Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Back To Walking Tomorrow

Just a quick update today as there is not really that much to say other than to provide an update on my health. My feet, although not completely healed, do feel a fair bit better than they did on Monday. I have been using ice packs to help reduce the swelling in my feet and have had a couple of days of total rest to try and help the recovery process. I have got some padding that I will be putting on my feet tomorrow morning before I get back to the road and hopefully this will help to alleviate some of the pressure on my feet. I will also be asking my friend, Nathan, to bring my trainers with him when he comes to meet me in Dover. I think a softer sole might be beneficial where the walking routes are a more stable quality.

I have received a couple of comments on my blog over the past couple of days expressing displeasure at the progress I have made so far. I deleted the first comment and have now put comment moderation on my blog as I did not feel that anything said was particularly constructive. As a result I have decided to try and address some of the things that I have been criticised for.

One of the criticisms is in relation to Roman not being with me. Nobody is more gutted than me that he has not been able to start the walk with me but his paws were simply not in a good enough condition to start the walk with me. As I had committed to a starting date I had to make the decision whether to start without him or whether to delay the starting date. I didn't want to delay the starting date as I had organised a lot of things based around that date and didn't want to mess people around. As it is, I am actually glad that he has not been with me as there have been some very dangerous situations on roads along the way that would surely have seen us both killed if he had been with me.

Another thing that I have been criticised for is accepting a lift when the roads have been dangerous. I would just like to say that the times when this has happened have only been for a few miles and have been at times when I genuinely feared for my safety if I continued to walk in these areas. I know for a fact that my family and friends would not be best pleased if they thought I was putting my life at risk at times and, although I would have preferred to have walked every mile, I am not prepared to put my life at risk either. I understand that there is, of course, the charity aspect to this but what use would me being hit by a truck have?

I have also been accused of basically having a holiday and going on a booze tour of Britain. I assure you that this has not been a holiday and, in fact, has been very difficult so far. I have had so many problems early into the walk and my mental strength has really been tested at times. As for the comment about a booze tour, I can understand the view as I have been to a few pubs in the evenings but it's not like I am on a binge tour at all. I have drunk socially with the locals and have tried to use the angle of having a meal and a few drinks in the pubs I have encountered to help as a bargaining tool to allow me to pitch a tent on their land. There was one night that did end up with quite a lot of alcohol consumed and that wasn't the best choice to have made but just because I am doing this doesn't mean that I should turn into a robot and avoid alcohol completely.

I am sure that when I get into France this type of thing will be less common anyway. As I am not fluent in French it will be much harder to strike up conversations and make social connections with people. As a result I would imagine that I would not be drinking on a social level with people and therefore turn in for bed at the earliest opportunity. Having said that I do wonder what people are expecting me to do between the hours of 5 or 6pm and 10pm. Personally, I like to mingle with people and have a few drinks with them. I don't see anything wrong in that to be honest.

There was also a comment saying that the poster was glad that they hadn't donated and felt sorry for anyone who had. I am sorry that the poster feels this way and hope that people who have donated don't feel that way. If they do then I would appreciate it if they would contact me and let me know. I hope that the majority of people understand the reasons for me having to accept a lift a couple of times - I am sure that anyone with children would want their own children to act exactly as I have done.

Strangely, the same person also left a comment today stating that they wished they could get their money back. I find this quite strange as they had previously stated yesterday that they hadn't donated. The comments have been left anonymously but there is a facility on your blog that can track people and their pageloads so I can see from that report that it is the same person posting the comments. I feel that this person is now trying to discredit me and this is why I have decided to moderate comments. I can accept criticism from people and am quite happy to leave constructive criticism publicly viewable, as I have done in the past, but I felt that the comments that had been left added no value whatsoever and basically amounted to a personal attack.

Please feel free to give your opinions on what I have written today as it would be appreciated and I would be interested to see what the general consensus is amongst my readers. On a finishing note I would like to add that when I originally came up with the idea that I wanted to do this it was a personal thing and I had given no thought to charities whatsoever. I only added the charities later as I thought that at least somebody could benefit from what I am doing. I know I am not going to please everybody all the time and I am sure, as has already been the case, that some people will totally oppose me but I just hope that people can understand the troubles I have had and the reasons for my actions so far.


