Took a walk last Saturday with a friend across the downs. An early spring walk on a day of damp earth and hopeful bursts of sunshine.
We crossed Kearsney Park over a chalk stream full of childhood memory. Not my childhood but his. He showed me St Radigunds Abbey where the white friars had lived. A flint tower coated in ivy, the jackdaws calling. Brides must weep that they cannot be married by such romantic ruins.
Glorious Britain, for all your detractors, you shrug off such marvels as if they were nothing. You are so rich with abbey, castle and ancient church you forget about them and they are uncovered down every rural lane and behind every hedgerow.
We walked on, over the hills and down green lanes where tree creepers crept and early windflowers took flight. He showed me the map. I followed, trusting that he knew the way. The conversation spiralled down into the mossy earth. We talked of.. we talked of everything and stopped for lunch in a church to eat sandwiches with our feet resting on memorials to long dead horsewomen.
We swung through gateways, light stepped through the mud and descended through a woodland dusted with hazel catkins, muted and burnished, their subtlety punctuated with the skeletal branches of bare oaks rising like overlords. Through a valley, along a road, down to a pub for cider and crisps.
Such walks, such friendships are among the great blessings of life, part of the cycle of life, a person you meet through the centuries and walk with and share the tiny moments with. These tiny moments we can blink and miss but sometimes, some days you stop and pause and think, well, really, this is not so bad.