Number of kilometres today: 34.41
Total kilometres walked from Canterbury: 324.48
Total steps since Canterbury: 459,862
I left Trefcon this morning at 7.45am on quiet country roads surrounded by fog. In the bushes and trees and fences lining the road into Etraillers were decorated with the pretty lacework of perfect spiderwebs wearing pearls of dew.
It was another long day of walking, 34.5 kilometres today and most of it in the rain. Unable to find my usual lunch eating venue, a bus stop, I spotted some kind of metal cabinet on a nature strip nestled between two shrubs that made the perfect bench and that is where I sat and ate my sandwich and apple as the rain continued to tumble down. As I sat and ate my sandwich dripped on from the raindrops falling of my hood, I really understood how despite what is happening around us, it's what is happening inside that is important. I had no control over the weather but I was still happy and content.
The last hour or so of todays walk was alongside the Canal de St Quentin on my right and woodlands on my left. With no pain in my toes, arches, knees or hips, only the constant ache in my heels, knowing I had almost made it, and that I was walking somewhere safe where I didn't have to look over my shoulder for cars, I put my headphones on and danced along to some music for a while. Yes, I did indeed dance and sing as I continued to step over and around the orange slugs out in force as I wondered...are they cannibals? I always see them near their roadkilled brethren and at first I thought they were mourning but now I think they are eating their dead brethren.
Arriving into Tergnier, I easily found my hotel but it wasn't open so I rang the number on the door and had my first phone conversation in French, managing to explain who I was, that there was a booking for me made by Madame Wynyard and I was here. It doesn't matter that I didn't understand much of what he said back to me. I understood that he was expecting me and coming to let me in and that was enough.
I enjoyed a long and hot shower after last nights meagre splashing with some lukewarm water and then I inspected my poor feet. My wonderful Goretex Red Beasts are turning out not to be as waterproof as they are meant to be. My socks were soggy, my feet white and pruned and I had one new blister.
Tonight, I am tired and cold despite wearing all of my layers and having had a hot shower. My heels are throbbing and painful and I am wondering if my body is a little in shock. I have eaten a picnic dinner of sandwich, biscuits and a beer bought from the supermarket fifty metres from my hotel. Soon I will stretch my legs, rolll the bottom of my feet over my small rubber ball to stretch the arches and give my feet a massage before curling up in bed and hopefully falling deeply asleep until I wake in the morning to do it all again.