Thursday 19th July – People’s goodness

Last night was very cold! I had left the sleeping bag behind thinking I’d be ok without it, but even with all my clothes on and wrapped in a groundsheet inside the tent it was still not easy to sleep.

My wonderful looking home-made tent poles had had too much flex in them so the tent had sunk, and the fly was touching the inner and had become wet. So, having waited for that to dry out, and had a cup of tea, I packed up and headed inland, from Penrose to Truro. From Penrose I headed to Helston, and went through the town centre.

Coming out of Helston I wanted to avoid walking on the A394, so headed towards Wendron then Tranear, then east through Porkellis and Carnkie on the smaller roads and footpaths. I passed through some beautiful countryside, but it was difficult to get the momentum going because you can’t drum and read a map at the same time of course, so I had to keep stopping to check which path to take. (It’s also difficult to take pictures and do those two things as well, so sorry for the lack of photos in this post!)

My feet were beginning to irritate me because it felt like I was walking on bubble wrap, and all the stopping and starting made the blisters harder to deal with. I stopped in Carnkie, which is a small little village not even big enough to warrant a shop. One lady, having heard the drumming came out with her camera phone and waved to me as I sat down to rest on a bench. She came to talk, and offered me encouragement which I was really grateful for. She also filled up my water bottle for me, as I was empty. A few minutes later another woman came out of her house and asked if I needed a lift anywhere – I thanked her but explained I had to walk! She then asked if I wanted some sandwiches, because she had made a packed lunch to take into work but the office was shut that day, so it was going spare. I was able to refuel on jam sandwiches and crisps. Today it really hit home how kind people can be.

With more energy in the tank, I took to the main road – the A394/A39. This was much more direct so saved on mileage, plus it was all an even road surface which made walking easier. Because I didn’t have to keep checking the map ( I just had to follow the road to Truro), I was really able to get some momentum going.

Even though it was a busy A-road without any pavements for most parts, I actually felt safer than on the B-roads. The road was wider, and there was a grass verge most of the way, which was a reassuring safety net.

As I walked and chanted I really gave it everything I had, chanting as loudly as possible. I prayed that “Namu Myoho Renge Kyo” would wake people’s sleeping Buddha-nature up, the potential for enlightenment that everyone, without exception, has, and that they could find happiness and contentment.

With that wish in mind I chanted louder.

People’s reactions to the strange sight and sound coming from the side of the road were varied, but mostly positive. Lots of people beeped in a friendly way and smiled, a few people honked aggressively…either way, the response was the same: a slight bow of respect as I walked on.

Some people gave me a thumbs up, some waved, one truck driver did gassho at his forehead towards me.

I became teary a few times.

One person said, “wow!” sarcastically as their van went past. One person said, “You’re a bit far from home”, one driver even called out “tsing tao” (the name of a beer)…presumably because that was the only Chinese he knew.

I came off the A39 at Devoran because it was starting to get dicey, knocked on the door of a nearby house to fill up my bottle of water again, and got directions to get to Truro off the main road from a man out walking his dog. He called a friend of his who lived on the way to ask if I could pitch my tent in his garden. The reply was negative, but I headed in that direction anyway.

By this point I didn’t have the energy to drum anymore, so I had to just walk…I told myself it was because it was after 7pm and I was just thinking of noise restrictions.

I got as far as Calenick, about 18 miles according to Google maps, not including all the meandering I did on the paths and small roads at the beginning of the day. I tried to look on my phone for somewhere to stay in Truro but everything was fully booked, and way too expensive anyway. I saw a guy working on a VW camper van, and asked if he had a spare room I could stay in for the night. Again, the goodness of people hit me. Thank you to Jonathan and Jenny who put me up in a king-size airbed for the night, and let me get in on the Nepalese they were ordering in!

(Sorry the only picture I took today was of my feet!)

I was able to tend to my feet more easily than when I was in my tent (which is so small you can’t really sit up in it) last night. A friend of Jonathan’s had walked from Land’s End to John o’Groats in 28 days which is incredible, and apparently zinc oxide tape is the answer. I’m not a seasoned walker, just a soft idiot who is learning on the job, so good to get tips from people in the know.

Jonathan made me two bamboo tent poles which I’ve attached to the back of my rucksack, so now I really look the part! I’ll try and do better with pictures tomorrow!

5 thoughts on “Thursday 19th July – People’s goodness”

  1. Such wonderful experiences! This is the true way to spread the Dharma. Most people live their life through fear. I have realized that when they cannot comprehend something they are witnessing, strange things emerge from their speach, such as “Tsing Tao”. They are in a childish way stating, “please help me!”. However, many are too fearful to approach the Bodhisattva. That is why to meet the Lotus Sutra and react with open arms to it’s faith is indeed a difficult thing for Sentient Beings and is indeed rare.
    P.S. make sure to take good care of your feet on your journey. In many practices injured feet have stopped many practicioners in their tracks. Especially the gentle feet of a Wimbledon boy!

    With Gassho…

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  2. Kanse you will look back on this experience in times ahead and think A) what an amazing expierence! and B) be really proud of your self for the perseverance and tenacity … sorry if that contravenes the Buddhist Philosophy!…. anyway tomorrow is another day! Sleep peacefully my friend.

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  3. Hello! Your foot looks very sore, I hope everything is going well for you.
    I am glad that people were kind to you…
    Sending you positive energy and strength from London.
    Hiro

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