Monday, August 29, 2011

What A Heel

I mentioned a few days ago that I went for a 6 kms walk, having been given the all-clear to do so by the physios who have been applying the ESWT to my afflicted part. I have to report that the pain after the walk was much the same as before I had the treatment.

I left it for more than another week then did the same 6 kms walk yesterday (there isn't a big choice of flat walks here in the foothills of the Pyrenees). Result, the same pain.

They did tell me that the results of the treatment, which makes things worse before they get better, will kick in 4 to 6 weeks after the 4th treatment, so I am keeping my fingers crossed about that, but the signs are not too good just yet.

And did I mention that 4 to 6 weeks after the 4th treatment will see me deep, or rather high, in the Andes?

For details of where to find my book "Vic's Big Walk from SW France to NW England" double click on this.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

5-Star Boy

There have been some good reviews of my book on Amazon, but I am particularly chuffed with this one from an 11-year old boy, Charley Peacock:

"5.0 out of 5 stars Vic`s Big Walk, 23 Aug 2011
Well, I have to say, I am only eleven years old, but I think this book is simply outstanding. I first actually met Vic Heaney on a plane back from the south of France. He told me he wrote this book, so I downloaded a sample as soon as I got home. And I have to say, I am not dissappointed. A brilliant beginning to a story to what probably is a memorable ending. A brilliant story, an will most definitely buy the full version. :))"

The picture is of Charley, on the left, with his friend James on the right.

For details of where to find the book "Vic's Big Walk from SW France to NW England" double click on this.

Monday, August 22, 2011


Trampships Tankers and Polite Conversation: Experiences of the Merchant Navy during the 1950's And 1960'sTrampships Tankers and Polite Conversation: Experiences of the Merchant Navy during the 1950's And 1960's by John Lee

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My daughter Nicola suggested that this would be a welcome birthday present for me.

I can't imagine why - it is about a teenage boy going to sea as a junior officer in the Merchant Navy in the 1950s. Wait! That sounds familiar!

I have only read the first couple of chapters and already the nostalgia is flowing, the lamps are swinging and the weevils are popping out of the hard tack.


View all my reviews

Jackie A put a very kind review of my book on Amazon today. For details of where to find the book "Vic's Big Walk from SW France to NW England" double click on this.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Summer's Gone And All The Flowers Are Dying

I have emerged, punch-drunk, after flying to UK every week for the past four, having had 4 ESWT treatments for my heel spur/plantar fasciitis. I think I mentioned before that this treatment makes the pain a bit worse before it gets better. What should happen now is that in about 4 to 6 weeks the pain should go and everything will be back to normal.

But the really good news is that I can now go for a walk, for the first time in 3 months. But I can only walk on the flat, which is a bit of a tall order in this area. I went for a haircut in Quillan this morning - something which was a couple of weeks overdue because of the travelling - then Gay dropped me off at Nebias, just next to the gendarmerie operating their speed camera. Most of the walk from there is flattish, except for one promontory which I did my best to ignore.

I had no trouble while walking, although the heel was a bit sore afterwards - I think this is normal. But it was very noticeable that the crops on either side of the track were well past their grow-by dates. The sunflowers have lost their bloom and the maize is loaded with the seed heads. Not to mention all these rolls of hay which were clearly made months ago. All this while I was not there. I have missed the summer, or at least my feet and legs have.

And autumn is really approaching faster than usual. The grape harvest has started in the Blanquette de Limoux area, or, as it says in the local paper, the vendange is precocious. And almost all the leaves are already off the centenarian+ conker tree in our courtyard.

And yet the temperatures have soared into the mid-30s for the first time this year. We are promised 39 degrees for tomorrow! I can't believe that some people like these temperatures.

For details of where to find my book "Vic's Big Walk from SW France to NW England" double click on this.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Flying Visits

Life is a bit hectic, what with all this commuting by air backwards and forwards over more or less the same route I walked last year. But I am managing to spend some time promoting my book. I am also getting some very good feedback from people who have read it.

It's difficult to be objective about your own work, of course. And when friends tell you how good it is, or that they have enjoyed it, there is a tendency, even though they are obviously sincere, to take it with a pinch of salt.

But when strangers contact you with praise - then you begin to take it seriously.

Here are some comments received in the past 24 hours:

"Vic, thoroughly entertained reading your book."

"The book is so funny in places, it makes me laugh out loud."

"I also really enjoy the evocative descriptions of rural France."

"Hard to say this without it sounding patronizing but I think you have done a great thing. After nearly 30 years in the *** I am conscious that my contribution to the greater good of society is not what it should be. Taking early retirement (in December) is providing the opportunity to rectify that, and your epic adventure has provided the impetus. Thanks so much for that Vic."

For details of where to find my book "Vic's Big Walk from SW France to NW England" double click on this.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Getting Rid Of Heel Pain

Far from doing any Big Walking, for the past few months I have done no walking at all, except for the normal day-to-day bobbing about.

I have mentioned before that I have a heel spur, or plantar fasciitis. It is difficult to distinguish between the two because they give pain in the same place. And whichever pain it is, it is very difficult to get rid of.

I had it once before, about 10 years ago, and successfully divested myself of it by undergoing a course of ESWT (Extra-corporeal Shock Wave Therapy). As you can see in the picture, the physio holds a device which looks something like an ultrasound scanner. It is applied to the afflicted part, in this case the heel, and produces pain which, like a good thrashing from a parent in the olden days, is good for you. I understand that this gadget was developed for breaking up kidney stones, then somebody discovered that it was good for tennis elbow and heel spur/plantar fasciitis.

10 years ago there were only 2 places in UK where you could get the treatment. I was having to spend some time in UK just then so elected to go into central London for the treatment, much though I loathe the place with a burning malevolence. 3 treatments were enough to clear up my problem, although the benefit comes some weeks after the third treatment. I have to admit that it gets worse before it gets better.

This year I knew that it needed doing but I have been putting it off. I didn't want to fly to England four times, even though the availability is far more widespread now. I could have it done in France, probably even have it paid for by the health service, but I would have to drive hundreds of kilometres each time.

Things played into my hands in a rather unfortunate way. A close member of my family is seriously ill and I am commuting to NW England to visit him. So I took the plunge and on each trip am having the ESWT treatment in Altrincham, where we used to live. I am hoping to be back on the road in a more serious way before the end of the year.

For details of where to find my book "Vic's Big Walk from SW France to NW EnglandW" double click on this.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Vic Vic's Book Book

Vic's Big Walk is selling quite well on Amazon. I don't have actual figur, but I do have a ranking. They all go up and down a bit, but at one stage on Saturday, my book was at number 6 in the category of travel books about France, outselling many established books and authors.

It is now available not only on Amazons .com and, but also at iBooks and Barnes and Noble Nook. Unfortunately, Barnes and Noble have me listed as Vic Vic Heaney - which sounds like a headhunter from Borneo, and they have only a picture of the book and not the description. Hopefully both of these things will be rectified today.

I am still awaiting publication on Sony Reader.

Double-click here to find out where to get the book.