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,