I have been out walking with Roman today a couple of times without his boots on just to try and take the edge off his enthusiasm a little before I try him with the boots on a proper walk! I will be getting up early tomorrow to take him for a 5 mile walk and, after about an hour’s rest, will be taking him out for another 5 miles but this time with the boots to see how he gets on with them. I don’t want to just put him in them constantly right now but it is important that he gets used to them. I am sure that after a couple of walks he will forget he had never used them before anyway.
I got an email back from Holly at Vango today to say that she had not managed to get hold of the relevant people but had checked in the Vango warehouse stock and they have the items I bought in stock anyway. She has said that if I return the items then she will send replacements as soon as she has confirmation I have been able to return them I will be doing this, hopefully, after Roman’s first walk so it will be done pretty early.
I’m really happy that Vango have decided to help me with this. Obviously, a saving of £141 for me is brilliant as it will mean we have that little bit more money to go with. It’s nice to know, though, that there are companies out there that are happy to help with things like this. All too often I have been met with the “we have already selected our charities for the year in our budget” script that companies put together to be able to fob people off with. It’s frustrating, to say the least, but at least I have managed to find a few companies to help out.
I am currently trying to sell some of my things before I leave to help out with my funds and have today managed to sell one of my televisions. I’m a bit gutted on the one hand as I paid about £400 only six months ago for it but I am also pleased that I have managed to get £270 for the television and a stand as, again, it will help greatly with my funds. I still have a couple of televisions to sell but am pretty hopeful that I should be able to shift them. If anyone is in need of a new television then give me a shout as I don’t have a definite buyer for one of them yet.
I am also trying to sell my DVD collection – again this is a little gutting as I had built a decent collection up and I am only getting £2 or £3 each for the majority of them but if I can sell 100 DVDs then that’s another £200 - £300 towards the kitty. This week is about maximising my opportunities to get myself a decent fund to go with. A few family members have also decided that they want to give me a little something to help me out. I had not asked but it will be very gratefully received and I am sure that it will be very helpful along the way!
I have tried calling Jennie at the Rottweiler Welfare Association again today to see what is happening with Just Giving. It’s really frustrating to not be able to collect for them yet but I will keep on plugging away and hopefully we will get the resolution we want before I depart. If not then I will just have to set it up on the way, the only problem is I don’t think I will be having a rest day until the 28th August. I couldn’t get a reply off Jennie’s number so I will try again tomorrow; I did leave a message but have not had a return call.
I also tried to get in touch with Simon again today – the guy who was trying to get my story into a national newspaper. I have been trying for the last few days as I was expecting some developments in the early part of last week but it keeps diverting to answerphone without even ringing. I will keep trying and hopefully get hold of him some time this week.
I have set up an event on Facebook today to try and get people to attend my big send off from Chester Town Hall. I have been in touch with Granada Reports again today and am hopeful that they will be able to send somebody out to film so it’s important for me to try and get a crowd together and create a bit of atmosphere. It will also be nice to get the opportunity to see my friends and family one last time before I leave.
The bicycle trailer / stroller arrived today and it’s pretty cool. It didn’t take me long to put together – it was quite straightforward. Like a typical bloke, I paid no regard for the instructions (or destructions as I like to call them!) and just ploughed ahead with building it. Predictably, I got a couple of things wrong but it all came together quite nicely within about 20 minutes once I had seen where I had gone wrong. I think I will have to reinforce the bottom a little but, other than that, it looks perfect for the task.
Our tenth day of walking will see us depart Dartford nice and early and start on our trek to a place called Newington. The distance we cover should be around 22 miles in total so it will not be quite intensive as the previous couple of days. The way I have planned this out means that I can have a couple of rest days before getting into France so I am quite happy with that. Also, if we get delayed anywhere for any reason then I know we have plenty of time to play with.
The day’s walking will take us through a few places I have heard of, although I have never been to any. There will be Northfleet and Gravesend – for the football fans you may be familiar with a club that used to be called Gravesend and Northfleet that is now called Ebbsfleet United and was the subject of a takeover recently where members on a website all bought an equal stake in the club. If I get close by then I will get a picture of the stadium!
Other towns along the way will include Rochester, Chatham and Rainham. This will be our second day of walking through mainly built up areas and I am sure that it will be a nice change for a couple of days after so many days of isolated walking with little human contact other than people driving by!