My first target, the start.

My first target, the start.


Depression has been a big influence in my life and through years of struggling to deal with it alone, then with help, things dramatically changed.

On the 4th of April 2010 i left the place i loved and walked away from all that i saw was getting me down, all the people i thought i was letting down, the society i'd always struggled to fit into and the place i felt tied to.

I'd been trying to take my own life but never could make that one final commitment, so i looked at my life and knew i needed to get away and surround myself with the few things i knew would stop me going mad.

Exercise, fresh air, the great British countryside and all the fascinating features of nature. flowers, insects, birds, etc...

With those and the desire to live, i set out on what would turn out to be a life changing experience.

I left with little possessions, a sleeping bag, few clothes, knife and my camera, this would be an epic journey of self discovery and i'd photograph as much as i could.

In life we need little more than food and shelter.
Food i'd need to find or earn, the shelter i'd make or find in the form of old barns, etc..

I soon learnt that some people were inspired by my method of dealing with my own depression, they found ways in which i could help them and earn a meal or a hot drink. Some days i'd not eat properly, but my desire to succeed and so seek out these kind hearted people kept me going.

I was on the North Somerset coast in the UK and was to walk the south west coast path, a 630mile coastal route around the south west corner of England, Britain's longest national trail.

For over one hundred days i travelled around the coast, meeting many amazing, kind, thoughtful people along the way.
I got back in touch with nature on a level few will ever experience.

This is my story, my journey to share with you.

Please read the 'notes for readers' to the right.


13. Picture perfect.

The light filtered through my closed eye lids, a new day had dawned.
For a while my eyes remained closed, while other senses woke to all the other noises around me. The dawn chorus of birds feeding and chattering in their own little chirpy manner. The breeze that gently rocked together the bare branches of the trees and bushes around me.Whilst down on the distant shore, the tide rolled and crashed the sea onto the pebbled shore.

Even with my eye's tightly shut, i knew where i was.
With the firm wooden bench beneath me, a stone wall against my right side. The view to my right was unknown, for i had not seen the garden in it's day lit glory.
All that i knew was the slope dropping away before me and the memorial cross situated somewhere near the centre of the garden. I had passed it last night, vaguely recalling going down some steps to my shelter.

A sudden urgency to open my eye lids forced their muscles to react.
The filtered light was now direct, therefore making me blink as my pupils dilated and the eyes began to focus.
I was now looking straight up at the roof of the shelter, the air was still cool. From the warmth of my sleeping bag, i turned to my side to look out over the sea towards the light.
The sun had just popped out from the liquid horizon and had began it's arcing journey, up and over the far headland. A land I'd once trodden and one that i now felt so far away from.
I fired off a dozen or so sunrise photo's from my bed, not wanting to move into the fresh morning air. I knew it was still fairly early.
When i reviewed the photo's that I'd just taken i made a note of the time. 6:55am, the date was 11/04/2010.
That's over a week now I've been away. Yet on the distant horizon, i could just make out Exmoor. A place i had got to on just the second day.
So many days of walking and such little progress i thought. Then i reminded myself of the day lost resting yesterday.
Also the walk from Braunton to Appledore was a whole days walk, yet only a mile or less apart as the crow flies. Or in a straight line if you're never seen and crow fly in such a direct way, as to understand the meaning of the phrase.
As i reminisced over the past days progress, i remembered the kindness i had already found.
Closing my eyes i dozed off again with content, happy thoughts.

Footsteps and a dog panting woke me once more, a child's laughter somewhere in the garden, talking, faint conversations. I really should get up now.
The air was warmer now with the sun higher in the sky. It must of charged my body with energy, i sat up quickly. I was keen to dress, pack and get going.
An adventure awaited me. The early morning glow had gone, revealing a glorious sun shinny day, with only just a few clouds drifting in the breeze. It would be a good day! I said to myself.

Packed and dressed, i left Clovelly with a smile on my face and a spring in my footstep/limp.
My healing foot was tender, but nothing as bad as it had been a day or so ago.

Rejoining the path i had walked along in the dark, a couple nights ago. And skirting the grassy park land of Clovelly Court. I noticed wooden fences built up around the base of trees, both young and old.
The fences were there to protect the trees from grazing deer.
I'd not seen deer since being on the quantocks. On the day i left those hills, for the first time ever it felt. I did not see even one.

To the South of the cliff side walk, was a very slightly rolling landscape. The 19th century parkland had many grand Oak trees naked in their leafless state.
A large but lone Scots pine, stood tall and proud in the centre of the parkland. By the side of it lay another, this one dead. It's bark less white trunk shining bright in the sun.
All seemed quiet right now, other than bird song and noises from the wind. With the only movement being that of the trees and from the drifting clouds. It was so calming.

A flash of movement suddenly caught my eye. The first thing i noticed was the distinctive white rump.
A Roe deer had jumped the fence in front of me and immediately took fright to bounce off past me.
I was looking elsewhere as it flashed across my line of sight. Stopping just briefly to check me out from a safe distance. And in doing so revealed to me it's dark moustached muzzle and almost white chin. Finally my deer were ready to see me.
I felt this significant to how i was feeling.
When i left the Quantocks and saw no deer, i felt they too, could feel my sadness.
It was like they didn't want to see me so unhappy, therefore hid from me.
Or was it they were sad to know i was leaving them. Did they blame themselves? Perhaps they thought i didn't love them no more.

It may seem odd for you to think of wild animals as loved ones. In the way you love them as if they were family or friends.
But for me they were my friends.
I would track them, find them and watch them undisturbed. Even talk to them. They wouldn't judge me, talk back, advise or criticise me. Unlike the way i felt people did.

This fleeting encounter with the Roe deer, although very brief, made me think back to the times spent on the hills with my friends, 'The Quantock
I tried to untangle the thoughts of why they didn't let me see them.
During that happy moment up there on the cliffs of North Devon, i realised it wasn't because they  didn't want to say goodbye to me. It was that they didn't want me to depend on them solely for support.
I needed more than they could provide me.

As i walked on with the crazy thoughts of animal friendships, i came across a shelter.
A central wooden pillar rose out from the middle of a four sided bench.
From the pillar, four carved wooden wings reached out to the corners of the roof. They were supporting the fascia's that were carved with that of an angels head and wings. They held the frame of the roof.
The underside of the roof was cloaked in closed boarding forming a sort of arched ceiling. This had a lattice of timbers, which resembled ribs spreading out from a spine.
These were shaped and sanded smooth.
The ceiling was clearly a modern improvement.
Above it, the shingled roof curved up on all four sides and was sealed with a lead covering. Standing on the centre point was a large sandstone ball almost half a metre across.
The effort in the build and design was lovely. Built by Sir James. Hamlyn Williams of Clovelly Court in 1826. All the carvings were done by the former butler of the same place.

I spent a while here looking at the design and the more recent etchings by visitors. Their names and remarks scratched into the soft closed board ceiling.
Emily, Nick and Rosie. 14-9-04.
CA 4 Amy in a heart and arrow.
Nath and Ruth Forever.

