Date: 18th March 2015 at 9:30am
Written by:

I AM OVER HALF WAY TO WEMBLEY! Good times.

The soles of my feet are becoming very painful, the 3 blisters have turned to 5, my calves are constantly tight, my hamstrings are tight, my repaired knee is twinging a little, my normal knee is throbbing more, my right hip is sore and my shoulders are killing me – Bad times.

So I blitzed over yesterday, oh man was I full of grump. It was a real tough day. It was my first day completely on my own (beside a half hour visit from our lovely producer: Fiona and her nice cameraman friend: Dale). A lot of my frustration bore from the fact that towpaths didn`t really exist. It was just bumpy grass – which is really uneven and hurts the soles of your feet something rotten. Tarmac is such a beautiful thing – every time my feet touch it, I hear that angelic angel noise. I will never take Tarmac for granted again. At one point – I was so happy to see it I contemplated lying down on it, just to savour it. The after 500 yards – it disappeared! WHO LAYS 500 YARDS OF TARMAC?! What is that about? Either way, I was less than amused that I was Tarmac teased. The odd paths have a little bit where cyclists obviously go – however large bits didn`t even have that. Therefore add all that on top of very sore and sensitive feet, on top of weather that in 10 minute spans would rain and then get sunny and then walk nearly 3 miles more than intended. Boy was I grumpy!

Comedy story – I had no-one to meet me after my way yesterday, so I had to call a taxi. The driver picks me up, chirpy chappy. He asks ‘You doing a walk?` (alas, my walking like I am 90, with a huge bag and flag sticking out didn`t give it away), ‘Yes I am` – I explained it all. He was interested. ‘Where you walking from` – ‘Walsall`, I answer. ‘Walsall by Birmingham?` he asks. ‘Yes` – I reply. ‘Whats the cause?`. I explain in detail. We get to where I am staying and he says ‘That`s £12.60 please`. He then stops himself mid-sentence and says ‘hold on, this is all for charity isn`t it?`. ‘Yes sir`, I reply – hoping I may have got a free ride. ‘Respect to you my friend`, he says – ‘lets just call it £10`. Oh I did laugh. What a star.

Then I get to Keith`s house. Nicest house ever! Lovely classy Rugby and Cricket memorabilia up around the house. Lovely chap – cooked a mean Shepherd`s Pie! Perhaps the nicest house I have ever been too in my life. It even smelt of ‘high class`. A smell I am not used too anyway! Keith puts me up in his house for free, cooks me tea, makes me breakfast, makes sure I have everything I want, then drops me off this morning and slips me a handsome donation. Legend of a man.

This morning I was up and out early. On the road at 8.25am. My feet were really hurting today – just the soles of my feet are very sensitive. I was happy as I knew the first few miles were on the road so I got to enjoy some special man time with some beautiful tarmac. In talking to Keith who looked at my route this morning – he suggested some more lovely tarmac time. I looked at the route and agreed wholeheartedly. After about 7 miles, I hit the M5 and looked at my route and on the fly changed it and stayed on the M5 for about another 5 miles. It was amazing. I know how silly it sounds but it really changed my moral – walking on strong firm concrete. I was worried on Monday about how much pain I was in so soon into the walk but knowing I was on concrete for 12-13 miles was super positive and helped me cut a mean pace. Then I cut in and joined back up with the Grand Union Canal up until Gaydon. I tell you what – there are some hills around there! My word. A few bits I may as well sung the Emmerdale Theme tune, just fields and fields and hills and fields. I saw some cute Lambs though – I love Lambs. Sheep just stare at me and baaaa rather annoyingly. Wish they could stay as lambs. I suppose my folks probably thought the same thing about me (Yes, I do let out a Baaaaa from time to time). Either way – todays walk was much better than yesterday – I am a little anxious now that the mental game needs to kick in because my body will start hurting a lot now. As Ronan Keating once said: “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going”.

I must give a wee shout out to where I am staying today. Even though it required me to go back on my journey by 20 miles, Sally at http://oneabbeylane.com/ who has put me up for free in a gorgeous trendy town apartment, booked me in at a local pub for some grub and even done some washing (and the washing was sweaty t-shirts and dirty pants and socks! That`s an MBE for doing that right there!). I cannot recommend this place highly enough. Have a mooch and come out, its worth it.

Its funny when I am in the bath. Watching my legs twitch away like crazy. My quads just pop up and down like they`re having a chat as I am sat there. Weird. I am gutted to be missing the Saddlers today. I genuinely thought to myself – I am only an hour`s drive away. I should go, then thought half the point is for me to walk to Wembley, so to come back kind of breaks that magic/mystique or whatever. Shame, another good point and according to my updates from the old man – we are all over them in the second half after the equaliser and deserve to win.

I forgot to say – on Saturday as I was walking through Brum, I came across a Swan that didn`t like me. It stared at me, I stared at it (I remember someone telling me that if a Swan starting acting up, then you need to show you aren`t scared and you`re an alpha male), it hissed, I kept walking – it started flapping its wings, so I flinched my head at it – giving it the old Wealdstone Raider act: ‘You want some`, it flapped harder – I ran away. Now before you judge me, I was in his house (canal, whatever!) and I was invading his space – etc, etc. I am not afraid of Swans and I refute any allegations supporting this view.

Anyway – its time for bed so I will share a few more stories tomorrow.

Please keep spreading the word and if you are reading this for the first time, please do donate. There has been more traffic to the site in the last 3 days since I started the site so I am hoping this is attracting new people. You, yes you! We are looking for 5k, we are making very positive head way, however I really need the continued support as Walsall Society for the Blind need it and their service users need it even more. You can donate directly at the link at the top of this page. Thank you.

Distance – 17.3 miles. Time – 5 hour, 47 minutes. MPH – 2.99

67 miles to go. 5 days to Wembley.

You can read all the blog Click Here and also the routes to donate….