Home is where the heart is…
It was the same story when I went home in May, I slept for three day and nights solid and I have very little recollection of those days or nights. I guess there's being knackered, and there's being knackered and just maybe, I was knackered !!! Michelle was up and away at 6.30-7am each morning to put a shift in looking after our grandchildren, if she woke me up I can't remember but I'd wake up up between 9-10am, shower and get some breakfast before getting on the sofa and falling asleep again, it didn't help that I managed to pick up a lurgy, either a cold or possibly Covid, I've no idea but I was aching, snotting and coughing for a week so the sofa was the best place to be... 😷
My first appointment with the Foot Doctor in Horncastle cleared up any confusion I might have had as to why my left foot was giving me so much grief. The issue was a result of a number of contributing factors, each one making the problem worse. I should never have tried to get more miles out of my first pair of boots than they were good for, they should have gone in the bin after I'd guess about 1200 miles, I actually walked for just over 1600 miles in them and the last 400-500 miles was down that West Coast of Scotland which was mostly road walking.
You can see clearly how the left boot had worn through so much more that the right... they were shot... Having done a lot of running over the years, I should have known this, I'd always know when my trainers were knackered and needed replacing but for some stupid reason I never considered the same for walking boots !!! Bloody idiot !!!
The lack of lateral support from my boots was therefore meaning that my feet were rolling outwards which had then caused a build up
of fat and calcium around the outside edge of my left heel which only continued to build up each day as I continued to hammer the miles and the final insult to injury, those insoles I wasted twenty quid on in Morecambe were completely wrong for my feet so had burnt and bruised across the front of the arches of both of my feet... Bloody Idiot !!!
None of this is rocket science and I'm really mad at myself for allowing myself to get into such a state. I actually visited a chiropodist back in May when I was at home as my feet were very sore. Our good friend Tony and his daughter Pip are both chiropodists in Woodhall Spa and Tony very kindly had a look at my feet. He was very complimentary about how well I was looking after them although it was clear I needed some better insoles in my boots to provide some better arch support which I purchased and fitted. Tony also made me up some magical foot cream from a selection of pots in his 'magic foot cream cupboard', this stuff is truly amazing believe me. Since that day to this, I have cleaned my feet every day and then massaged the cream into my feet, I then lay down in my tent with them slightly elevated feeling the cooling effect of the cream, cooling and soothing my aching 'slabs of meat'... I then returned to Scotland in May and proceeded to beat my feet to death by not paying due attention to the state my boots were getting into... unacceptable and a chargeable offence, referred to as 'Malingering' in the Armed Forces. 'Causing himself an injury or pretending to have an injury to avoid service'... No excuses, 'sort your shit out Jones, you're a bloody disgrace' !!! Idiot....
Secretly, this is what I really needed to give myself a kick up the arse. A night out to dinner and the theatre with 'the current Mrs Jones'. 😍 A lovely Italian meal on the Brayford followed by 'Across The Barricades' at Lincoln Theatre Royal, I thought it was something to do with Spandau Ballet but it was actually a tribute to The West End Production of Les Miserables... 😉 one of my favourite shows. Always guaranteed to get me and the wife snivelling. What we didn't know was that the cast also did various tributes to other productions, one of which being 'Carousel', that famous Rogers and Hammerstein musical. It is banned in our house and we actually threw the DVD in the bin, I challenge you to try and watch it and remain dry eyed when they sing 'You'll never Walk Alone' ... 😭 impossible...
Some special time with my No. 1 granddaughter Ava, hot chocolate and cake after school on our own, while she was teaching me how to sort out my technical admin and create a YouTube channel... 🥰 She really is very clever you know, and only 10 years old... I also got to spend some quality time with my other grandchildren, my kids and my mum which I really enjoyed, the kind of precious time I used to completely take for granted but which I now savour every second of.
Oh, and I managed to find some time for my other family, my Masonic family. I got to my Round Table Chapter meeting where we exalted Triss into The Chapter, The FreeWheelers Motorcycle Lodge Meeting which was meeting up in Crowle, I payed my fine for not going on a motorbike, not sure what idiot introduced that stupid rule !!! I visited The Olive Union Lodge Installation and also my mother Lodge, The Round Table Lodge of Lincolnshire. It was Aaron's Second Degree Ceremony and I was honoured to deliver some ritual during his ceremony.
