Probably I should have not bothered today. My feet were in a terrible state and I set off late as the clock in my sister's spare room had not been adjusted when the clocks went forward last week. Only an hour, but the first part of the walk today was four miles along a fast and fairly busy road with no footpath. I had calculated that early on Easter Saturday would be as good a time as any to get this out of the way - when people were having lie ins or had already gone away for the weekend.

I considered just taking it easy for the day instead, and getting the train back in the Evening from Leicester rather than from Derby. The problem with that was I have a four day trip scheduled in two weeks. My brother in law suggested that I could always fill in this section later - which was true - but I would prefer to do the whole walk in order if I can, and if I can't I only want to resort to filling in missed sections later in direst emergency.

So, I set off. Later than I would like, my blisters covered with compeed but still pretty painful. Nina and Pete waved me off and I hobbled back to the hairdressers where Nina had picked me up the previous evening and then, after a quick dive into a co-op for half a dozen disappointingly stale hot cross buns,  up a hill which led to a bridge over the M69 and on to the dreaded B582 to Desford. The weather was dull and grey but at least it wasn't raining. The traffic was fast but at least it was still thin and I was able to step onto the verge when oncoming cars or lorries aproached, most of the time. But this hurt my feet so I only did it it the oncoming vehicles looked too fast or too close. Most courteously swung well to the right to give me a wide berth.

Almost immediately I heard, and then saw, four buzzards in the sky. They did not seem to be fighting over territory which seemed strange in Spring. A family from last year, perhaps?

But all in all it was a long and unpleasant hobble and by the time I got to the crossroads with the A47 I was fed up enough to try a footpath marked on the map. It ran behind the houses with vast gardens that lined the road before taking off over open fields. To begin with it was not too bad. Wetter than I would have liked but reasonable going. But soon enough it turned into the all too familiar mire.

England is a bog. The Midland Plain is, anyway. One great big fucking endless bog from Bedfordshire to York, from Norwich to Shrewsbury, squelching mud and churned up footpaths and water standing in great sheets in the claggy clay bound fields. Who'se stupid idea was this walk anyway?

Eventually, I slither into Desford. My feet are hurting much more now. They clearly prefer hard and regular surfaces to sliding over't shant.  The rest of me prefers the footpaths because I hate walking busy roads. I have started talking to my body as if it was a seperate being, like St Francis' brother Ass.  Which would be OK if the impertinant fucker did not keep answering back.

"Why are you so stiff and sort and unreliable," I ask it, reasonably.
"Listen, mind," it replies rudely, "It is our job to move you about, sure, but it is your job to maintain us properly. And that does not mean sitting in one awkward position all night arguing with right wing American nut jobs on the Internet or drinking too much wine and brandy."

I give up. There is no arguing with unreasonable articles like that.  Especially not my fucking feet which are whining like spoilt teenagers every step of the way.

Finally I make it to Desford. Which is quite a pretty village, and thankfully the next road is much quieter. I hobble past "Tropical Bird Land" which Desford seems to be famed for. And on, wincing all the way to Merry Lees, which has a much nicer name than it appears to deserve. Here I have a choice. Walk up the hill by road or take a parallel footpath. Having just had a couple of K's of road I opt for the path. Bad idea. I am back to bog in no time. It is quite a steep hill too so even more scope for slithering than usual.

"Shut up feet! Just stop fucking complaining, now or I won't get you those new trainers"

But by the time we get to the top I take the option to return to tarmac and limp down towards Bagworth Heath by B road.

More than ready for a hot cross bun break I am very, very happy to come to Bagworth Heath and find a perfectly placed bench. This is one of the bits of reclaimed, ex-industrial land that is making up the National Forest. I see my first pit wheel cemented into the ground as a commemorative sculpture. I see several of these over today. I have reached mining, or at least, ex-mining country.

Refreshed I try to make my way to Bagworth itself via a ride marked on the map. Soon I get stuck in the worst mire of the day, a broad path through an

impenetrable thicket that has been churned to a slough, but it is a long way back so I pick my way across as best I can and find my way to the ride. At least I think it is the ride. The thicket path curved round and I am disorientated so I get my compass out. There is something in it. I realise that a bit of the back has broken through into the compass housing and the liquid has all run out.

Will the needle still work? I hold it as steady as I can and watch the needle swing one way, and then the other, back and back again. Great! That was my best, Silva Compass and now I need to buy a new one.

