There's no need to be alarmed!

People of England
There is no need to panic!

THERE WILL BE NO BUDGIES SMUGGLED PAST THE ORACLE THIS YEAR!
Dan the Fish - Justin - Guess Who
Some of you may remember (and still have nightmares about) me floating down the Kennet and Avon Canal last year in a pair of bright red, very brief, swimming trunks. I was not alone though, for Dan Martin, a real swimmer, was also in the water showing everyone how it should be done. Justin Miles was the reason we were there, he had paddled his kayak from the Bristol Channel all the way to Reading where we joined him. He was then mentally scarred by the sight of in excess of 500 lbs of male flesh joining in the fun for a couple of miles until he joined the Thames and he carried on with his challenge all the way to The English Channel or the East coast of this fine island we call home. Justin was accompanied all the way by a fine crew known as The Shanks Family. Everything Justin needed for the challenge was crammed into a van and driven around the country. Tents were set, food was cooked, permits etc were sought all from the back of this van, quite a task believe me, I know, I witnessed the Shanks in full swing as they made my back garden transform into base camp for a couple of nights. Melanie Gow, mother, producer, editor, writer, cultural events organiser, etc joined Justin on the water for a while through Reading along with her two boys, a small island of sanity in a sea of madness.

Me, some of The A Team and a couple of lads that followed Melanie Gow around.
Why?

So what was the reason for Justin plunging himself into a challenge like this 8 day paddle across the UK? Had he lost his mind, or was there a perfectly logical reason? Well, for a start you'd better look at Justin's web. I'll make it easy for you, so you can read all about him, but promise to come back here and carry on where you left off.
Welcome back, so you see, like me Just has had a bang on the crust, and knows how hard things can be while you're recovering from an accident. People see a scar, or something hanging off, broken or missing, then its easy for them to see that something is not right and even subconsciously make allowances. This is not the same for head injuries, as sometimes the damage can not be seen. After my er, lets call it an incident involving my head and a large, fast moving object, I had to learn to speak again, this took only a few weeks, maybe a couple of months after my clout on the snout, but up to 6 maybe 7 months later when everyone saw me up and back to work, I still had problems. Imagine being an adult in a shop, you pick up 2 things at £3 each, that's £6, easy maths. Give the girl behind the till a tenner and get back £4. Did you manage to do the maths OK? Sure you did!
£3 x 2 = £6
£10 - £6 = £4 change
Most primary school kids could manage that, so imagine how frustrating it was for me, an adult, not to be able to do it because I had a bang on the head that disconnected some of my wiring. I knew I had something in my hands that cost £3 but it would take me ages to work out what 2 of them cost, so I'd give the stuff to the checkout lady. Cross my fingers that she spoke and didn't just stare at me expecting some money. If she said "£6 please sir!" I still didn't know if a £5 note would be enough or would I need to give her 2 of them. As for how much change I needed, let's not even go there! Frustrating doesn't even come close, but to the outside world, I was stupid. Now take that frustration, double it and put it in a bundle then throw it at a child. Not nice. Take a look at this site and you'll see why Justin and myself (and a few others) got wet last year.

Last year Justin raised quite a bit for The Children's Trust. We all had a laugh too. So picture this...
Checking the Social Media, like you do, I see Justin is doing it all again this year. Bigger, Better, More People, blah de blah, "Would I join him again?" Don't need to ask me twice Mate! I'm on it like a rash. Only this time I'm not swimming through Reading, I'm walking. BIG DEAL!
I'm walking the same route as Justin, all the way from Channel to Channel. Reading will have to wait for me until Bristol, Trowbridge, Pewsey, Hungerford and Newbury have all had a taste of my boot soles. Then on to Maidenhead, Windsor, Weybridge and though London to the East coast. Oh yes! I do like a challenge, and this is one of them this year. Can I keep up with Just? Is there a footpath all the way, will I need to cut across and rely on a good old map rather than follow the rivers and canals? Can someone lend me a tent? So many questions, so many ways you, yes YOU can join in. I'm getting excited now so I'm going for a walk to calm down a bit. Then, as I hear more about the massive crowd joining Just this year, I'll let you know. 
If you can't wait and want to know more sooner, get in touch with me or Just.
Details to follow later! 
Come back y'awl!



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