Well, it’s Friday now. I have had phone battery the last couple of days, but have been too tired to post updates, so this is what happened on Wednesday:
Tuesday night I stayed in Penzance at a great priced Airbnb to rest up before setting off on foot. My host had an amazing collection of occult books, and we shared interesting conversation about 9/11, the novichok poisonings, and where money comes from.
I went to see Captain James’s old house, which was a B&B until recently.
After sleeping in a bed, I set off on an “easy day” to break my feet in, taking the coast path for around 14 miles to Porthleven, and then into Penrose to camp for the night. Let me tell you, the coastal path is challenging, especially when you’re trying to chant and drum as you go! I left at 08:30 and arrived at 3:30pm, and didn’t really stop. At the time I just wanted to get there, looking back I should have rested more along the way, and not done it on just bowl of museli for breakfast and a couple of snack bars along the way.
On the way out of Penzance several people enquired what I was doing, and a couple of people took photos with me and wished me good luck. I even spotted someone in the passenger seat of a builders van videoing me with his phone as I passed by drumming and they were in slow-moving traffic.
On the coast path itself as I passed by one house there was a lady standing in her garden, hands in gassho, and as I approached she called out, “Namu Myoho Renge Kyo”! I was amazed, and stopped to talk – she said she’d just had her breakfast interrupted by some Jehovah’s Witnesses, so she was so pleased to see (hear) me.
Further up the path I bumped into them, but didn’t realise it was them because they weren’t dressed in suits due to the hot weather. We chatted a bit, and one guy tried to give me a flyer and said that only God could end our suffering and bring peace, after I’d explained what I was doing. I politely said I wasn’t going to take it, which he accepted.
I thought to myself, wow this guy is extremely optimistic! Here I am, in robes, on a pilgrimage, I have explained I’m a Buddhist priest, and he’s still trying to convert me. But also, was it rude? Yes, I think it was, and thought about telling him that, but decided to leave it.
The overall theme of the day: sweat! I tried to dry my robes overnight on Wednesday evening, but they weren’t completely dry in the morning. I also had a rather irritating problem with chafing! How I wished i had packed the talcom powder!
I found a campsite in Penrose for just £6, which meant I could have a shower. I am carrying a very compact tent with me that weighs less than 2Kg, but it has no poles, so is designed to be held up with two walking poles…which I don’t have. I asked around the campsite to see if anyone had any I could borrow, but no one did. So in the end, I went all “Ray Mears” and fashioned some from some wood I found in a nearby wooded area.
Dinner was a cuppa-soup style cup of pasta, and a Werther’s Original for desert – which apart from being quintessentially British, are a perfect accompaniment to a long walk, so I’m rationing them out as treats.
By the end of Tuesday I’d realised that while the scenery on the coast path is beautiful, it was too indirect, and I didn’t get to meet as many people as I would on the roads.
Thank you to those who are following this blog, and showing your support. Thank you also to all those who chatted on the way, smiled or said good luck.