At least it turns out that it was the right ride and I find my way back onto the road where I thought that I should be. And so to Bagworth. It is not the prettyest village I have every seen. You can tell it is ex-Industrial. But it is not ugly either. There are quite a few people around now, pottering in gardens etc and everyone says hello.

I limp down a long, long, hill. through Bagworth which is linear, but the pavement carries on when the road begins to go up again to Ellistown.  This is less genteel looking than Bagworth, and the natives that little bit less friendly to hobbling wierdos, at least, not everyone says hello here. All the men I see are heavily built to the point of being overwieght with shaven heads. It is only about five or six of them but the effect is striking. I pass a working man's club and a motorbike garage too, the first of three bike garages or shops I see today. I seem to be in biking country.

There have been buses going to Coalville since Bagworth and I am very, very tempted. There is no way that I am going to get to Melbourne which was my original objective. But I think I should be able to get to Derby, or to somewhere I can catch a bus from Derby, from Coalville. And that will have got me half way to Derby if I make it. So Coalville had become my only ambition.

It isn't far but my progress is as slow as it is painful. Again the pavement is blessedly continuous from Ellistown to Hugglescote and from Hugglescote to Coalville. More bike shops and another working man's club, and finally, I make it into a little square that seems to be the centre of Coalville. At any rate there are two bus shelters here. I am weary and in some pain but there is a map that I can follow in the bus shelter which shows three routes to Derby. I can go via Loughbourough, or via Swadlincote or Burton. As I have lots of time and I was in Loughborough a couple of weeks back with my sister Nina, I opt for Swadlincote, which I have never been too. I sit and wait, wondering about the chip shop opposite especially after two teenage girls sit on the next bench and noisily eat some.

I hear a some loud singing and three men come round the corner, one in a black and white football shirt. He is chanting something I cannot catch, about rival teams but the one bit I do understand is "We are the mighty Coalville." There is a young guy sitting next to me on the bench. "That's what too much drink will do," he says, when they have moved on. "Mighty Coalville?" I ask sceptically. "There are some strange people in Coalville he says."

A bus comes and he gets on it, giving me a wave as it pulls away. I take another look at the information and realise that I am waiting in the wrong place. I hobble round the corner to the right stop for Swadlincote. There is another chip shop here, but I cannot work out from the shit sign what time the bus is due. There is, however an information number. I phone it and find out I have about fifteen minutes.

The chip shop guy is Asian but his English seems to be fine. There is a solitary bit of fish on display. "Cod and chips, please." I say. He shows me a smallish portion of chips. "Is that enough?" he asks. This puzzles me but I had finished off the hot cross buns on a bench in Ellistown so I say yes. He starts to wrap them.
"Hold on," I say, "I wanted cod." He looks at me, says, "Yes, co...(something) chips."  I try again.
"He want's cod and chips," another customer puts in helpfully. Understanding dawns. "Oh" the Asian guy says. "I thought you said a corner of chips."

The fish turns out to be haddock anyway.

The bus turns out to be a good decision. First we get a tour of Moira in the heart of the National Forest which includes a glimpse of the amazing Moira furnace. "Swad" as it turns out to be called by locals, I don't see much of as the bus station is not in the centre.

All the people waiting there are white, and mostly elderly. The second bus takes us through Ticknall, which looks pretty, and Melbourne which is a very handsome town. And then I get my big bonus of the day which is, after Stanton by Bridge, the Swarkston Causeway.

Somehow I had not known about this amazing structure. Almost a mile of 13th century causeway across the Trent floodplain. Once almost as much a pinch point for north/south traffic as Stirling bridge was for the Highglands and Lowlands. Driving across it I realise why "Derby" was as far as Bonny Prince Charlie and his army made it South. I look across the floodplain  to see if I can spot the foot bridge which should be my own route across the Trent barrier but can see nothing. But I hope on the next leg I will be able to get some photos of the Causeway. Heavy traffic, it would seem, is putting it in danger.

The driver keeps stopping the bus, I suppose to adjust the schedule. So it takes forever. And despite all my time in hand I have only fifteen minutes to get from the bus to the train station in Derby. In a strange moment of sanity, instead of hobbling like fury on my blistered feet, I jump in a taxi.

And so ends my second day of blistered misery.

