Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Day 53. Looking To Laurels

A very pleasant walk from Somerton Bridge to Claydon Locks. Gay met me in Banbury, having sussed out a Costa’s coffee shop in the shopping mall right next to the canal. I have forsaken Starbucks for Costa’s when in England. Prefer their coffee, prefer their muffins, prefer their cups as opposed to transport café style mugs, prefer the fact that their premises don’t frequently look run-down and seedy. Look to your laurels, Starbucks – I, for one, am grateful to you for starting the coffee-shop culture, but, in Britain certainly, you are being left behind.

In the same mall we also found a Jessops camera shop where I was able to replace my camera case. On the previous one, the thing which the strap clips on to had become detached. I had stuck it together with the Uhu which “has been shown on TV” to hold a truck suspended from a crane. Well, it didn’t manage to suspend my camera and I had an urgent need of a new case because there was a constant danger of dropping the whole caboodle into the canal. There were expensive cases of all sizes in the shop but the one I bought, made of recycled material, cost me the princely sum of £8.

I had several conversations with people along the way. My technique is to say “I have walked here from the Pyrenees!” People invariably want to talk about it. I am happy to do so, and to tell them that I am raising funds for Pancreatic Cancer UK. I don’t give a hard sell, but if just a few of them, or only one of them, feels inclined to go away and donate online, it is worth the added time on my journey. And it’s nice to talk to people, anyway.

At one lock I spoke to Commander John I. Muxworthy, RN. He and his wife were manoeuvring their craft. He is the CEO of the United Kingdom National Defence Association, which has the objective of lobbying for increased, or even adequate funding, for the armed forces. There has been a scandalous rundown in the capabilities, pay and equipment of all three services at the same time as increasing demands on them. And at the same time as dishing out colossal amount of money to, for instance, bad bankers.

I walked 28 kms today. 1467.5 kms since starting VBW on May 15. 53 days of walking, without a rest.

We are at the Fir Tree Falconry at Warmington, a lovely campsite in a bowl, surrounding a lake. As the name implies, it is also a falconry centre, with birds on display (if you pay) and exhibitions of them flying.

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