A Town Day & what is ‘essential’

I am always impressed by people who busk with a harp. But children busking with a harp is truly heroic. And the end goal of their efforts commands immense respect – watch the video very carefully!

I came across these two lovely lads, while spending a day in the wonderfully eclectic town of Totnes with my mother, and a dear old friend with whom, once upon a time, I climbed up to Annapurna base camp in Nepal, and had not seen much of since. How fitting to reunite on another journey on foot, all these years later.



We spent a meandering few hours wandering the streets and looking for refinements to my kit for the next leg of my journey – a frying pan, a grill and a lovely little lantern, which I found huddled in a higgledy piggledy shop (my favourite kind) that had a bit of anything old and beautiful.


I must admit, though I have refined my kit to what I actually need, there are still some things that feel are ‘essential’ in a different way, and candle light is one of them. I read in Roger Deakin’s ‘Wildwood’ the other day a quote about candle light illuminating the darkness and electric light killing it. The darkness in Devon is something I wish to embrace totally, so candle light is therefore part of my ‘essential kit’, whether journeying or staying put.

I have been fortunate so far, in each region I have journeyed, to be offered a ‘base camp’ in some form. In Devon, a lady I didn’t know before has so kindly offered for me to base myself in her converted granary. This connection came through somebody else I met in Cumbria, who had read my blog and we happened also to meet me because she decided to visit Sprint Mill, which the blog described, while I was there.

In Devon I shall likely be walking more often with my large backpack, from A to B, than I was in Cumbria, where I would leave it at the bottom of a mountain and go on day walks. For the curious among you, on these day walks I found that my essential items comprised: a notebook, a pen, some nuts and dried fruit, some dried meat (very good walking energy), my iPad for taking photos and videos and posting blogs when I found network at the top of a mountain, a map, and some water. That is what I need. No more, no less.

4 Responses to “A Town Day & what is ‘essential’”

  1. Julia says:

    Your writing is so beautiful Sarah, so evocative of place and of being out of doors. I am actually writing particularly in response to your post on the turning of the season, 20th August, (the server wouldn’t allow me to comment there) but all your writings are touching me, urging me outdoors and making the soles of my feet twitch.

  2. Abi Keogh says:

    I am the mother of these two boys and I want to tell you they are made up with your lovely comments and are showing the world. Thank you from myself and “the small geezers” ( their band name haha) x

    • Sarah Thomas says:

      Well all I can say is they rock, big time! How’s the donkey fund coming along? One of them wrote to me on YouTube and I’ve just realised I haven’t replied. Tell him I’ll be in touch soon…I am currently in the re-entry phase of Wayfaring to normal life and its not easy!

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Sarah Thomas is Penguin's Wayfarer and she'll be walking and writing for us all summer. Follow her journey here!

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