Down But Not Out

Today started almost like any other Saturday morning plus, I was still dealing with the feelings associated with the news I discovered on Thursday night. I had a plan to go out for the day but, as the moment drew closer and I was ready to leave, I didn’t quite feel ready. For some reason, I just wanted to tell my mum about ‘the news’ that I was (and still am) struggling to accept. I spent a lot of time ‘umming and ahhing‘ in my room; pacing up and down; staring blankly at the wall with both hands on my head… Eventually, I walked in to the living room and, as I sat down, she looked at me as though she new I had something to say.

I told her, while managing to retain all my emotion and avoiding eye contact – I think I spent most of the time either with my head in my hands or, I was just rubbing my forehead. My eyes were also closed but, I was able to talk and, came to admit that it had upset me. Mum was more understanding than she had been in the past. There was less of the ‘this is what you should do‘ and more ‘how do you feel?‘, which I appreciated and, yes, it did seem to help. Telling her the little I knew about the fiancée, mum said it sounds as though there may be some kind of abuse or control issue present from the man’s side… It’s not really the sort of thing I need to be thinking about right now but, I’d be lying if I said that the same thoughts hadn’t already crossed my mind.

May did not respond to my congratulatory text this morning so, I’m leaving it for now. I worry about leaving things for too long though as she’s probably quite used to me sending weekly updates on where I’ve been. I worry that she might feel I’m abandoning her and may even accuse me of being jealous at a later date (I have previously told her of my feelings for her…).

Eventually, I did leave the house and feeling slightly better about things and this is where I went for a few hours…

This is Brean Down; another site covered by the National Trust and only a few miles down the coast from Weston-super-Mare, before you reach Berrow and Burnham-on-Sea. It’s somewhere I’ve been wanting to visit for a while, as it’s not too far from home, features some historic old forts and, the walk is only about three-miles long (perfect for an afternoon or morning).

I parked up, expecting to pay a parking charge (for the first time on my adventures…), when I was greeted and approached by a man working for the National Trust… Wow, I thought I was bad at making eye contact but, he was welcoming and did shake my hand at the end of the transaction – yes, he talked me in to one of their membership plans for twelve-months… Instead of paying for parking today (£3.50), by paying £2 each month for the next twelve, I can park in any National Trust-owned car park in the south-west of England, without having to pay any extra. I’m also entitled to 20% off clothing items from their online store and he gave me a booklet with a list of everywhere you can visit within all the surrounding counties.

That was the hard part over and done with and my walk started with a trek up a great number of steps. About one-third of the way up, I heard a man huffing and puffing somewhere further down. As I turned, I noticed he was running up each of these steps! I’m half his age (approximately) but, I still wouldn’t have attempted that!! Full credit to him though, as he made it all the way to the top without stopping; long before his partner or friend caught up. 😉

Following the path to the left (I think that’s south-west), you end up with a view of Steep Holm., which I believe is accessible by boat (if you book) and, perhaps I’ll try to get there one day.

The most exciting part of my day came close to the halfway point, when I reached the old iron age hill forts:

There were no open doors (plus, the roof was missing) so, I decided to enter each and every structure that I could. I also spent a lot of time exploring around the outside of each building (or, what was left of it). I came away with an extra 243 photos on my SD card but still, only managed to reduce this to 151 for the final cut!!

If you’d like to see the rest of the photos (including many, many more of the forts) then, please click here.

Honestly, there are so many photos that it wouldn’t be fair to try and dump them all here on this one page. I anticipated to spend only one-hour walking around the Down, perhaps an extra twenty-minutes for photography but, I ended up staying for around two-and-a-half hours, excluding travel time (an extra thirty-minutes each way). I know, I say this every time! 😛 I view many of these photos – from today, in particular – as potential inspiration for short stories. 😉

It was common to find locked gates (or doors) with grills fitted in to the window openings on some buildings. I’m not sure why… Some of them seemed to lead off below ground and so, there could be a health and safety issue, especially during the twilight hours. This place isn’t fenced off or secured outside of the car park’s operational hours (graffiti shows that).

The walk back along the coastal path wasn’t as exciting, aside from the herd of cows and views towards what was going on at the beach over in Weston. You can clearly see the Grand Pier; restored in recent years after a fire in 2008.

There was one final fort to see, much smaller in size. To be honest, this was the most that I was expecting to find on the day… To think of everything else I found earlier on, it’s quite incredible. I shouldn’t have to say that I enjoyed my time there today. Even after rain on the night before, the ground was in better walking condition than some of the sites I’ve visited.

There’s something about being high up on a hill with the wind blowing against you and through your hair as you listen to the sound of crashing waves… It’s only a shame there weren’t any benches nearer the fort to sit down at, or else I would’ve enjoyed my lunch more. On a dryer day, I might have sat on the weather walls, if not the grass itself.

Back to my mood…

Yep, it’s another day that has helped. I’m certainly not ‘over’ everything that I’ve felt in the last forty-eight hours (it honestly feels like more) but I feel like something has been released, even without shedding a tear. My mood’s been closer to ‘care-free’ since I got home which, although it may not sound good, does at least feel better than holding everything in right now.

Now, this could’ve been my mind showing me what I wanted to see  but, driving back home, I thought I drove past ‘May’, walking along with someone who could’ve been her brother. He was looking out towards the road (I’ve not met him and it was not her fiancée) and I noticed this girl with similar hair from a distance. They were walking together but, there was an emotional space between them.  I laughed at first, while trying to focus on her as I got closer… The sun was shining over the trees behind them, impairing my visibility so, I could not be certain. But, I saw her mood and the way she was walking. Very down-trodden and tired. A sense of panic passed through my body when I thought I saw her face. Her bag was different and she looked much worse than I’d ever seen her… Maybe it was someone else! I mean, what are the chances?!

Tonight, I’m resisting the urge to message her about my day. Speaking as a friend, it feels like I’m neglecting her and letting her down, as I feel many have done to me in the past.

One comment on “Down But Not Out

  1. You could teach me alot about photography, and I’m too scared to walk on my own. Wish we lived nearer, and being a married gran I would have no alterior motive. 🙂

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