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#30328 - 27/08/06 02:36 PM Re: The Sheep Walk in Cornwall [Re: torey]
torey Offline



Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 10987
Loc: UK
Finally it is the turn of the flock.

Here Carline and Courtney bring their books. (Thatís Sarah, Carla and Lauren in the background.)



Then Lubey brought her parachute jump shirt to be signed.



Lauren gets her turn, with Carla and Sarah



Tola brings a Swedish edition of MECHANICAL CAT to be signed. (And Maggy is behind her.)



And finally Photo Lady herself (JAF) gets in the picture!



And then it is all over and only Ann is left to clear up (and then take me for a wonderful Cornish cream tea afterwards!!!


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#30329 - 27/08/06 04:54 PM Re: The Sheep Walk in Cornwall [Re: torey]
torey Offline



Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 10987
Loc: UK
Day Three

Day Three got off to a problematic start. Or rather, Day Two ended that way, because the internet access went down in my hotel. (I will say here Iím staying in the most marvelous little hotel in Penzance Ė only six bedrooms Ėwith the nicest, most helpful staff imaginable, but the internet access is a little quirky. I can only get it via wireless when sitting in the very tiny entranceway of the hotel and no one actually knows whose Iím using!) Anyhow, it went down last night and so I couldnít lift any of yesterdayís pictures until today. However, it also meant I did not have access to the information about where the walk was starting today. In other words, I didnít have a clue where to go!

On Friday night, Chelly had provided everyone with copies of directions to the three walks but I had not taken one at the time and had been getting the directions directly from her, as we were coming in a different car from everyone else. But I forgot to do this after the walk yesterday. So, I went to phone Chelly and discovered that the piece of paper Iíd written her and Maggyís phone numbers on had got wet during the Friday walk and the ink had run. I then spent about 30 minutes standing out in the street in front of the hotel (because the reception for my phone service is crap in Penzance!) trying to access the message board on my mobile phone, because I knew Iíd posted at least the general location of the walk. What fun THAT was!. Yes, I discovered, my phone does access ordinary websites just fine. However, I wasnít logged in on the message board and couldnít get the phone to open the next page of topics to get to where I thought the list was. So I logged in (arduously using my keypad) and the effect that had was to massively increase the size of the print, so that I could only see about two words at a time on my phone screen.

Yada, yada, yada. Suffice it to say that I spent a lot of frustrating time and had no success. Finally I resorted to trying to decode the running ink on the paper where Iíd written down the numbers. Tried what I thought was Chellyís and got some answering service. Kept trying, got what I hoped was her voicemail, but not Chelly. So I tried Maggy. AT LAST! Maggy answered. However, she was just parking and trying to talk to the guy at the ticket booth at the same time. And of course, she didnít really know where she was, so she couldnít give me directions! But I asked her to have Chelly phone me when they finally met up.

A long way around to saying that I missed the first third of the walk, as I did not want to make everyone very late. Chelly told me to come to the Hellmouth, a local beauty spot where the path everyone was walking would meet up with a small car park and cafť. So, at long last I got there and got to join the waiting crew of Chelly, Lauren Jay and Carline.



The weather is bright and sunny with some clouds (which unfortunately never came over the sun, so it was actually just about too warm.) So we had spectacular views of the Cornish coast. Chelly pointed out where we should be able to see the walkers coming, as the path comes down over the far distant hill and then up over the near hill in the picture.



So, we waited. And waited. And waited. Then one lone figure came into view.



Robyn must have eaten her Wheaties this morning, because it was she, power walking down the hill all on her own, miles ahead of everyone else.



So we waited for the rest of them.

And waited.

And waited some more.

Finally Mikko and Helene came into view.



Then we waited for the rest.

And waited.

And waited.

At last we started to see some numbers.



Clearly this was a group in need of a shepherd, because then we waited and waited some more. But they did come eventually. And last but not least, Photo Lady crests the hill.



