2020

Day 13 and 14 – First Cut, Second Cut. First is Deeper

Lichfield to Rugeley

It was back to normal as I woke up on Saturday with nothing more than a pleasant day in Lichfield to contemplate. Mandy arrived in time for breakfast at Costa and then we walked around the shops. She bought a new outfit for her St Cuthbert’s Way walk next month, the same one I’m doing, as it happens.

Then her friend Jill joined us and we had a look at the impressive Cathedral followed by tea. Jill speaks Russian and so we reminisced about our times in Russia. I wish I had written a blog about my trip around the USSR in March 1986. There were so many memorable moments including the best meal of my life with the Soviet ambassador to Poland, his wife and I.

This morning Mandy & I breakfasted in the Premier Inn and then she drove me out of Lichfield and dropped me off where I could find the Heart of England Way.

And there she was, waiting for me as she always did. It was our last day together and we had to say everything that had to be said. We walked around the Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It was a popular place for horse riders, bikers and runners. The Heathland was a blaze of purple flowers and there were good views of the distant hills. It was a fine morning to be out on Cannock Chase.

We were coming to the end of the path. There was no notice board, no banners, no flags, nothing but a post with a sign saying “Heart of England Way” pointing south and another saying “Staffordshire Way” pointing north. Our time together was up.

We were both very young for our age. In the autumn term I was too shy to talk to her so eventually she asked me to take her for a walk in the woods. That was after Christmas. And then before Easter she received the news that she’d been waiting for.

“Have you packed?”, I asked her.

“Not yet”

“Are you looking forward to seeing your mother?”

“It’s been a long time. Tim, please look after Mary”.

I thought I had grown up but two years would pass before I took another path and it was a dark and troubled one. Too many more would follow, some good, some not so good. But none would be as special as the first: the Heart of England Way.

Lichfield Cathedral

Oops, another day, another branch. Fortunately second cut not so deep

Goodbye to the Heart of England Way

9 comments on “Day 13 and 14 – First Cut, Second Cut. First is Deeper

  1. Let’s hope the Staffie Way is as good company for you as the Heart of England has been👍

  2. Vicky W

    Kia ora, Tim, My heart thumped when I read that memorial to the 25,000 Poles killed by the Russian Secret Police. So dreadful an action in 1940 and so unexpected to see a photo of it in your blog. Why is it along the Heart of England Way? Two scrapes on the same side of your head so now it is time to balance them by walking on the other side of the path for awhile! Kia kaha, Vicky

  3. Tassie Kaz

    May I suggest some kind of helmet to deter any further branch encounters…? 😁
    It’s not too late to write about your Russian experience Tim…considering the era & the changes which followed, it would be a fascinating read. I hope you do ‘put words down’ in whatever format.
    Wishing you continued Happy Trails.

    • I noticed the bikers and horse riders wear helmets so there’s the lesson

  4. I see St. Chad is there to guide you to Northumbria, hopefully without further damage. Although it does rather sound as if you’ve been eating too many magic mushrooms with your full english.

    • I’ve certainly had a lot of mushrooms. I don’t know what the Pennine Way will bring…

  5. I cannot wait to see how you and the Staffordshire Way get along. I hope you don’t have any major disagreements.

    • I’m not expecting any more drama but you never know when you’re out walking!

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