Sunday, May 10, 2015

30. Getting Ready to Travel

An Australian blogger,, provided this handy chart that is posted in the Dromedary Bookshop and Art Supplies in Skegness...
Alan got on the train the next morning to get a sketching outfit for his long trip. He had brought only a few pencils and his nearly-used-up paint set with him from the States, so he needed new watercolors, brushes, pencils, pens and paper, all compact enough to carry in his backpack.

Oh, and he also needed camping gear, since he figured he'd be walking for many days...

The train ride to Skegness took about 45 minutes. The late-season sun had just risen above the slopes of Mount Hayes, casting a warm glow on the landscape. Outside of Hazel, Alan noticed small truck farms and a few dairy farms between the tracks and Ross Bay. Some of the barns and houses were of natural or whitewashed stone. Others were built with wood and painted in bright colors. All were quite small, especially compared to any he saw in Indiana. In Bayside, he noticed an increase in traffic on the highway next to him. He figured this must be Highway 1, the main road between Putney and Victoria Harbor.

After Rosslea, the landscape opened up to low rolling hills with a distinct upslope to his right. The broad crater-rim of Mount Hayes peeked above a layer of clouds hugging the upper slope. It was the same mountain he saw from the boat coming into Victoria Harbor, but now it was much closer, and so large! On his left, Putney Bay spread out calm and blue, empty but for one large sailboat on the horizon. He wondered if it was one of mail boats that Adrian had mentioned. He realized that at some point he would probably be using their service to get to some of the places on his list.

In Skegness, he walked out of the station and pulled out the directions to the Dromedary Bookshop that Adrian had given him. The town was densely built on some rather steep hills (old sand dunes?) and the streets marched straight up and over them, which reminded him of San Francisco, on a very small scale! The downtown hugged the Barysh River, and most of the shops were huddled together on one side of Fleet Street, the main thoroughfare. On the other side was the river, harboring scores of fishing and pleasure boats, all rigged for sail, hugging the short piers. He couldn't see a single power boat, save two brightly-colored skiffs marked "Constable", and a single ancient-looking tugboat.

The Dromedary Bookshop and Etc. was on Fleet Street and easy to find. As he stepped inside, Alan was amazed at the colorful array of stationers papers of all kinds, samples of which were displayed along one wall. There were blank books and old-fashioned writing pens, plus aisles of published books (the bookstore part). He noticed that he was the only customer, and felt self-conscious as he asked the saleslady about art supplies. She pointed him to a display of brushes, inks, watercolors, oil paints, pencils, pads of drawing paper, a few stretched canvases, and a variety of "How to Draw" and "How to Paint" books.

The chart on the wall was helpful. Alan found a travel set of watercolors, a few good brushes, some extra pencils and several Micron pens (They sell those here - Yess!)  He also bought a thick packet of 8" by 10" watercolor sheets, cold press, and another of hot press.

After lunch, Alan continued walking along Fleet Street thinking about camping gear and sure enough, he found a shop called The Cyclers' and Walkers' Outfitters Emporium. A very helpful young saleslady recommended the best in stoves, sleeping gear, cookware, foul weather gear, tents, backpacks and some great all-weather sandals. She was very helpful, and told Alan that her name was Sydney. As he boarded the afternoon train back to Hazel, the weight of his new pack (and the lightness of his wallet) felt okay, and he felt much better about this whole venture.  At least he had adequate gear!

Alan's route by train from Hazel to Skegness and back again.


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