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#30330 - 27/08/06 05:08 PM Re: The Sheep Walk in Cornwall [Re: torey]
torey Offline



Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 10987
Loc: UK
This appears to simply have been a disaster-prone day, as when we were all together at last, I got to hear about everyone elseís escapades. Lisa from Sweden, who had negotiated the roughest rocks at Landís End on Friday went afoul of the stairs in her hotel last night. Fortunately, sheís all right but very stiff and sore, so it wasnít a good idea that she join us. Sarah also had to leave today. Happily, however, Lubey was able to stay walk with us today, but she and Zoe and Susan had had a rather good time celebrating this change of circumstance last night and some folks were a little worse for wear this morning . . .

This meant there had been a great deal of shifting around of who was carrying whose avatar and Robyn was quite insistent you would want to know about this. So, if you find yourself with a new person today, it could be Robyn, who looks like this:



Or Lubey (note the friendly hands keeping her upright.)


.

Then at last we were off, shepherd included.



The scenery around the coast of Cornwall is just so incredibly beautiful that even I kept playing Photo Lady.



The path is, however, right along the cliff edge. (Thatís Maggy and Veronica stopping to admire the view.)



And the cliffs are VERY high. That speck down there is a proper commercial fishing boat!



Where the path went inland a bit, there were gorgeous fields of blooming heather interspersed with gorse (the yellow).



And for you who have not seen wild heather up close, a special picture:


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#30331 - 28/08/06 09:09 AM Re: The Sheep Walk in Cornwall [Re: torey]
torey Offline



Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 10987
Loc: UK
So, on we went. As it turned out, not only did I get a late start but everyone in general had. The traffic was bad to the drop-off point for the start of the walk and that delayed some; others had been late getting away from Penzance and so forth, so we were walking later in the morning than on the other two walks. And for the first time we actually had serious sun. It wasnít hot Ė still only 22C Ė but the August sun is hot whenever it comes out and we were approaching midday, so the sun cream was coming out and we were feeling the heat. This was also our longest walk. Day One fell short of five miles, Day Two was five miles and the idea was that weíd be Ďbroken iní for the longest walk of the three on Day Three. I must say that this was very much the most beautiful walk and quickly became the favourite for almost everyone (although, admittedly, Day One would have been just as beautiful, had we actually been able to see it!)

Anyway, this is to say, there was a lot of walking. (Thatís Veronica and her husband Mark)



There was also a lot of peering over the cliffs, as the view was so spectacular. (Thatís Robyn peering):



And more walking (Thatís Robyn, Lubey and Tola just ahead.)




And more peering (Lubey, this time)



And walking and peering (and removing stones from shoes)



Itís during all this walking and peering that Sheashea gets a little antsy and takes off by herself. Fortunately, Veronica notices. This is possibly because this is Veronicaís first day of walking, so she is a little brighter than the rest of us. She rescues Sheashea from a gorse bush, and as obviously Sheashea isnít being shepherded properly, we decide Veronica better take over this task.


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#30332 - 28/08/06 09:14 AM Re: The Sheep Walk in Cornwall [Re: torey]
torey Offline



Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 10987
Loc: UK
Then we see a car park in the distance and everyone assumes thatís the car park, as the walk is feeling a bit long and hot by now, but thereís no Chelly waiting for us midst the parked cars. Consulting the the instructions, we realise we still have about a mile to go, so we sit down and have a rest and wait for everyone to catch up.



Then off we go, peering and walking again (with Lubey striding purposefully forward)



And the views continue to be breath-taking:



Finally, thereís the right car park and (if you look closely) the sheepdogs sitting on the railing, waiting for us.



The first lot come in. Thatís JAF (You notice that I have learned to shepherd Photo Lady right to the front of the flock) Veronica (and Sheashea, now well-behaved), Mark and Mikko. (If you want focused walkers, get guys. Iíve decided this.)



Soon the second lot are there. (I will make no comment on Susanís hunched posture and crossed legs in this picture nor say what Helene, who took pity on her kindly did.)


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#30333 - 28/08/06 09:22 AM Re: The Sheep Walk in Cornwall [Re: torey]
torey Offline



Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 10987
Loc: UK
The person we are missing is Maggy. Iíve been concerned about Maggy because she developed breathing problems on the first leg of the walk. Chelly has been following parallel to us in the car and so offered to pick her up at any point, but Maggy said she had her inhaler and she was determined she was going to complete the whole thing. At the car park, when we stopped for a rest, Maggy did say she might have to take it quite slowly and not to wait for her, but this is rather different to losing a member of the party altogether. I am now concerned because the group has all been walking pretty close together since I joined (being a good shepherd and all that) and last time Iíd looked, Maggy was there. So, Iím worried she may be in trouble, particularly as it appears everyone else has come in. Thatís Then someone reassures me that Tola is with her. As Tola is our first aid person, I reckon Iíll give it a few minutes before going back to find them.

