I get up every day except Sunday and I walk. I pack up my rucksack, everything carefully in its place, strapped up, accessible during the days journey. I do some stretches, which is a new thing. Since Bristol, I decided that if I'm going to actually do this thing I need to get serious about the preparation! So, 20 minutes of stretches every day and a few after each rest stop. I'm basically a ball of aches already so I need to stretch out to make sure my body is as fluid as it can be.
If I'm staying with someone there's usually some kind of delay - interesting conversation or a drive to the path, meaning I don't get started until 10 or so.
If I've camped then the delay is my staring time - sleeping outside in the way that I do means I don't always sleep as deeply as in a bed so even though I wake with the dawn it takes me a few hours of first dozing, then sitting up and staring, then eating breakfast very slowly then a bit more staring before I get up and going, usually to start walking by 9 at the latest.
And then I walk, all day, for hours. At the moment it's the Offa's Dyke Path which is green and luscious and beautiful but is also hilly and muddy. The ground is still saturated from the winter so it doesn't take much rain before it's muddy everywhere; when I stop walking and become silent sometimes I can hear the glugs and gurgles as water slowly seeps into the ground or downhill to the waterways.
I walk and walk and walk. When it's easy I stride along, feeling great trying to lengthen my stride to work the muscles in my thighs instead of stomping on my calves. When it's hard my feet hurt in multiple ways and it's time to stop for a rest. About every couple of hours I'll take 20 minutes or so to put my feet up, eat something from the never shrinking bag of trail mix, drink some water.
Water is always on my mind. I only carry a litre bottle so I have to find open cafes or pubs to replenish me or even knock on doors, feeling like a pain when I do it, so British of me. If there's no water source then I have to save water, which I shouldn't, really. Doing something like this is a constant monitoring against dehydration and lack of energy, if I don't keep topped up, I can't walk. There's no going hungry for a day, or thinking wow, I didn't drink very much yesterday. I won't have the energy to go tomorrow if I do that.
The Offa's Dyke Path is more difficult than the Severn Way, last month I was following a river down to the sea so it was either downhill or flat. The ODP isn't - it switchbacks constantly, up and down; tomorrow I'll cross the Black Mountains, well one of them anyway, I'll climb about 400 metres then walk 10 miles along a hill ridge and descend to Hay-on-Wye. It hurts my calves.
I'm managing about 12 miles a day at the moment, trying to increase the distance to 15 as soon as I can. It's not easy as I'm overloaded with stuff. 16 kilos, I can't believe it. Mostly extra food, which I need to munch through as soon as possible, I'll much my way down to a manageable 14 kilos.
So that's what I do, daily. I just walk, sometimes at a moderate speed, sometimes slowly. I walk and I look at what's around me. Today I saw signposts stranded alone in fields, I saw a faded medieval painting on the wall of a church, I saw the sun rise over a castle, hundreds of spring flowers and three black nosed lambs sitting by a stile. Every so often there's an abandoned, falling down house that I want to buy and make my own, live in forever and grow vegetables, be a hermit writer, sell it for a profit, learn to weave, set up an arts centre, a workspace, a B&B, become self sufficient, leave it to rot and go travelling, never live in Britain, stay here forever. My mind races more quickly than my body, I am moving across the land at the slowest human pace.