Friday, June 25, 2010

115.5 kms: Tintern Old Station-Brockweir-Bigweir-Redbrook-Kymin-Monmouth.

So back to the dizziness. I had to just make sure I didn’t bend over too quickly or get up too quickly and I was okay. I did manage to make myself all feel-sorry-for-myself-y and why-am-I-doing this-y. And then I called it low-blood sugar, had sweets and felt a whole lot better. Sweets always make things a whole lot better don’t they—how can trashy magazines say there is no reason to ever have sweets. I can understand chocolate is better, but sweets don’t melt on long distance walking tracks.
I had a quite nice breakfast at the Old Station Cafe—although I did have to put in a grumpy customer comment when they tried to tell me it was almost too late when I had been standing in the queue for fifteen minutes of the most excruciatingly slow coffee making I have ever seen in my long and seeingful life. The coffee was very nice for all its slowness and the sausages more flavoursome than usual. I am sad in a way to leave as there will be a sausage festival on the weekend and who doesn’t love a sausage festival. I am sure it would mean accommodation was even harder to come by. (I was tempted to cross to a Italian Restaurant/B&B more recently to advise accommodation has two m’s—shouldn’t an accommodation place know how many m’s there are in accommodation? I didn’t because I am sure they would not have appreciated it. Let them look like fools!)
Today’s walk is not overly strenuous either. It meandered along the river. Went up a big hill. Went down. Went back up. Went down. And that was it. Between the first and second ups I stopped in an ‘open all day’ pub (bless their nylon socks). I really fancied a raspberry and lemonade. He had no cordial so he made me a pint of half raspberry and apple juice, half lemonade. It was divine—nectar of the gods. I had two, while two intrepid walkers regaled me with their far superior walking skills, less cumbersome bags and advanced age. Mmm. I don’t really attack this with the vigour it deserves of the serious walker. I have a much browner western facing shoulder due to always being out of bed and ready after the sky has just about done with having the sun in its eastern half. I have essentials like laptops, extra novels, maps with too much info and so too many of them (there are maps that are one only with the whole route on it—much more sensible. Yeah, sensible if you know it exists. Yes, well, that falls under the idea of ‘research’ doesn’t it, instead of the type of approach you displayed when Sam the Sash Window man asked how much training you had done for this walk. None. Laughs and guffaws, pick themselves up off the floor. Typical Australian attitude: she’ll be right mate. Just put on a pack and start walking.)
The last hill went up to a place called Kymin. It seems like the sort of place the Victorians went for an afternoon constitution. There is a memorial to the Navy, a white round house that commands a fabulous view from the apex of the hill (and which can be seen sitting prettily on its cleared position when you get to the bottom again), and gardens to perambulate in. There are recent sculpture now which are blended with the woods. It was worth the climb up. It is also worth noting that if there is a carpark then there is probably something nice that cars have made the trip up the hill to see and so it may be worth walking a few extra meters rather than collapsing on a bench just because there is one. There is a desperation with me and benches. I can walk all day, for hours and hours, on a day when some miracle has actually got me out of bed early, and see absolutely no one, but the minute that it is time for me to have a break, and there happens to be a bench in that break space, two people will appear from nowhere and beat me to it. It means that I have to sit on all other benches, if only for a moment and without taking the pack off, just to have my bench time—this is still a rare occurrence.
The woods up here at Kymin are so dense. A campervan was going down the hill and I swear it sounded like they brought down at least three trees with them. Like the brawl in Chepstow though, I just shrugged and figured if they needed assistance they could ask. Is that bad?
When I got down to Monmouth I started the usual search for a place to lay my head. I passed a pub called the Queen’s Head that offered accommodation. I decided I shouldn’t just stop at the ‘first available’ and should look around first. Needless to say, I went all about town and into the Queen’s Head who had just received a phone call for a cancellation and so had a room available. Things work out.
It was a strange, incongruous place. Run by an ex-South African. Had a sign out the front to say it was ‘football free’. The outside looked circa a thousand years ago; the inside looked circa 1993. But the room was nice with a big bay window that I could hang washing in to dry.
They didn’t do dinner in the pub even though all the tables looked like restaurant tables rather than bar tables, so I went back to the high street. I had Mexican. It was terrible. Proves, yet again, that the best place in the world for Mexican food is El Paso. When I got back I was too tired to do a single thing and so I crashed and slept and slept and slept.
Good night to Monmouth, good n … zzz

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