Date: 19th March 2015 at 8:31am
Written by:

Walsall fan Graeme Brookes is into the final 70 miles of his walk and shares his diary on day five with us all.

Hello sunny Milton Keynes!

Literally Sunny Milton Keynes, I now have a sun tan! Ohhh yeah baby, get the baby oil out, rub me down and let`s grab the surfboards!

I have walked from Gayton Village to Milton Keynes and it was a lovely day. Initially – it was like the Fog, just blanketing everything and I had a few texts and tweets telling me it`ll be a lovely day and I am thinking ‘I can`t see where the towpath ends and the canal starts` – that was fun, however then there was light. Off came the coat and I was off! I bumped into a lovely Villa fan (oxymoron? I jest my friends) who made a donation and we had a good wee chat. Then I hit the big tunnel – there is a huge mile long tunnel for which there is no towpath – you know what that means? TARMAC, TARMAC, TARMAC! I know it is not becoming quite the joke about my fondness for the ‘solid godly dark surface of joy` but I cannot stress enough how nice it feels to walk on that stuff. When the soles of your feet hurt that much, it makes you wince – you suddenly move from a bumpy towpath to the aforementioned: ‘solid godly dark surface of joy`, it really is reason to breakdance (date reference no.1)! Whilst I am on the musical theme. I am very aware that Billy Ocean actually said ‘When the going gets tough, the tough gets going` – however I don`t hold him in the same regard as that cheeky devil Mr Keating!

I tell you what too – you can tell a place is posh when they`re called: Gayton, Stoke Bruerne, Yardley Gobion and Towcester (pronounced Toaster – I giggle every time!). I walked past a house today that had a bridge over the grand union canal . . . . As its driveway! A bridge as its driveway! I have walked past houses that where their shed is bigger than my house. I actually thought they may employ me: ‘Fatman, over here! I need a farm hand – at your size, you could carry a bale, what say you?`.

I cut quite the pace today – however I think it was because I was joined by the Brookes massive, Aiiiiiii (dated reference no.2). My Dad and brother wanted to show some support so came and joined me for around 6 miles today which was quite nice and helped me cut quite the pace up to the last mile however the mindless conversation and a soppy brother helped me. Which was nice. I haven`t had someone actually join me for any actual walking since Sunday. Always nice to break up to monotony of talking to oneself, air drumming, singing, trying to engage sheep in conversations and that kind of thing.

Over the walk I have come across numerous boat folk and most of them will acknowledge you but don`t say much really (one around Solihull had a skeleton with two dolls heads on top of it with about 4 darts poked in their faces – I ran like Usain past that barge). Anyway today, lots of barge folk have been super lovely. Two have given me donations, 1 didn`t have any cash but offered me into his barge for a brew (unless that was code and I am being extremely naïve) – which was very kind but I said no, I had walking to do. Then we came across Dave from Taverners Boat Club (which was close to my dinner break) who kindly opened his toilet. I feel I made him regret his generosity. What a star he was.

Now I am staying in a beautiful house in Weedon Lois by Alexandra and Mike, who are super nice and made little scones. Anyway, Alexandra carried the Olympic flame (for an amazing heroic act) and let me hold it! Pretty cool! All I was thinking when I held it was, I wonder how much that would fetch on eBay. Though they made Alex buy it – stingy beggars. Had an Ice Bath when I got here. The pain I am in now is pretty bad in my feet and calves. I feel I may get through tomorrow and Friday without the walking sticks, but I may need them after that because my feet are just so sensitive and swollen. Hey ho – kind of expected hazard really isn`t it? My feet are also becoming very swollen which sucks. I need to get that out of my head. Its funny because in this blog and with the radio slots with Free Radio and WM, I try my best to be light and jovial but at the same time, its more of a mental battle because I can`t let that negativity sneak into my head. As even now though I have made it well over half way, the body issues are building now and it could get quite serious at any given moment, so I need to be positive, which can be rather difficult. Sorry to go off on a tangent sounding like Uri Gellar (dated reference no.3).

Tomorrow is my easy day. Most walkers I spoke to about this walk said that because I am not a walker (i was careful with my typing on that bit), to try to take it easy one day. Therefore tomorrow is that day. I am walking through Milton Keynes and south, close to Leighton Buzzard. It should take around 14 miles. Hopefully I will be done by 2.30ish, this will give me time to ramble on some more for your entertainment.

For all the support I have had – I just want to say thank you. From family, friends and strangers – the support has been outstanding. I am so honoured and humbled by it all. I just wanted to make some money for a great charity that helped an old man I loved – but the outpouring of support and well wishes and all that warm fuzzy stuff that I thought only existed in Pixar & Disney films, has been amazing. Just amazing. It really helps when I am struggling, really. I always thought that stuff was a cliche but its not – it really does help, so thank you all so much. You`re amazing. On that soppy note, I wish you good night! Take Care.

Distance: 16.1 miles. Time: 5 hour, 14 minutes. MPH: 3.07

68.2 miles remaining (88.8 miles walked – what an awesome number!)

4 days to Wembley

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Thank you so much.


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