The race is on - In the name of Thiago - Day 197


It’s an early blog from me today because I had a phone call from my friend Leo today inviting us over to his for a barbecue later. Elisa is very excited, suddenly wanting to talk to me in a very ‘I love you Daddy’ sort of way, because Leo has a daughter about 14 months older than her, who she loves to spend time with. So, like the big daft softy that I am, I’m cracking on with this so we can have a nice relaxing late afternoon/early evening with friends later on.


It took me a little while to get going this morning – it was the least motivated that I’ve felt for a walk for quite a while. Part of that’s been down to the sadness I’ve been feeling lately and part of it was down to straightforward lethargy.



I set off for my regular Kidsgrove and back walk this morning just before 9 leaving Elisa festering in her pit, knowing full well the likelihood of her still being there when I returned would be quite high. She was.


Today was just about putting the miles in, no other way of putting it. I spoke to both my parents, young Jamie Hickey and my friend Matt – who including his own very generous contribution has managed to raise £535 from shaving off his beard – while I was on my wanders today. More on Matt later.



For one reasonably long moment today as I was strolling up this admittedly only very slight incline, I thought I was about to bump into Michael Stipe. The bald head, long grey beard combo had me looking a few times until the slightly bemused chap greeted me in a very broad Potteries accent.


I responded with a jovial greeting of my own and he said, ‘you thought I was that bloke from REM didn’t you?’. I smiled and admitted as much before he pointed out that Stipe shaved his beard off some time ago. Well I guess he would know.


It made me think though that wouldn’t it be brilliant to strike up a conversation with someone fairly famous, who could then in a single social media post probably raise the last two grand I need to reach my target. Then I could skip all the needy pleading I’m so guilty of and that I should make quite clear, that I make no apology for.



This picture is taken from the Westport Lake end of the Harecastle Tunnel, which has now reopened making this stretch of the Severn Trent and Mersey Canal fairly busy once again. A little while before this picture was taken, I had been very grateful for the key I’d bought online from British Waterways to use the services that pop up intermittently along the canal path. A better £3.70 I’ll probably not spend this year. And with a fortnight on the Grand Union Canal from Richmond to Birmingham, I’m sure I won’t be the only one to appreciate this purchase.



As promised I’m signing off with one last thank you to this chap Matt Tyrer. The now former owner of the Full Apocalypse Beard is clean shaven for the first time in 12 years. Thank you Matt! Matt has done brilliantly with his fundraising efforts and of course there’s still more to do. So, if you can help with that, I’d be incredibly grateful.


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