When I embarked on my month-long trip, a week ago, I noticed I felt almost light-headed about my lack of schedule. This was not because I am not traveling around: I will be using eight different airports and taking five significant train journeys, but apart from showing up for these journeys and my teaching commitments, it feels that I have a lot of free time.
In my day and a half for jet-lag recovery in London, I mostly walked, around local parks and along the river. Down in Cornwall, there have been daily walks with the dog as well, and I have managed a couple of runs. I also worked in the garden, stacking logs and resetting some old steps – this physical work makes me feel even more connected with the land. The weather has been kind, and flowers have been in profusion: bluebells, campion and stitchwort in the hedgerows as well as gorse and blackthorn. Most places I have been, the loudest sound has been the manifold bird songs, punctuated by occasional squawks from pheasants.
My body always settles in this ancestral Cornish landscape, which is a succession of slopes; you are always heading down to a stream or river, or up away from it. I was glad that my runs, on routes I have often found challenging, felt manageable, and I look forward to repeating some of the other runs I tried on my last visit. In particular I was very happy to visit two hilltops close at hand, both of which have witnessed many centuries of human history: Kit Hill, which is visible from all directions, and Cadsonbury, an ancient settlement site that overlooks the gorgeous, wooded Lynher valley, and yet is hidden from almost every angle.
My current email post-script reads ‘iPad-induced brevity’; this feels like a lot to try to type, and I still haven’t added photos and links. Hopefully I will manage something next week and the week after as well.
The footpath along the Thames west of Putney Bridge, on my way to Chiswick Eyot.
A track near the summit of Kit Hill, looking west towards Caradon Hill and Bodmin Moor.
Kit Hill seen from a local lane.
A rare view of Cadsonbury, from a footpath the other side of the river. My favourite photo of it is this one from a few years ago.