I had a path to follow and people perhaps to meet to help. Not knowing where they were, just knowing they were somewhere west. All i had to do was find them.
Back through the woods i walked through the night before. Past where i saw the rabbits,then out into the clearing of mouth mill.

Back down onto the beach, i was once again by the big rock formation of Blackchurch rock.
With the sun,  now on the opposite side of the rock and the sky mixture of blue and wispy white cloud. It was the perfect light for some camera work.
Whilst i was down there the loving couple came down to the beach, hand in hand.

Unlike last night, when i looked at them in envy. I now felt contentment with my being alone. I had time to enjoy the scenery, never did it dwell on my mind to want someone to share it all with someone else.

The couple didn't hang about on the beach for long, they themselves took a photo of themselves near the rock, then ascended up a path back onto the cliff top.
I continued looking at ways to capture the raw beauty of the rocks here. Mostly though i focused of the blackchurch Rock and the clouds above.
By now on my journey, i was becoming ever more conscious of the time. Often checking the time on the camera.
It was 12:30 when i left mouth mill beach.
Although i wasn't really rushing to have to be anywhere at a certain time. I was however keen to make progress, along this very long pathway.

I climbed up through a wood and back up on to the cliff top.
Once up there i looked back down to the beach at the rocks I'd been taking pictures of.
The trail i walked down to the beach, was a small pencil line running through the wooded hill side.
Up high in those woods, i could see the wilderness summerhouse.
I did not see it before whilst up there. But through research i found out that it was created in  the early 1900's, by Diana Hamlyn, who was the Daughter of the Angel winged shelter's builder. Sir James Hamlyn.
From it's vantage point Diana, and now more recent visitors,who are mostly wedding guests. There they are rewarded views across to the west.Which i can see would be a wonderful place to witness and share a summer sunset from.

Leaving the views to the east behind, i travel along to my unknown destination.
All the walking now is on the cliff top and upon grass. Hill ponies graze up here, they share only a glance at me as pass them by.

The couple i'd seen on the beach and the evening before must of only been walking at a very relaxed pace, as i caught them up at a stile.
We walked together chatting. They had recognised me from the night before and were intrigued to hear what i was trying to do.

Oskar and Indi were on a few days break away from their lives as Dentists. They were up from a South Devon town. He was Polish, she was french.
I didn't want to join them, they were obviously enjoying time together. To impose wouldn't be a fair thing to do.
They stopped to take a photograph, so i chose that moment to walk on alone.
I told them it as lovely to meet them,  they echoed my sentiment and wished me good luck.

A radar station was ahead of me.
It's sensing tower stood out like a giant button mushroom from the ground.
To my right, shipload bay lies at the foot of the cliff. It seems inaccessible from up here as does many of the coves along this coast.
As i walked on, i wondered whether German U-boat men came ashore here, in search of water.
The radar station was only placed here during the 1980's, as an early warning listening device. It would not of heard the silent submersible traffic from 40 years previous.
A fence guided me around the giant nosey fungus then towards the headland of Hartland point.

I'm now at the end of the Bristol channel. The Atlantic ocean will be by my side for the next few weeks at least.

When i reached the Hartland point car park, a road led down to the light house hidden from view around the headland.
A warning sign and high fence suggested i should not walk down to the light house.
I was wanting to see it, wanting to stand on the edge of the rocky headland and see the line where the Bristol channel meets the Atlantic.

My only option was to leave the main path and clamber up to where i guessed a pathway out across the jutting out cliff edge would be.
A poor quality path stopped at the foot of a scree slope. A path i guessed would be above me, just 8 feet above.
I needed both hands, so swung the camera strap around my shoulder and threw my umbrella up onto what i believed to be a level area above.
The wind was strong and blowing from the south east. As i threw the umbrella the wind caught it and blew it from sight.
I assessed the situation and knew if my footing was lost on the loose scree, I'd slip back to the narrow and vague path i was standing on. Beyond that was a sheer fall of maybe 50feet(I've used metric terms up till now, change is good).

Pulling up on the straps of my awkward pack to get it comfortable and maximise movement from my shoulders, i placed a foot on the slope and felt the rocky side for hand holds.
Being aware that the loose material i had my boot on was made of the same stuff that i was depending on for the grip of my hands.
I should neither rush or hesitate.
The less time i put pressure on either hands or feet, the less time they had to give way and cause me to slide.
Once i was confident in both area's of grip, I made my move. In one fluid motion i pushed down on my foot, whilst pulling down on the vague grip i had on the crumbing rock above me.
Once my weight was on both placed feet,  i then needed to quickly transfer my hands up on to the top level. Then in a motion like that of a press up, but from a standing position, i  pushed myself up and rested my knees aside my hands.
I breathed a sigh of relief.

When i think back to it.  Was it really that dangerous?
Probably not. I think my risk assessment skills were altered. Changing priorities around.
Almost two weeks ago, i had had nearly taken my own life. Yet here i was now, striving to not harm myself physically. Whilst at the same time putting myself through differing levels of fatigue, based on not eating enough.
Of course in time, this will mean I'm exposing myself to danger due to lack of concentration. I was not thinking ahead to much. All i needed to do was to reach the next day and more importantly want to.

From the top i stood and realised i was in fact on a narrow ridge.
I looked to where my umbrella had landed and felt fortunate to not of lost it to the ragged shore below. Directly in front of me was an almost vertical drop right down the sea level. More than 300ft down.
The brolly was now a part of my kit. I now felt it was a vital piece, one that i needed.
It was certainly getting used. From the very first day i learnt that wind would be one of my worse enemies during the night.

The ridge i stood on had a crumbling path that led out across the headland and to a much wider area of grass. The path was maybe 20ft long  and then it would be to safety.
I picked up the brolly and walked the eroding path like i was on a tight rope.
The wind was cutting across the back of me trying to blow me off course. Once again i feared the drop to my left.
Once on the other side, i stabbed the brolly into the soft grass to collect it later, in case i needed both my hands for climbing again.
That wasn't the case, only having to clamber down a  steep grassy slope to the bottom.
A group of four of five people were down there. A family from Germany i discovered when they requested  take a photograph of them with their camera.
They left, leaving me alone on to survey the world about me.
I took off my light weight coat as i was sheltered from the wind down there.
Below on a rocky ledge was the brilliant white lighthouse, i small one compared to others I've seen.

Given the history of the shipwrecking between here and Bude. I assumed a larger lighthouse would be in place.

Off the point lies the island of Lundy. I wished i had been able to visited it. It's home to sikka deer, seals and Puffin. Here at Hartland point,  a helicopter flight can be bought to fly out to Lundy. That's only possible during the summer, boats can also be chartered to sail there from Ilfracombe. One day perhaps but not during this trip.

I spent a while sat in the sun on the grass, snapping picture after picture of things around me. The views, plants with the deep pink flower buds waiting for time to show their unfolded beauty. I even spotted a tiny spider resting on a rock. Was it also just out enjoying the weather? Insects seem oblivious to the strains of life. They don't appear to complicate it like we do.

