Day 37 –
I leave Forest Row after breakfast at Mike Grenville’s of toast and homemade plum jam made from the plum tree in the garden, and an excited look at the Forest Row EDP (Energy Descent Plan) story book that I am taking onwards with me to the next place. It is a really engaging booklet; the kind of thing I wish I had time to read from cover to cover.
We visit Seasons the organic veg shop to replenish my lunch supplies. Alfred the delightful cocker spaniel was so pleased to see me; I didn’t realise it was cupboard love – whilst Mike and I were telling transition tales Alfred was enjoying a sandwich!!
Mike goes and fills my water bottle with the iron rich spring water from the lion’s mouth well. Pupak has told me it is restorative water, and I cannot resist! Both Mike and Pupak have told me of the importance of iron to this area. The Romans mined for it, it was used for the arms industry, as well as the oak trees that were cut down to make ships, and the streams still run red with the high iron ore content.
I am struck by the copper tongue the lion has. For those of you into such things; iron is classically a masculine element and copper feminine. I wonder if balance was intended by those who gave the lion his tongue?
Mike walks with me along the first part of the Forest Way that takes all the way to East Grinstead. I remember more tales from Pupak last night; I realise Mike doesn’t know yet about the black silky knickers, gift from transition Southampton; Mike, if you are reading, sorry for not telling you – Charlene has them in safe keeping till the next meeting. I remember this thinking about Pupaks’ tales – she is very taken with the knickers – she recently returned from a trip to her native Iran, where she picked up a pattern for making her own – she is tired of not finding good quality lingerie and has decided it’s high time she learnt how to make her own. Iran still have traditional ways that we seem to have long lost. They also still have a wool trade. Transition Forest Row living economy group have been talking about reviving the wool industry after hearing about what happens to the fleeces farmers can’t get rid of. Pupak and Annette are excited by the threads of connections coming together.
Mike is putting on Food Inc this Wednesday evening as part of the yearly awareness raising programme he puts together in conjunction with the local film group.
After a little while Mike heads off back home and I continue onwards and northwards. I still find it hard to believe I am so close to London – there is so much beautiful countryside here. I love the old buildings in East Grinstead, which I fortunately see before I hit the street of chain stores! There is a biting wind though and I head off to the station ladies room to change into warmer clothes. It feels like winter!
I don’t know what it is about public footpaths in this part of the world but I have the same difficulties as I had walking into Danehill – signs that lead into farms that don’t want visitors and poorly marked path ways through them At one point I give up in tears of frustration aimed at farmers and large landowners for thinking they have a right to cordon off a chunk of our countryside just for themselves. Through the tears and a wild meandering I have adopted as I give up I suddenly spot the stile! Weird how it is in the act of surrender that all is given! After that it is plain sailing though I can’t say I liked the golfers I met as the path crossed the golf course – they were quite annoyed they had to wait whilst I crossed over their line of vision, and angrily pointed to the stile out getting rid of the irritation as quickly as possible. Would we want golf courses in a transition future I ask myself – and would we need anyone to own more than the acre or two it takes to feed their family?
I walk the best bit of the day into Outwood – an idyllic green lane. I am tired and weary though when I make Outwood only to find the Bell Inn is not an inn at all – simply a pub. I have tea and walk 3 more miles into Bletchingly. The countryside is spectacular – I have begun to notice that I only really feel at home in the landscape of farms when they are sheep farms. This feels natural, and these farms are full of old oaks. My soul sings for joy; but I have to watch where I am going – I am on a road – the fastest and surest way to get to Bletchingley before dark and without risk of another public footpath incident!
I make it! I am in a 11th Century village staying in a 500 year old house, well fed, and all is well in my world.