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Tom's Trek

Edinburgh to London Diary

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Day 17 - Wednesday 6th October 2010

Had an extraordinary dream last night of a never ending hill; each time I crested a peak yet another one appeared, on and on I climbed until I was screaming with doubt that I would manage to conquer it. There was a group of faceless people all laughing and pointing at my struggles to climb on. I awoke sweating to find I was sitting up in bed with my legs violently flexing. I managed to quieten down with mouthfuls of tonic. What would Freud have made of that?

Downpour of rain, battleship sky. I have to say that the outer suburbs of Yorkshire towns are at best an acquired taste: the architecture is uniform, a never ending series of stationary light fawn dumper trucks staring into the horizon under a Wuthering Heights sky.


The day has now turned out sunny. We are hobbling through the outer suburbs of Sheffield, once again up huge hills. We were nearly enticed into the so called "Effing Sandwich Joint" out of sheer curiosity but sanity prevailed. Hard to find open pubs, the vast majority are boarded up as a sign of the times.

Driver Harry is formidable in any pub we find open for lunch. I sit down tired after hauling myself up vast hills humped and silent in a corner. Harry advances on guests or the bartender, who is usually deaf, and tells him, "He is walking from Edinburgh to London, aged 68 he is, for charity, all by himself." Then he repeats it loudly and the entire pub stop and stare at me in wonder as I wheeze and dribble, muttering to myself into my soup.

"Poor old thing," I hear, "He should be in a home...", "...he won't last. Better give him a drink...it may be his last."

I now know what the boneless man and the bearded woman must have felt like as they were wheeled round Victorian England.

We tramp on to Chesterfield.


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