I walked to the furthest point i could. Stopping on the very edge of a steep and long drop, to the Atlantic Ocean. It's blue and calm filled my mind with thoughts of how small i am.
The sea had been a part of the journey everyday. Even as a child, i'd spend days sat in a small boat with my father. We would pull nets, use fishing rods to try a catch fish or just cruise along in the water, like a passenger of the sea.
Back then i'd always look at the sea as a vastness.  Thinking only really of the shores of wales.
I recall a time when my father would tell me if i looked carefully, i'd see Whales. Well that's what i thought he meant. It wasn't till i was in my teens that i worked out what he really meant. The same goes for the white horses he mentioned.
I smile as i think back to those innocent thoughts. Remembering all the times, that i stared out to sea, in search of galloping mares splashing through the waves.
He of course, did in fact mean the breaking waves themselves. They could i guess, appear to be white horses running through the murky blue.

Since those day's of wonder and confusion, i've grown older and i'd like to think wiser.
With that wisdom, i now know how large the oceans are and how much of the lush green planet, is in fact, just blue.
From here to the west is nothing but water for over three thousand miles. Looking over in that direction i try to picture the distant lands of Canada. Strain as i might, the curve of Earth and of course bad eyesight, means all i see is in fact, just the ocean.
To the left of west, i could look down along the land i would next walk by.

My eye's were drawn to the craggy shoreline awaiting me.  Between me and the not yet visible Bude, sixteen miles to the south west is 'wreckers coast'. Named after it's history for wrecking ships during the 18th and 19th century's.
Not only did the weather and rugged coast line play a part in the tragic lost of sea men along this stretch of rocky coast. Legends suggest that during stormy nights, local farmers, struggling in the poverish times, became 'Wreckers'. They'd carry false lights to the edge of the cliff to lure or confuse the storm ravage sailors to their deaths. The 'wreckers' could then salvage any goods and sell them on.
Over 200 vessels were lost either to the gales or wreckers during this period.
It was also here that many German U-boats were destroyed  during WW1. Over 200 more were sent to a watery grave between 1914 and 1918.  Sunk by the wolf pack a well proven tactic to take out U-boats en mass.

If man didn't take a vessel to it's doom, then nature certainly could. Just looking at the outstretched arms of rock, reaching out into the sea,  i could see it's savage hand lurking in the shallows, ready to pluck anything drifting near to it's fatal end.
Once again nature proving it's might. Little did i know, this was just a taster of what the south west coast line is like. Raw and unforgiving, yet stunning.

Just down on a barely accessible rocky beach was signs of a more recent wreck. The complete stern section of the cargo ship Johanna. It ran aground here on the very last day of December 1982.  It's remains now lying rusting, battered and ruined. Various other pieces of it strewn around it and further up the coastline. I wondered why no effort is made to collect and clear all this man made debris or litter as i see that it is.

Time it was i felt to move on, to get back on the path. I was hungry, i had to find food.
Slinging my backpack over my shoulders, i shuffled the load into position and set off back up the grassy slope, collected my brolly, crossed the balance beam of ground and carefully descended the loose scree slope down to safety. It was here i realised i'd left my coat behind.
The rucksack came off, that and the brolly was left, along with my camera, on a little safe grassy ledge by the side of the cliff. Once more i scaled the scree, walked the balance beam of loose rock and ascended down to my coat then ran back again.
A care free smile was on my face. This was after all really not a big deal in the grand scheme of what i was doing. In fact it was an adventure within an adventure.

Packing my coat, hauling on the pack and gathering up the rest of my things, of which you now know: my britvic brolly and camera. I set of along that path.
On the edge of the cliff i saw a stone with a plaque bonded to it. It read:
"In proud and grateful memory of those who gave their lives in the hospital ship, GLENART CASTLE. Please remember: Master Lt.CMDR Burt, Matron Katy Beaufoy, the shops officers, crew ad medical staff who died when their ship was torpedoed by UC56 in the early hours of 26th FEB 1918.
The ship lies 20 miles WNW from this stone.
For all those in peril on the sea.

Only 38 of the 206 crew and medical staff survived the german U-boat attack. The ship was said to be clearly lit up and advertised as a hospital ship therefore being safe from attack.
However the torpedo was fired. In an attempt to cover up the act, the U-boat broke cover near the sinking ship and many people found alive and in the water were shot.

I took a moment by this memorial looking west north west in the direction of the wreck and i gave that moment, to the memory of those lost lives. Staring out to sea, imagining in the distance the old steam ship, sinking taking many lives with it. Such cruel times i thought to myself.

Leaving those thoughts behind me, i turned to see in the distance a familiar sight, two people hand in hand. Oskar and Indi again.
I'd not want to be rude and pass them again, nether could i just dawdle along at a slow pace so as not to catch them up.
Fortunately for me, this breath taking area was rewarding me with so much camera time. The sky was perfect as was the sheer texture and raw beauty of the rocks. Blue's grey, greens, flashes of yellow from the gorse flowers and if i looked closely at the ground,  the red buds of the early springtime flowers.
I was walking in one giant photograph. A panoramic spectacle of pure natural brilliance. An Eden, a paradise.

Most of the path was  well defined, either a dusty boot worn trail, snaking it's way through the cliff top moor. Or a narrow grassy trail often winding it's way down into the valleys, passing little waterfalls along the way.
From the high points along the route i could see the distant path climbing out of the next valley, then disappearing over the ridge of the next. It would then appear in the far distance as a tiny ribbon like line, making it's way up through the faint yellowness of gorse.

At a gap in the cliff top hedgerow, a couple stood hand in hand looking out to sea. I had caught up with Oskar and Indi. Even though i was very busy taking photographs, i was still clearly a quicker walker than them.  They turned as i approached, so we spoke some more. Indi immediately came to me and was rummaging in her bag. She was telling me that her and Oskar had been regretting not being able to help me in anyway. Taking out a few things and insisting i had them.
Apologising for not having anything more, she handed me a small pot of Marmalade, a single Weetabix  and an orange flavoured chocolate bar.
This may of not been much to them, but it was a relative feast to me  i thought as i loaded them into my pockets.
It would've been rude to of eaten them there and them like i was so very hungry. The fact that i was very hungry was now reminded to me by the sheer mention of and appearance of the food.

We walked together now for a while, all of us stopping quite often to take photographs of the scenery that surrounded us. This was usually prompted by me.

Above the village of Stoke stands a large grey stone tower, with it's giant archway  gaping like a massive yawning mouth. The rear wall appeared to have been removed, letting me see right through it from my cliff top location. Through this arch i could see the church of St Decans 128 metre tall tower. Despite being just over a mile from here, it had once been used as a day marker for ships.
The yawning archway framed it wonderfully, well at least in my mind it did. So out came the camera. Followed by that of my walking companions, them talking it in turns to be photographed in the archway. They offered to take one of me, but i declined as often i would along my journey.

It was by the tower that i let the happy couple walk on ahead. I was attracted back to the staggering beauty of the coastline here. Rows of rocky arms reaching out into the sea from the cliff face, Jagged layers of compressed history slowly eroding away into the sea.
A murmur down below as my stomach rumbled with dreams of food  not far from me i hoped.

