20p magic canal basketball (Kings Langley to Tring) - In the name of Thiago - Day 270
There we are, the five little smashers. I suspect we'd be a fairly shit band but my word what a wonderful bunch of walkers we all are (that's not a predictive text error)! I am feeling right on the money tonight after a day spent with these splendid fellows and the energy is coursing through my veins once more.
So to 20p magic canal basketball. Today's blog is named in honour of the magnificent fundraising dedication of Mr Simon Eastland, who put in an astonishing effort on the bucket today. He managed to successfully field a 20 pence piece being launched at him from a passing narrowboat this afternoon and has been quite ruthless at times in source of maximising donation opportunities. You've got to love the nutter.
This was a bloody odd sight - there were many today - life canalside is something you need to see often to be believed. The great thing about the boating fraternity is that they have a lot of time so once they've accepted that you're not a fraud, it's quite a straightforward step to find people happy to donate to the cause. As my good friend and walking buddy Mark commented today, they are what you might call a little 'off grid' but when it comes to generosity they are a right decent bunch.
The pace of life is something that is very appealing about this way of living. There were a ridiculous number of pubs along the route today, temptation at every corner. Not something I probably needed, to be blunt about it. We set off at just before half eleven after gaining a couple of donations in the pretty ropey cafe 100 yards down the road from Kings Langley railway station. And we were led along the way by Barry, who acted as our local guide for the day. Bloody good he was too.
Bazzer kept us out the pubs until almost 2pm when we settled down for a bit of nosebag at The Three Horseshoes at Winkwell. I shit you not, I've not been making these names up on this trip. We had a game of guess the home city of the Australian bar manager today. I went with Smellbourne, Brizzy was in there someone else went for Adelaide, Bulldog went with Sydney and Bazzer plumped for Summer Bay.
How we laughed at the youngest member of the group until said Aussie confirmed that Home and Away was indeed filmed right on the doorstep of where he used to live. Genius from Barry. We did think about having a game of guess why the fuck this poor bastard was living somewhere near Berkhamsted, but we opted instead for having some grub and moving on our way.
I decided to put some effort in today working on the upper core. Nah of course I didn't, so instead I'll refer you back to my original comment on life on the canal. I don't really think I'll be surprised by anything else I'll see on the GUC on my route to Birmingham.
The Bazman furnished us with some lovely local history today. My favourite was the story of Peter the Wild Boy who was buried in Berkhamsted. Peter was a feral child who was befriended by George I in the early 18th century and brought back to Hertfordshire. His grave is not all that far from where I was today, I didn't get to to see it today but Bazzer did share it with me for your collective enjoyment.
Finally, after a traipse through the wettest weather I've faced on this trip so far, which in fairness still never got anywhere close to being really unpleasant - but then maybe I'm just a lot more resilient these days - we wound up at our final destination: Tring Brewery. Simon and I grabbed a three litre bottle of beer and then, as he has all done all day, sourced another donation. His talent for this is quite something. The lady at the brewery just asked me 'is everything ok?' At that point I had to explain that he was simply waiting to have his bucket filled. They gave us a fiver!
It's been a wonderful day, the weather's not dulled my spirits and the fundraising effort has been just brilliant. After a ridiculously generous donation from my good friends Glyn and Janine, who gave me the added lift of saying they're going to join me at some point on the walk, I'm really on a high as my £15,000 target is within touching distance. And tomorrow I'm going to be be meeting my old broadcasting buddies Helen and Hawesy. This is a life experience that I'll never forget and I'm very proud of everything I'm doing. Good for me I say!