A question for you. Do any of us truly realise how important it is to belong ? Belong to a family, a community, a club ?? I certainly never did, I never really thought about it to be honest but spending so much time on my own on this challenge, walking into and experiencing other peoples 'belonging', to then say goodbye and walk away, alone, has made me realise just how important it is. It's made me realise just how much I took for granted the really important stuff, the people I love more than anything in the world, my family, the people that tolerate me and allow me to spend time with them within this incredible fraternity of Freemasons, my brothers. It's all about people, people are everything and realising this very obvious fact has helped me to understand how incredibly fortunate I am and I know that whatever I'm doing in the future, wherever I go, I do belong.
Not all people by the way, some people are complete arseholes !!! Keep away from them ones, they'll just bring you down... 😬
Of course that's not true, nobody is born an arsehole, sometimes, the shitty hand a person is dealt causes them to behave like one.
I forget what I was reading the other day but I picked out these few words from a much larger paragraph which grabbed my attention, poignant words which resonate when I think about people.
'We are all sprung from the same stock, partakers of the same nature and sharers of the same hope so he who who finds himself on the lowest spoke of fortunes wheel, is equally entitled to our regard. For a time will come, and the wisest of us knows not how soon, when all distinctions, save those of goodness and virtue will cease, and death, the grand leveller of all human greatness will reduce us to the same state.'
A lovely piece, perhaps you've also read it somewhere and get it.
Simply put... we have absolutely no idea what another person is going through so we can't possibly understand why they are behaving in a certain way, often people we know well. Don't judge them, think about how you can help them, we will all be dead soon so don't put off being a good person, do it today.
It's not easy but I try to smile at everyone I meet, freind or foe. I realise that often means I probably look like a complete simpleton but I'd ask you to try it. Getting a smile back is lovely and I promise you it will make you feel better but your smile might just be the one thing that saves that persons life.
A quick safety warning though... try not to go around smiling at other blokes wives or girlfriends, in some places, that will just get you punched !!! 🤕
So, before I crack on back to Blackpool, let me share a few tough lessons I've learnt recently.
With the treatment finished on my foot, new orthopaedic insoles made for my boots, completely rested and batteries recharged.
I now need to pay more attention to the condition of my kit, if we look after it, it will look after us.
If we don't look after our physical being, sure as hell our mental well-being is going to suffer.
If we don't get a grip of our mental well-being when it starts slipping, it will keep slipping, deeper and deeper into that dark place making it more difficult to get out.
Whatever it is we are doing today, tomorrow, this week, if we remain focussed on the really important things in our lives, our families, our friends, not our cars or possessions, nothing else is that important is it...
If we try to help one person each day, one person not doing quite as well as we are, that has got to be a winning plan so do something today for someone else, even if it's just that smile you give someone. Serving others is absolutely everything.
These are just two of the many people that are always looking out for me and are always doing something to try and help me. Jez is our Festival Chairman, APGM and has countless other commitments but he has been one of my biggest supporters on this challenge and he somehow always finds time to look out for me despite the mountains of other stuff he has to do.
Stuart is or Provincial Comms Officer, he also has many other commitments, one of them being my personal Communications guide. I've received calls and messages from Stuart at all times of the day and night, he's become my guardian angel, monitoring the tone of my blogs and Social Media posts and offering advice and guidance accordingly. Not to mention all of the work he does to promote the challenge and to Communicate with people all over the UK generating support for me as I pass through their area.
There are so any others, sending messages of support, buying me a coffee, contributing financially to me personally and to my fund raising cause, I can't list you all personally but you know who you are and I thank you all for your ongoing support. I will be thinking about each of you more and more, especially when things get tough, it's your support that will get me to the end if this challenge and I'm very grateful to each of you. 🥰
Right, I'm feeling good, I'm off to Blackpool for a walk. Speak soon.