- Chris Jones
Time to reflect, week 2. Hull to Bridlington.
I'm hoping that not every week starts with vigour and excitement to be getting on with the task in hand and ends in complete exhaustion and feeling totally shattered... Leaving' Ull after a lovely day off with Michelle, I was feeling great, full of energy and ready for whatever the weather and the path would throw at me. Arriving in Bridlington on Saturday morning I felt like a blubbering wreck, my body was screaming at me, i was feeling dizzy and just completely washed out... Was it my diet, was it the the lack of hydration, was it the the walking or, was it that I'm just not 22 anymore, despite my brain constantly trying to convince me that I am. In truth, probably a mixture of all four so I need to pay more attention to my body and remember that my brain has been my enemy in the past so perhaps, I should ignore some of the nonsense it puts before me.
In terms of my achievement for the week, the stats are in. I walked 71.12 Miles in 5 1/2 days, 183,859 steps. As in week 1, I haven't added the extra 20 miles walking to and from the bar and toilet during the week !!!
Slightly up on the first week for mileage in less days so moving in the right direction.
I crossed the bridge and left home turf, venturing into the unknown. Well, Yorkshire anyway, they do talk a bit funny, have a reputation for being a little tight and have a bigger reputation for liking what they say and saying what they like !!! And, as my good friend John Elliott would say, "you can tell a Yorkshireman, but you can't tell him much"!!!
That said, I recieved nothing but warmth, generosity and a lovely welcome whilst tramping through their beautiful county, My new friends, Shaun who offered me a bed in his house after a 5 minute conversation at the bar, Gary at the Burns Head Inn who fed me and allowed me to dry all of my kit in front of his fire. Dave and Kerry who loaned me their MotorHome for the night so I didn't have to pitch my tent in the dark knowing we were in for a rough night with the weather. Dale who cooked me breakfast and shared his story with me, I'm still coming to terms with that... What a guy...
I met a couple of fellow coast walkers heading in the other direction, Daniel McNeil and Charlotte, Daniel has been on the walk for 2 years and he met Charlotte a year ago, also walking the coast. What a team, raising money for SAFFA, the armed forces charity, Dan was once a soldier in the Artillery. They will be appearing in Lincolnshire next week so if any of you see them on their travels down the Lincolnshire coast, please extend them the warm and friendly Lincolnshire reception you offered me.
But, a couple a brief encounters this week have left the biggest impression on me and it is these I really want to share with you. As I ascended the steps from the beach at Hornsea, a lady waited at the top with her dogs for me to heave myself up. We chatted for a while as I caught my breath and this wonderful lady did 2 amazing things. Firstly, she opened her purse and donated the contents to my cause. She actually wanted to help pay for a B'n'B but at this early stage of my journey I'm doing ok so her generous donation will go to the MCF. Secondly, she apologised for not offering me a bed in her house which she said she would normally have done. However, she currently has a lady and her son from The Ukraine staying under her roof. She felt it wouldn't be right to take a strange man back to her house where she was already looking after two incredibly vulnerable people. What an amazing woman, Lynn, you are an angel. It got me thinking, I'm on my journey completely by choice, I choose to sleep in a tent, to travel in challenging conditions. The woman and her child, lucky enough to have found such an incredible host have been forced on their journey, completely against their will. Forced to live by the charity of others and unable to live their lives with the freedom they so recently enjoyed. Lynn, it was a pleasure to meet you and it made me feel proud to live in a country where so many of our good people are doing what you are doing, helping individuals in real need of help. Thank you for what you and so many others are doing to help these poor people.
I didn't walk much further, it was already dark so I found a pub... A quick pint of pain killer while I researched the local hostilries, found one and hobbled down the road to check in. While waiting a group of guys noticed the Masonic emblem on my shirt so introduced themselves. A group of electricians working away from home, two from Northumberland, one from Kent. Doing what contractors do while working away, not sitting in their boring hotel rooms saving their hard earned money but having a few jars taking in the local ambiance. Anyway one of them bought me a pint and our conversation turned to the reason for my daft idea of walking around the coast when there are buses and trains etc. etc. The conversation of mens mental health started and one of the guys, a big hairy bear of man claimed to have the cure... He threw open his arms, smiled at me and told me 'to bring it in'.... Naturally, I did as i was told and embraced this giant of a man. This wasn't a gentle maul, a pretend grab and push away hug, this was firm, embracing and although at first it felt a little uncomfortable, in a bar with a strange bear, he was right, he did have the cure, or perhaps the starting point of the cure.
I remembered back, when I was in a real bad place, unable to talk to Michelle or anyone about what I was going through, unable to explain what I was feeling. I remembered, many occasions when Michelle clearly didn't have any answers so without words, without eye contact, she sometimes hugged me, long lingering hugs without words.
Maybe that's it... Maybe, this big hairy bear of man has got the cure. Perhaps this is the first thing we need to do, before we try to talk about how we are feeling. No words, no eye contact, just a big firm hug, but hold it, hold it for longer than you think you should.
Maybe you should try it, either before you go to bed tonight, or first thing in the morning when you wake up. Throw open your arms and invite your other half, your partner, your trouble and strife, no eye contact, no words, just a big firm all embracing hug and hold it.... If you are struggling right now, maybe the words will follow but who knows, is the hug the start of the conversation ?
I've only got Hiram 'a Bear here with me and the way he's sitting here looking at me, I think he needs a hug...
Early night for me, weather is looking bright for the coming week, temperature is going to drop drastically but it will be dry so after my rest, I'm ready and raring to go.
Have a great week, end this one and start the next one with that big hug... 🥰😍