Yesterday, 9th December 2016, I wanted to do another long walk just like my previous three training walks but this time I wanted to include a heavy rucksack. Looking around for some things to throw in the rucksack, I spotted my hospital notes from the Royal Brompton Hospital who looked after me from 1991 to 2008. A few years ago, I asked for my medical records from RBH as I had ran out of thrillers to read at home. This ended up as the saddest story I have ever read and was rapidly dis-guarded, just like my old heart. There was something quite lovely about carrying my old heart’s story on my back as my new heart powered me through 14 miles with no problems.
The walk from Hemel Hempstead old town to Northchurch, Nr Berkhamsted was mostly along the Grand Union Canal. Dog walkers,self walkers (like myself), joggers and houseboat owners are the usual frequenters of this beautiful area and all were polite, smiley, chatty and very relaxed. One hundred meters to the north, I watched stressed commuters gazing out of Virgin Media trains wishing that they were walking with us and fifty metres to the south, I heard enraged car drivers trying to gain ‘valuable’ seconds to there journey time. Sandwiched between these stressed lifeforms were human beings with happy dog faces and dogs with contented owner faces, joggers high on endorphines and ducks who generally never seem to be that bothered by man, bike, train or car. Of couse, the most laid back creature along the canal are the house boat owners themselves. Bless em 🙂
I reached the mid point, a gorgeous pub built in 1908 where I stopped for lunch and a pint of water. (and half Greene King IPA) The locals (7 men 14 pints and a dog) were discussing whether football or rugby is our national game. As a half Irishman, I tend to stay out of these discussions but on this occasion my agreement with the football arguers rather than the “eggchasers” went down very well and they offered to by me a pint. When they realised I was on tap water, they all wanted to buy me one. I retreated to a roaring fire and took off my clothes.
An erect sausage eventually arrived much to the delight of my schoolboy humour (see above) and I successfully made the 20 year old polish barmaid blush. (Well it had to be done)
The men were now talking about Donald Trump’s hairpiece and mixed with that, they were discussing that Bob (the one with dog) could now get his TV license for free as he was 75 years old. Old men in pubs are masters of bizarre conversations. When my backpack finally went on, Bob (the one with the dog) asked if I was Sean Connery. I looked at him and with great confusion managed to say the word “yes” much to the others amusement. I had no idea what they were talking about but left the pub hearing seven old men laughing loudly. A lovely sound. Any ideas?
A few months ago, whilst doing the filming for the BHF video on the homepage, two ten year old boys walked past and one said to the other
“What are they filming?”
“I dunno. Maybe the new James Bond” replied the other.
I think the two stories are interlinked. Hertfordshire wants me as the new Daniel Craig.
I walked back to Hemel with a spring in my step, two sausages and a bowl of mash in my stomach and The Stone Roses on my walkman. (its not actually a walkman, its not ipod, its an mp3 player I suppose you’d say but it will always be walkman to me)
The ballast tested me exactly how I wanted it to and maybe it was made a little easier knowing that in my rucksack was the verbal equivalent of my old heart life.
10th December Update
No injuries, head no bigger after potentially being called James Bond again. My legs the following day? Shaky but not stirred