As I was sitting on the step of Matt’s unusual Airbnb (a recently “sold” house, unoccupied, but with furnishings in most rooms), a friendly cat approached me to be stroked. I stopped out of concern that it might follow me to Canterbury. This set the tone for the rest of the day – all animals that I encountered seemed keen to play or at least to attempt to get a taste of my phone.
I followed the North Downs Way under a cloudless sky, with church bells peaking in the morning, through some iconic Kentish scenes; oast houses and villagers playing cricket on the green at Trottiscliffe. I popped into the church of St. Peter and St. Paul, there, to get a stamp for my credential. Then I took a detour to visit the Neolithic long barrow tomb outside the village. It was damaged by archeological digs and treasure hunters in the 19th Century, but it is thought to resemble burial sites in Denmark (as opposed to the West Kennet long barrow, in Wiltshire, which dates, I think, from the same era).
Up on the ridge of the Downs, I came across a large, mossed over, man-made basin. Not sure what it was for. It seems to large to be a drinking trough. It reminded me of the laundry washing areas in Galician villages. Any ideas?
I feel like my legs started working properly today. Instead of wanting to rest, I felt that I could keep on pushing forward. When the time came for me to come down from the North Downs Way, into an urban area, I felt disappointed.
Now I find myself in a working class boozer in the south of Snodland, near the M20 motorway. According to the map, there are industrial estates around here, but some nature reserves a little further along the road. Since the Bed and Breakfast place that I called yesterday hasn’t returned my call, I am going to look for a place to pitch my tent. I hope the nature reserve will provide a suitable spot. There were places that I could have tried up on the North Downs Way, but I wasn’t ready to stop. I hope that doesn’t prove to be a mistake. In the worst case scenario, I might have to call a cab and go to one of the Premier Inns by the motorway.