Thursday, 24 July 2008

Down by the canal

When I wrote my last post I was feeling really clever having walked 26 miles in one day. As it turns out this was not so clever after all. It was really hard going the next day as my feet were sore, it was hot and the traffic was hellish. The B road I was following is used by anyone with a sports vehicle as a race track and was constantly having to step into the verge to get out of the way. It was impossible to find a rhythm.

I was rescued in Twyford by a chap called John who made me a cup of real coffee. This made the next stage of the journey much easier, as did the fact that I could cut across the fields to Tilton on the Hill. I decided to rest there a while until the heat was out of the day and walk the rest of the way to the canal (no matter how long it took) so as to get out of the traffic once and for all. As it happened it took me until 2 am and that was despite the fact that for the final five miles of the day my bag was on the back seat of a police car that I was walking in front of. I had an escort all the way to the canal - blue lights and all!

I was pitched by 3.15 but was rudely awakened an hour later by a smack on the head from the tree that was supposed to be holding up the hammock. I found myself lying in a bramble bush. I'm not going to go into the details of of how rubbish all this was but I'm sure you can guess. I did eventually get back to sleep in the field behind my original pitch.

Next day my feet were very unhappy with me for subjecting them to a 26 mile day immediately followed by a 23 miler. The canal tow path was a cinder track and every step was agony. It took me four hours to do the two miles into Foxton locks and when I arrived I found that there was not a single person among the many diners who felt like offering to feed or water me. I felt very dejected as I headed on along the tow path (now mercifully grassy), still tired and still hungry.

Salvation came only a little further on in the form of Magnatron and friends who all live in boats on the canal. I spent the afternoon, evening and most of the next morning with them and left feeling altogether better about everything. 

Yesterday was hot and my feet were still a little sore so I did not cover much ground. It was however a fantastic day. Life on the canal moves at a different pace from everywhere else and it is a pace that makes it possible for everyone you meet to find time for a chat and usually a cup of tea. I suspect my main challenge over the next few days might be resisting the temptation to sit on the tow path drinking tea with everyone I meet. I hitched a lift through the first of several huge tunnels on the canal (I hope this does not disappoint anyone) as I had been advised that this was an experience not to be missed. Indeed it was not and I ended up with a meal into the bargain. Thanks to Barry Waldock and family for their hospitality. 

I stopped early last night and was in my hammock by 8.30. I made an early start today so as to get some miles behind me before the day got too hot. I'm now in Crick, in the home of Josie and Jackob Bounds where I've been fed, watered and showered. To say that things have been going well over the past couple of days would be a major understatement.

Peace be with you all,

Love,

Ewen

12 comments:

fifi said...

Oh no poor you,... I did smile though when I read about you having a Police Escort!!..

I was wondering if you had met up with Angus yet?

Good luck for the rest of your Journey.

Take care.

Lots of love,

Fi & Boys. xxx

Anonymous said...

We've been following your journey whilst on holiday and I'd like to say you are fantastic and an inspiration to many people. I hope you continue to meet the kind caring people you've met over the last few weeks.
Well done and best wishes for the rest of your journey.
Stay safe
Schonaid, Andy, Seoras and Iona x

by the seaside said...

You've had some ups and down Ewen, but you seem to land butter side up in the end, thank goodness! and I'm sure your feet will be thanking you for the brief respite on the canal boat, after what they've just been through!


Best wishes

Aline and Colin

katy said...

Quick message to Fi, they have been in touch and should meet up tomorrow.

Katy

Jim and Julie Maxon said...

49 miles in 2 days just doesn't bear thinking about! We couldn't do it with boots and no rucksack so how on earth you managed it with your heavy rucksack and bare feet is beyond us completely! The boys in blue get a lot of stick so it's nice to hear good stories about how helpful they were to you.

Keep up the good fight and enjoy your cups of tea! We hope you are swamped with invitations for meals, drinks and accommodation, whilst you walk along the canal, as well as when you get closer to London.

Thinking of you.
Cheers!
Jim and Julie Maxon

fifi said...

Thanks for that Katy, We just wish we could go & meet him but as you know not easy with boys etc!


Fi.xx

angel said...

Hello Ewen,
I have not been ignoring you, Honest.
I have been Poorly but am raring to go again now.
Keep up the hard slog we are all still thinking and caring for you.
Thanks to all those who have cared for you. Mwah.

Forthview Visits Thailand said...

Hi Ewen, Mia Farrow has just visited the Thai Burma border and is speaking out about the situation Burmese women face. She is also exhorting Bush not to attend the Olympics. You and your readers can catch sight of this on http://www.irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=13549. Keep going. We are thinking of you daily. Love Sheila

Lavender hearts said...

Good luck, what a brilliant thing to do!

Anonymous said...

Come on UE, keep going! Elbo and I have an incentive for you - if you don't get to London we're gonna throw out all your Cher CD's.

Big love to you and your trotters x

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I heard the news about you earlier since you start work bare feet for Burma and i can't find the word to say but I would like to give my deepest appreciation and gratitude to you and your thought and try to bring the peace to Burma behalf of Burmese community in UK. It is very encourage for us who are fighting for freedom, dignity, peace, justice, equality, human rights to the people of Burma.

I would like to honour to meet you up and congratulate and give my deepest appreciation and shake your hand to give my personal thanks to you when you will go to give the petition to No.10 Downing Street on 4 of August. I not sure about what time you will be there but I meself and Community will be there since morning.

Thanks a zillion agin for your kindly help for freedom for my country and it is real means to us.

Respects

Ko Aung
koaung88@gmail.com

Ko Aung said...

Hi there,

I heard the news about you earlier since you start work bare feet for Burma and i can't find the word to say but I would like to give my deepest appreciation and gratitude to you and your thought and try to bring the peace to Burma behalf of Burmese community in UK. It is very encourage for us who are fighting for freedom, dignity, peace, justice, equality, human rights to the people of Burma.

I would like to honour to meet you up and congratulate and give my deepest appreciation and shake your hand to give my personal thanks to you when you will go to give the petition to No.10 Downing Street on 4 of August. I not sure about what time you will be there but I meself and Community will be there since morning.

Thanks a zillion agin for your kindly help for freedom for my country and it is real means to us.

I might say that you are hero of Burma

Respects

Ko Aung
koaung88@gmail.com