So we wait.

And we wait.

And at last Tola and Maggy come into view:



I am feeling great relief until Maggy and Tola start to regale us with what they were really doing that put them so far behind Ė blackberrying!!!



And so ended our third and final walk (with everyone still in thrall to Maggy and Tola's excited tales of blackberries!) and we prepared to be ferried back to the cars in the starting car park.


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#30334 - 28/08/06 12:48 PM Re: The Sheep Walk in Cornwall [Re: torey]
torey Offline



Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 10987
Loc: UK
The Celebration Meal

And now weíre almost to the end. Our last activity is the meal to celebrate completing our sponsored walk and also to celebrate what has been just such an astonishing, amazing experience together. So thereís going to be lots of pictures. How fast I manage to get them up is another matter.

But hereís the first lot, because now it is finally time to crack out all the THBB food experiences. And, of course, pride of place is the Pop Rock Experience. Most of the members on the Sheep Walk have never, ever tried Pop Rocks, so when the American members alluded to our now famous (and deleted!) conversation about Pop Rocks (and interesting places you can put them!) most of the non-US members didnít have a clue what was being talked about. So the American Flock kindly supplied us with Pop Rocks for the Sheep Walk and tonight I passed them out.

I started in the foyer of the restaurant, as we were waiting to be seated.

Carla volunteered to go first. Quite an experience!


Then Robyn and Lauren Jay. Robyn, coming from Canada, knew all about Pop Rocks, so she's good. Lauren got a bit of surprise.



Then on to the Europeans. Lisa bravely goes first. And goes a little wild-eyed.



Tola, meanwhile, has been telling me that once upon a time Sweden had a candy like Pop Rocks but it is now illegal. She goes ahead and tries the Pop Rocks, hey, whatís the big deal? Tola clearly knows all about illegal substances.



Heleneís up next. Ermmmmm . . .



Zoe . . . well, Zoe is just overcome.



JAF is sceptical, so Robyn shows her how itís done.



JAF gamely tries. And gamely manages to keep them in her mouth.


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#30335 - 28/08/06 12:53 PM Re: The Sheep Walk in Cornwall [Re: torey]
torey Offline



Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 10987
Loc: UK
Mikko is certain he is man enough for this experience and knocks his Pop Rocks back. (Note Helene standing next to him, thinking ďJust wait.Ē)



And then they hit.



Carol and Rachel are two more local Cornish THBB members and they have spent the last three days telling us all about the local area and its treats, so it is nice to be able to give them a treat too. As you can see, they both really enjoyed their Pop Rocks. . .



Meanwhile the rest of the gang has gone on into the restaurant and been seated. But no, they are not going to escape the great Pop Rock Tasting Experience.

Carline, Lubey and Susan just love Pop Rocks.



Courtney thought she liked them. Then they started popping.



Maggy and Sarah . . . well, Sarahís young. She did just fine. Mainly because, she was too transfixed by Maggyís reaction. Maggy was quickly ready to move to Pop Rocks Level Two: Other Orifices. But at least she kept her teeth in. Which has not always been the case.



Chelly showed the typical Cornishwomanís reaction to Pop Rocks. Like Carol and Rachel, she just loved them.



And last but not least came Veronica and Mark. Markís a musician and, like Tola, has mastered illegal substances. So they went down with a smile. Veronica is another of our THBB-ers from Argentina, now living in England. During the walk I had been helpfully teaching her new English words like ďdog pooĒ. When she didnít quite learn fast enough, there were negative consequences. So Veronica was rather uncertain about this next helpful experience of mine, but like a good THBB-er she just kept smiling through it all.


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#30336 - 28/08/06 03:20 PM Re: The Sheep Walk in Cornwall [Re: torey]
torey Offline



Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 10987
Loc: UK
So, time for the celebration meal. And as with everything else, Chelly has endeavoured to give us a special Cornish experience, so we are eating in a "meadery" - where food is served and mead is drunk. Mead is a kind of honey wine which was much loved in medieval times but has more or less died out as a drink in the rest of Britain and, indeed, the rest of the world. But it's still very popular in Cornwall and there are several meaderies in Penzance.

