22 April – Closed Churches and Pubs

Last night there was a thunderstorm and a fair bit of rain. So I’m told – I slept through the excitement. This morning dawned sunny and perfect for walking.

Marianne took the day off due to a sore knee. Tim drove Pat, Sally and me back to Alton – our end point yesterday – for the start of our walk today.

We are keeping our days reasonably short, covering about 15kms a day. Today we continued through gently undulating English countryside. Through fields – the common Right of Way always honoured – along hedge rows, through a wood, along lanes, past thatched cottages and grand estates. Sheep and horses. Wherever we had to cross a road or walk along one for a short distance we felt the pressure of vehicle traffic, but mostly we had the route to ourselves.

We stoped at a church, looking for a stamp for our pilgrim’s passport. The place was locked up tight. Today is Sunday by the way. We took a break then carried on. As we passed another church we saw a woman coming out of the door so we hailed her. She came to the gate and kindly signed our passports, while explaining their church committee was looking into getting a stamp. As we chatted, we discovered that although the place had once been a church school, it is now this woman’s private home. How kind of her to have taken the time to provide signatures.

At another church in the next village, the service was over and tea and cakes were being served. When we asked the appropriate dignitary for a stamp, he seemed flummoxed by the request. He was however aware of the Winchester to Canterbury pilgrimage. He signed our passports and we carried on happy to have two acknowledgements to recognize our passing. In this village there is a pub – The Star. The day was warm, it was nearly lunch time. We got directions and headed off on a detour to the pub for a refreshing beer. Upon arrival we were disappointed to find it locked up tight. No beer. However the gate to the garden behind the pub was open so we went on in and enjoyed our picnic – washed down with water – at the pub. We did hope someone would pop out and offer us that beer, but this did not happen.

Today our walk ended in Farnham so after stopping at an open pub for a belated beer, we walked to Tim and Gail’s home at the end of a good day’s pilgrimage. We have spent the latter part of the afternoon relaxing and chatting. Dare I say – we also enjoyed a second beer!

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