PARISH PLODDERS’ WALK – LONGSTOCK & FULLERTON – 15th MARCH 2018
Plodders had been promised an easy, stile-free, hard-surfaced and easily trodden walk, even if rain did materialise. A couple of “porkies” there I’m afraid.
The oft-quoted lament of “It wasn’t like this last time” from our leader gradually wore thin as the odd bit of dampness became the odd puddle, became myriad streams, became Lake Longstock. We have a stoic band of brothers and sisters though, they waded on despite the depths and sodden socks.
It began well enough, the short stretch of road up to the first footpath was commonplace, provided memories of the gigantic muck-spreader can be erased from one’s mind, but then it became the only slight hill through which a tractor had recently passed and where every indentation made by the tyre tracks was now full of water. A very squelchy climb. It wasn’t like this last time.
A reward and a detour to assuage mud-bespattered Plodders was the farm shop at Longstock House. A welcome respite despite the contretemps with John Lewis’s uniformed baristas over what constitutes a queue.
It was then onwards, on solid tarmacadam, and therefore dry underfoot. Nope! As our 15 turned a slight bend the sight of what seemed a diverted river Test met our eyes. Encased between roadside hedges and no access either side, the only route was to wade through or to grab the blackthorn on either side and try to stay on the narrow verge without sliding into the water’s depths. Sue tried the first option and found a submerged pothole. Mike, and others, chose the verge….. for most of the way before diving in. Our now maligned leader may have stayed reasonably dry, but managed to get a well-earned blackthorn spike wedged between palm and thumb. Sympathy was in short supply.
It became more mundane after that adventure, although the walk was also a little longer than advertised….. adding a little more disdain from one or two weary Plodders, but at least the refreshments and fodder at The Peat Spade, once we got there, was sufficient reward for our hardened bunch. Next stop, the marine training course at the nearest army barracks.