These were very, very brave people to take on the Sheep Walkers but they did their best to accommodate us. We were seated at two very large tables.

Here's Table One, the normal table, where people chatted and looked at menus:



And here's Table Two, where Maggy sat. Maggy was really getting into her Pop Rocks experience by this point and had worked her way onto other facial orifices, which had pretty much mesmerized the rest of the table. I and my camera weren't much competition. Except for Veronica, who was pretty keen on those Pop Rocks too. And worldly Mark, who had seen it all before.



Pop Rocks gone at last, Maggy recovered enough to present me with the very special Monopoloy game Sean had made to keep everyone amused on the long drive down to Penzance.



And this is really clever. I've taken some pictures of it this morning so that you can better see the detail.







(Although I am a little alarmed to see Hayden Towers is worth less than the Cat Chat on the message board!!)

Then Courtney had a little something for me too.



And doesn't it look great sitting on the dresser in my hotel?


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#30337 - 28/08/06 04:59 PM Re: The Sheep Walk in Cornwall [Re: torey]
torey Offline



Registered: 09/05/06
Posts: 10987
Loc: UK
Meanwhile, back at dinner. The traditional food in a meadery is "chicken on wood" - chicken served on a trencher and pulled apart and eaten with the fingers. This alarmed some of our rather better mannered European members, but it turned out that fortunately, those who ordered salad with their chicken got forks.

I was going to show you the nice food except unfortunately the bottles were already getting in the way.



Then when it came time for dessert, I asked the waitresses to bring us portions of plain vanilla ice cream (Cornish ice cream, made with Cornish clotted cream, I must add!) That's when I surprised everyone with my dulce de leche.

(Lisa, having just recovered from Pop Rocks, is a little alarmed at the prospect of another THBB treat.)



Lauren Jay has arranged a special surprise for THBB-er Victoria Janet, who has been very supportive of Lauren's efforts to come on the Sheep Walk. So while we are waiting for our ice cream, Lauren phones Victoria Janet in Argentina and I say hello.



While I was talking to Victoria Janet, I was getting hotter and hotter and JAF, who was sitting next to me picked up a menu and fanned me. I said, "Hey, thanks!" And she replied, without batting an eyelash, "Well, I am JustAFan, after all." Groan.



Then came the ice cream and the dulce de leche. It wasn't quite as nice and brown as it should be - blame it on my cantankerous Aga - but it was greatly enjoyed. (Although you wouldn't actually know it from this picture. Indeed, we've even managed to wipe the smile off Mark's face.)



Only Susan was a dulce de leche party-pooper. Ewwww. She couldn't scrape it off her ice cream fast enough.



As we finished the meal, we were finally coming to the time to say thank you to everyone who has contributed so much time and effort in making this such a wonderful event. To each person I gave a specially signed copy of BEAUTIFUL CHILD (which was meant to be really special, as it isn't released yet, but then WH Smith and HarperCollins couldn't resist putting it out on Saturday, but that's another tale.) Anyway, first up was Carline who has single-handedly managed the t-shirts, buying them, printing them, getting them out to everyone on time and fighting hard with the printers to get us a really good price.

I, of course, want to show you pictures of this. And Photo Lady herself was in charge of my camera. Unfortunately, what followed were perhaps the five worst pictures JAF has ever taken (not her fault, I must add, nor that of the camera. I suspect the subject . . . ) But they are so bad, in fact, that you are not going to get to see a couple of them, and will just have to take my word that I thanked these other people.

So here we have Carline more interested in her menu than me; Lubey shying away, Susan driven to drink, all possibly because I have chosen this moment to burst into song. This has a galvanizing effect on other diners, who develop flame-throwing eyes.



And next comes Susan's book. Susan has taken care of all the financial aspects of the Sheep Walk, including registration, sending out and collecting all the sponsor forms and toting up our final figure.

So, here we have Susan, who has perhaps not washed after the Sheep Walk, as Lubey shies even further away and I can't face her. And the lady with the flame-throwing eyes begins to pray.


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