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Jay Walking

LEJOG: Rest Day In Altarnun

I woke at my usual time but didn't get out of bed till 7:30am, finishing off the remaining  bits of last nights dinner.  After 8 o'clock I headed to the village of Altarnun via some footpaths that started next to the campsite, passing through farmland and some fields of sheep and cows before arriving.

Next to the church I asked a woman where the village shop was and she directed me a little way up the road.  I headed there past a small tea shop, and picked up some pasta, a ready made pasta sauce and a few apples, just enough for today.  I could have eaten in the pub but wanted to avoid that, though I intended to go there at some point in the afternoon.

I went to the tea room and had a coffee followed by a pot of tea.  It was run by a woman called Joe, her main service was providing ready cooked meals and also a private meals on wheels service, the councils meals and wheels had ended during the austerity introduced by  the Conservative government.  We chatted for a while as she had studied catering at a college near to where I live, though she had been there in the seventies.

The church at Altarnun surrounded by house
A group of sheep trying to stay out of the heat.

I headed back to the campsite, read a bit and despite having felt slightly queasy all day had some pasta for my lunch.  I headed back to the village intending to go to the pub and pass the afternoon relaxing out of the heat.  However by the time I got near to the tea shop I was feeling pretty sick and quite nauseous, with no energy. Next to an old telephone box which now acted as a book exchange, I sat on a well shaded bench and took off my shirt and shoes, rolling up my trousers to try and cool down.  I sat there sipping water slowly, feeling awful, my whole body felt hot and would not cool down.  I got some odd looks from some of the locals who occasionally passed by, but a lady living opposite where I was sitting filled my water bottle and gave me another large cup of water.  I explained how I was feeling and she offered to drive me back to the campsite but I felt better sitting where I was and didn't want to move.

In the end I sat there for 4 hours slowly drinking 3 or so litres of water, reading a book that I had taken from the telephone box.  I felt rotten the whole time, at one point vomiting a little water.  What really worried me was that I did not want to take a pee during that whole time showing how seriously dehydrated I was.  I do not know if this was due to the yesterday's exertions in the heat or due to being out in the sun for a few days on the trot.

About 6pm I headed slowly back to the campsite, feeling shakey but taking  a pee on the way , though it was barely  a trickle.  At one point on the way back I got followed by a group of cows which was quite unnerving, they were getting quite close to me but I managed to get over a stile in time.

Back at the campsite feeling lonely and rather worried I rang the NHS emergency number, thinking I might have heatstroke or something similar.  They were quite understanding but I think there were a lot of people in a worse state during that day.  I had no appetite and even the thought of food made me feel awful.  Around 8pm I suddenly felt really sick and spent a few minutes staggering about the campsite vomiting up my lunch.  This actually made me feel better but pretty much immediately afterwards I started having frequent diarrhoea which did nothing to improve my mood.

I decided to find a hotel the next day, and spend the next 2 days recovering, I was in no fit state to walk or to do much of anything.  I headed to bed but found it hard to sleep, the litres of water drunk in the afternoon were starting to make their presence felt and my dodgy stomach required frequent trips to the toilets so I couldn't get a long period of sleep.  I was unable to get comfortable in my tent, it was either too hot or too cold so all in all it just topped off a very bad day.