I'm having a rest! Yay!
It's been quite a tough first week, getting my body used to the challenge of a 14 kilo rucksack and a daily walk of ten miles. Getting my brain back into the swing of a long day with no boundaries - nothing to rush to, no next appointment, nothing to cram in.....just miles to be trodden down and that takes hours and hours. So I sing, I think about stupid things, I watch for signs of Spring.
Then there's the bloody blister. Boots bought in a rush that were too small and let in water. Just another part of the terrible preparation I made for this, working too hard and not leaving enough time to allow for the fact that I'm about to walk 3000 miles (!). Still, it's thanks to all the hard work that I'll have enough money to eat for 8 months.....and send postcards.
Yes, the blister, the whole of the back of my heel in pain. But no longer, let us not dwell. It's dry, healing and I've got another 2 days ahead of me without the rucksack. And new boots! Glory be, all is right with the world.
So that's where I am, in Shrewsbury, being dropped off tomorrow back at Llandrinio to catch up with the final 17 miles into town, sleeping in a comfy bed for 3 nights and being looked after by my very caring auntie Susie.
What I really want to talk about though is hospitality and generosity - the grace and good nature of the people I've met so far. They invite me into their homes, they talk to me, they show me all the beauty and kindness and love that humans forget they've got.....all the time.
Olwyn Jones in Welshpool who invited me to speak to the Rotary Club then went to her car and returned with a blister plaster.
The lady on the Made In Shropshire market who saw the big rucksack and presented me with 3 chocolate chip cookies.
John, the lonely man who walked with me out of Newtown along the canal path and talked about the world.
The two workmen out of five, in their toy diggers and dumper trucks, laying the canal path near Pool Quay who popped a pound into my donation box as I squeezed past on the verge, waving my Welsh flag.
The old lady in Newtown who chased me with 50p, put it in the tin and then said "What are you doing it for?"
Paul and Mack, the canoeists who made me a cup of coffee that I didn't have time to drink.
Suzanne the lady who shouted at me from outside the Stag then talked wise things about female body image and self love as she sat in the window making seedling holders.
Heloise who hosted, cared and looked out for me in Llanidloes.
Karen who took in a stranger and enjoyed it.
Laura and John who opened their home to me, the latest in a multitude of wanderers.
All these people and more, they've been bloody brilliant. And I've counted up the donations I've received between Machynlleth and Shrewsbury and it's £53.40. And I've counted up the offers of beds along the way and I think it's going to be alright. I think everything is going to work out. And I'm really really going to enjoy this!