Thursday 1st August
This is a reconstruction of Day 4 post lost in the ether, and you will see from its length why I was so cross.
I had to walk on the wrong side of the river as far as the new bridge near Highley, the old one having serviced the coal mining of yesteryear. I met a local guy walking his dog and he told me the whole history and some, and then pointed out the astounding level the river reached in last year's floods. The river must have been more than fifty feet deep in places.
Before Arley I met a serious day walker who was training to do the West Highland Way, and he had done a number of other long distance walks including The Dalesway. We had a good chat. He told me about the tea room at Arley a couple of kilometres down the path, so my walking became more purposeful. As I write this the walker (Keith) has now put a comment on my latest post.
Good news and bad news at Arley tea shop. Yes they did bacon butties, but the lady who makes them would not be there for another ten minutes; anyway it was worth the wait.
I had been feeling some pain in my little toe so removed footwear and found my sock covered in blood from an incising toenail. Elastoplast, scissors and much dexterity were needed for the surgical operation, creating unexpected interest for onlookers at other outside tables.
Two miles from Bewdley SW signs disappeared in a shanty town park and I hailed a guy with a Springer Spaniel and he showed me the hundred yard link on the road. We ended up walking together to Bewdley. I had a Springer for sixteen years and it was a joy to watch this three year old enjoying every moment - his tail never stopped wagging. My new found friend had worked on theme parks all over the world and we had lively conversation all the way. Bewdley has attractive riverside frontage with decent pubs and cafés and I sat in intense sunshine with a pint of orange and lemonade.
The remaining few kilometres to Stourport-on-Severn were excruciating with heat, and I who is normally frugal with drinks ON WALKS had to stop three times and rest and take on liquid which thankfully I as carrying.
Stourport is awful - a huge fairground amusement park, littered streets, lots of noise, and rather similar to Blackpool. The postman identified the only three b and bs. The first was full, and she told me the lady at the second had gone on holiday, so I trudged in the heat to the third, Oakleigh House, a grand old early Victorian house in its own grounds. I knocked with the large iron knocker with no response, then tried another door with a bell, and nothing again. I sat despondently on a wall when, tout-à-coup, the proprietor appeared from round a corner,and there was a vacancy. The house had grand high ceilinged rooms with elegant furniture in scale and many interesting paintings.
I ate at Ad Gustum, a splendid little town centre restaurant run by a young Polish guy, who was sadly underpricing which makes it unlikely he will survive. I had a black pudding and and new potato starter fixed with an interesting finely chopped salad. A chicken stroganoff main course followed, and then a well presented banana custard with crushed biscuits. All that was accompanied with four small Heinekin bottles, i.e. two pints, and the bill was only £23. I recommend this place if you are there. There isn't much else in Stourport, so I can't recommend going there, but you may be forced to for some reason one day.
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