A Nobody (a hilarious book but the tragedy of Mr P is that he didn't realise he was being hilarious).

Ruth L said...

Unlike RR, I am very much enjoying the tale of your walk, including the many calamities. I'd forgotten just how up-and-down that section of the path was (the stretch from Padstow to Westward Ho! has wiped all other climb memories from my mind). Can't wait to see what happens next... :D

Sir Hugh said...

Gimmer - missing post now sorted.


RR -Well that right spoiled my breakfast this morning. I have tried to give a balanced view all along and enthused about the coastal scenery enough, I thought, to convey my enjoyment, but I couldn't just repeat the same every day for what are very similar occurrences of natural beauty, and I have tried to have something interesting to say each day.

I thought I had made the sausage roll and the tin opener events and others humorous and if they came across as whinging, conveying, as you suggest, that I am not enjoying myself then I have totally failed.

We have discussed this business of enjoyment before. Apart from being a holiday in terms of seeing new places, and meeting people it is also a challenge. Ask any athlete if they are actually enjoying themselves when at full stretch. The enjoyment comes from the satisfaction of overcoming the difficulties of the challenge and an inner feeling that one has made the effort to do something worthwhile. Simple enjoyment comes comes from reading a good book or eating a sensational pudding, or in your case dealing with a good Burgundy.


Ruth - thanks for your comment. I am still following your progress and now you are back on the mainland I can compare again with my own route, that is until you have finished with Wales.

Sent from my iPad

gimmer said...

I think you have conveyed the pleasures and satisfactions, and balanced the difficulties and frustrations, very well - the undulations, literal, metaphorical or psychological, are all of a piece - who can honestly say that they truly 'enjoyed' hold-less overhangs on cold, wet, limestone at the actual moment of ascent. Yet sometimes, such as on delicate walls of sun-warmed rock, the pleasures are immediate, just like the sudden spectacular vistas you describe. Both give the after-glow bonus, but perhaps more enjoyable - and longer lasting - when difficulties are overcome.

Roderick Robinson said...

Dear me, such sensitivity. And the main point I was making wholly ignored. Anyway try today's Tone Deaf post (Not quite LEJOG) and get your own back.