We are expecting our first visitors shortly. This fact focuses the mind: two guest rooms are required. One didn’t take long at all; the other meant I needed to unpack my books, which meant B needed to secure the bookcases, which couldn’t be done until the broadband connection was moved. Eventually the bookcases were affixed safely to the wall and we were pleased with having positioned them with my ‘office drawers’ in the far corner, thus giving access to the broadband bit and the sockets that would otherwise have been lost behind the bookshelves.
We were pleased until I realised that everything fitted so snugly that I couldn’t open the drawers because of the radiator pipe. The shelves needed to be moved a tiny fraction further along. It could have been worse; I could have not discovered this until I’d filled the shelves with books. I have a lot of books. B was very patient. He moved the shelves without too much complaining. I would have complained a great deal more had I been in his shoes.
So I was now in a position to unpack the books. It took a lot longer than I’d anticipated and that’s without sorting into series etc. That’s something I shall very much enjoy; I’ll probably save it for the autumn and devote a blissful rainy afternoon to playing with my books. Even without sorting, this time around I discovered old friends I’d forgotten about and new friends I’ve bought and had forgotten about. So many books, so little time…
What excited me most in the new friends category were my walking books. In the immediate weeks before arriving here I’d ordered several books on local walks. I’d flicked through them when they arrived but they’d meant relatively little then. Now I couldn’t wait to look properly.
I treated myself to a balcony break. Set up a table and chair and made a pot of tea. I have a friend who can never let me leave her house without thrusting something on upon me, generally things she’s been given and can’t use or doesn’t like. I’ve given up protesting; it’s easier just to accept gracefully. And I never feel I can simply throw things away that she’s given me. So if I have no immediate use for them, they find their way to the back of the cupboard. Which is how I came to have a box of white tea. White tea is expensive; not something I would buy myself as a matter of course. I’d unearthed the white tea when packing up for the move. I’d never used it but I couldn’t just throw it away. Not tea.
So I’ve added another element to my burgeoning afternoon tea ritual: I use white tea. Oh, it is delightful! So delicate. How come I never knew this before? I still don’t know how much white tea costs but when this packet is gone I shall definitely be replacing it. White tea it will be from now on.
Hence I found myself enjoying a silent hour or two with white tea and walking books. The main book for this immediate neighbourhood meant a whole lot more now: I knew where it was describing. Yet again, the poor upkeep of footpaths was mentioned. But – I got really excited at this point – one of the walks described actually passes by our house! It even mentions Peakswater, which is technically where we live. There are no actual signs saying Peakswater: either to tell you that you have arrived, or to tell you which way to turn to get here. It appears on almost no maps at all. Yet here it is! A validation almost! This walk includes two stretches of green lane, the first of which I pass often.
The book itself is a delightful offering from a gentleman named Bob Acton for whom documenting these walks was clearly a labour of love. In turn he refers to a book by Liz Luck: Green Lane Walks in South-East Cornwall. I’d love to track down that book. For now though, it’s enough to read more about what passes by my doorstep and sit here, day-dreaming about all the exploring I’m going to do one day… When we’ve finally unpacked the last box. And when I’ve bought some good quality walking boots to go with the walking books.