It’s hard to leave after lunch. Eve and Will are playing pirates, and four year old Captain Will is reluctant to lose his deckhand.
“You will come back, won’t you?” Steve asks Eve a little sternly.
She looks surprised. “Yes, that would be lovely. It’ll be quite a while though…”
“I think it would close the circle. And we’d love to see how you got on. How about this, within one year, you will come back?”
“One year, yes, that sounds do-able!” nods Eve, as they shake on it.
When we set off again Sharona and Will accompany us. We walk slowly so that our youngest companion’s little plump legs can keep up. I feel half impatient, half heartful at the privilege of having this wise little creature along with us.
Once they have turned back, we go on, following the lanes that will take us to Newton Abbot. I, out of habit, want to map read, Eve, wants to follow her nose, but we muddle along blending our rhythms.
“I keep the map out so I can track my progress as I go.” I explain.
I have carried another of my books with me; it’s a gift for the proprietors of Samson’s farm, who hosted me on the first night of my walk, as a thank you. It’s getting late though, and I need to be able to get back home for work the next morning. Eve takes the book on with her, to present to them and, we hope, to be given somewhere to sleep.
Amongst youngsters on benches and shoppers to-ing and fro-ing between the nearby supermarket and the town centre, we sit and eat a snack. Eve get’s up and chalks a message on the pavement – Change the culture, not the Climate – with a picture of a smiling bee.
Eve and I take each other’s leave. It feels strange. She is the one to be walking on now; I am catching a bus back home. She lingers a moment; aware suddenly perhaps of the enormity of her undertaking, alone on the walk for the first time. I feel her aloneness yet know it is how it must be at this stage. I stand firm and wave, clutching the cuddly bee that is to go home to his owner, as Eve walks away from me headed for the road to Exeter, turning once or twice to wave. I watch until she is out of sight, crossing the road and disappearing round the corner.
It is Easter Sunday 2014 and the Buzz Tour has begun.