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Rock Maze
  • Writer's pictureNeil

Talking Walking

Last year, at about this time our trip to France was coming to a close. Little did we know then that it may have been our last trip (I’m desperately hoping not). Early on in the trip Tricia and I fell into a comfortable morning routine. Tricia would do some motorhome work (like housework but in a motorhome) and I would wander off for a stroll. This motorhome work is not necessarily stereotypical gender defined activity. It's just the way it is. I have never slept brilliantly and generally when I wake up I want to get up. Not fester my life away in bed. Tricia, on the other hand, is a bit more of a sleeper. Couple that with the confines of a motorhome and there's some logic in the fact that I wander off. Tricia is also a bit of a tidy freak and she likes to keep the motorhome spic and span which is great because many days if not every day we're on the move again which is loads easier in a tidy van. This “morning walk” became a daily routine. Sometimes I would return and regale Trish with tales of what I’d come across and we would retrace my steps later in the day.

One notable thing that happened last year was that Tricia stumbled on a spiral staircase in the Chateau Du Doux and proper hurt her ankle. Ouch! We still have the crutches we borrowed. For a few days I was definitely walking alone.

Over the last 16 or so years Tricia has repeatedly undergone extensive eye surgery. On both eyes! The end result is she only has peripheral vision in one eye. For her this can make walking challenging especially on uneven surfaces. She’s thrown herself off many a curb and even face planted a flower bed.

So I walk and sometimes Tricia joins me. That was until lockdown. Three weeks before lockdown Tricia had more surgery on her “good" eye that was so successful that her vision is the best it’s been in a long while. A week later I had abdominal surgery (that transpired to be unsuccessful) and needed to regain my fitness. So rain or shine, and luckily during lockdown it was mostly shine, we went walking. All the local public footpath signs we’ve driven past meaning to check out we’ve checked out. We’ve met interesting people and found interesting places. And played a kind of hopscotch with dog poo.

Then disaster struck!

For the past few weeks I’ve not been so inclined to walk quite so much. Partly because the wind has been knocked out of my sails. Partly because I’ve started the kitchen renovations. And partly because I’ve been inundated with invitations to attend a variety of exciting functions at RCH Treliske. We’ve been out a few times but not nearly as much. So when my good friend and previous work colleague Emma invited me to lunch and maybe a walk a couple of weeks ago I jumped at the chance. Sadly, one of the unwelcome side effects of chemotherapy, maybe not all but definitely mine, is sore hands and feet. I was quietly pissed right off when my feet began to feel sore. The walk was neither long or arduous but by the evening my feet were burning. What to do? I’m disinclined to give up on the walking, not yet anyway. I asked around and did a bit of research and found some Nike trainers that are designed for trail running. They seem to have done the trick. Yippee!

So today I returned the favour, Emma and I did lunch, picnic style, and had a walk. Hello side effect welcome to the party. Yes, another side effect, fatigue has begun to manifest itself. So my feet are Ok ish but the walk seemed a bit tougher than I expected (insert sad face emoji).

Now I mention Emma for a reason. For some time Emma has raised money for bowel cancer charities. She has a guided 5 mile route around the River Gannel which she has taken people on as a money raiser. (Just in case you don't know. The River Gannel rises in the village of Indian Queens in mid Cornwall. It flows north under Trevemper Bridge and becomes a tidal estuary. The Gannel divides the town of Newquay from the village of Crantock. Crantock was the home of my first wife it's an area I haven't walked for 35 years or so. Is that what you call walking down memory lane?) Tricia and I would very much like to do this walk and we would like you to join us. It’ll probably be a Saturday or Sunday (a weekend when I’m not having chemo). It’ll need to be soon-ish, before my feet or fatigue knobbles me and the tide needs to be right. I’ve had a conflab with my mate Boris ( and he says as long as we space out in groups of no more than 6 we're good to go.

My part of the deal is to look at the tides and postulate some possible dates and times.

Your part of the deal is walk 5 miles and reach into your pocket.

What do ee reckon?

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We would do a five mile walk at the same time around here to support. X

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