I had a great night out with Stu and his brother Ryan last night. Stu had promised me a steak dinner when I made it in to Bath and as I could hobble along a bit better after a day of not walking we went a little further afield than just round the corner.
After a nice bottle of cider in the flat we went and met Ryan and headed to the Volunteer Rifleman where we sat outside and enjoyed a nice pint and a chat.
Pint drunk we made our way to Hudson Steakhouse Bar and Grill, a short walk away, for a lovely meal. Tempura prawns to start followed by a wonderful 8oz fillet steak cooked perfectly. More beer and some very nice red wine helped to wash it all down. I didn’t go in for the sambuca as I’ve never been a fan but Stu and Ryan couldn’t resist.
From there we headed to the Raven for a final drink – Triple Chocolate Stout! Not a bad pint but I found it a little heavy after all the food and drink already consumed during the evening.
It actually ended up being a much later night than I thought it was going to be, but a great time was had – thanks again Stu for the great meal! By the time we made it back to Stu’s I was ready to crash and it didn’t take long to drop off.
Today was another day for resting before hitting the road again tomorrow. I’m really surprised how the last few days knocked me for six, and this cold – which is now well and truly on my chest – isn’t making things any easier for me.
I lounged around the flat again this morning, feeling a little foggy in the head after the great night out last night. I think for the first time ever I sat and watched all the pomp and ceremony of the state opening of parliament and listened to the Queen’s speech.
Beginning to get a little on the peckish side I sorted myself out, wrote my list of things to get in town, and headed out the door around lunch time.
I grabbed a sandwich from Superdrug, along with something to hopefully try and start to clear my chest, and sat in the sun for a bit enjoying my lunch. There were lots of lovely ladies out in town, enjoying the sun…which was nice.
Fed and watered I headed to BCH Camping to replace my lost pole and to look at maybe buying another pair of boots. I know it’s a bit of an extravagance, especially as my original pair cost me £165, but most days they ended up pinching my toes as my feet became more swollen – hence the trouble I’ve had with my little toes – and it only got worse in the searing heat of the last few days. I was hopeful that a slightly bigger size would give me a little more room and the pinching wouldn’t happen, or worst case not be anywhere near as bad.
I had a good chat with the guy in the shop and tried on another pair of Meindl boots, half a size bigger than my original pair. I could feel the difference almost instantly as my feet were already hurting in my old boots, so I decided to buy them and see how things went.
They didn’t have the exact same walking pole as the one I lost but I got the next best one and also picked up some secure straps to make sure I didn’t lose either of them again.
That done I decided that it would be a good idea to try and find some light shoes of some description to strap to my pack and have to wear in the evenings instead of having to put the boots back on. They didn’t need to be fancy or expensive, just something that wouldn’t weigh me down and would be comfortable for a few hours every evening and no my days off.
I remembered a shop we passed on our way to the steakhouse the night before and I went to see what they had. Fortunately they had a good stock of sandals and light footwear and I picked up a pair of PDQ sports sandals for £20 that weighed next to nothing. Perfect to just strap on to the top/bottom of my pack and it didn’t matter if they got wet because of what they were made of. At the end of the day it didn’t matter if they made it to the end of the walk or not as they only cost £20 and could be replaced down the line if needed. I’m sure I’ll appreciate them after a long day’s walk!
Shopping done, and a quick stroll round the town to take a few photos, I headed back to Stu’s place to try the new boots on for the afternoon. The chap in the shop told me that if I tried them for the afternoon – indoors – and they didn’t feel right then I could pop back and they’d change them for me. They seem to be doing ok, but then I’m not trudging up hill and down dale carrying the pack so we’ll have to see how they do tomorrow, but like I said, they can’t be any worse than the old boots can they?
A final evening out in Bath tonight – a much more sensible one after last night – and then I’ll be back on the trail again tomorrow. I’m both looking forward to it and not as I’m not over this cold and I’m worried that if it’s not cooled down a bit I’ll suffer like I did over the weekend. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.
I can’t tell you how grateful I am to Stu for his hospitality over the past couple of days. If I’d not taken this unscheduled break I think I would have done some serious damage to myself. Hopefully this will stand me in good stead for the coming days on the Cotswold Way, a part of the route I’ve been really looking forward to walking.
If you want to find out more about this day you can see the photos I took.