I could see a small settlement not far ahead. My walking friends were gone from sight. The path met a road at Rocket cottage, where an acorn was engraved into a wooden post, below that an arrow pointing to the right was cut into the wood and painted green. Opposite was a large sign advertising Hartland Abbey.
As intrigued as i was to see it and it's grand gardens, well that's how the sign described it, i was needing food and could now not fight the hunger. Next to the sign for the Abbey was another sign pointing right, informing me of a hotel, restaurant and museum, amongst other things of interest to tourists.
Since i left Clovelly earlier today, all i'd managed to eat was a chocolate bar and a dry piece of breakfast cereal. I had picked and eaten several wild flowers if i saw them. Mostly Primroses, washed with my drinking water, fresh from one of the waterfalls that i came across during the day. They served to give the stomach something to do and to stop the aches of emptiness i had been feeling.

The path missed out the winding hair pinned road that led to the two car parks here. One at the top of the cliff, the other down by the hotel and other premises.
Making a bee line for the bar, once again saw Indi and Oskar, they had just come out carrying some drinks. I don't recall which one offered me a drink, though i graciously accepted and joined them, sheltering from the brisk wind behind a wall.
The sun was warm on our faces whilst we chatted some more, mostly about me. Unfortunately they couldn't hang around to talk for long. They needed to get  back to Hartland village, so needed to walk to Stoke and catch a bus from there.
Before farewells. Oskar went to his wallet and pulled out a business card. He asked me to contact him when i get to Torquay. As they would like to take me out for something to eat and to hear more about my travels. I agreed then shared a hug from Indi and hand shake from her man. That cut out the coldness from the cool spring easterly wind and then with a "Good Luck!" they were gone.

I sat in the glow of the afternoon sun and finished my drink and that of the remaining few swigs of pear cider that was left for me by Indi. How great it felt to relax with a fine sweet drink. It had been ages since i'd drank anything so cool and full of natural flavours. A taste of springtime..Though technically from Autumn fruits!
My stomach was brought into action and sent chemical signals to my brain. The internal wiring running throughout my body,  reminded me that i needed food.  And work for it i must.
The hotel reception was nearby and having looked at the general condition of the buildings i saw a variety of ways to offer to help. Painting, cleaning out guttering, sweeping litter, etc. With my mind charged with these offerings, i entered the reception and rung the bell.
I looked about the foyer area whilst waiting, flicking my fingers through a selection of tourist leaflets on display. Wildlife parks, gardens and other places to visit and things to do in North Devon. Amongst them was a basic map of the coast, so i took a copy and placed it in my pocket. They are free!

I heard the door open so prepared myself and my speech. My confidence was high as i had a great day so far. Lovely kind company, beautiful views all day and such superb weather.
A man entered the room and i asked him if it was at all possible to speak with the owner or manager. He told me he was the manager so i introduced myself and offered the him my hand, eye contact was made. Then calmly i explained what i was doing and that i wished to be able to earn a meal and if possible somewhere to rest for the evening.  He listened intently as i explained my situation and that i was willing to do several hours work, cleaning, painting, well anything really.
With a smile he told me that he couldn't offer me any jobs to do, but if i was to be hanging about, he would happily arrange a meal for me later when the kitchen opens.  He then invited me to hang around and use the bar area to rest up and charge my camera battery if i needed to. "It should be a great atmosphere down here tonight." He told me, then continuing on. " The locals from up the village usually come in on a Sunday night."
I expressed my thanks and told him that i'd find a way to repay his kind offer. There was a few bits of litter lying about, not much, just little salt and pepper sachets, stray food wrappers. That sort of thing. Insisting that i didn't need to,  he soon realised that i would anyway so thanked me and said he'd see me later.

Relieved to know i was going to get fed. I took off my bag and rested it with my brolly against the side of the hotel and set about having a little tidy up. There really wasn't much to do, the garden area was tidy. It was just under the outdoor tables and chairs where a little litter lay. Blown from the tables, not discarded in a thoughtless manner by the customers.
I collected a few empty glasses, gathered crisp and peanut wrappers. Some of which had been folded up and then wedged into the narrow gaps in the table and took them all to the bar. The barman thanked me as i explained that not only was it a pet hate of mine to leave glasses and litter about for someone else to clear, i told him of the managers kind offer and that i needed to in some way help out in exchange.
The barman had noticed my bag and told me to bring it in and to put it somewhere safe. He pointed to one of the long church pew like chairs either side of a table.
Thanking him, i did as he suggested.  Near the table was a socket to charge my AA's.

It really was a fantastic day, even my aching body had not complained at all. The rest i had at Clovelly must of done me alot of good. Whilst indoors i wandered about the bar area looking at the various pictures and fish hung about in the walls. Most of the pictures were of ship wrecks, with an associated write up about them There was also a chart mapping all the wrecks along the 'wreckers coast'.
The fish i mentioned, were in fact carved out of wood at least i think they were. Surprisingly detailed  they were too. All the gill flaps, eyes, fins and distinctive colourings were all in place. They were also labelled for the non knowing visitors. Bass, Cod, Thornback ray, Brill, Sardines and Conger to name a few. There was even a label next to a clock. Amusingly titled, 'Clock'.
At the far end of the room taking pride of place over an opening to the next room, was a fish model over a metre long. A Porbeagle Shark.
If i've not already mentioned, my self named nickname is 'Sharki'. Chosen because of my fascination of Sharks. Since i was a child and caught my first little dogfish, i was drawn to these gilled little monsters of the deep. Then after watching the film Jaws, from the safety that was behind a cushion(just how that was going to save me.?.) my fascination grew so i began collection books and magazine articles about them.
Even to this day i watch and learn more about them, wishing someday to swim with them. Not just the placid ones, the ones portrayed as monsters Carcharodon carcharias, the Great White.

The porbeagle hung on the wall is a close relative to the Great White shark, it belongs to the same family. However by comparison this is but a tiddler to use a fisherman's term.
From where i stood looking at a model shark, the sun bursts through the window lighting the room. I'm drawn by it and walk outside once more with the camera. I wander about taking photo's of sea  and the land around it. Most of the people that had been mulling about had left and all seemed to be getting quite. The last few empties i returned to the bar and sat down to write and review all the photo's i'd taken through the day. There was lots of them and i became immersed in checking them all and deleting all the bad ones. Time ticked slowly away.

Customers began arriving including  three men. I remembered seeing them in Clovelly, both in the village and in the Red lion. I chatted to them for a while, mostly about our shared experience of the coast path. They'd come over from Belgium just for a long weekends walking. They bought me a pint as their meal arrived, so i thanked them and left them to eat in peace.

I didn't make it back to my seat. People had been filing in and somehow i ended up talking to many of them. From local farmers, coast guards to tourists. A good mix and i seemed to not to have to talk about myself to much. I just blended in and joined in with the banter as i drank.

