Pennying the streets

I really enjoyed a good stroll in the early afternoon. Yesterday I bought new boots and then settled down to hear / watch England win at both cricket and football on the same day, and had only good thoughts in my head as I barely pounded (perhaps only pennied) the streets. You might be surprised that, even after four and a bit years and around 6,000 miles walking, I don’t have a favourite brand of boot. I often cannot say what brand I am currently wearing, since I choose by feel on a first wear. I buy size 10 walking boots when my day to day shoes and trainers are usually 9 1/2. What I do know is that my feet are very close to being the same size. Most people have one foot slightly larger than the other; if one is right-footed then the right foot tends to be larger, sometimes by half a size. I learnt very early in my football days that there was considerable benefit to being able to kick well with either foot, something I drilled into my own son, and for which he derived considerably more benefit than I had. As one might say, some of his very best goals were with his ‘wrong’ foot.

Back to boot brands. I have only ever had major problems with one pair, and that was an Italian brand that were too tight to be comfortable, and gave me bulging blisters even after a couple of months wearing them. From experience I know that Italian boots are narrower, and German and British brands wider, American wider still. Standard width is usually ok for me.

The Week of Pain will not be as originally planned. It is probably not essential for my own fitness, given I clearly have a good distance in my legs already. It is essential, however, to wear in these new boots and so to that end I will be having five successive days of walking. Today I took my first steps in yesterday’s purchase. It was never the aim to rack up twenty or thirty miles and I was never going to get too worked up at either the distance or the pace. Most of today was taken at a stroll, sometimes even a dawdle. The weather forecast was not altogether promising and I was party to a couple of short showers, but I timed a relaxed coffee stop nicely while a heavy hailstorm belted down against the shop windows. Even as my way was blocked on the Harefield estate by a mother more concerned with her phone than her pushchair, the former quite obviously much more expensive than the latter, and I cheerfully crossed the road to continue on.

A total of 10 miles, normally barely sufficient to get me out of bed. The walk ended in glorious sunshine but the key result was a pair of feet with little sign of damage. Both my little toes showed signs of redness – every pair of boots pressures in slightly different spots – and I guess as a precaution I will tape those up on tomorrow’s walk, which I expect to be of a similar or only slightly longer distance. Easter Sunday also marks the end of Lent and, for me, the end of 47 days without chocolate. I won’t be breaking the famine too spectacularly, just a Galaxy bar from the local shop, standard size not giant, and I might not even eat that all today, since my brain and body won’t appreciate the sudden introduction of masses of that stuff into my diet. I have felt generally pretty healthy recently and I don’t want to prejudice that. Another walk tomorrow, hopefully in decent weather. Probably more chocolate.

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