Friday, 3 October 2008

A warm welcome to Worcester

"Cashier number one please"
9.00 am, and I was first in line at the Post Office in Stourport upon Severn. I hadn't realised getting my "walking passport" stamped would be such a trial. "I'm not signing and stamping anything unless I know what it is" cashier number one retorted, flicking the passport from side to side, suspiciously. "Ere, Shirl, ever seen one of these?" Cashier number two (Shirl) heaved herself slowly of her stool and lumbered over to take a peek. "No, can't say I have" Meanwhile, an impatient queue started to form behind me, because as we all know, there are only ever two post office windows open at any time. I started again "I'm walking from..." Eventually she reluctantly signed, stamped and I went on my way.
Either it was the weather or the early start, I don't know, but I seemed to whizz alongside the river, and still have time for two pub stops along the way. And there's nothing quite like sitting by the river with an ice cold drink, on a sunny day.
I was looking forward to meeting Peter, his wife, Marguerite, walk leaders from the "Pitchcroft Pacers" in Worcester and Elinor, from Droitwich. But try as I might, I couldn't help conjuring up images of little men in farmers smocks trekking round the racecourse, with pitchforks for walking sticks.
We met, as planned at the "Sabrina Bridge" so called, as she is the Goddess of water. But not without a detour. The effects of last years floods meant I had to leave the riverside and the prospect of gawping at the houses on "millionaires row" for a much less attractive route down the main road into town. But what a warm welcome I received when I got there from the three of them. Why, Elinor had even brought me a present!
We all walked up to the Pump House together for a welcoming cup of tea, where we met and chatted with the young girl from the press, before posing for photo's outside.
Later when Peter and Marguerite dropped me off at the dubious looking B & B, I kind of regretted not taking them up on the offer of a drive out to the Malvern Hills and a bed for the night. But it was too late to run after them, and shout "I'm a tired traveller, get me out of here!"

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