Woke up this morning filled with a mixture of excitement and absolute fear - and in pain with my neck and right shoulder. Yup my back was playing me up - I cannot turn my head to the right, it is too painful. Thankfully a nice hot shower resolved that situation, but this is something I really don't need - together with my friend Wendy and her son Spencer, we are spending the last 5 days walking, and talking, the entire length of the Kennet & Avon canal - all 86 miles of it. We checked the forecast last night - and joy oh joy we were in for a heatwave - not what I really wanted! Walking 86 miles in the heat! But at least there are some parts of the K&A which are nice and shady - and too many stretches which are not.
My mind turned to the possibility that I may not be able to do the entire 86 mile stretch as my mothers words ring in my ears from my telephone conversation with her last night that no-one would mind if I failed. Well, I hate to admit it, failure is not an option here, failure has no place in my vocabulary any more. Instead I thanked God for making canals nice and flat - apart from the infamous Caen Hill lock flight at Devizes - smack in the middle of it all.13 locks if I have counted right - what joker put those there? And at this point I thought to myself "I wonder if anyone will notice me finishing at the bottom on Thursday evening and starting at the top on Friday?". I think Wendy and Spencer would for a start - perhaps I could bribe them. Spencer should be a pushover, Wendy on the other hand......
Yesterday we had a lovely day, with a visit from one of my oldest of friends (no, I don't mean that she is old - we've known each other since 1980). Judith and I talked about anything and everything under the hot hot sun - except Parkinsons. For a while all felt normal - my brain cells were not dying prematurely, I did not have the shake from hell, and more often than not disturbed nights. And then I realised I hadn't taken my lunchtime dose of brightly coloured drugs which were designed to do the job my stupid brain had abdicated responsibility for.
Back to thoughts of the next 5 days. There was to be an excess of positive thinking, as well as downing copious quantities of cider at the end of each long long day. At the mid-point of the walk where we will have put more miles behind us rather than ahead of us we will be joined by the infamous Q from Cure Parkinsons Trust and the venerable Slice of Life aka Jon Stamford. Apart from our first day, we should have company all the way to Reading.
But one thing is clear - I am going to have to pack light for the next two days, as we will be staying in Bristol tonight, and with Wendys in-laws tomorrow. The next time I see my bed will be Thursday evening. Packing light is not something I have a great deal of experience in - I have plenty of experience though in packing for a month when I am away one night. This time, I really am going to have to leave the kitchen sink at home!