Day Six: Newport to Gloucester

We started today with a big breakfast and a game of Jumbling Tower with our friends from Tin Shed Theatre. They headed off to a rehearsal and we ordered more tea. We put our heads together to form a plan. A girl who worked in the cafe told us that she had a recumbent bike and that if we were still around at 3pm she could bring it in for us. It was tempting. It’s on the list. But we needed to get out of Newport. Quickly.

Hannah phoned Go Ape and asked if we could go and play in the trees in the Forest of Dean and they said yes! We set off in the direction of the station with the intention of getting a train to Lydney but we’d missed it by 3 minutes. We walked into the ‘Information Station’ next door to get some information, but they didn’t have any.. We headed in the direction of Chepstow Road to get a lift to Lydney so we could try and find a way of getting from there to Go Ape. We were walking over a bridge when a lady came up behind us and asked us where we were going. We were a little taken aback by this as it’s usually us approaching people. Her name was Caroline and she informed us that Newport didn’t get many travellers at this time of year (we weren’t surprised). She was very kind and gave us a lift to an island where we could hitch hike from. She also told us that we have a ‘very attractive energy’ about us which we struggled to believe as the tiredness from the previous day lingered, but we appreciated it all the same.

Before we arrived at Go Ape we had lifts from two other people who were incredibly kind: Howard and Jane. Howard was a brilliant character and a lot of fun. He informed us that we were riding in a Ford Focus Ferrari and Hannah and I believed him..  He can speak a few languages and has done a lot of travelling. Howard dropped us off and Jane picked us up. Jane had a smaller car, it looked like there wasn’t a lot of room for us and all our stuff. It wasn’t until we got closer that we spotted a car seat in the back. She was a new mum and her 6 month old daughter was travelling with her. She said that she’d never picked anyone up before and she didn’t know why she’d stopped. We were really glad that she did! She was lovely and dropped us off right outside Go Ape.

We swung through the trees and Hannah and I enjoyed doing something that Ria hadn’t done before. (It doesn’t happen very often!) I love Go Ape. Feeling a part of nature. Hearing the birds sing and the people on the nearby lake laugh filled me with warmth. You get such an adrenaline rush when you’re sliding down the zip wire high up amongst the trees with the wind in your face. I felt at home there.

After we finished the course we continued to be cheeky and asked the lovely Go Ape staff, Nick and Niaomi, if we could have a go in the wheelbarrows we’d eyed up earlier. They thought we were nuts but said yes anyway. Hannah went with Naiomi and I went with Ria. Ria asked if we were going to race and Naomi said no. She lied, but Ria managed to catch up even though it was clear the race had finished. I had little control over the situation as I was in the wheelbarrow.

Naomi and Nick continued with their kindness by giving us a lift to Blackney where Janet and John picked us up and gave us a lift to Gloucester. They picked us up because they didn’t want us to be on the side of the road. Well, actually, they didn’t want Hannah and Ria to be on the side of the road; I was in the shop trying to buy stamps. They didn’t know about me and when I appeared they said they didn’t know if they had room for three. Luckily they did.  They told us how they’d recently walked 20 miles down the road we were driving down. They were preparing for Janet and her daughter’s Moonwalk in London on the 12th May. The’ll be walking 26 miles at night in her bra to raise money for Cancer Research. They also hadn’t picked anyone up before.

They dropped us off outside a pub, so of course we went in. We set up camp on the sofa, enjoyed the free muffin that came with our tea and got a little upset when my computer blue-screened. I tried the usual ways of getting something to work; I turned it off and on, I took out the battery, I charged it.. but nothing. I hope I’ve not lost everything on it. It’s my travel laptop. The laptop I bought when Ollie and I were travelling in late 2010. It shouldn’t have died already! I don’t like the unpredictability of computers. One minute they can be working fine and the next minute they are dead. Memories and documents lost forever.

Ria managed to talk a man who owns a B&B a couple of doors away down to £50 for a room for the three of us. It should have been £80.. well done, Ria!

It was so nice to have our own space. Hannah was excited about being able to watch the Apprentice.  I was excited about being able to make tea.

I left Hannah and Ria watching TV and went in search of chocolate to eat with the tea I wanted to make and in front of the TV Hannah wanted to watch. I didn’t want to get lost on my own in a  so I turned right and just carried on walking. I thought if I walked in one direction then I would eventually find a shop that was still open at 9pm. I did but it did feel like I’d walked across the whole city. It was quiet, it was dark and the doors of the bank kept opening on their own.. I hurried back to the room and closed the door.

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