Horribly early start on Good Friday morning. Not really very well prepared for my first two day trip. No food for starters. I think there will probably be somewhere on the way I can get something but I haven't really worked it out on the map.

Planning! Didn't do Scott of the Antactic much good, did it?

The M&S Food place in St Pancras is closed. Oh dear. But I have time for a cappuccino and a bagel before my train leaves for Market Harborough.  This journey is great. It whisks me past old mates from earlier legs like Harpendon Common, the sewerage works before Luton, the three tower blocks that stand sentinal above the source of the river lee.

Then it is the Sharpenhoe Clappers and after Harlington station my train and walking routes diverge. It is a damp greyish morning when I step off the train at Market Harborough.

   Market Harborough station

The rules of the game say that I have to actually cross my path from the last leg, but I soon come to the route I took to the bus stop last time, and follow my own tracks to the middle of town. Luckily there is a Tesco open so I go to buy some hot cross buns. They don't have any. You can get hot cross buns all year now but not, it seems, on Good Friday morning. Oh well, I make do with some malt loaves and head out.

The first part is along a road and none too inspiring, but at least there is a footpath and traffic is not that heavy. The road takes me to a spur of the Grand Union Canal and and take the tow path for a bit. This is quite a long leg, or it will be if I fulfil my ambition of walking beyond my sister's house to give myself a head start for tomorrow. So I get back on the road to avoid a big bend in the canal. Rejoining it shortly before Foxton. 

The tow path is good here. Some sort of hoggin type stuff. The drizzle has stopped and though the forecast is for more rain later things are not looking too bad. The only problem is that my right foot is rubbing a bit on the ball. I think maybe the cheap outer socks I have on are a bad idea. And my boots are almost worn through at the soles. My beautiful lightweight, waterpoof  Brashers, are very near the end of their working lives. 

Past Foxton I come across a woman and small girl who are struggling to move a swing bridge, watched by a man at the tiller of a narrow boat and a boy. I offer to help and, once the boat is past, assist them to close it again. There aren't many photos of me on this trip so I ask the woman to take one of me.

I set off again and soon come to Foxton Locks where the spur meets the Leicester branch of the Grand Union Canal. The path is less good here, being simply wet grass for the most part.

Shortly out of Market Harborough I noticed a change in the countryside. Nothing dramatic, it was still gently rolling, but less was arable and more was pasture, mostly with sheep. Young lambs in the fields reminded me that it was supposed to be spring, though it was still grey and dismal. But the other thing I noticed was that there was lots of ridge and furrow around. This corrugated landscape is a relic of the big communal fields before enclosure. Divided into strips those strips were ploughed in such a way that the strips became long low ridges divided by shallow depressions. I had come across it once or twice on the last leg and seen it before from Ivinghoe Beacon looking out from the Chiltern escarpment over the start of this Midland Plain. 

But here it was everywhere. Every other field seemed to have it and I could see it from distant hills to the fields across the canal where the ridges and furrows had been truncated by the canal builders. 

At Debdale Wharfe I left the canal because there was a tunnel coming and even though I had remembered my head torch, I didn't fancy swimming. I was puzzled as I set off down the track. I checked the map. Looked at the country. Checked the map. This must be the right track, surely? But there were buildings, big farm buildings and a large house, and the farm buildings were old looking, and not a thing on my 25,000 scale OS map.  The track got seriously muddy quickly, especially past the farm buildings.  And soon I passed another house that wasn't marked. Strange as it was a brand new map.

After the village of Smeeton Westerby the track gave up and became a mire through a ploughed field. My feet were hurting much more now, and I was getting tired and desperate for some tea, but there was nowhere to stop and sit. So I pressed on until I came to a little Woodland Trust reserve, with a very timely bench placed for me to sit and sort myself out. 
I decided hat I had better change socks, putting on the better pair I had been saving for tommorrow. My right sock was wet and, no doubt that had not helped. I dried my feet and changed the socks and had a cup of tea and a croissent I had saved from breakfast. Then something small and ginger caught my eye. Dancing madly twenty meters or so away. A weasel. Only the third I have ever seen. Cheered and refreshed, I sorted out my boots and set off down the small hill to rejoin the canal.

The good tow path was gone now. It was a mass of mud, rutted deeply from mountain bikers and destroyed by tyres and boots. From this point on to when I finally gave up on the tow path it was an absolute nightmare. Often it sloped quite steeply and the tyre ruts and boots had made the lowest part a continual puddle. But if I tried to walk on the higher, drier parts I kept sliding off, even using my walking pole, and this was painful on my ever more sore foot. Smears showed where other people had tried and failed to do this before me. And the rain had set in again.

