Well I am glad to report that I have continued to enjoy my journey immensely over the past few days. I was joined briefly by my uncle on Friday and then we met up again on Saturday afternoon for the walk into Milton Keynes. The last bit of track has been "improved" using concrete and gravel and while this may indeed be an improvement for cyclists it was not great for me. I guess they did not have barefoot walkers in mind when they were working on it.
It was really amazing to catch up with Lillian on Saturday having not seen her for seventeen years. This trip has been mostly about making new friends and it was great to have the opportunity re-connect with an old friend. Hari and I were very well looked after.
On Sunday morning I met up with another very good friend and we walked together all day. As Jim observed, having someone with me changes the dynamic somewhat and makes it less likely that I connect with people along the way. It was none-the-less enjoyable to spend the day in his company and it was in many ways a relief to spend some time in a different "mode". After Jim left I had a couple of good encounters with people on the canal but I had a strong sense that I should spend the night under canvas.
The field I opted for had a good place to pitch the hammock and a great pile of well seasoned firewood. I finished the evening, staring into the heart of a good fire and enjoying a miniature bottle of Glenmorangie that was given to me several days ago in Twyford. As promised I drank to your good health John - thanks.
After an interesting encounter with the cows in the morning I made my way through Leighton Buzzard and on to Marsworth. I was assisted by Steve and Maggie Parkins who have been neck and neck with me for a couple of days as they pilot their narrow boat towards London. I overtake them at the locks and then they pass me again on the canal. I was lucky to catch them filling up with water and they offered me breakfast. Later I met Shannan, Maureen, Christine and Paddy who were starting their holiday on the canal and who were quick to offer a coffee and a sandwich.
That got me another couple of miles along the canal to "The Red Lion" where I again met up with Steve and Maggie and where the reception was fantastic. I had a pint of beer in my hand within a minute of arriving.
I was joined again by Jim and I have had a rest day at his place in Tring today. I resume again tomorrow for the final fifty miles into London.
Love to all,