19 May 2010

I got on the path again at 8:45Am and, since this was to be a short day (tomorrow would be officially the longest), I was sure that I'd at least get to the next lodging place early enough for a dinner and a pint. Or if I walked fast and didn't get lost again perhaps lunch and a pint. The path between Newtown and Carlisle was increasingly urban although not nearly so gritty as Newcastle had been. A couple of hours into the walk I passed "The-Stall-on-the-Wall", a largish wooden box filled with treats and water bottles along the way. A sign inside the box's lid directed me to "PLEASE PAY USING THE HONESTY BOX... ...BY DECREE OF THE EMPEROR HADRIAN" Since someone trusted me so much I bought a packet of shortbread and a bottle of water and left my offering. About a half hour later I came upon Crosby Mansion which, according to the carving on the gatepost either is or was the vicarage. Along with the vicarage came, naturally, a church, this one being the church of Church of St John the Evangelist, and a most over-the-top structure it is. It was built or rebuilt in a bizarre gothic style which had a very Adams Family feel to it. This was in Low Crosby; wonder if there is a High Crosby? A bit later I happened upon yet another pele tower but this one was in the middle of a pasture and didn't seem to be serving any sort of purpose now beyond being a photography subject for passing walkers. />

As on the first day this part of the path was essentially all near a river but this time it was the Eden. The last part of the walk wandered through various park-like areas until it actually did put me in Rickerby Park crossing the footbridge at 12:30PM. As fate would have it I met up with K. and T. again in the park although this it was only in passing as we determined our respective directions. Getting so close so early was quite satisfying since it meant that I had actually managed to match my location with the written directions to the guest house where I'd be staying the night. The weather was threatening to rain, or at least mist, but since my destination was within a km and the directions were totally clear there were no worries. I arrived at the Courtfield Guest House at 1:00PM. I took the opportunity to wash some socks and then headed out to find the place where I was to obtain the penultimate stamp on my "passport". This turned out to be a chore because of confusing pedestrian underpasses across the main thoroughfares which never seem to put me where I wanted to be. But eventually I did make it into the Sands Centre and did what needed to be done. Since there was a pub just across the car park I dropped in for a pint. Somewhere along the way I'm sure that I must have eaten something but honestly I can't remember where or what.

By 3:00PM I was out on the streets again doing a bit of sightseeing in Carlisle. The Carlisle Cathedral is quite attractive inside and out and has an especially beautiful barrel-vaulted ceiling in the nave. The entire building is largely rebuilt on the site of the original 12th century Priory. Over the years various parts were destroyed in wars and raids but some near-original 14th stained glass remains along with some extraordinary carved wooden screens. The lowest level of the cathedral contains a display of the treasury and it may be toured. The cathedral sits in a the walled Abbey and many historic remnants of the original buildings can be seen. One sight I wasn't prepared for was a carved memorial bench bearing the opening lyrics of "Love Me Tender" dedicated to the memory of Jimmy Henshaw. You just can't make this stuff up. I wandered the city, or at least the center of it, for hours. There is a most impressive fort there but yet again I was really too late to enter this English Heritage site. Later in the evening I set out looking for the internet caf‚ I had spotted earlier and then a meal and a pint. The internet caf‚ turned out to be a non-event. After being without internet contact for so long I was surprised when I checked my email and found 117 messages. Perhaps five of the lot were of any use and the rest were immediately deletable. It leads me to wonder why I am so compulsive about checking email when I'm at home -- surely the percentage of junk is just as high while I'm there. After my visit to the internet I wandered into the Beehive pub which was right down the street from my lodgings. The pub was a bit noisy and generic but they served one of the best prawn salads I've had so all was not lost. Lost some sleep that night because I called my Mom to give her a progress report and couldn't get in touch. She almost never goes out and never for very long so I called a neighbor of hers who has a key to the house and he verified that she wasn't at home but there was no sign of where she had gone.

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