(I’ll plug in more links to these posts when I get home – bit tricky on an iPhone!)
I’m tired. The muscles around the back of my neck ache and my calves are twanging like overwound guitar strings. We’re staying in a hostel owned by the local landlord who prices little extras like breakfast and tea the way you’d expect dry-land piranhas to if they owned pubs. This is comparative to other bunk barns and hostels, of course. It feels a bit like Yojimbo (or A Fistful Of Dollars) except there isn’t another Big Family at the other end of the village. There isn’t even another end.
Meanwhile, Phill is wandering around the hostel in bare feet looking very spaced out and I’ve resorted to mint tea with nettles (you’d think I’d have seen enough nettles by now). Keith and Clare are looking for Ibuprofen. I refer them to Ed. Ed is the Man, the Supplier, the possessor of the right stuff. He has a 500 pill carton of CostCo ibuprofen. Like so much of the world, many of us are grateful for American Drugs.
Meanwhile, I’ve progressed from “too shy to talk to Jo Beaufois” to “wearing an item of her clothing next to my skin”. Oh alright. She’s lent me a knee bandage.
Last night I sat up and played Chase The Ace, drank mead and got rather tipsy with a crowd of people – Ian, Oli, Jo, Ellie, the Other Ian and more. Some of you have impressively inventive foul mouths, people. With all this and the tent business, all I need to is start smoking again and I’d be back in scouts.
In other news, I found out from Martin what it is to be an Irishman dealing with the Dutch healthcare system (like the nurse who apparently confiscated his camera at the birth of his daughter and gave it back full of birth pictures). I lent Helen a bunch of Compeed blister patches (Compeed is the highest denomination street currency around these parts), got to be Alan Rickman in a Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves remake filmed by Rich and read 200 pages of The Eagle Of The Ninth.
Everyone is up and moving around the Hostel now. Everyone is at ease with everyone else as far as I can see. Those of us who are in more pain than others are supported. We share little things while maintaining our own space.
Today, we walk as far as Carlisle. Tomorrow, we do the last stretch, to the North Sea. Then our temporary little community dissolves. I’ll miss them.