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Day 24 - Wednesday 13th October 2010

19 miles from Harrington and we ended up in Cardington. I forgot to say that we lunched in a lovely pub called the White Swan Inn in Holcot where the owners were unusually hospitable. If you pass that way please go there!

Many people have asked how I am bearing up physically. The short answer is that the sort of severe and continual tests to which I have subjected my body, especially at my age, are bound to expose any weaknesses. But in short, I have been amazed how well I have been, considering I have been averaging 19 miles each day for about a month.

I have lost a couple of toe nails; I have lost about half a stone in weight. I thought that my left kneecap had fallen off but I have found that if you ignore moderate muscular pain in time it goes. How do I keep collapse at bay? Well one trick that works for me is that every ten miles or so I lie down on the grass verge and do a series of stretching exercises by the side of the road. Last evening a woman walked out of her house to see me lying on the verge with my hands behind my back appearing to be bowing towards Mecca and groaning slightly as one does from time to time. She gave a loud scream and fled back into her hall! I could see her peeping at me from behind her lace curtains as if I was Jack the Ripper. What extraordinary behaviour! She didn't even try to find out if I was ill. There's no accounting for folk!

We are tonight staying in the home of John Howard, the famous prison reformer, just outside Bedford. Once again we enjoy the astonishing kindness of strangers.

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ZANE - Zimbabwe A National Emergency

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