I'd forgotten about food, distracted by conversation and laughter. That was right until the managers wife came over and asked if i'd eaten yet.
"No." I told her, adding. "I didn't want to appear rude and to put in an order given my situation."  " Don't be so silly. Would Pasty and chips be ok?" she replied.
This was at about 7:30pm, i knew it was time for the sun to set. I grabbed the camera and rushed out,  just to late, missing it's descent below the horizon. I managed a few photo's of the pinking skyline, returning to my table just as a plate of food was served to me.

I ate greedily unlike my last proper meal back at the tea room on up-a-long, down-a-long.
Pasty and chips was a simple dish, but it was food and certainly not unpleasant food. I cleared the plate by mopping up a smear of tomato sauce with a last chip and placed the knife and fork together on top, then pushed at all to one side, fed and satisfied.

My journal was on the table with the pen. Opening  the book, i placed the black nib of the pen on the line at the end of my last entry.  Staring at the page i wished the words to form. And then i began to write. "I slept well, being rewarded with a stunning sunrise sky scape....." The words flowed for a while,  the noise of a busy pub around me faded as i became absorbed in writing.
Gone was the loneliness and tiredness, i felt good. I'd eaten and found somewhere to chill for the evening. Shelter for the night didn't even cross my mind. I'd soon learn to be a little more proactive with my search for places to bed down.

More glasses appeared abandoned on empty tables, annoying me a little as the users needed to go near the bar to either leave the premises or to order the next drinks. It's really not to difficult, to take a couple of empty glasses with you. I shouldn't complain though. Collecting these glasses meant i could help, even if it's just in a small way.

Sat on her a own, a lady drank from a half pint glass. I'd seen her also at the Hotel in Clovelly. She was on her own there too and  had with her a small rucksack. She was reading a book of sorts.
A rather plain looking lady, dressed in ordinary outdoor clothes. Mousy unkept hair and characterless glasses gave me the impression that she was perhaps a school teacher or librarian. If such a stereotypical appearance of either profession was appropriate.
The lady looked up and recognised me from Clovelly. She too was spending a few days walking the coast path, though by her own admittance hadn't been covering nearly as many daily miles i had been. She came across alot differently as her appearance suggested she would. I thought she'd be shy, quiet and dare i say it boring. Where in fact she was confident and amusing.
We talked about the coast path together whilst she finished her drink and packed her book into her bag. She was staying in the hotel and was about to leave to her room. I left her to it and wished her a pleasant nights sleep. She had finished her trip and was heading back to her home in the morning.
As she left, i looked up at the wall next to the shark. There was a collection of photo's of racing cars and bikes. Of course! This was the location of one of the southwest hill climbs. There amongst the photo's were two images of people i knew. Richard and Leslie. Ex work colleagues of mine from a few years back. I remembered them telling me many a tale of their racing experiences here at Hartland, not to mention the nights of drinking here in the bar. The race was only half a mile long, from the lower car park to the upper car park. And having now seen the road, it's funny to imagine just how short a distance it was, to have so many thrills and spills whilst trying to get a motorbike up the hill, in the fastest time.

Returning the empty drinks glasses to the bar, i thanked the manager and his wife for their kindness and  joined them for a moments conversation. Talking firstly about the hillclimbs and then as usual about my journey, where i was heading, why and for how long. All things i really wasn't sure of the real answers to.

I knew i was heading around the coast, but for how far i really wasn't sure..I mean what happens after Poole? And then the question of why. Was i running away from life, me, the past, the future? I told them about my depression but was that the real answer to why i was on this journey? I think so, but maybe not.. Then there's how long will it take.
Not knowing where and why, the journey may take longer than forever, or it may end tomorrow if i weaken or hurt myself.

Having these questions asked to me was a good thing. It gave me a chance to question myself, my own thoughts and feelings. And in doing so, i got to evaluate my state of mind. I was noticing the more people i spoke too about it and the further away i was, from the place i once called home. I'd open up more and give more detail. Before i was less revealing, just saying i was depressed and on a journey of self discovery. Often people would fill in the blanks for me and come up with their own theory's on why i was doing, what i was.

As the time passed, so did all the customers. It had been quite a day, my best yet. Everything just flowed into a pleasurable days adventure. It was getting late and i began to wonder where i was going to stay for the night. No options were offered to me during the evening in the hotel, so it was down to me to improvise and find somewhere. I collected all my things and thanked for a final time, all the staff that made me welcome. One last look around at the pictures, paintings and the shark, then i left into a cool dark night.

Opposite the hotel was a terrace of buildings. A cottage, a shop and the museum. Nothing really stood out as good shelter and i knew there wasn't anything else about for a mile or so.
At the end of the terrace by the car park was a shed, it's door slightly ajar. Hope entered my mind for a comfortable nights sleep after a very enjoyable and fortunate day. I checked behind me and saw no one around, so flicked on my torch and shone it through the crack in the door. Crates of empty bottles and beer barrels stood in one corner, cardboard boxes from food packaging scattered across the floor to the side. The stink of stale beer, wine and juices, filled the air from within the shed. The expression my face naturally took on, wasn't one i wished to wear all night. So i walked away fearing the worse. That tonight after my finest day, i would be in the wind during a cold starry night.

I decided to have one last look down the far end of the terrace and perhaps be able to head down to the Quay. Maybe there's building down there.
On the left of me as i passed  the first section of building, a set of stairs went up to a little square patch of concrete. A rear entrance to the museum. I walked up there and noticed the doorway had not been used in a long time. This little area appeared to be a sheltered smoking room. Luckily it didn't smell that way.
The floor was easily 6 foot long and at least 5 foot wide.
Perfect, my choice was made, this would be my shelter for the night.
Three chairs were in this little shelter so i positioned them on the top step so they formed a bit of a wind block. I then got my brolly and opened it fully. It was the same diameter as the width of the stairway, even better i thought. And added that to the chairs.
All my bedding was laid out in an order i had perfected, i stripped off and slid into the cold sleeping bag. Within seconds the heat from my body radiated off the lining making the sleeping bag warm against my bare skin.
I read the book for a while as it was proving to be a great way of sending me to sleep. Images of nanobots and electronic gizmo's drifted through my mind,  my brain trying to recreate the novel in my head. Yet again my eyelids grew heavy, they closed and my headed nodded me awake again. After several attempts to stay awake and find once more where i read up to, i gave in, turned off and removed my head torch to settle down for the night.
The last thing i remember hearing,was the voices of staff leaving and the starting of cars, then all was dark and very shortly my mind was thoughtless and i was asleep.

12. Laundry and rest day.

Cold, it's just so cold.

The squawking of the local gulls, didn't need to wake me to tell me it was dawn.
I'd noticed the light grow outside my time worn grotto. I'd been so uncomfortable all night, learning an invaluable lesson.
That was to avoid sleeping on rocks at ground level. As not only does cold air find the lowest point, rocks hold the cold very well.
This little eroded cavern was North facing, therefore receiving very light from the sun to warm it.
I could of course put on an extra layer, to try to warm me.
However, that inner desire to maintain a level of suffering seemed to be controlling the common sense thoughts i'd normally use at times like these.
I'd drift in and out of sleep as i had done all night. Grabbing maybe minutes of rest at a time.
Only once that i could see the sunlight cast a warm glow upon the beach not far from me, and hear the sounds of people over near the harbour walls, did i decide to get up.

