Rather than Marching to Doom I Walked the Cheshire Countryside

As I posted about earlier today, tomorrow I march to my doom, my PhD defence at the University of Chester. This is where all those years of preparation, research, testing ideas, and writing will come to a point of decision. It would have made perfect sense to sit at the desk in my room at the hostel and study my material. Or even to work on getting my classes ready for the fall term and checking off some of my to-do list in publishing. Instead, I decided to walk all day, first along the silty but nonetheless romantic canals of Chester and environs, and then into the footpaths of Chesire.

So after tidying up email and packing a lunch,  I loaded thesis prep materials on my iPod and downloaded some related books on Audible. I left my desk behind and headed into the wilderness. It was not a long journey, in the end. I think I walked about 7.5 miles, 12 kms. After leaving the canals, I only met one party–one group of three people in a half-day of walking, and this only when I came close to Tarvin. It was beautiful land, with quaint lock houses, old Roman roads, medieval bridges, churches and communities cobbled together from the past, farmland and riverbeds and homesteads.

Perhaps my favourite moment was having my lunch beneath an old bridge–what was once a “platt” they say, a reed-woven bridge–and soaking my feet in bone-chilling cold. Though that moment competes with the end of the foot journey. I landed in Tarvin, at a pub called “George and the Dragon”–how many pubs are named that?!–and met a highly intelligent barman and was able to shelter from the rain. The rain didn’t amount to much, but it was enough to get me on a bus back to Chester–after a pint or two in this historic pub.

It was the perfect day, weather-wise: cool, sunny, and almost completely dry from the day before’s rain. The trail was pretty poorly marked and I made some wrong turns. The biggest challenge was deciding, when the paths diverged, which was the most likely one to follow. It turns out my instinct was almost always correct. I wish I hadn’t watched Stephen King’s Children of the Corn last week, especially as I guessed my way through large fields some miles after the last available mobile data point. And running shoes are not the perfect instrument of support for a journey like this. But, otherwise, it was almost idyllic.

Alas, my future still awaits tomorrow. But if you can excuse the indiscriminate nature of my joyful picture-taking, you can walk through my journey below.


About Brenton Dickieson

“A Pilgrim in Narnia” is a blog project in reading and talking about the work of C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the worlds they touched. As a "Faith, Fantasy, and Fiction" blog, we cover topics like children’s literature, apologetics and philosophy, myths and mythology, fantasy, theology, cultural critique, art and writing. This blog includes my thoughts as I read through Lewis and Tolkien and reflect on my own life and culture. In this sense, I am a Pilgrim in Narnia--or Middle Earth, or Fairyland. I am often peeking inside of wardrobes, looking for magic bricks in urban alleys, or rooting through yard sale boxes for old rings. If something here captures your imagination, leave a comment, “like” a post, share with your friends, or sign up to receive Narnian Pilgrim posts in your email box. Brenton Dickieson is a father, husband, friend, university lecturer, and freelance writer from Prince Edward Island, Canada. You can follow him on Twitter, @BrentonDana.
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15 Responses to Rather than Marching to Doom I Walked the Cheshire Countryside

  1. Allyson WIeland says:

    Offering up a prayer on your behalf. Hope all goes well for you tomorrow.


  2. All the very best for tomorrow! I am sure all will go well.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Mary Baron says:

    All is well and all shall be well. I felt just as you do the night before my orals and had a nightmare I will not share until you emerge as Doctor.

    Welcome to the group of the overstuffed brains!

    On Thu, Aug 29, 2019 at 4:07 PM A Pilgrim in Narnia wrote:

    > Brenton Dickieson posted: “As I posted about earlier today, tomorrow I > march to my doom, my PhD defence at the University of Chester. This is > where all those years of preparation, research, testing ideas, and writing > will come to a point of decision. It would have made perfect sens” >

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Joanne says:

    Brenton, as I scrolled through these photos, I half expected to see Lewis, Tolkien, or the dudes from Top Gear to appear. What an amazing day! Enjoy yourself tomorrow! I’m looking forward to be able to call you something different.


  5. David Llewellyn Dodds says:

    I can’t remember what young Inklings wrote they ‘did’ before various sorts of ‘exams’, but this seems a very Lewis-y, Inklings-y, hobbity choice, and a good one! I love Chester, but what achingly lovely glimpses of unknown Cheshire – wow!

    All good wishes!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Lynn Schlesinger says:

    So glad you are an indiscriminate photo-taker! As always, thank you for sharing, thinking of you today!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. danaames says:

    Not only would CSL, JRRT & friends have gone for a walk, they would have at least instinctively, if not explicitly, known that it’s the very best thing to do for your brain (and your whole psyche) before you call on all of it in hard work. Good for you. You’ll be fine.


    Liked by 1 person

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