#43 Laura


Temple: Kongofukuji – the southern-most temple is set on a beautiful cape with a tropical feel

Dedication: Laura is my best friend. That might be a slightly odd thing to say as sometimes we’ve gone years without seeing each other but when I split from Ed she was the only person I called. We met in the first week at Cambridge in someone’s garden when she offered me a bottle of wine to swig from. We were pretty much set from then. She’s a genius, has more compassion than a thousand Dainichis and she’s also extreme fun. I’ve been singing Euston Station – a song by her band – while I walk the last few kilometres and it has helped me get through. I love you Laura, this one’s for you.

The last few days have been incredibly tough. It was raining hard and I fell twice coming down from the plateau the previous temple was on. I have bruised my hip and have been limping since. I’ve only been managing about 15km a day and have decided to get a bus back to the big town to try and find a physio or doctor. It feels like giving up and it’s hard, but I’m glad to be doing something about it.

The days haven’t been bad though. When I’ve stopped there’s been lovely scenery, beaches, surfing and fishing ports. I stayed in a big open hut last night with four other henro which was a nice little community. I was given some ramen, a bandage for my leg and a recommendation for a medic. My bag of strange yellow fruit went down well. I thought the guy who gave me the noodles was a monk but it turned out (after he cracked open the beer) that he was a local fisherman who stopped in to give henro some osettai.

This morning I saw the black monk outside the temple and he blessed my leg and told me he’d seen Pierre the day before.

Going slowly is frustrating and hard for me but I’ve had lots of time to take in the beautiful wildlife and having a few hours on the beach and a swim in the ocean yesterday was wonderful.