Un zipping myself from my sleeping bag the cold air sent a chill across my bare legs and arms.
I quickly pulled on my shorts  and socks then stepped out into the morning sun.
It had risen out from behind the shelter of the eastern hill and was already up to a pleasant temperature. I must get a photo of my evenings dwellings, before i gathered all my things and took them out into the warmth to fully dress and pack up my things.

With no offers made to me, to help anyone here, the local shop would supply me with food for the day,  I still had money left from the kind couple at westward Ho! the night before.

It's was around 9am that i headed back up, 'up-a-long' and to the little local store, which is in fact, the only shop for groceries and and household goods here in the village.
Once again i had to be conservative. Which isn't easy in these isolated village shops, where the prices were naturally higher than the large super markets able to charge less.

A banana, a loaf of bread, butter, cheese and crackers. Some Pate, and a note pad and pen.
Up till now my journal was scattered thoughts, but i was gradually becoming more detailed in my writings, therefore the original pad i was using was filling up fast.

For the next hour or so, i wandered the various lanes peeling off the main street. All the properties were maintained to a high standard and most if not all had window boxes and hanging baskets adorned with flowers. Their colours vibrant against the white washed walled cottages.

Clovelly has been privately owned by the same family since 1738, the present owner is The Hon. John Rous.
Before the present family, only three other families have owned the village. Unlike alot of the privately owned properties across the country and undoubtedly other countries, no expense is spared in keeping Clovelly immaculate.

In all my years in the construction industry, i know only to well how quickly buildings deteriorate over time. Especially old stone build ones like these.

I walked back down the street as i had domestic duties to take care of. I'd not washed myself or my clothes in days.
I wasn't such a priority, but my underwear i felt was. Especially after the blister had popped on my foot.
My feet were now one of the most important tools to me.  Those at least needed to work, if i was to complete this journey without too much suffering.

Yesterday whilst sat on the harbour breakwater, i'd seen a waterfall of reasonable size on the far beach. This would be an ideal laundry and wash area.

It was now late enough in the morning that most of the tourists were up and about. Many of which were down on the pebbled beach with children, exploring the rocks, investigating the cliffs and having photo's taken by the waterfall.
It would be very inappropriate now to shower here. I could of course worn underwear to not expose myself, but logical thought wasn't present, so i made the choice to just hand wash my face, hands and body. Then to cleanse and bathe my feet.

The water was filtering through the pebbles and running out to sea. I needed a free flowing sink of sorts, so proceeded to fashion a basin by removing pebbles and building a dam.
Once i was happy i began to scrub and beat my clothing. I'd knead it against itself, rub it and bash it against the rocks near to wear i sat.
People were watching, a few asked questions.

Once sufficiently beaten and rinsed out, though i had no soap to use. I propped  my umbrella up with a pile of pebbles and used it to rinse my clothes.

One trick, that i learnt whilst in the army cadets as a young teenager, was to wrap the material that needed to be rinsed, around a fixed object and tightly twist it.
At that time is was a tap. Now my brolly served me well.  Forcing most the water out of the clothes i'd washed.

When i draped my clothes about me in the warm sunlight, children pointed and laughed at my undies on show. I asked them if they were wondering why i was doing this here and not using a washing machine.
They nodded whilst still giggling, so i proceeded to explain that i had no such thing, so made use much the same way, as we all had to many years ago.

I told them, that years ago it would of been common to go down to the local stream or river and scrub clothes on a flat rock. Then rinse in the flowing water, then rinse and dry. Much the same as i've just done.
I explained that we hadn't always had electricity and all the things they took for granted in their modern lives, did not exist in the way they do now.
That followed by asking them to think about all the things they have that run with electricity, and how they'd do things without it.

With the children musing on what the old days must of been like, their parents who had been listening in, proceeded to tell them the stories that their parents and grandparents had shared with them, when they were

As they shared tales and got the children thinking more, i took out my blanket and wrapped it around my waist. Then i began to wash myself.
No sponges or flannels for me, not even soap. Just good old fresh water, filtered through the earth and rock.
I scooped up hand fulls of water and poured it over my head, face then arms.
With bare hands i rubbed the water into my skin trying to cleanse as much of me as i could.
Massaging my feet and letting them sit in the cold running water.  I got more hand fulls of water and once more washed myself down. The excess water ran onto the blanket saving me from sitting around in wet clothes for the day.

As i washed, i drank the water too. It was as fresh as it could be. Complete with germs perhaps, giving something for my antibodies to do.

My skin felt refreshed and alive again, It tingled in the warm sun whilst my feet tingled in the cold water.
I basked there, soaking my feet for some while, with my skin and clothes drying.

Eventually as more people appeared by the waterfall, i was in the way of their moment with a camera. So i got up, gathered my things and moved away from their shot.

I put on a T-shirt, dried my feet with the blanket and packed my bag again leaving fresh socks out.
Once packed, i wedged my damp clothes and blanket, behind the strapping on my bag. I filled my water bottles with water from the fall, then put on the socks and boots and headed yet again onto the breakwater.

A found an area void of too many people, quite close to the lobster pots. There i draped my wet things over them to dry and air.
Taking off my boots and socks once more to let the air get to the wounds, it was now time to eat, i was certainly peckish by now.

I last ate when i first came to the village twenty four hours ago. My stomach was shrinking and i wasn't getting hungry so quickly, either that or i was being able to block out the hunger pains easier.

Today was all about recovery and relaxation.
With domestic duties taken care of. I was now free to please myself and laze the day away. Eating, writing, watching and perhaps even sleeping. Something i was unable to achieve much of, during the night.

Hmm! what to eat? I thought, there's so much choice.
Bread and pate to start with i think.

Using the little serrated knife on my multi tool, i carved off several slices. A 60mm bread knife doesn't quite cut through the thickness.
I found the best way, was to cut to the depth of the blade and work around the loaf.  Then peal back the slice and cut through the remaining  piece of bread in the middle.
Using the same blade, i spread soft butter across the bread, applying a layer of liver pate to finish with.
Doing this to all three slices then sitting back to eat and enjoy.
My appetite and taste buds came alive so i cut more bread and buttered them, this time i cut cheese and ate that with the bread.
Unlike yesterday when i ate slowly, today i ate quickly and soon the whole loaf and tub of pate was used up.

As i was eating, i was able to watch the village come alive even more as people came out from the various properties and hidden corridors spurring off from 'up-a-long' 'down-a-long'.

Couples old and young walked hand in hand smiling, kissing, sharing and experiencing thing together.
They excitedly pointed at the many wonderful sights around the harbour. I watched with envious eyes, as i'd not done anything like that with anyone in what felt like ages.

Over the past four or five years i'd spent so much time riding and becoming obsessed with cycling, i'd become uninteresting to most people, certainly those of the opposite sex.

