Walk the … well, a bit of the…. Wight

Have you sponsored us yet? What do you mean, no? Honestly, where’s your loyalty? If I could remember how to do links, I would direct you to http://www.justgiving.com/madfools and leave the rest to your consciences!

It was Smudgelet’s 11th birthday last Sunday. His birthday last year was postponed as Tiddles had his interview at his new school that day and I had to take him across to the North Island (commonly known as the mainland) for the weekend, leaving poor Smudgelet with Honorary Auntie M who proceeded to spoil him rotten. But it’s not right, not having your mum there for your tenth birthday, is it? And the previous year was even worse. His party and celebrations at reaching the grand old age of 9 had to be cancelled as my Dad was rushed into hospital and we were gathered round his bedside awaiting the worst (needless to say, the Comeback-Kid recovered and was with us for another seven months, praise God). So this year we were determined to celebrate in style.

And celebrate in style we did. I mean, a birthday party with several thousand people can’t be bad! You may remember Tiddles doing half of the Walk the Wight a couple of years ago. This is a massive sponsored walk which crosses the Island from East to West – 23 miles in total – and raises money for the hospice here which cared for us as a family as well as for my Dad through the last months of his life. I can’t sing their praises highly enough. The walk, over some serious hills, was rather daunting but this year they tapped into the large number of people who just can’t manage something so strenuous and did a mini version. 8 miles along the cycle path from Sandown to Newport. And this the Smudgelet and I decided to do.

To our pleasure, Tiddles happened to be home for the weekend and came with us. I use the term “with us” in its loosest possible sense. Within a few paces he’d disappeared off into the distance, accustomed hill-walker that he is, and waited for us only at the watering holes en route. This was quite agreeable to us, who had a lovely mother-son natter as we walked…. except for the fact that on Tiddles’ back was the rucksack containing all the water and provisions to provide energy and, more importantly, morale boosts. Still, we had to walk all the more determinedly in the search of our chocolate eclairs.

It was lovely. The weather was just right and the cycle track went through the most beautiful countryside. Everyone was in holiday mood. The first four miles were easy. The next three miles were not too bad. The last mile…. er… erm…. Keep your eyes on the road in front and hobble on, knowing that each limping step brought us one step nearer the brass band playing so encouragingly in the distance. Total sponsorship raised so far… just under £300 (hint hint).

And the rest of the afternoon. Well, yes, hot baths and snoozes in the chair did feature rather highly on our agenda for Smudgelet’s birthday afternoon. But it was worth it. A really lovely day. Same time, same place, next year?