Alan hadn't walked three hours, and he was feeling it in his legs and feet already. He was definitely ready for a break when he stopped for lunch at the Albion Cafe. Albion was about the size of Hazel. It seemed to be more of a farm town, dominated by a sprawling sort of feed store that also sold lumber, farm supplies, garden tools, hardware and groceries. The cafe, a post office, a hairdresser/barber/massage spa, two taverns, a school, several small houses, and a tiny Buddhist temple made up the rest of Albion.
Alan enjoyed his tuna sandwich (with bacon!) and a tall, juicy smoothie for lunch, which revived him enough to carry on to his goal of the day, Paddy. There he would find an inn, according to Adrian.
Things went well until just after he crossed the Antrim River foot bridge. He was impressed by this long bridge built for a hiking trail, so he sat down to sketch it as well as get off his feet. Soon after he resumed his walk, he was distracted by the miles of marshes and estuaries around him, and he took a branch-path by mistake. It looked more or less like the main path, but almost an hour later he found that it ended on a lonely stretch of beach.
This can't be right, he grumbled. I must have gotten on the wrong path. No wonder I haven't seen any markers or other people for a while...and I don't like the look of those big clouds out there. What happened to the sunny forecast?
Then Alan noticed the house a short distance down the beach, and he sat down on a driftwood log and thought a minute.