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  • Chris Jones

Day 55 & 56. Thurs & Fri, 30, 31st March. Anstruther to St Andrews.

That was definitely a good night to spend in a hotel bed, the weather last night was truly awful. The rain and wind were lashing on my window all night long so that would have been a long misserable night in a tent. I have developed a routine when I stay in a BnB or hotel, sort myself out first, a hot shower or bath giving my pants and socks a good scrubbing at the same time and then get them on the radiator to dry them for morning. I then get my tent out and hang it in the bathroom to dry and hang my sleeping bag in my room to air. I'm only carrying 2 pairs of socks & pants, the ones I'm wearing and a spare pair which I try not to wear to avoid having to wash both and then having nothing dry to wear. (That doesn't include the pair of wife's knickers I carry, for emergencies and special occasions only) !!! 🤩 I carry some washing flakes to wash my clothes and I try to get into a laundrette or use someone's washing machine once a week to give everything a proper wash. This is the emergency to which I refer so on a Sunday afternoon after I've been to church, you might be lucky enough to see me sitting in a laundrette wearing nothing but the wife's knickers while my minging dobi is in the wash.... 🫣😳

On the rare occasions that the sun might be shining, it is lovely to get stripped, soak my feet in a cool pool and get some air to my body.

I definitely need to get a bit of colour on the pasty white body though, I find I'm less appetising to the mosquitoes if I've bronzed up a bit. I'll save you from those photos for now...

Aaron on his way home, I was back to walking alone, I did enjoy Aaron's company and I don't want to sound like a misserable winging old git but I do love the peace to do my own thing. Having company makes me feel like I have responsibility, for them and their well being. Something I desperately needed to get away from was the never ending feeling I had for every one else's care. I think it was a result of having so many years where it literally was my responsibility for the well-being of, it seemed like, everyone around me. My family, my 30-40 employees, the 150 children in my care at my school. I know others helped me, I could not have achieved anything on my own but everyone else could go home, could go on holiday and forget about it.

While waking and talking to others, I'm now convinced this has been a huge contributing factor in the demise of my mental health. That duty of care I had, I took very seriously and as it was my business, the buck stopped with me so I bore that responsibility, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for nearly 20 years... how could that pressure not have impacted on my mental health and because I didn't consider it, when it happened I didn't understand it, I did nothing to mitigate the pressure so it just kept getting worse.

Anyway, on my own, nobody but me to think about is helping me enormously, having Aaron with me for a few days has helped me to realise just how much this process is helping me. That's not to say I don't want company because I very much do, but not 3 days worth in one go... if anyone would like to come and share my journey, at any time, you will be most welcome, but don't forget to bugger off before you outstay your welcome... 😉🫣🥰

Right now, at this point in my life, this picture says everything I need. A pitch, quite literally in the middle of nowhere, no people, no noise other than the sea and the birds. A beautiful view and no pressure or responsibility. Pure bliss, total heaven... 🤫😊 I know it can't be like this for ever but right now, it's what I need and I'm savouring every second of it.

I had a lovely peaceful night, slept like a log and was up and away nice and early. About a 12 mile walk to St Andrews and a lodge visit was planned.

The weather was blowing in from the sea up in front of me, it never rained on me but it was bleak up in front. Actually, is wants bleak, it was positively 'dreich'... what a word, my favourite word right now, so descriptive and said with a jockaneese accent, so powerful. I was still walking on the Fife coastal path and this stretch was by far, the most challenging I'd walked so far. The muddy path turned in and out, up and down some incredibly steep inclines, out onto the beach scrambling accross rocks and twice, I would not have been able to progress if the tide was in. Sheer cliffs to my left with no path other than around headlands onto the beach or rocks. Tough going but I loved it, a real challenge and by the time I reached St Andrews, I was on my chin strap.

Considering how posh St Andrews is, they have let Cathedral go a bit !! Very eerie in the sea mist and in need of a bit more than a lick of paint.

Anyway, what was I saying about there not being any strangers in Freemasonry, only friends you've yet to meet. As I walked past the cathedral, a car door opened and my new friend Alan greeted me to whisk me away to his house for a hot shower and dinner before a visit to his lodge.

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