WalkingMan – week 13 in the UK

Posted on October 8, 2007 by

Posted by: Tony Mangan.

Llanychaer, Wales to Welshpool via Aberystwyth, 9-27-2007 to 10-3-2007,
114 miles, 16,890 TOTAL WORLD WALK MILES.

Slowing down now as the days get shorter and I get closer to London. A few of the trees are changing color, mornings are colder and I am down to 10 or 11 hours of daylight from 8am till 7pm. When I got here in July I had 16 hours of daylight from 5am till 9pm. Got the hang of my Kelly Kettle now and using it every morning and night. I try and set my tent facing south so I can cook right in front of my tent and watch the sun set in the southwest, the stars come out and the sunrise in southeast in the morning. I set the kettle about 2 feet in front of my tent while I am sitting on my sleeping bag and load it with a ball of
newspaper and a handful of twigs.  Usually takes about 3 or 4 minutes to boil 16oz of water. For dinner I have been having Ramen noodles with 2 eggs and half an onion diced in it. For Breakfast it is oats, 2 eggs, and sugar. I have been making a separate cup of hot coffee as the kettle has a 2 cup capacity. After the water is boiled and I take the kettle off the firepan and I layer a bunch of twigs in the fire pan and watch the fire as I eat my meal.
Something about watching a fire going has always held humans attention for as long as we have had fire. You can sometimes see the eyes of animals reflecting back the firelight in the dark around and hear their calls, but you know you are safe and warm with the fire under your control.
One day as I was taking a siesta along the side of the road a lady bicycle tourist stopped to see if I was okay. She asked me a few questions about my walk and took a photo of me in my sleeping bag laying in the grass beside my baby jogger. As I was coming into Aberystwyth on Sunday I noticed an open door of a Quaker Meeting Hall and a bunch of cars parked out front. So I went inside to see what a Quaker service is like. They had already finished their service and where standing around having coffee and biscuits. They invited me to join them for coffee and gave me a couple fliers on their beliefs.
Amazingly similar to my own beliefs on life and religion. Very simple beliefs with no creed, dogma, rules, priest or hierarchy, just some simple suggestions I think they call them. Will have to attend one of their services in the future as they are a little different than most churches. They sit in a circle of chairs around a table and sit in silence until someone feels called to speak. I found a website that lists all their meeting houses by state in the USA, at (www.quaker.org/meetings/html).
I was looking for an internet cafe as I came into the main part of Aberystwyth as the library was closed on Sunday. One college student showed me where one was just down the road, but it was closed to so he invited me back to his house to use his computer. Dave Edwards was real nice and even made me a couple sandwiches. He sent me a photo he took out in front of his house and I have included it with this article. He also let me use his phone as I just got an email from Tom Bridge who was in town and wanted to interview me and take some photos for an article. So I walked down in to the city center to meet him. He was writing an article for a (www.wheels-near-u.co.uk)  website.
Still seeing a few big old Giant Sequoia trees every once in a while. One real nice house entrance had a big stone gate with two castle turrets and 2 Sequoia trees on the side. They seem to be real big on building a big stone gate entrance way to their houses. One town I passed through had a nice Giant Sequoia and a local pointed out that they had a 1000 year old Yew tree in the churchyard. The trunk was all twisted in spirals as it grows up and 4 or 5 huge branches droop out over the graveyard. A couple of the huge branches had stone or cement supports built under them to hold them up. Quite a few churches have real old Yew trees in their yards and in the graveyards surrounding the church as they live a long time and are linked with long life.
One schoolyard I passed had a stone circle in it. 13 four  foot high stones arranged in a circle with 2 central altar stones, and 2 entrance stones on the east side. A teacher came out an explained that they use it to teach ancient Welsh history, they have storytellers come to tell Welsh Legends, and they dance around it sometimes. She said it was built recently and not an ancient site. The Welsh countryside is quite beautiful with rolling hills, small farm fields and lots of wooded hillsides.  Lots of small country lanes with tall hedgerows and lots of blackberries to eat. It reminded me of JRR Tolkeins books, The Hobbit and The Fellowship of The Rings.  I thought maybe someone had built a Hobbit House around here, so I searched on the Internet and sure enough I came up with a website on how to build a Hobbit house at
(www.simondale.net/house/index.htm) . Lots of nice photos and pretty good info on building one yourself fairly cheaply. I always wanted to
build                             a energy efficient house either
underground or with straw bales and this kind of combines the two ways and throws in the allure of Hobbit living. I hope to settle down one day with 5 or 10 acres, build my own Hobbit house, have a veggie garden, chickens, and maybe some goats for milk, cheese and yogurt.
As I was walking down the middle of one quiet local road a heard a loud roaring noise behind me like a big sports car coming up fast behind me. It gave me quite a scare and I jumped to the side real quick. It was two air force jets flying low training missions in the hills. Maybe 1000 feet above me, but it really sounded close. On the small local roads there is so little traffic that I can walk down the middle and move over to the side when ever I hear a car coming. They tend to be contoured with a big hump in the middle and the sides sloping down to let the water run off them. So it easier to walk in the flat middle  part then on the sloping sides. I can usually hear the cars way down the road before they get close.
Near Welshpool one man named Dave walked with me a while and told me he had seen me earlier and looked up my website. He had lots of questions and gave me some good directions and a sandwich from his backpack.  As I was drinking coffee one morning outside a store in Furnace, Wales a post woman and a bunch of local schoolkids came up to talk to me and ask some questions. An hour later the post woman saw me in town and gave me a real nice Lindt Swiss Chocalate Candy Bar. Saw two horses along the roadside one day and stopped to talk to them and share a carrot and apple with them. Horses always seem to be interested in my walk and come over to the fence to check me out when I beep my horn and whistle at them.
Headed east for Wolverhampton, then south for Oxford and London.
Email me by clicking on reply or from my website at http://www.walkingman.org .

Keep on Walking and Biking, Life is Amazing if you get out there and experience it. Turn off the TV, Video game, Computer, and walk outside.

Gary “Walkingman” Hause.