As I sit here waiting for the Tanker loading at the condensate berth to decide whether she will finish and sail on tonight's tide or, all pack up and sail tomorrow morning, I've been glancing through the blog so far. It seems to show someone that is obsessed with the Parish Walk, an impression I find a little embarrassing. True, I have an addictive personality, and have latched on the race walking probably a little more than is normally healthy, but I feel that it has given me a little success, I know people who I class as close friends because of my association with race walking, people who I otherwise wouldn't have known, and if I hadn't taken it up, would probably have used up my time in another way, video games, daytime t.v, stamp collecting or something else which meant I would have stayed overweight, unfit, and heading towards coronary meltdown. I enjoy it, it keeps me healthy, and contrary to how it may seem to some, doesn't take up all my time. My life isn't just work and walking. I like to visit the pub. I bought a guitar just after the 2009 End to End as a result of a drunken afternoon of what seemed like good ideas, and, on sobering up the next day, decided to learn to play it rather than go back to get a refund. (Granted, I can't play concert standard yet, but I'm pretty pleased with the results so far...) I like to cook, I'm a keen amateur genealogist, studying my own family tree back to the 1600's, (Still living in Yorkshire. I like to say that I've walked further in one day than my family travelled in over 400 years!) and helping others with their trees with the experiences I've had. I went to sea at 16, starting as a deck boy cleaning toilets and making cups of tea (I washed my hands first!) and decided I wanted to be Captain.
I suppose this means that I have a stubborn nature rather than an addictive nature. If I find something I like doing then I want to do it the best I can. This is probably what pushed me over the line the first time when I wanted to stop, and what pushes me on.
The Parish is a mental challenge, (Not in the "you must be mental to take up that challenge!" sort of way. Okay, maybe a little.) It is a challenge that shows how much you want to walk down the prom in the early hours of a June sunday morning. How much you want to prove, mainly to yourself, that you are good enough, physically and mentally, to complete one of the worlds toughest physical challenges. This goes some way to explain why the majority of finishers are not tough young fit athletic types, but mature, experienced people, who have lived a little and have faced challenges enough to have the mental push to say to themselves "I can get over this, persevere a little further" so they experience the virtually indescribable satisfaction of walking over the finish line and be able to say, "I stood up to the challenge and won, and by doing this, I've pushed my personal boundaries and made myself a better person."
Not good. The Tanker will now sail at 10am tomorrow (Tuesday 21st Dec). It's my final job of the year, and I was hoping to get away in the morning for the 200 mile journey through the snow to be with my family at christmas. Too late to get home safely tomorrow, try Wednesday.
Don't travel unless you have to. Ha! No choice!