It was never going to be one of my marathon long walks today. Having not walked for almost two weeks thanks largely to a stinking cold that is still just about there in my head, new boots to wear in and very grey weather, I was quite pleased to see off over 13 miles without suffering too much discomfort. New boots being worn in the house is only a very partial preparation for walking in them on the road, with every different piece of footwear exhibiting different amounts of pressure on very slightly different parts of the foot. One blister on the inside of one toe is, overall, a pretty decent result for the foot in my virgin shoe.
By my standards, a pre-11am start is pretty early for me but as the nights start to draw in, it is now essential to take the first step slightly earlier. No-one wants to be walking in the dark, after all. It is a day for other new things: specialist walking trousers were so comfortable and didn’t end up absolutely soaked in sweat around the waistband like pretty much any other trousers I’ve worn for long distance traipses; and a very good-looking blue t-shirt as the base layer, one that I’d bought months ago but had somehow been tucked away in one of Pam’s drawers rather than mine. However, it is a grim and grey outlook when I exit the front door, with the majority of cars having headlights on – remember it is still British Summer Time, unbelievably. For the next hour and a half, during which I walk the (almost) six miles to Fareham, my hood is going up and down, as the rain ranges from being “in the air” to “steady”. The cue for the hood going up is around that point that wipers move from being intermittent to constant. I amuse myself by regularly taking samples of 20 cars to decide the direction of hood travel. Statisticians just cannot turn off that part of their brain.
The Costa break becomes one third refreshing, one third amusing, one third irritating. Amusing as I listened to three blokes in their late 20s all trying to out-macho each other as if they were in some game of bull**** top trumps, particularly in the top speed they have each traversed the country’s motorways. As far as I understand, the World Land Speed Record is 763 mph, and we were fast approaching that before the three moved on to some other subject. It was all amusing, as I say, until one of them uttered that most irritating of phrases, “When I was younger,….”. Yeah, like, as opposed to when? At that point, I told them exactly what I thought of them and challenged them to a duel outside. Ok, I didn’t. But I had finished caffeinising and rehydrating my parched throat and made off for the second leg of the walk. By this time, the greyness had cleared as if the sky had overdosed on Grecian 2000 and though the sun was not yet resplendent the weather was certainly looking more promising. A much more pleasant outlook and so I took a slightly longer route back, even along a couple of roads that I hadn’t been along ever before but were sort of heading in the right direction. With Billy Joel’s “Only the Good Die Young” in my head for some reason, it was a lovely walk home with only a slight discomfort from that blister any sort of blot on the landscape.
Feet up now, Strictly, takeaway (?), Match of the Day,…………….