Roudsea Wood Walk For Paul

Name of walk Roudsea Wood Walk For Paul
Date of walk 2023-10-16

My friend Paul Bryden died on October 4th 2023. On the day of his funeral, in his memory, I decided to go on a walk to his favourite place. I packed a thermos flask of ‘mighty fine coffee’, a cheese and chilli jam sandwich and played Steely Dan, his all time favourites, on my headphones.

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The view across the Levens Estuary from under the A590.

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View from the footbridge.

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Some lovely, moody reflections.

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The sheep and the sunrise.

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Once in Roudsea Wood I just follow the path. The first sectio is wheelchair accessible.

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I detour to the Powder House, which was used for storing gunpowder. This building is private, and not part of the reserve.

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From here I make my way down to the estuary and sit for a while, watching the birds. I poured my coffee and ate my sandwich and took in the view and reflected.

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Ancient yews and roots.

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Paul and me at the Chilli Fest at Levens Hall in 2010.

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Look at those fingers go! Paul used my photo of him as his Facebook photo for many years.

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Paul playing with the Lakes Blues Band, and a very young Jess Gillam, at The Gig In The Garden in Ford Park, Ulverston in about 2012.

I first met Paul 30 years ago when he was a peripatetic guitar teacher at the school I taught at. I was a self-taught guitarist, and was interested in going down the classical guitar route, and he got me to Grade 4, without ever resorting to reading any music! We had a shared interest in chillies, good coffee and music in its many forms. When I fractured my ring finger on my left hand I had to say goodbye to guitar playing, as it took over a year to heal. We remained friends and each year I always grew him some tomato and chilli plants for his greenhouse. Each year he’d come and admire the garden and I’d go watch him in the numerous shows he was musical director for, pub gigs with his various bands, and more recently theatre orchestra guitarist. He was friend and mentor to hundreds, I don’t think he ever realised how many people he influenced and touched, and how many people would be so sad, and in stunned disbelief at his death. I last saw him in June when he came to collect some plants and to lend me a book on the fungal connectivity of trees, as he thought it would be right up my street! I eventually returned the book through his letterbox, not wishing to risk interupting his teaching, something I’ll always regret. Rest easy old friend, Jo x.

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