Still there were some pleasures to be seen. An old church marooned in a field which the map told me was the site of the medieval village of Wystowe. More lambs, more corrugations, a great spotted woodpecker and a solitary buzzard. 

But mostly it was mud. I was getting hungry and tired and sore but slogged on as there was a pub marked on the map at Kilby Bridge. But it was a hell of a long time coming. I slogged down a long stretch of canal, marking off the locks and bridges as I past them. Turnover Bridge, Lanham's Bridge, Tythorn bridge. On and on through the slithering mud.

At last I made it to the pub. The Navigation.  Not fancy but they gave me a table and I was a steaming lump of mud spattered misery. They had a two course special for £5.00 which I had. Horrible packet soup made very thick and a small piece of plaice with oven chips and peas and the most horrible cappuccino I have ever had, I think. But it was warm and welcoming and cheap and filling, and I was grateful for every bit of it.

But eventually I had to leave. And it was really pouring now. I stopped to put my over trousers on and set off once again into the pissing rain and mud.

The less said about the next couple of hours the better maybe. The path got worse if anything. I knew I had a blister on my right foot and probably on the left. The rain was relentless, the tow path unspeakable. More locks and bridges to tick off. Knights Bridge, Pochin's Bridge. And finally the houses of South Wigston.

The plan, such as it was, had been to carry on for another mile or so, but here I siezed the chance to get out of the mud and took a little lane into Blaby. Hobbling now, and knackered. But it was only another four K or so to Enderby. All thoughts of going further long since vanished.

On a good day it would not have been very pretty. Through urban sprawl and on busy roads. At last the sign for Enderby, but I still had to hobble over the M1 and go another kilometer or so.

The map was puzzling. I had been to my sister's quite a few times though had only made my own way once, many years ago. Still, I thought that I should be able to recognise the curving streets of her housing estate. Probably I was just too tired and stupified by the pain of my feet, but I could not see it. I hobbled on, past a cricket pitch that, to my surprise had what looked like remnants of ridge and furrow in the outfield. And then I felt the blister on my right foot bursting. There was a wet feeling and a scalding pain.

I knew I was very near to Nina's house but I really did not want to hobble round in circles on my burst blister. I got out the mobile and got her to come in the car and pick me up. 
I had a quick cup of tea and then had a bath and inspected the damage. The blister was not as big as I had thought but it was in a horrible place for walking, right where the toes met the ball of my foot. And there was as smaller unburst one on the left foot. 

Later, Nina and I looked at the map and she saw the problem straight away. Her estate was not on it, though it was twenty years old and I had only bought the map back in November. The unmarked houses on the muddy lane were no longer a mystery. 

Another start in the dark. To Euston for a day return to Northampton. Very cold and clear.

It is an odd day, this. Almost the opposite of the last one where there was no obvious route and constant decision making was required.  Today I hardly even need a map.

Dawn breaks as the train hurtles towards Northampton.  By the time I get there sunshine is lighting the golden stone buildings. I noticed last time that the centre of Northampton is quite handsome. A surprise to me as on my only previous visit I missed this, seeing only a club an some suburbs.

And it is the suburbs I head for. The only problematic bit today is this first part. Do I go to the east or west of the little river running north from the centre? I opt for east and it doesn't go so well. I can't get onto the fields shown on the map and I soon run into an industrial estate that I have to detour round before crossing the valley and river on a busy road. I take a track up the side of a council estate. The ground is frozen. Great! Should be able to avoid the mud today, I hope.

The entry to my objective, a disused railway line, now the Brampton Valley Way, is marked by a graffiti splattered post. The path goes under a railway bridge and I meet my first problem. The sides of the path slope steeply to a huge puddle, only partially iced. I manage to edge round it and then I am on the railway line.

This runs all the way to Market Harborough. Almost due north all day. I could put the map away now if I wanted to.  At first it runs by the side of a housing estate and half of  it seem to be taking advantage of the crisp winter sunshine to walk their dogs. Oddly they are all going in the same direction, half a dozen people in front of me, with dogs, going the same way.

There are hedgerows along the side of the route and these are alive with birds. I see a great spotted woodpecker which is a good start to the day.

