From the wilderness to Warwick (Napton-on-the-Hill to Warwick) - In the name of Thiago - Day 277


At long last the bastard weather gods decided that I needed a bit of a break today and lo and behold, the sun put in an appearance. Not for prolonged periods but the main thing was that it was dry. All day, praise be!

After last night's barely believable chain of events, I must have been truly knackered as I woke up at 8.28am having agreed with our host last night that yes breakfast at 8.30 was more than fine. I threw some water over my face and was sat down at the table by 8.35. I felt completely disorientated and slightly guilty - that's just me I guess as no-one else gave a shit - but I'd made it. Yesterday was truly horrible in so many ways, today was going to be much better I'd said to myself. And so it proved.

It seems that the area Fiona and I were walking through today had more than a touch of a pre-historic feel about it. Now I know that I could look this stuff up and try and kid you that I know stuff but you and I know that I simply don't have that within me. Fiona, who has a real yearning for information relating to history, reckons this is an icthyosaur, and I for one am not about to doubt her. She's a super smart lady is Fiona. 

You can't really make it out on that pub sign but is says The Blue Lias. Lias is something relating to geology i.e. the kind of rock when chaps like this brontosaurus were doing the rounds. I didn't look into it any more than making this partial observation but there remained a strong dinosaur theme in the area. And what's not to like about that.

Strolling along the towpath of the Grand Union Canal has been a privilege and a truly exhilarating experience at times. I genuinely wondered whether dedicating the middle two weeks of my four week trek was in fact such a wise thing to do. Would I meet anyone? Would I be bored?

Far from it. The scenery along the towpath is constantly changing as you move from towns into villages into occasional stretches of nothingness. Throughout it all though, you meet people. People who are willing to talk, listen to my story and just as importantly because it's one of the reasons that I'm doing this - make a donation. I even put in a bit of a shift on the locks today, which helped to secure another donation. You see, I don't miss a trick! 

Fiona had promised supplies prior to me meeting her at Crewe railway station yesterday morning and I genuinely had no idea what she meant. She had actually told me about this little beauty yesterday but frankly we were both too cold and wet to be able to consider anything other than the continuation of putting one foot after the other. This masterpiece hails from a chocolatier called Slattery which Fiona swears by. For all your information they are based in Bury and this was excellent and greatly appreciated. I plan to dig them out next time I'm heading north.

I don't suppose seeing this boat livery necessarily had anything to do with the fact that I'd passed through the dinosaur-themed area of Stockton earlier in the day as far as I know, but to complete this part of the blog I thought I'd throw it in there. Some of the artwork that you see on boats is really quite magnificent and the pride that the owners of these wondrous beauties take in them is really something as well. It's not a life that I would ever lead but I do have a healthy respect for those that do.

Having started the day in the relative wilderness of Napton-on-the-Hill, it was remarkable how quickly we soon made our way into an urban setting. This had a real appeal for Fiona as she has a huge interest in street art. I've not necessarily always shared that view but I am starting to open my mind these days to new experiences and there's actually so much to be enjoyed. This wasn't the best piece of graffiti that we saw in Leamington Spa but my feet were hurting so fucking much that I couldn't quite be arsed to march over the bridge to get sufficiently close up to one of a face lit up magnificently in blue and red. 

The best was yet to come of the day. Fiona and I weren't far off leaving this park in Warwick when we caught sight of these chaps having a bit of a sing song among themselves. They just happened to catch sight of us at much the same time. They finished off the tune they were banging out, we offered some polite applause and they then asked why I was carrying a bucket and wearing a bright yellow T-shirt, (I told you it was a touch). It turns out that they were a proper barbershop quartet, and bloody good they were too. 

They gave us an excellent rendition of Bye Bye Love by Simon and Garfunkel and we all left feeling that the last ten minutes of our lives was time really well spent. Well I did at least and I know that Fiona felt the same - she was positively beaming!

We arrived in Warwick shortly before 5 and though I was struggling physically I felt pretty good with things. I'm getting closer now. When I tell people that I'm walking to Stoke-on-Trent now, it doesn't quite sound so impressive but I view that positively. I'll be home soon, reunited with my beautiful wife Angelica and my equally gorgeous daughter Elisa. I miss them terribly and though they might not admit it quite so readily, I think they might like to have me around again soon. 

Before you all think I've gone ridiculously soft and sentimental though, let me do the asking for money bit. Yes that is the other reason I'm doing this and a bloody good reason it is too. The NHS needs every spare penny it can get in its coffers so cough up folks and help me to help them. I thank you.


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