Day 7 Fri 06-05-2005
Lewdon to Okehampton
At breakfast I met Jane's husband Nigel and her two sons. I was on the road by eight, bolstered by their good wishes, and feeling good. Big mistake! (I walked under a ladder yesterday, and even worse, saw an accordion player in Launceston - shades of "Pennies from Heaven").
At Bridgestone I stopped at the Post Office to send a couple of maps home. I should have guessed where the man behind the counter was from - Basingstoke!! I get the feeling my town will be empty when I get back.
I pressed on towards Okehampton. There was a cycle path following the route of a disused railway, passing over Meldon Viaduct - an impressive bit of Victorian iron work. Unfortunately, I wasn't in the mood to appreciate it, as my left achilles tendon had started to hurt, making it difficult to walk. Thinking about that damn ladder, I limped into Okehampton, and experienced the serendipity which characterised my whole trip. Just as I thought I could go no further, I found myself right outside Okehampton youth hostel. And better still, it was open. (Lots of youth hostels don't open until five).
I stowed my gear in a dormitory, and hobbled down the hill to the town centre. After a medicinal pint, and a sandwich, I took advice in Boots from a very nice woman, and purchased a couple of elasticated ankle bandages. I got a cheap paperback to read, and holed up for the rest of the day at the hostel, with my leg up. Once again, my pessimistic nature took hold, and I wondered if this would be the end of my walk?
Whilst in the peace and quiet of the hostel, I reflected on Tony Blair's victory (it was the general election yesterday). I am ashamed to say I probably wouldn't have voted, even if I was at home. The difference between the main parties is so minor, it hardly seems worth the effort. I would be happy to vote for a minority party - Green? - but they don't put up candidates everywhere. It's easy to moan, however, and I suppose we do have a relatively stable, rich and happy society... which is consuming energy and raw materials at an alarming rate, and contributing hugely to the environmental problems of greenhouse gasses, pollution, and so on. I think I'll put my head back in the sand.