“…I dare say that given the chance, they would sleep or eat at the drop of a hat!

I must say, the Valley below the Plateau takes an odd form. There are areas which seem untouched by whatever catastrophe befouled this quite splendid place. Here and there, you find sandstone ruins. Crude huts and dwelling areas; in the style of early settlements. I shall endeavour to bring samples of the brickwork and whatever crude tools or potsherds I find in my exploration.

In one area the air is both dense and humid, carrying a slight twang of sulphur. In others, it is similar to standing atop a mountain. It is thin and cool and brings a chill. Charles provided us with heat and with a primitive shawl made of goat. Without it, I should have frozen to the core!

However, the following day, the lingering smell of dead goat was quite dire. I asked Charles whether he knew of a stream or fresh water lake in which I could bathe. Henceforth, Charles and I, along with the peasants and their donkeys, came across a quite breathtaking sight. Here was a freshwater lake, approximately half a mile across with the largest and most spectacular weeping willow I have come across in my travails across the continents.

The sketch below does it no sense of justice, for this tree was of the most impressive sort. I took to bathing and Charles, understanding my sensibilities about odour, took to bathing with me. He had the most impressive physique! We bathed together as the peasant’s donkeys made the most terrific din.

Muscles rippled across his bare…”

To Chapter Nineteen – Market Day