Thursday, 18th, June, Norton to Morville, 10 miles
The lumps and bumps on Tommy’s tummy have virtually disappeared and the fleece girth cover that Alison gave me way back in Cumbria which I have been using as an extra pad on Tommy’s saddle sores seems to be doing the job. For now.
Trish is going to ride out with us today to show us the way through Apley Park and over the River Severn via the iron bridge. Andrew has kindly checked the gates will be open.
It is a lovely day and aptly named for a walk in the park. Trish is riding her little racing mare, Prime Design, otherwise known as Rosie. She takes this picture of us and sends it to me on my phone.
Apley Hall is now converted into flats, though rather grand ones I suspect.
At the bridge, we say goodbye, Trish is adamant she is not coming any further. I dismount to lead Tommy across the boards which have gaps between them. I swear I detect a slight sway whilst we are walking across. When we reach the other side, I turn and wave goodbye to Trish, now a tiny figure on an elegant horse standing on the other side, before she turns and disappears.
We saunter along the dismantled railway line that runs along beside the river,
taking the bridle path through the woods that brings us out on the lane that leads to Cross Lane Head.
Then cut across the country using the tram lines in the barley field that hide the path and my app to navigate a meadow knee-deep with hay, before arriving at The Croft.
I find Annabel making preparations for a gathering of friends for a meal this evening. Two of the guests are the couple I met on the causeway on the first day of my pilgrimage, Katie and Christopher, friends of my hosts, Annabel and Simon. It is such a great opportunity for me to be able to thank Katie in person for all she has done for us in helping me find accommodation for Tommy and myself along this stretch of the Sabrina Way. Somehow, it is no surprise to discover it is like I have known her forever. The whole evening is wonderful and Annabel produces a delicious dinner. I particularly liked the lemon ice cream! (Must remember to ask her for the recipe.) This pit stop has been a particular highlight for me.
The following morning, Annabel says she has an appointment which she can’t change, otherwise she would have ridden out with us. She decides to take out her lovely thoroughbred cross polo pony, Merlin, for a quick hack anyway and I snap this before she goes and we say our goodbyes.
She has kindly given us a couple of spongy leg pads to use as an extra pad under Tommy’s saddle to relieve the pressure on his sore patches.