After a bit I leave the dog walkers and a little further on come to a road where an abandoned, stolen looking, car has been left. Over the road is a sign announcing the Brampton Valley Way and a station. There is a restored section of railway here and the next few miles run parallel to it. I am too early for trains though.

The countryside is strange. There are no mature trees on the railway line,  hawthorn hedge and a few ash trees that look no more than twenty years or so old (though some have been hacked back and coppiced so might be older). And I notice that there are almost none in the landscape either. A few willows by the sides of streams but no hedgerow oaks or field oaks. And not other mature trees either. I cannot remember walking through countryside so devoid of even single trees. Later, I encounter a few little woods but they are all called spinney or coverts, suggesting that they were planted for hunting purposes, likely after parliamentary enclosure. But what would explain the lack of mature trees? Even if this was, as seems likely "champion" country of big communal fields there would normally be woodland between villages.

This walk is wonderful. It might have seemed boring at the start of the trip. But after last week's desperate struggle against the mud, non-paths, poor way marking and idiot caravan site attendants it is just bliss to be able to stride on a well made hogging path in bright sunshine. The only hazard are the occasional cyclists, but these are courteous for the most part.

I pass a dead buzzard. Poisoned, shot or just dead of natural causes? I don't know but am pleased to hear a live one call and see it flying overhead a little later.

I stop for tea near Brixworth and find a solitary picnic table in a little field of its own, waiting for me. Refreshed I carry on.

And on. And on. The route continues straight and level. Cyclists pass from time to time. The odd bird flies by. The sun shines. And on and on.

Untill I get to the first of the tunnels. I knew about these so have no excuse. In front of it there is a sign warning cyclists to beware of walkers in the dark and suggesting that they get off if they do not have lights. At is at this point that I realise I have not brought my head torch.

I keep a tiny mini-maglite on my key ring so get that. But the battery is nearly gone. I get my walking pole out to help feel in the dark.  I take a deep breath and step into the dark of the tunnel. My little torch is far too feeble to be of any help. I cannot see the uneven tunnel floor at all and the light at the far end is small and distant. There is nothing for it though so I set off, using the little torch as a warning, just turning it on when a group of cyclists aproach from the other end, their voices echoing in the darkness.

We exchange slightly strained greetings as we pass, shadowy figures with echoing voices. I stop by an air shaft for a moment and then press on. At last the light around the end of the tunnel becomes enough to see the ground and then I am out into the sunshine once again.

A few miles later, I have to repeat the whole thing once again in a second tunnel. I wonder how long it will be before I need my head torch again. Oh well...

There are trees in the countryside again, now. Not many but it is not so strangely devoid of them as it was just to the north of Northampton. The way curves round giving good views of the countryside and then I come to one of the slightly psychedelic signposts that adorn the way which tells me I am in Leicestershire. Market Harborough can be seen not far away.

I carry on, into Markert Harborough where I am pleased to see a Mansfield Brewery pub, the first I have encountered and a sign that I am getting nearer to Nottinghamshire.

A bus whistles me back down to Northampton. The road generally takes the higher ground so, though it runs roughly parallel to the disused railway line I get very different views.

we pass a lurid purple building on our way to the bus station, which I recognise as the club I went to when I was first in Northampton, many years ago.

Golden sun sets on golden stone as I stroll back down the hill to Northampton station.

Now that was a very enjoyable day.

All I need now is some more weather like this for February.

A much belated update, sad to say. I did write up this section but then lost it in a computer disaster. No, I hadn't backed it up.

Anyway... The crisp cold January weather would have made for good walking if it had kept up. But of course, the day I set out again it had thawed. Which meant mud. A fuck of a lot of mud.

It was a long stage with no very obvious route. I wanted to go from Turvey to Northampton but the logical diagonal route was a fast road with few footpaths going my way. I got a cheap day return and, with a quick change at Milton Keynes got to Northampton for the bus to Turvey. But only just in time. The train was late and I missed a bus to the town centre from Northampton train centre.  But I got the bus just as it was about to pull away.

It hurtled down the road through a landscape of large arable fields, stopping from time to time in large, compact villages. Most had signs up protesting plans to build new homes. At Turvey I got off and walked back the way I had just come. The village was as handsome as I remembered from October and this time I walked across the bridge and got views of the hall, passing a sign announcing I was going into Buckinghamshire, before turning off onto a bridleway. Buckinghamshire? I thought I was going to Northamptonshire? Or maybe Milton Keynes. Counties are a complex confusion nowadays. But it seemed I had gone into old Buckinghamshire, whatever it was now.

