It was about time that I got back on the road and a Sunday friendly cricket game down in Gosport was at least as good a reason as any for walking down there and back. So I set off through Titchfield, through Stubbington, quickening my pace so that I avoided any pitchfork wielding UKIP supporters trying to get me deported due to our household’s non-white ethnic mix, and then to Lee-on-Solent, where I walked all along the sea front with a lovely breeze. The weather was flirty, with a number of short but fairly light showers and after turning north I reached Privett Park, where I took in around half an hour of the match, chatting to a couple of players as they fielded. I enjoyed watching a couple of the younger players who have really impressed this season – I don’t get to watch them much now due to my commitments with the first team.
I took a different route back, cutting northwards past HMS Sultan and then along some cycle routes, eventually up to Fareham. After a reasonable distance, the feet get hot and expand and this is when my problems today began. The distance itself (around 22 miles) was not the problem, but the expansion of the feet led to some rubbing against the boot. Perhaps these new-ish boots shouldn’t be used by me for much more than 14 or 15 miles. In Fareham town centre, I could easily have phoned Pam, knowing that the shortest distance to home is precisely 5.8 miles and it would be bound to hurt. But I walked, and it was the longest 5.8 miles I have ever walked. Think of a body part below the hip and it was hurting. Worst was my left knee, followed by my right ankle and bronze medal was taken by some nasty chafing in the groin area. You’ll be thankful to learn there are no pictures from today, since, as well as the above, on my eventual arrival home I found I had a blister near my big toe about the size of a Smartie but, even more shocking was one on my left heel about the size of the hemisphere of a table tennis ball. Yes, it really was that big.
I was determined to finish today. But really, as Pam said, I have nothing to prove. I have walked a thousand miles and done something that, though possible with dedication and effort, very few people have done or committed to doing. My own pig-headedness has now made it difficult to even walk around the house tonight. 22 miles, yeah, brilliant, easily the longest walk since the ‘long walk’ but why do I still need to push myself sooo much?