5 Marathons in 5 Days: Day 4 - Robin's Account
Doing a challenge such as trying to walking 130 miles in five days, you learn a lot about the people who you are walking with particularly when relying upon to them to help you obtain your end goal of completing that the last painful mile.
The banter and 'bonhomie' between myself and Alan has been great, both of us have been pulling each other's legs and taking the mickey out of each other as we have clocked up mile after mile - and without this I don't think that either of us could cope with the physical stress that both of us have been putting on our bodies.
Let's be honest, both of us are gentlemen of a certain age, who lead relatively sedentary lifestyles; so the last few days have been a bit of a shock to both of our systems despite the training that we have done in the run up to this challenge. It also means that it does genuinely pain me when Alan has to wear his compression socks to help with his leg splints. Every left step is causing him tremendous discomfort. Whether its transcendental meditation; singing along the top of our voices to various walking songs - if I ever meet the Proclaimers, I will have to thank them for that particular ear-worm that has been going around my head for the last couple of days!; or munching on paracetamol you can tell by how he is walking that Alan is in pain.
I'm therefore glad that we made the strategic decision today not to walk along the roadside but instead to walk along the Aylesbury canal. The surface is a lot more even and around us is serenity, rather than traffic bearing down on us at a rate of knots.
Talking as we walked both Alan and I started reminiscing on the Comedy Greats. We debated about whether Hancock's 'Blood Donor' was better than Leonard Rossiter's pained Mr Rigby and wondered what the late great Ronnie Barker would make of David Jason's portrayal Granville in today's version of Open All Hours. This lead to us talking about comedians who made it big in the Charts - many people forget that Ken Dodd had a million seller No 1 with 'Tears' - which lead to my giving a rendition word for word of Benny Hill's 'Greatest Milkman in the West', plus the admission that to some of my mates I'm known as Rodney...this lead to Alan reciting various 'Del Boyisms', 'Chambourcey Nouvelle Robin, Chambourcey Nouvelle'....which helped kill a couple of miles, with neither of us, thankfully, falling into the canal.
We stopped for a late tea at a wonderful little village, called Wilstone, where I thought for a moment Alan was having a relapse. He had just bitten into a piece of Bread and Butter Pudding when a tear started to snake its way down his cheek. The woman serving us looks perplexed
'Oh what is it luv? Are you O.K?'
'Oh I'm fine, it's just that this bread and butter pudding tastes exactly as my mother used to make. It just took me back to when I was a lad.'
And here was me worrying that he had given himself some injury that he hadn't been letting on about! I'm sure that Del Boy would have had something to say about that...probably, ' Robbie, you Plonker!'
After the wonderful welcome that we had at Halton last night and this morning, Rob Woods the Station Commander at High Wycombe and his wife Margaret went the extra mile making myself, my partner Julie, Alan and his wife Gaynor incredibly welcome in their home by treating us to a wonderful home-cooked meal. Julie is joining us for our last day tomorrow. The food was as heart warming and welcoming as the company around the table.
RAF people really are the best - and both Robin and I have been fortunate to get such great support from various Service members from around the country. This is typified by the fact that their son James, a PT instructor at High Wycombe, offered, off his own bat, to walk the last 16 miles with us and Malcolm White, another Museum Trustee, as we endeavour to reach the Museum in London on Friday.
It has been a pain at times walking this walk - but both Alan and I have done the right thing; undertaking this challenge to raise monies to help tell the RAF Story. In the process we have met kindness and generosity along the way. Something that has made the challenge more bearable.
Alan and Robin's 5 Marathons in 5 Days is proudly supported by Spitfire Kentish Ale
If you would like to help Alan and Robin achieve their goal of raising £100,000 for the RAF Museum's RAF Centenary Programme, you can now make a donation here.