Edinburgh to London Diary
Day 25 - Thursday 14th October 2010
My wife Jane of 42 years standing has completed at least two thirds of this monumental walk. She is an extraordinary woman: both loving, joyous and tough in equal measure; what must irritate her contemporaries is that she has retained the figure - and the same weight - she had when I married her.
But can she give me a tough time! She is a daunting walker, stylish, fast and resolute; it seems she can roll out the miles forever.
I got competitive today but was beaten easily. My eldest daughter, Clare, came to walk with us today. A real joy and treat to have 2 of my favourite people in the world walking with me (or was I walking with them?). The only problem is that if even slighly challenged, Clare and her mum appear to enjoy forming a cabal against me.
At the end of today (we arrived at Harlington) I felt, after 26 back to back 18 mile marches, rather like Napoleon's soldiers must have done right at the end of the retreat from Moscow. So I lay in a ditch preparing myself for death when Jane told me there was only another 4 miles to go!
I refused to budge. Jane fixed me with a steely look and told me to get off my but and finish the walk!
"What," she cried waving her sticks, "would all those people who look to you for leadership think if they knew you were a wimp?"
I said that I couldn't care less what they thought (or words to that effect, then Clare joined in: "What would the people who work for Zane say if they could see you now?"
I started to whimper to win sympathy. I shed a few tears. It was pointless.
They both continued to poke me with their sticks like a baited bear, until I staggered to my feet.
There were another 4 visitors walking with us today who were all staring at me. I knew when I was beaten.
I finished the walk.
A walk through any of the parks that surround our midland cities can be an depressing experience. As one trawls through the fast food cartons and the condoms I title it the "Land of the Fat Tattoo." An irreverant verse came to my mind:
"See the mothers in the parks,
ZANE - Zimbabwe A National Emergency
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