A maximum high – In the name of Thiago – Day 147

Now it might be that like York’s finest Shed Seven, that I reached my maximum high in April 1996 (today is blog number 147 in case you were wondering about the reference) but suddenly I do feel that I have a lot to give. That said, when I reached the halfway point at The Blue Bell in Kidsgrove this morning at shortly after half nine on my 15 mile trundle, it didn’t feel that my legs did.

I had a reasonably deep conversation with one of my very best friends Jamie Hickey this morning as I was completing the final mile of my 15 miler this morning. Jamie really helps me to understand my grief, and both yesterday and today it has hit me like a fucking freight train, that’s for sure.

Part of the huge sadness I have felt came about from discovering a poster-sized image of Thiago under the sofa bed yesterday. But it’s just as much about the emotional complexity that separates what I cannot enjoy as a father with Thiago and what I’ve probably never had with my own father, who, as you know, is still under my roof. But as Jamie wrote to me today, ‘The path through is a fuck of a lot easier to take if it’s you leading the way.’ Wise man that Hickey lad.

Leading the way on the Hickey stakes today though is Jamie’s mum Sarah. I barely know Sarah if I’m honest – she worked with my mum briefly back in the day at Eastbourne District General Hospital – but she has seriously made my day today by backing my cause as her chosen charity for 2020. Her fabulously generous donation has pushed me over the £7,000 mark for money raised: still with three and a half months to go. Thank you so much Sarah!

The pictures today are not connecting with the words I’m writing specifically as it doesn’t always work that way. They were simply taken along the way on my walk. I just wanted to say that though I know I didn’t need to.

I had hoped that I might still have some oomph left in me this afternoon but I’m respectfully allowing myself some time and space and accepting that as I’m struggling, I mustn’t put too much pressure on myself. Taking to the garden with the aforementioned chainsaw as discussed in yesterday’s blog can wait until tomorrow.

Dad has spent the whole day at his new gaff, which is really encouraging. I really want him to start to feel that it is his home now. Maybe today was the start of that process. Lockdown has made life difficult but gradually as the country opens up again, it will start to become more manageable. Angelica and I are most certainly going to have to take the lead on him moving in properly, but it does feel that today we got a step nearer to that happening. This brings me some comfort.

I am glad that I don’t take my wallet out on my walks as with the restrictions gradually being lifted I am starting to encounter more temptation. It’s debatable whether I would have been able to resist the one below had I been moneyed up, so thankfully I wasn’t. I know that after a morning slice of toast before I head out, all I need to sustain me for five hours’ walking is two pieces of fruit, a bar of something and my large bottle of water. It’s worked for three Saturdays in a row so there’s no reason to change I’d venture.

Well I hope you’ve all been enjoying your Saturday sunshine unlike Elisa, who I’m starting to think might actually be a vampire. With Sarah’s generous support the fundraising has had a much-needed boost but there’s still a long way to go. Please help if you can folks.


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