Also whilst suffering from the various symptoms of depression, i'd turned into quite a bore as well as a loner. Although on the outside people saw me as a happy sociable person, deep down i was losing confidence, forgetting how to be me, the joker.

I had various chances of relationships after my marriage breakup, but it was always my lack of self esteem that would get in the way and effect the potential for me to be happy once more, in being with someone.

Believing i had been cheated on several times whilst being married, also played apart in my failings with love. Trust became a hard thing to do.
I saw myself with so many faults, that i believed if i got close to anyone, they would soon want to be with another. Someone better looking, more successful and with a home.

I'd found love a couple of years ago. However i expressed it to soon and scared her away.
She was everything i dreamt of in a woman, only bad timing and me not being the right man for her, got in the way.
When she told me it wouldn't work out, i was mortified and felt i'd lost everything i needed.

I then just drifted back into the old me, one of gaining confidence by using and being used by women. If i had one thing that women liked in a man, then it was energy and experience.
Riding bikes a lot with the occasional 24hr race meant i had a good engine and a healthy body.
It was fun at first, but unlike when i was in my twenties, i now had morals and emotions. Now it was wrong and not boosting my confidence.
I didn't need the confidence to approach ladies, they'd approach me, that falsely made me confident. Though that's the way it's always been, well once i lost my late teen acne and women suddenly noticed me that is.

I cannot remember ever chatting up a lady. When i was younger and apparently arrogant it would just happen. I'd end up with a girl at the end of the night. It was like i was the latest must have toy.

Once i had put myself into a situation to settle down, i stopped going out so much, therefore stopped interacting with ladies.
After the years of marriage i'd felt i just suffered. All those years of  being belittled, i was now a shadow of my former self.

It wasn't just my low self esteem that affected me after i split with the wife.
Gone too was the physic that aided the confidence.

Depression meant i'd stop working so hard and with all the cycling, although i had developed a stronger heart and lungs. I was reducing the bulk of muscle i had. Therefore the Physic i believed ladies like me with.

A bad diet meant i'd been devouring myself.
I'd barely eat and certainly not the right things for what i was putting my body through.
I was burning more calories than i was eating. That meant the body searched within itself. I had little or no body fat, so that meant muscle would be used.

I was tearing ligaments, breaking bones and damaging the skin from the way i searched for maximum excitement, during an otherwise boring existence.
The body needed to mend broken and worn out parts, whilst also providing the energy to continue that flow of the only drug i've ever wanted.
And that's Adrenaline, sourced from extreme activity and risk taking.

Skinny, most likely smelly and scruffy, here i sat watching people together and happy. I felt i'd never ever experience that feeling again.
The feeling that i will always be without the love of another. All i had left was the children i'd left behind and my friends. All of which i felt i'd let down and  now will have lost.

All the children playing on the beach, their screaming for more ice cream, being hungry, their chantings of, "MUM..." Or "DAD...."
Within their voices, i heard the voices of my own children, Josh, Cody and Anna.

For a while my thoughts wandered and i became saddened by them. Then i remembered what i told myself on the first day of this walk."Do NOT look back!"

With that i knew i needed to distract myself. Give myself something else to think about and look at.
I saw a few gulls stalking around looking for scraps of food left by people. I began taking photo's of them. Firstly they were just stood there squawking, almost as if they were asking for food, perhaps even demanding it.

I fancied seeing them fighting for food, squabbling like gulls do. It would provide me with a challenge to take action photo's of them, flying, splashing and pecking out at each other.
They'd need some bait to lure them near and to get active, that would mean me feeding them my precious food.
Taking out my crackers, cheese and butter, i proceeded to cut the cheese and make a bit more food for me. There was no way i should go without for the birds.
As much as i like all animals, i was still my priority.
Feeding them however, was a form of entertainment and distraction for me.
I could spare a little, just for that.
Would my sacrificing a little of my food be such a bad swap for a moment of amusement and of challenge making?

Biting into the crackers and cheese, i'd throw a corner into the sea and wait for the gulls to take an interest and begin diving for a snack.

Gulls are scavengers and for many are seen as pests,.
However! All they are ultimately doing is surviving on the waste of man, who make it easy for them to feed. For them as a species, they aren't doing anything more different than they've done for hundreds of years.
The only change now, is that people waste so much food product.
In area's where people are sparse, gulls feed as they always have done by foraging along the shore line for food morsels dead or alive.
As fishing became popular on a larger scale, the gulls realised that there was scraps of food, which were thrown from boats, either that of small fish, or the guts, as the fish got processed on board prior to chilling.

They associated people with food, hence now living amongst us.
Unfortunately they are seen as pests and have lost the appeal they deserve.

They are stunning birds when you take the time to look at them. Maybe that's just my love of wildlife. Animals seem to able to adapt to humans just fine, it's a shame the same can't be said for the supposed master race.

It doesn't take long for a dozen or so herring gulls to appear with an interest for my offerings.

The challenge is on and i spent the next hour playing with the settings on my camera. Trying different ones to see what effect they have on the shot.

Herring gulls are very noisy and distinctive birds, often seen in towns inland as well as the obvious coastal habitat.
Adults are the rowdy, predominately grey and white birds. They have yellow slightly hooked beak, which has a red dot. The hatchlings will tap at this red spot when they want feeding. This prompts the adult to regurgitate partially digested food and feed it to their young.
Also the black wing tips seen on adults, which appear as  black tail feathers whilst the wings are closed. Are in fact, only seen during their summer plumage.
The younger herring gulls are a mottled colour and only gain their white and grey plumage after the third winter.

Here in front of me were a mixture of adults and young. The adults usually win the arguments for food though, i see that before me.

Soon my crackers and cheese are all used up.
The gulls left to find food elsewhere. In doing so, they left the water vacant and ready to receive the next visitors.
This time the visitors to the water weren't there for food. Though like the gulls they were flying into the water and certainly making a splash.

The squawks of gulls were replaced by the laughter and screaming of a group of teenagers, who came to the breakwater wall to jump into the sea.
This craze is called tomb stoning, as i mentioned the day before.

For anyone wondering the origins of the name. It is quite possible, it got it's name when the risky undertaking of jumping into the sea from a height was reported in an newspaper article.

This article was about people jumping off a rock in South Devon. This rock is called 'Tombstone Rock'.

I watched and laughed at their antics. As they jumped in and egged each other to jump off the various differing heights of wall. This didn't continue for long, the cold spring water too much for most of them.

I'd been sitting around and lazing for a good part of the day. I thought it a good idea to go and see if i could help out in the hotel on the harbour side.

Although i'd munched on cheese crackers and bread all day, it would make sense and be a good idea to try and get a cooked meal tonight.

Socks and boots were put back on, i gathered and packed my dry clothes. Assembled my pack and went to
the hotel to inquire to help for the night.

Once again i was confronted with a confused look and a shake of the head.
It must of been my mannerism, or was it my image? Perhaps even the approach i was using.

I was in doors now and as it was getting late in the afternoon, i knew people would be soon coming in to drink and eat.

Maybe some locals would come in. Maybe i'd meet my opportunity here if i just stay for a while.

