In a diary my mother kept, she had noted that as a baby I was very uncomfortable with strangers and would scream and cry if held by anyone other than my immediate family. I thought that today I might set out to meet as many strangers as possible in order to almost reverse this, however it turned out to be a lot easier than I imagined, as people wiling to talk just seemed to gravitate towards me all day. I thought I’d map my route today via the people I met.
Tony: I was just leaving Instow beach when I bumped into Tony who used to work at my old school, through the conversation I discovered that he lived in Appledore, although his house was small, he said that he would call me later as he might be able to put me up that night.
Walking Couple: I found a lovely spot about 2 miles from Instow overlooking Bideford bridge, I dumped my stuff down on a bench and nipped round the corner to spend a penny. When I came back I was delighted to find two smiling faces sat next to my things on the bench in the space where I was about to sit! Though I didn’t catch my names they were a really nice couple who were out on a walk. Turns out he has done a lot of walking and has led walking trips so was quite interested in my equipment and route. His wife was quick to tell me about their Granddaughter who is also studying Theatre. We managed to deduce that I actually knew their other granddaughter… North Devon is a small place, and it seemed to get smaller and smaller as the day went on.
Christine: I stayed on my bench overlooking the bridge for about 3 hours. After about two of them I was joined on the bench by Christine who had been walking along thinking about writing stories when she stumbled across me playing my guitar. She spoke of her troubles in writing stories because she is so aware of the “do and don’t of story writing”. I found this quite interesting as my style of creation in this project is one that pretty much ignores all rules to do with what “good” and “bad” as I am uploading my creations in a pretty uncensored way. Turns out she knew my parents too!!
Tom: I’d met Tom the night before on Instow beach as he is part of the Monday collective. In a short but memorable chance meeting we crossed Bideford bridge together past the amazing reflections of clouds on the glass like river Torridge.
Ross: Ross is an old school friend who I hadn’t seen for months until I met him in Fremington yesterday, and guess what… I bumped into him today too. This time he was climbing into a wobbly boat ready to go wakeboarding on the river. As I walked along the river for the next hour or so I was constantly passed by him skating along the water at speed.
Pete: As I approached the Appledore Shipyard I became aware of a man gaining on me from some distance behind me and made it a little challenge to try and keep my distance for as long as I could. Needless to say with 20Kg and a guitar, I failed pretty quickly, and I’m glad I did. It turns out that Pete was the person I nearly stayed with in Instow last night. He recognised me from my sign and so shouted to me. We walked together for about a mile into Appledore, he talked about some of the artists living in Appledore and recommended that I head to the Champ pub for my dinner. We talked about how much more you are able to absorb when you walk, in terms of landscapes, people and just your own thoughts. Pete mentioned how he’d like to flip his life around so that this (walking and absorbing) became the norm – it was here I realised how lucky I am because for me it will be the norm for the next 48 days!
Chloe: Chloe was the leader of a little Folk band who were playing in the champ, she was quite interested in my project and tried to persuade me to play my guitar however I refused… This is something I hope to stop refusing as the project continues.
Adele and Phil: I met this lovely couple at the bar in the Champ, they both worked there on other nights so knew the place well. I spent most of the evening with them talking about a whole host of things but mainly how nice the pub is! Apparently I’d caught it on an unusually quiet night but I didn’t mind as I was really made to feel welcome and part of the gang! Just as I zipped up my coat and began to contemplate my first night in a tent in the cold, Adele and Phil so so so kindly offered that I could kip on their sofa. They live in a beautiful little terraced cottage. I discovered that not only was I given a cute little sofa, but it came with a compulsory glass of Sailor Jack before bed! So here I am, on that cute little sofa some hours later with a banging headache, feeling quite content after a beautiful day in which I met so many new people – all because I walked.