…in a very inconclusive way! Having tried on dozens of walking shoes/boots in tens of different shops, ordered six pairs from Amazon and several more from other online outlets, I have now officially given up and admitted defeat.
I’ve ruined my old Asolo boots which have carried me over 2,500 kms with barely a blister, due to a bodged home-repair followed by an unsuccessful trip to the local cobbler (I’m forcing myself to resist the pun). I could have had them properly re-soled for a second time at an eye-watering cost, but the uppers are showing signs of wear and I didn’t think it worth the investment. They will now be destined for local walks, but alas no more caminoing for them.
Way back at the beginning of my search (a good six weeks ago) I did buy a pair of Merrells that I really liked the look of and were very comfortable, but a tiny bit too short in the length, and probably not sufficiently robust for the camino, but perfect for other walks. However, having just received the latest pair of ‘not quite right’ footwear from Amazon, the Merrells have now been designated ‘the boots that will have to do’. I have worn them a couple of times on 25+km walks, but without much elevation and I’m just a bit worried that steep descents may cause issues. We shall see – I just can’t face any more searching this late in the day – although there is a Decathlon store next to my accommodation in Bilbao that I probably won’t be able to resist visiting!
I think my stance and stride have changed due to my hip replacement. Originally my operated (right) leg was shorter than my left, although I had never really been aware of it. Post op, it is longer by about 1cm, and feels more so. My pelvis is now a little tilted and I have been wearing a heel raiser in my left shoe, which quickly put a stop to the backache I was feeling. But now, for some reason, I seem to need a half size bigger in walking shoes. I was previously buying a size 8 for the camino which is at the top end of what’s on offer in stores in women’s styles. I’ve tried a few men’s styles but they come much wider than women’s and my feet are relatively narrow. Hence my problem finding suitable footwear.
Other than that I am pretty much organised with backpack and contents. There haven’t been many items to purchase or changes from previous trips. I’ve bought a pair of lightweight trousers that can be worn for hiking or relaxing, a down blanket, and I have designed (hacked) a backpack cover from a Lidl £10 poncho, with which I’m very pleased.
I’ve had to do lots of work in the garden. I had gathered quite a collection of plants in pots since returning the UK and, as they wouldn’t survive long without at least some watering, I’ve transplanted them all into the ground. I shall miss my garden – it’s already very pretty and full of spring colour. And if tomorrow’s promised rain doesn’t materialise, I’m going to have to resort to filling my leaking pond from the tap before I go. I have avoided using tap water for a couple of years since developing a Heath Robinson system that diverts rainwater from my roof into the pond. We haven’t had any rain at all for weeks and the pond is at least 30cm below optimum level at the moment. I keep looking at the forecast which seems to change every day, one day showing a good amount of rainfall due and next time I look there is none to be seen.
My garden has been quite transformed since my return. I realised that my huge 4m2 shed was situated in the sunniest part of my garden. So I found a new home for it, and most of the junk that was in it, replaced it with a new shed less than a quarter its size in a shady spot, laid artificial grass over the concrete plinth, made a fake secret door in the back of my neighbour’s brick outhouse, and installed a raised flower bed.
Little Lily has had a pre-camino hair-do. I dropped her off at the groomers a total scruff-bag and collected her a couple of hours later looking like a cute, shiny, silky pooch half the size. Border Terriers should be stripped rather than clipped. The dog-sitter will have a moult-free experience.