Sunday will again bring back nice memories of my mother and, as last year, I have a surrogate mother in Pammy. We will quite possibly zoot down to Hayling Island, a place that my mother and father regularly holidayed together and to a particular no-frills café where they usually visited at least once during the week or fortnight down there. My mother passed away in June 2015 and it might well become a sort of annual pilgrimage to the café in Hayling for fish and chips. It would be an overstatement to say the rather clichéd sounding “I think of you every day” – time is a great healer, however close we were, and there is a balance between moving on and remembering the very good times, of which there were plenty. There are some days when there is so much going on that my mind doesn’t turn to my mum but what I will say is that her influence is present every day, and I feel I was brought up to have good values (but name me one person who doesn’t think they have good values!). I remember one conversation with her was around how both exercise and the feeling of helping others were so positive for mental well-being. I won’t say it for the former but she certainly instilled the latter in me; I know how she really bought into my long walk and took great pride in regaling people with the tales that her son did this and he raised that. It was also Mum who encouraged me to keep on walking after achieving surely the biggest walking feat that I could ever imagine. I am just really really grateful to have had a great and loving mother, like so many others, while being aware that some people are not as fortunate as most of us to have such loving parents.
The need to continue to earn a living and a bit of a busy time on a number of fronts at work precluded a Friday walk, despite Friday screaming out at me, “20 mile walk”. It had to be Saturday and the last day before British Summer Time kicks in. Excellent progress with the new boots and I am already pretty close to what should be the norm for a weekend walk with only a stone’s throw under 20 miles. By that, I mean one thrown by a very weak five year old rather than an Olympic hammer thrower – so it was barely under 20 miles. If I had known that and if I was that bothered, I would have strolled back to the end of my road and back to make up the slack.
Often when I am walking, I spot what might look like interesting off-road diversions without actually investigating them at the time but, today, I decided to pursue a couple of them. I actually started in Fareham and took the very pleasant Fareham Creek walk, round the Cams Hill estate and golf course, and seeing Fareham and Crofton Cricket Club ground across the water reminded me of an amusing incident when I was scoring there on a scorching day: the batsman pulling away from his stance as the bowler was running in, because there was a yacht moving behind the bowler’s arm.
It was a circular first 45 minutes before shooting up Fareham High Street toward the A32, past Wickham and onto the Botley Road. I managed to skip off road for a while, skirting the outskirts of the golf club before rejoining the road later. A very brief coffee stop in Hedge End followed before another circular hour or so before a more direct route home. Felt full of energy and enthusiasm (at times), especially while listening to a crucial Pompey win on the radio. 20 miles, as I said. Very good indeed. Am I yet fit enough to be able to trot out another 20 tomorrow? Mmm, probably not, but 15, yes if I had to.
Talking of the need for back to back (….to back to back….) 20 mile days, I have confided in a few very select people about my planned walking challenge later in the year, and everyone so far has thought it a really fantastic idea to do for a worthy charity. But it is a devilishly difficult one to plan, with plenty of arrangements such as the route itself, accommodation, the length of time it will take, likelihood of being allowed leave from work, and considering own personal cost, both financial and on the family. Even after considerable time and effort scoping out what I can, I am still not in a position to say conclusively that it is possible. There are other sensitivities and dependencies beyond these physical and financial constraints so I continue both to tease these out and to tease whatever regular readers of this blog who are out there.
As soon as I can confirm anything I will. But I think Mum would approve.