On the positive side, it should provide me with an opportunity to enhance my language skills - both from the point of view of learning French whilst I am speaking with people and also from the angle of Italian - if I cannot have conversations to the same level with people then I think I will spend more time practising my Italian using the lessons I downloaded to my iPod. Hopefully things will go well with this and I will be reasonable at speaking and understanding Italian when I cross into Italy.
On a sad note, Roman is still not able to join me and my ex girlfriend was going to book him into the vets as his paws are still not in a condition for him to be able to take part in this adventure with me. I am really gutted about this and am already missing him loads. I can only imagine how happy I will be when he can finally join up with me. It is looking like he will not join me now until I actually arrive in Rome as the logistics of arranging for him to meet me somewhere along the way now become more difficult.
The last few days have seen me arrive safely in Canterbury although I do have horrendously sore feet again now! The bruising has subsided considerably but, as a result of resting, the blisters have come back with a vengeance! It will be fine in a day or two though - the pain from blisters never really lasts that long. My ankle was seeming to get better but was really painful yesterday. I have resorted to wearing ankle socks and not tying my boots right up to the top so that the contact between my ankle and my boot is kept to a minimum. I tried using some of the bruise relief cream on it last night and some bruising seemed to appear around my ankle last night. It doesn't seem too bad today but I will be using the cream again tonight and again in the morning to see if it helps.
The walk to Dover tomorrow will be around 18 miles, I think. This will probably be the last tough day I have for a while as I am planning to cut down a little once I reach France so that I can recuperate - I think the constant pounding all day long has taken it's toll on my body which has been made worse by having to carry everything - something I never expected to do so had not done any training for. I think this has probably been the most difficult thing for me to come to terms with along the way - the weight has been manageable on my back and shoulders but my feet have taken a real pounding as a result of the extra load.
I have to give a mention to a pub again (sorry to those who think I am an alcoholic living it up on a holiday but they are the best places to socialise in villages!). The Oak in Charing kindly reduced their price considerably for me so that I could take a room for the night rather than stay in the tent - there was nowhere suitable to pitch it closeby with the nearest campsite about 4 miles away and I had already walked about 20 miles that day. I don't think that I could have taken the extra mileage so was very grateful for their kindness. I ate in the pub - fish and chips which was delightful! - and had a couple of drinks before turning in for the night at about 10pm. I must have been really tired though as I slept until about 9am and only just made it in time for the breakfast service - good thing that Canterbury was only about 18 miles down the road!
I have had a really nice time in Canterbury and will be sorry to leave it behind tomorrow - it really is a beautiful place and it is steeped in history. There is so much here to do and to see and I am just sorry that I did not have more money and more time. It is a place that you could really do with having a couple or three days to be able to take your time walking around and looking at everything it has to offer. It seems pretty similar to Chester in many ways - Roman walls, lots of Roman history, Cathedral and great shopping. Maybe that's why I have liked it so much...