On the morning of the walk there is a last minute honing down of the kit. We are in the spare room, a large dark orange wall hanging and quotes about love on the walls.
“At some point you just have to set off, because no matter how much you prepare, it’s the experience that show’s it.” I said.
Eve nods, frowning. She is determined to take nothing that is not absolutely necessary.
“Thank you so much, for all your advice. I’ll try and get the windproof top in town. And thank you so much for lending me these!” she gestures to my faithful pair of black waterproof rain pants, which have walked the country once before.
A rape alarm, a pair of waterproof gaiters and a tiny red bag of warm smelling herbs; cloves, cinnamon and cardamom, are left behind, and we set off to Totnes.
In the market square we are joined by Matthew Needham, another stalwart walker of pilgrimages, and waved off by the Barefoot Beekeeper who gives us a cuddly bee to carry with us as a mascot. Eve clutches it under her arm.
We stride off down the High Street towards the river Dart; it’s market day and the town is buzzing and we three in our yellow and black garb are barely noticed as in high spirits we claim the middle of the road and make our way to Bourton Lane, the old drovers road that leads east out of Totnes, where once I strode on my way to connect inspirational people and places.
It is a bright warm spring day and Matthew and I take it in turns to read the map.
“It’s so lovely to have someone experienced read the map, really relaxing, thank you.” said Eve
We trudge up and out of the town past the travelers who live in vans and caravans and the vibrant flowers that catch our attention in the hedgerows. We eat primroses, delighting in Eve’s first experience and learn hedgelore from Matthew. He points out the bent over branches of a laid hedge.
“How is it that hedges are laid?” “What’s the name of that plant there?” Our questions keep coming and Matthew shares what he knows. We each of us feel keenly the lack of the knowledge our forbears would have had.