Like i had found out on other nights so far. People would quite often come to me.
With my silly head wear, growing beard and unusual rucksack. I did stand out a touch from the usual crowd. One look at me either led to thoughts of me being a homeless, jobless person.. Which i was.
Or it intrigued the minds of people, who were leading comparatively normal lives.

On this evening however, nobody did come to me.
I ordered an ale  then situated myself in the corner. Here i must of merged into the darkness.
Out of sight and out of mind.

Families and couple's sat seemingly oblivious to this water cleansed, but scruffy man, slowly sipping away at a pint.

I lost i think a couple of hours, with a combination of writing, looking through photographs and people watching.
I also was listening to the loud mutterings of locals. One man enthralled the others with his tales.
I couldn't however catch what he was saying. Due to the back ground noise, of plate scraping and glass chinking.
Also there was people talking over each other and the sound of soft music, playing  through the wall mounted speakers.

One couple caught my eye as they turned up carrying small rucksacks.
I recalled seeing them in the village sometime during the day, though i'm not sure where exactly.
They appeared close. They sat on opposite sides of a small table and took momentary glances up at each other, whilst looking over the menu they'd been given.
With each glance one would speak. The other would reply and smile back.
For a moment i got caught up in watching them.
Once again i was dreaming.
Dreaming of the day that i'd be sat opposite a wonderful lady. One i could share moments together with. To laugh with, to cry with and most of all, to be with.

I shook my head as if to wake myself from a sleep.
Such thoughts were madness. It would never happen, so i must not even think about it.

I tried to immerse myself into my journal, staring at the paper, willing the pen to write.
The music, the couple, the men chatting loudly. It was all to much of a distraction. I'd not be able to write here tonight.

On the wall was old paintings and photos. A chance perhaps to delve a little further into the Clovelly of old.

As i stood, i glanced over to noticed the couple that i'd been watching with envious eyes, had now been served their meals and were eating. Scampi and fries, it looked delightful and i caught a whiff of lemon as was often served with such a dish.

Quickly looking away i scanned the photographs on the nearby wall. They were black and white and mostly  of fishermen with their catch of fish, or of them mending nets and pots.

I like looking at the old photographs of the places i visit. I gives me something to compare the image i have of the place, with  how it really was.

I'd often sit by ruined buildings, close my eyes and imagine what it once was like.
Who lived there, what they may of done, how they dressed.

Maybe deep down, i'm living in the wrong time.

Looking away from the photo's and other things hung about the place, i glanced to look at the couple again. They were gone and so were the men chatting loudly at the bar.

I returned to my seat and managed to write a few comments in my journal.
I wondered where everyone had gone to.
The New Inn hotel, further up the village was the only other place i could think, they could of gone. I'd go there and see if there was life anywhere else in this now sleepy. Cobbled place.

Placing my empty glass on the bar and bidding the barman good night, i left.
The main street up through the village was quiet.
Not a soul but me walked it's dimly lit pebbled path. Not even the cat i'd seen yesterday, whilst collecting my bag from the tea room.

There was little on my mind but rest and conversation and to waste the little money i had left on a drink.

I was past trying, to get anything else from the village. All the good will was given by one, the lady at the tea shop.

I entered the Inn and there she was, sat at the bar, all giggles and flirting with the few others sat at the bar.

She acknowledged me with a smile but said nothing to me. The others said nothing either.

I ordered an ale and sat at a table by the window, got out my book and tried once more to write in it. The laughter and general bar room noises, distracted me too much, just like it did in the Red Lion.
Placing the book back on the table, i remembered the need to recharge my batteries.
The camera batteries not my own.
I'd had a lazy day as it was and should be fairly recharged. Enough so, to get moving along again and get back on the coast path walk.

The bar lady kindly let me plug my charger into a socket, near the end of the bar. I put a fresh set in the camera and began reviewing all the photo's i'd taken since beginning the walk.

I'd been deleting any photographs i didn't like from the memory card every evening, so as to not fill it up to quickly.
Some of the photo's i liked for how they looked, others because they would remind me of certain things i had seen, during my journey.
I like to think i see things differently to how some people do.
I see faces in the bark of trees, rocks that look like animals, even patterns in the sky.

Whilst reviewing the photographs  i had already saved again.
If any were out of focus, to dark, light or just didn't look right, i deleted them.

I'm not really much of a point and shoot person. Often i will take several shots of the same thing, adjusting settings, altering composure, aspiring to take the perfect shot.

I've always been a perfectionist. This i'm quite sure hasn't helped me with avoiding depression.
Anything less than perfect by me, meant failure.
Being very self critical, has meant, i had felt i'd failed at everything i tried to do.
A life time of thinking that way, does little for ones confidence.

A few locals in the inn chatted to me. None seemed to be to bothered to find out what i was doing there. I was probably just another tourist to them.
Having told them i had spent the night in the cave on the beach. They suggested that i should sleep up at the top of the village. In a shelter set in the memorial gardens, over looking the sea.
There was apparently a good level of protection from the weather up there, as well as being a lovely place to wake up at.

Even though i had done next to nothing all day, i was weary and despite feeling like i needed some company. I started to feel that i in fact didn't want any at all.

As the men, i'd briefly spoken to left. I found quiet corner away from the noisy bar.

A large comfortable leather sofa looked inviting to me. And it wasn't long after slipping myself into it, that the soft chair and low light soothed my thoughts.
I dozed off.

A little after 11pm i woke to a voice saying. "Can you drink up please, we're about to close."

I'd been asleep for an hour and was a touch embarrassed.
I finished off the ale i had left and returned the glass to the bar.

The bar lady reminded me to not forget my charger and batteries. She then asked how long i was staying in the area for.
I told her i'd not been able to find any means to earn a meal here, so i would be moving on tomorrow.

The lady from the tea shop, must of told them who i was and what i was doing in the village, as i'd not openly shared with anyone that night my full story. I had only said i'd slept in the cave.

Nothing more was said.
I had hoped that perhaps an offer was coming my way. However one didn't.

Slightly disappointed, i said a thank you and goodnight.

I left into the night to walk one last time on, up-a-long, down-a-long. The sweet cobbled street running through the village. Around the corner where the donkey stood and to the top.

On the right was the memorial garden, i entered and found the shelter.
It was as described.
A seat wide enough to lay on, the roof with sufficient coverage to keep off all but the worse of driving rain and walls to the ends to keep out the wind.
Tonight i would sleep like a king.

I'd previously slept in a cave, a building site, half in a church doorway, a goat shed(which was a luxury goat shed) a cold metal chapel and under some body's garden.

Now i had a lovely garden to wake to and views out to the east to see the sunrise. What more could i wish for? I thought to myself

The routine laying out of bedding and crawling into my sleeping bag was all that was left to do today.

It's now been seven days since i walked away.
I was tired and laying on a bench looking north east at the stars above the Bristol channel.
I wasn't sad, afraid of being alone or scared of the next day.

And then, just like the stars had been turned off, my eye lids had closed. Another day was over and i slept. I slept beautifully.