  1. Hi Matt, Don't bother yourself with such negative comments, would the poster actually preferrd you to have taken Roman even though he has a sore paw? they would have then critisised you for treating him in that way and you should be ashamed of yourself, with people like that you are in a 'no win' situation, they are probably going to complain at every stage of your journey but I think it is sad that they don't have anything constructive in their life to occupy their time.
    I am sure your true supporters would be very happy for you to enjoy a relaxing pint in an enjoyable environment and the hope of securing a safe place in which to pitch your tent, or, if people choose, to offer you a comfortable bed. I don't remember anywhere on your blog that you would be refusing any offer of comfort or little luxuries such as Pear cider (Yuk - what is wrong with good old apples)! Eddie Izzard is only walking around Great britain and I am sure he will be stopping off for the odd pint or two, the occasional lift and a nice shower!
    It is fairly obvious you are not scamming anyone with the charities if that is what the poster is implying because of the 'Just Giving' logos, people can donate if they want to or not as the case may be.
    Here is a simple solution to the poster, if you are uncomfortable with how Matt is conducting himself on this journey then don't read his blog and go and amuse yourself with your playstation!!

    Keep going Matt, everyone is thinking of you and hoping Roman can join ou soon

  2. Thanks Angela, I am sure that a lot of people feel the same but I don't want people to think bad of me for taking the action that I have taken along the way. I just hope that other readers share your sentiments...

  3. Sure you know how I for one feel about all this Matt - it's easy for someone to sit in their warm house infront of their computer and pick faults with your journey!
    It is absolutely the right decision to leave Roman at home to get better. No doubt if you had postponed your leaving date you would have been abused for turning down a free ferry ticket and for misleading the various media who have been following you!
    As for the charity element, you are not being sponsored £ per mile or anything, if someone feels happy to donate to one of the charities then they should do so based on the merits of that cause, not on whether you dance in and out of fast moving traffic or do the sane thing and hitch! Lol
    Keep going :o)

  4. Dear Matt,

    Hang in there. Obviously the twats that criticized you have never walked more than a few steps in a single day, much less in their lives. And there is nothing wrong with socializing and drinking. It's all about the journey, neh?


  5. Hi Matt.
    I just want to add my comments. I have donated £100 to the Help for Heros Charity, and personally, to me you are walking when it is safe to do so, I would be totally against you walking and putting your life at risk where the conditions force to to accept a lift. At the end of the day, the coward, I will call him/her this, as they havent the guts to put their name to their comment, is a total dickhead.....if he/she is that concerned, then maybe they should walk with you and see how far they vips said, they probably use a car to get about and wouldnt dream of walking.
    To me, you have already earned the £100 I donated. So from someone who has made a genuine donation......I am more than happy for you to get to Rome, walking, getting a lift, however to be able to keep safe.....oh by the will be swimming the channel wont you, getting a boat will be classed as cheating!!!!!!
    I want you alive and safe, keep doing what your doing, everyone supports you, apart from the odd prick.
    I am so proud of you, and I know alot of other people are too.
    Be SAFE Matt.
    Lots of love
    Mum xxxxxxx

  6. Enjoy EVERY minute of it Matt!

    Drink, socialise, make friends along the way- this all helps raising your profile and more money for your charities.

    Negative criticism will be from angry people who are jealous of your achievements and guts to do what you have done and who are too ignorant to do something inspirational themselves.

    All the very best dude!

  7. Veni Vid Vici, Matt. Don't let them get you in a funk about it. You did the absolute best thing for Roman. His paws would be hamburger had you not let him recover. You can always get him a chariot :-) Anyway, your courage and compassion, spirit of adventure and experiences will be with you and those you meet for the rest of your life. Atleast you are out there doing something very worthwhile. Are you supposed to sit there like a lump? Not only "no" but Hell, No!" So, go socialize and have a few cocktails, spread the word on your cause and enjoy.

  8. Thanks all for your comments - I will be updating again very soon but only have very limited time on the internet right now so wanted to get in touch with family and reply directly to any comments