London Loves (Redhill to Croydon) In the name of Thiago - Day 264


Christ I'm shagged. It all started with a phone call from my week one leader and planner extraordinaire Mr Jamie Hickey to say that he was feeling pretty ropey and wouldn't be able to make it today. This came as a blow. He has been the one consistent aspect of the opening five days and become a phenomenally reliable right hand man but needs must, today we would have to manage on our own. Well I say on our own. I was left in the capable hands of Moose and Bulldog, a quite magnificent back up team even if I do say so myself.

We worked magnificently as a team. Moose on maps, Bulldog on roll-ups and me on the bucket. The smokes were dished out evenly between the Moose and the Dog, while the map-reading was quite outstanding. I might have navigated us into some of the tight spots we seemed to find ourselves in but it's very unlikely that I would have navigated ourselves back out of them. Then again, neither Bulldog or Moose would have successfully scored £96 on the bucket. It has been a pretty good day all round.

Only half a mile after leaving the station, the Moose man was leading us through glorious woodlands. This was probably the finest part of the day. The sun remained out for the large part and for the 20-30 minutes when it did come down pretty heavily, we were protected by trees quite similar to those in the image above.

My main challenge today was coping with the monstrosity that I had on my shoulders. This was the first day that I had to carry the beast and I'm pretty glad that it will be staying in Wimbledon with my friend Camilla while I journey onwards to Richmond, Uxbridge and Kings Langley in the coming days. Stupidly, as you can tell from the photo, at this stage of proceedings, I hadn't attached the strap that holds my impressive girth in. My shoulders are now in absolute agony and I have mentioned to my dear friend Camilla that they would benefit from some attention. We'll have to see where that goes!

I wasn't expecting this today. All I can say is that I have only admiration for not only Moose's supreme skills but also the confidence he has in his intuition. They say that people live on their wits, Christ I'm glad I don't live on mine, as they're all over the fecking place. 

It was strange in parts today. As we were walking through some beautiful grasslands the unmistakable whir of passing traffic kept getting closer and closer until we were walking side by side with the M23 slip road coming on to the M25. I must have passed along here more times than I care to remember but this was the first, and I suspect last time, I had done so on foot. 

So we stopped for a while and gazed gormlessly at the passing traffic, as you do, for five minutes before moving on to the next stage of the journey. It's a new phase of this incredible trek now. Some incredible memories have been created along the way already and I know that many more will be made ahead as well but I am now in the big smoke.

There's your confirmation, (please note correct use of belly and chest strap) in case you didn't believe me. Today's route was 15 miles, probably about three more than if we'd gone as the crow flies but you know what, I wouldn't change a thing. Yes, my legs were at the point of caving in as we inched into Croydon's town centre and I generally didn't feel they would carry me any further after we landed at our first bar but there's nothing about the day that I regret or would do differently. Okay, well aside from using the straps on my bag correctly I guess. 

And here we are at Art & Craft,  just before we sampled a nice drop of beer from the Pig and Porter brewery - they're Bulldog's employers in Tunbridge Wells. This was our first port of call in Croydon at shortly before 5, we later dropped in at the Cronx too before I made my way gingerly across to the tram  stop to head to the lovely Camilla's (shoulder rub still being negotiated) where I'm writing to you from now. 

Keep up the fantastic work of sharing and donating folks. I'm feeling so much support from so many sources but I just need everyone to keep that up for another three weeks, after which you can feel free to tell me to fuck off. Let's hit that fundraising target first though eh!



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