Wednesday, July 21, 2010

By Popular Demand - Repeat Performance of Gay's Big Work

I make no apology for repeating this item, which first appeared on my blog some time ago. I repeat it because it is more true than ever. I could not have done this walk without Gay, who in many ways has contributed more than I have. All I have done is walk. She has done everything else.

I feel very guilty about this being known as Vic’s Big Walk. There is somebody else who is spending at least as much time and effort as I am. Gay is doing everything except the walking.

We get up at about five in the morning. While I go to the facilities and have a shave, et cetera, Gay is making a cup of tea, putting out my breakfast, making me some sandwiches to take with me, getting me out a banana, and putting out a bottle of the beetroot juice to drink before I start the walk.

We have breakfast then I continue to get myself ready. Gay washes the dishes, then she unsecures the umbilical for the vehicle, turns off the gas, demounts the window blinds and generally gets the vehicle ready for moving.

Then she drives me to the point where I finished the previous day’s walk. She sees me on my way. Then she does housekeepery things with the vehicle, she goes for fuel if necessary, she goes for food. She is not necessarily going the same route as me and needs to seek out shops, perchance a supermarket.

If she is able to travel roughly the same route that I will be walking she even stops to suss out where there are suitable coffee stops for me, then texts me to let me know where the coffee shop is in relation to the track that I will be walking on.

She then goes to find the next campsite. She checks in at the campsite. After checking in she probably washes some clothes – don’t forget I am producing sweaty clothes every day. She then decamps – unless the campsite is on my route and I will walk straight to it – and goes to wait for me at an appointed meeting place. She sometimes sits there for hours waiting for me because it is not always easy to estimate how long a walk will take, particularly if I am going to be on rough and mountainous tracks.

She picks me up, takes me to the campsite. While I am having a shower and getting myself sorted, she makes the lunch. We have lunch. Then, while I am writing my blog and dealing with e-mail correspondence, Gay washes the dishes and other necessary jobs.

She then even attends to my feet and nails, especially after the trouble I had in the first week. She spends hours every day poring over maps, particularly for days and days at a time when she was re-planning the route because it was clear that I was walking far too long each day on the stages we had selected.

Then we sit down and have a meeting about the next day’s walk. She gives me instructions on the route – don’t forget I can’t see the tracks on the maps – which I then feed into my invaluable Satmap Active 10 navigation device, ready for use the following day. By this time it is getting on for evening meal time. She prepares that, we eat it. Then, while I transcribe the notes which I have dictated in a tape recorder (as I am doing with this) she washes the dishes. If we are lucky we then snatch time for a crossword and maybe a few pages of reading. By which time it is bedtime. While I go to the ablution block to get myself ready for bed, Gay closes all the shutters on the windows. We are in bed by nine o’clock because we shall be getting up at five.

So, all day, every day, Gay is going full tilt. She is a treasure. I love her. I couldn’t do this walk without her. It is no wonder that so many people say to me, “Vic, you are a very lucky man.” And I know it.


French for a While said...

What a terrific blog entry. I'm sorry I missed it the first time. Of course, this family knows how important Gay is to the team effort. Way to go...both of you. We can't wait to 'see' you at the finish. By the way, we're in Italy -- and will be picking up Kerri's parents from Rome next week!

Mary said...

Well done both of you, can't believe you are nearly at the end where it all began! We are staying in Quillan right now and have been without internet for a while thus my 'following' has been sadly lacking - pleased to be back on line keeping up with your last few days. On on .. Mxx