It was a good start. The track was well maintained, and kept my feet dry as I walked parallel to the River Greate Ouse, and admired the park land on the other side of it. A great barrier of trees rose up in front of me. Odd because there was nothing marked on the OS map. But the biggest were leylandii which grows fast.

Through this and onto another track. Still pretty good going. I passed a man and small boy, both carrying shotguns, who said good morning. Then I reached a group of woodlands, one called Threeshire woods, so I suppose positioned where Buckinghamshire, Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire used to meet.

To make sure I didn't miss the delights of any county the footpath circled frustratingly around these woods, and just to make things perfect, the track became a bog. I squelched around three counties cursing until I finally got free and to the next road.

Over the road and I was confronted with a right of way across a huge winter wheat field. There was no sign of a footpath but I could just see a gap in the hedge, far across the field. So off I set. Almost immediately I realised that this was going to be appalling. The ground was sodden. The only reason that it wasn't mud was that nobody had been on it before me. The wet soil stuck to my boots so that within a minute I was dragging great clumps of mud around with me.

I tried following the tracks left by a tractor. It made no difference at all. The only thing that I could do was to kick violently every four or five steps in the hopes of sending at least a bit of the mud load from my boots flying into space.

At the end of that field was another. Exactly the same. And beyond that a third. It was exhausting, endless, awful. But at last I made it to the side of the field where the going was slightly better, and this ran along the side of another wood.

Just as I reached it someone came out with a dog. Followed by another figure. And another and another and another. Many had dogs and most had sticks. They walked the path in front of me and, even when I got to the gap they were coming through I could see more. They spread themselves out along the woodland edge, a couple of guys in classic country clothes were at the end and one of these shouted instructions as I reached him.

We exchanged a couple of words. They were beaters about to drive pheasants through the wood towards the waiting guns.

I left them to their job and carried on, meeting a couple of women walking with a dalmatian. One was dressed very strikingly in red. Red wellies, red jacket, pink trousers if I remember. They had stopped as I had to admire a buzzard and then when they saw the beaters turned around.

"I don't like to see them shooting birds." The red dressed one said.

And on. I was pressing hard because I knew that I would barely have enough time to get back to Northampton before the light went. So I trudged on to Yardley Hastings. A look at the map was depressing. I was back on the A428 that had brought me down in the bus that morning. Not very far along it though.

I had intended to carry on with footpaths. But mud and time considerations meant I went on now by a quiet road, crossing the huge ride of Castle Ashby before having to take to rights of way again. Now the terrain was much steeper little hills and I struggled up one where the path was nothing but a muddy smear, slipping and sliding as the light began to fade and my legs ached.

Eventually, I made it to Cogenhoe, and welcome streets again. Now I should be OK, I thought because I could go by road down to Billing and the River Nene Way.  A well way marked tow path sounded just the thing to take me into Northampton.

But finding it was a nightmare. I was rushing, no doubt, worried about the light, but still the signage was abysmal. Eventually I worked out the right way and headed along the river. Not on any tow path though, because there wasn't any. I passed through some park like land and came to a huge caravan park where a lonely van was circulating, doing some sort of maintenance.

But as I passed the second big group of static caravans the van drew up and a stolid man with a somewhat Brummie accent got out and asked what I was doing there. I told him I was on a footpath. He did not believe me. I could hardly see the map now in the gloom and did not want to waste time arguing with him. But I had passed a way mark sign a little further back so I took him there to show it to him.

"It must be new" he said idiotically. The sign was old and faded and had clearly been there years. He wasn't at all agressive, just ploddingly, doggedly certain. Every time I asked him which way I should go he pointed back the way I had come. "You see those green caravans..." he would slowly start to explain that I should walk in the opposite direction to the one that I needed to go in. Over and over again.

I probably should have just told him to fuck off and carried on walking. But at last he was convinced and off I set again. More mud, no decent path, more slipping and sliding in the semi dark. Then I realised I could get off this nightmare route and onto a long street that led right back into Northampton. And if it got dark it would not matter as there would be streetlights.

And so that is what I did. I hobbled down this long and boring road in some pain now, but I did not really care. At least I was out of the mud.

That was one tough day.


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