A most jolly party. We all arrived in time for a home-made cider stirrup cup and then piled on to a couple of trailers, to be hauled by tractors to our starting places. There were 80 or 90 of us altogether I should think; I was on the larger trailer (sitting cosily on a straw bale) with 47 others. Most people got off at the first stop for one of the longer walks, leaving only 15 or so wimps or wusses for the shortest walk (I'm one of them now), which we were told (I didn't measure it myself) was 2.89 miles.
It was a cold day but not freezing - about 3º, apparently (for any fact fans out there) and a bit dim and gloomy but fine. It was a good walk but I was glad that Clare and Ro were there to read the map as I'm not very observant and slightly dim. The last couple of hundred yards was across a ploughed field (I'm not sure if it is an actual footpath or whether permission is given by the farmer, but it was fairly well trodden) and our feet were soon weighted down by clods of clay.
As expected, there were lots of pans of delicious soup. I started with curried parsnip and pear, went on to onion and potato, progressed to red pepper and finished with turkey and vegetable, out of a choice of a dozen or more. We ate bread and cheese and chatted, it was a really comfortable and relaxed atmosphere. The youngest children to do the walk were 8 or 10, but a few younger children joined the party later. There were people of all ages from 3 to over 70, but the majority were in their 50s, like me, with offspring in their 20s, like Ro. Some of the youngsters I've known most of their lives and don't see often now and it's remarkable to see how they are growing to look like their parents. The younger ones and those who took breaks before going to university don't all have jobs, or casual ones, and are finding it hard to get anything better without experience, which they can't get. They don't seem disheartened.
Oh, and what entertained me in a fond sort of way was the way the young men greeted each other with a handshake. It struck me, maternal as I am, how mature and young they are at the same time.