LEJOG14: Crowcombe to Bawdrip

Monday didn’t start off well. I was woken by the sound of rain at 2 in the morning, and it was still there when my alarm went off at 6. Rain on a tent is a very comforting sound, lots and lots of soft little thuds combining to make relaxing white noise. It felt very cosy in my little cocoon, wrapped up warm while the heavens opened around me. However, I realized that not only was I going to have to go outside, I was also going to have to pack up and put the tent down, a process that if not done carefully could result in everything getting wet. My biggest fear was a week of rain in which everything got eternally damp; it could potentially dampen my spirits and moral to a point where I might question carrying on. Something to be avoided.

I managed to get everything packed into my bag inside the outer sheet of the tent, and then wrapped the outer in a bin liner and attached to to the outside of my bag. This was my new set up and it seemed to work well under fire.

I set out to rejoin the Quantocks, except this time I was going straight to the top. It was a shame that the visibility would be rotten, but I felt cheerful to be climbing towards the clouds.

On the way I passed a pub with a sign outside saying “As of 22nd april the price of drinks will rise as a result of mismanagement of state finances. Many apologies, please bear with us until the next general election.” This type of atmosphere reminds me of the mid-90s and we all know what happened then. The publicans of the south west are a bell weather for the middle England that can swing elections.

I reached the relatively piddly summit and the rain started to ease off. From then on the weather oscillated between rain and fair with pleasant sunshine. I kept my layers on cos I knew that it could turn at any minute, and often did. Once i came off the hills there was lots of road walking through pleasant and increasingly flat Quantock villages. When walking on these roads I feel I’m almost a semi-vehicle myself, using my legs and poles to get in lane amd maneuver my bulk around cars and tractors. I definitely feel a part of the road rather than a pedestrian on a pavement.

I walked into Bridgewater early, and started to search for an 02 store. I must have looked bizarre because the weather was going through one of it’s sunny periods and I was fully geared up; with my rucksac and poles I felt like a one of the ghost busters. I had imagined that the problems with my phone were technically complicated and would require fiddling with and swaping over SIM cards. As it was she rebooted it and it was fine. Inside I felt a bit pathetic as this solution is only one up from turning something off and then on again.

My next task was to pick up some food supplies and then catch up with blogging stuff. I saw a bit more of Bridgewater than I needed to really. The centre is quite shabby and despressing-apparently they had a Wetherspoons but it closed. Says something about a place that it cant sustain the McDonalds of pubs. There was no co-op or tesco metro so I had to go into a massive asda to pick up some packet pasta and canned veg for dinner. I must have looked super-ridiculous strolling down the chilled meat aisle in my chubby power rangers gear. I inadvertantly strolled into a couple of very dodgy pubs in my quest for wifi. As soon as I got in them I knew I was on a hiding to nothing, there was more chance of finding an escaped convict in the loos than wireless Internet, but I had to ask to save the embarassment of just walking back out. I think in one pub I interupted the selling of a stolen radio over the bar in doing so.

I finallly found a non-scary pub with wifi and settled down with a pub to catch up. Within minutes I had an offer of a bed for that night, and found out my aunt in bristol would shuttle me to her place for two nights, not just the one I was hoping for. Result! After waking up worrying about how I was going to last a week camping I’m bad weather without my phone. Now I only had to camp for one night the entire week!

I finished my pint and made a dash for my rendeavouz. This involved navigating a labyrinth of several different housing estates, each one getting newer the further I exited the town centre. I was eventually spat out onto the side of the M5, where I took a photo to symbolically record the mundaneity of the day.

I was getting impatient, and had a problem at the next farm. I was sure I had found the right gate for the right if way, but the naughty farmer appeared to have put an electric fence behind it. I wasnt going to be able to limbo my way under so I looked for a safer option and found a stretch of fence nearby thy was just barbed wire. if I could get over this, I thought, I could rejoin the right of way. I decided to test the slackness of the barnes wire with my finger to see whether I could hold it down low enough to stride over.

Due to the funny way that different information passes through the nervous system at different speeds I let out a shrill and blood curdling yelp before I felt a massive thud across one whole side of my body. Ah, I thought, that’s what being electrocuted feels like. Very naughty farmer had electrified his barbed wire, probably by wrapping the two bits together. Only reason for doing so would be to stop equally naughty people like me doing what I was trying to do; it’s going to make no difference to a sheep or cow if the electrified part is camoflaged!

I eventually got to my rendeavouz and got a lift to Brent Knoll thanks to the largesse of Mike Hardy, a friend of my aunt and her husband who had called me that day and was being amazingly
helpful and hospitable. I had a quick pint of butcombe bitter in the red cow with Mike and the locals, and then popped next door to Mike’s flat for a bath. Yes, Mike lives next door to the pub, I had fallen on my feet here! After refreshing myself I was treated to dinner, a burger made from local meat, and listened to Mike and his friend John’s tales of their various cycling/motorbiking journeys. I found out how to kill a dog if it goes for you by grabbing it’s forelegs and pulling them apart which apparently breaks it’s heart. It was interesting to learn but I do hope never to test this out in a real life situation. We had a good laugh with the locals, at least one of who promised to sponsor me (hello, thank you!). Everybody was friendly and impressed at my journey, which supplied a really good morale boost.

I could have stayed until closing but I was tired and so had to retire early. This wasnt such a bad thing as there was a comfy warm bed waiting for me back at Mike’s. I couldn’t believe how different the day ended from where it began, and fell into a blissful slumber in a nest of white cotton sheets.

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4 Responses to “LEJOG14: Crowcombe to Bawdrip”


  1. 1 Chloe April 28, 2009 at 9:48 pm

    Awesome pictures from the walk with Jenna. Keep them coming.

    Is it wrong that I laughed out loud at the electrocution bit?!

    I’ve been following the blog, I almost feel like I am getting sympathy blisters.

    Keep calm and carry on.

    clo x

    • 2 Jenna April 29, 2009 at 9:22 am

      I thought the description of getting electrocuted was very accurate. it really is an odd sensation. we used to do it for kicks when we were nippers. growing up in the country you need stimulation until you discover the pub that serves underage….

      keep it going kiddo. i reckon you’re building up quite a blog following. I poo poo Charlie’s ‘wordcount’ suggestion. Since when have we listened to Drury.

      the more words the merrier – hanging on every one x

    • 3 Mum April 29, 2009 at 3:42 pm

      I laughed out load too – that’s really unforgivable

  2. 4 Raj April 29, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Alright,

    Charlie suggesting cutting down on words. Have I been transported to Topsy Turvey land!

    So glad you’ve experienced Brigewater! It’s a bit of a hole isn’t it? Was the selophane factory belching out its yellow bile?

    How many hits are you getting on the site btw? Do you carry around little LEJOG cards with your blog address on them?

    Onwards and upwards

    r


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