10. Time Out!

10. TIME OUT! – but at least I won’t miss the Royal wedding.

I lay in bed at home for two days, sweating profusely and wondering when I would be able to return to what had become a real labour of love. Gradually, I discovered that “The Verve” were wrong: the drugs do work and I gradually began to feel better. However, I decided to complete the course of antibiotics before starting again; conscious that I must not jeopardise my health, but anxious not to lose momentum, I resolved to try and return after a week.

Having to stop had hit me hard. I mused in my notebook that;

“Walking the SWCP had taken the place of my job, it was “what I did” and I felt a huge loss when it was not there anymore.”

I didn’t know it then but, quite unexpectedly, this sense of loss would return and hit me even harder after I had finished the walk.

My mood during the enforced break was not improved by having to witness the national hysteria attending the wedding of Prince William and “the lovely” Kate Middleton. To be fair, I didn’t have to “witness” it, I chose to do so and I guess, like many others, found myself drawn in, intrigued by the spectacle of people with next to nothing fawning over the assembled ranks of the idle rich. The monarchy’s PR machine and its friends in the media have to be admired for being able to pull off a trick worthy of Derren Brown.   

After completing the course of antibiotics, I took a train to Totnes and was picked up by a mate and taken to Bigbury. I had managed to rearrange or cancel all of the accommodation that I should have stayed at while I was ill and ended up staying in Bigbury on the night that I would have done, had I not taken the week off. I decided that, if and when I reached the “end” at South Haven Point, I would return immediately to complete the stretch that I had missed during my week’s “sick leave”.

I still had a cough but took a chance on the infection clearing up and fortunately I did gradually return to full fitness: but the first few days back on the trail were very hard and I was surprised just how much fitness I’d lost in a week. For the first week or so after my “restart” I was also full of trepidation that I might “relapse” and fail the challenge that I had set myself.

I railed against my bad luck – I’d set my heart on doing the path in one go, with no more than the odd rest day and was fairly distraught at having to take a whole week off. However, on reflection I began to feel guilty at such self-pity. How lucky was I? I was (relatively) fit and healthy and had the time and money to indulge myself in something that I loved. So, I stopped moaning and got on with it!

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