Looking back

I’m well in to the final 16 weeks of the preparation for my Kilimanjaro trek. Please visit my Just Giving site and make a donation to Cancer Research UK, the charity I’m collecting for. So it’s serious now and little things like rain and wind get in my way. So this morning, after waiting for the wind and rain to stop, I set off for a walk around the estate. Before you conjure up images of stately homes and rolling parkland, I’m talking about the housing estate on which I live. And before you conjure up images of me strolling around, know that I was wearing a backpack weighing 9kg (20lbs in old money).

I decided to take the route I used to walk to school and when I thought about it, I realised that the last time I walked to school was 30 years ago this year. I’ve used this route before when training for the other treks and it always brings back memories. I walked this route for 8 years on and off, every day during term times except for a brief period when I used a subsidised bus service. When I got to the school, it looked familiar although closer inspection revealed a number of changes – the most obvious of which was the big blue perimeter security fence and, nearer the buildings, a second big blue security fence. It reminded me of a prison camp and also of the perceived threat to school kids these days. Judging by the in depth defences, the school could hold out for days against a determined siege. Certainly until home time, when the whole barrier system is rendered pointless when all the kids pass through the gates and out of it’s protective embrace.

From the school, I walked through another housing estate and down to the sea front. Walking on sand is easier on the joints but takes a little more energy as the sand gives as you push forward. Ideal for what I’m doing at the moment. I was dressed up for the inevitable downpour; grey clouds filled the sky and the wind was blowing them along quickly. But it was warm and apart from a  few spots of rain at the start, it remained dry throughout the walk.

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