Amazing times - In the name of Thiago - Day 210
This is turning out to be a great weekend. Yesterday was just brilliant, a couple of pubs on my tod, writing the blog in a beer garden and seeing a handful of friends in the evening. It was well after midnight when we rolled out of the Vic and I’d managed to raise another £25 or so from my mates, whose generosity never ceases to amaze me. My group of Eastbourne friends have been with me for nigh on 25 years now – those truly trusted friendships are a special thing and seeing some of them develop over time is also a thing that gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling.
My first job of the day was to replace the trainers that I’d bought in Birmingham in January. So these bad boys will be what you see me walking in when the big one kicks off in September. I bought these from Wes. He’s a triathlete, who runs a sports shop called Tempo just on the edge of Eastbourne’s town centre. Having done my first six miles in them today, I can confirm that they feel pretty good.
With the new trainers attached to my massive plates, and along with my brother Judd, Livi and her ladyship, we all bundled into Judd’s van and scooted off to Cuckmere late morning. The plan worked a treat – Judd, Livi and Elisa kayaked from what used to be the Golden Galleon, now somewhat disappointingly just the plain old Cuckmere Inn, down river as far as Litlington. It was just under an hour.
Elisa loves spending time with Uncle Judd or as she sometimes calls him, Uncle Guff, due to his legendary flatulence, which disappointingly seems to have eased since he’s started eating more vegetables. Guffer is the fun uncle that every kid growing up needs in their life. He is absolutely brilliant with Elisa and equally so with Millie and Tristan (my sister’s children). They’re all very lucky to have him around.
The Plough and Harrow is certainly very well set up for an outdoor clientele. It was a bit annoying that we had to pay a premium price to drink out of a cardboard cup, but to fair and balanced about that, we were just able to roll up and plonk ourselves down on an outdoor table with no hassle at all. So, it’s swings and roundabouts.
Now this carved figure just outside of Litlington is nowhere near as impressive as the version of the same name in Wiltshire or indeed the more famous (in Sussex) Long Man of Wilmington and to be fair I’m not even sure if this White Horse actually attracts any pagan gatherings. But it has been carved into the Sussex Downs since 1836 so it’s probably worth a mention for that alone, and besides it was kind of staring me down as we meandered along the Cuckmere river.
This is my favourite photo from today’s relaxing trip. In the distance you can make out Livi, Judd and Elisa plundering their way up the river but it’s the serenity of the scene that I think resonates most with me. There were many opportunities to simply enjoy the views today – this is something I’ve learnt to do a lot more since I started walking in January. I’ve got the time, so I’m more inclined to enjoy things a little more. It does me a lot of good.
We’re all off to Bulldog’s garden in a bit for a bite to eat. I’ve no doubt we’ll also sample something magnificent from the Toyhouse Brewery. I can say that very confidently as this wonderful friend of mine just doesn’t do average. He is a brewer of ambition I think it’s fair to say. Nothing bang average comes from this splendid fellow.
And when I say we, Angélica is joining us too. She’s been out visiting her friend Susie – the ladies have been lunching – and seems in very good spirits, as indeed we all are. These moments never last of course but I am very determined to enjoy every second. I’m really looking forward to seeing my best mate now. It really is all good.
Keep the donations coming folks if you can, or as many of you reading this will already have donated – if you haven’t I will come for you! – share the blog and the fundraiser with your social groups, fire off an email whatever you feel you can do. It’s a bit of a cliché but true nonetheless to say, that every penny helps eh Jamie Hickey!