It was four years ago that I suddenly decided I was just going to start walking the Camino instead of staying in Lourdes for a night. I just felt like starting a day before I was ready. It was 850km walking towards myself and I’m glad I did it. Maybe I’ll do another route some day. It’s about the path not the destination, and it was costly to take the month off like that. It was worth every painful step.

Get up every day and walk. That’s the lesson of the Camino. Simple. One foot in front of the other and time does what work can’t. So I’ve been back since and we lost two years to Covid and it came at just the right time. I can’t quite believe it was four years because we all experienced this group hallucination and found ourselves two years older.

Thankfully part of my hallucination involved meeting Lou. We knew a storm was coming so we went early to Stanmer, to hang with the ancient cedars and to look for chicken of the woods, which are late this year and popping up now. No luck with the fungus but the trees are a constant, and autumn is bringing such colour to the woods. The storm didn’t come when predicted. Nobody seems to be able to predict the coming storm with any degree of accuracy. It’s like the weatherman is just making it up as he goes along.

The yew trees are brimming with red berries. Mushrooms are extruding all over the place and plants are all pushing out fruit in abundance after the stress of the drought. This week ahead of what might well be a very very cold and sad winter in this country we have a profusion of colour. I found shaggy inkcaps, a good month late. Didn’t pick them though as you have to cook them fast. There’ll be more tomorrow I’m sure. Wind and rain aplenty.

The wind. It is whistling hard against the windows right now. Banging. Whistling. Terrifying the cat. Maybe it’s finally the storm. The last legs of the terrifyingly named hurricane Ian, perhaps, rolling over us, rushing up the stairwell. The rain will be good for nature, good for the water tables, cleansing.

I spoke to Jethro from my phone in the woods at Stanmer and his phone was up at the Willow Globe. I hope this autumnal weathery madness doesn’t wash them out. I bet it’s gorgeous up there. Even more colour than here.

Glad to catch the woods while we could.