Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Latest news from Andy Monk who is walking miles for MS

Dear Cllr Baldock,

Wow, thank you very much indeed. That's just fabulous. I can't thank you
enough for taking so much time to raise so much money for us for MS
research. (£115) I only hope that one day I can do something in return.

It's been an eventful couple of weeks around the Lakes and into
Northumberland and back. It seems like two years, but only because we've
been to so many places and met so many people in such a short space of time.

Did I tell you about Gwen's blow out on the scooter? Luckily we had three
fell runners walking with us at the time and one of them was a Signwriter
who knew nearly everyone in the next town. He ran on ahead, organised a van
to pick the scooter up, took it away, and the owner of the Sundial Guest
House put two new lawnmower tyres on the front! They've got tread on them
like tractor tyres! Should last for the rest of the walk I'd say.

Gwen had to go home while I did the Northumberland stretch of the walk - far
too hilly for the scooter. There are signs at the side of the road saying
'Severe Dip' and they're not kidding. It's just like the rollercoaster at
the fairground. Debi Jones said I must have thighs like iron by now - dead
right, from walking uphill out of the severe dips!

I took the car up to the middle of Northumberland (couldn't get anyone to
drop me off so far up) and parked it mid way between Hexham and Berwick and
jumped on a bus back to Hexham. Three days later, walking back from Berwick,
I decided I would sleep in the car to save on expenses (I cover all expenses
myself btw) but the car had gone! It was going dark, raining, my feet were
wet - there are holes in my boots already, and there was no signal on the
mobile. I saw car headlights coming towards me and signalled the driver to
stop. It was a young girl; I asked her if she lived locally and she said
yes. Had she seen the car parked there and did she by any chance know what
had happened to it? Yes again. She lived at the farm around the corner and
her dad had called the police and they had towed it away. Interesting.

She said that she would drive back up the road to get a signal on the mobile
and ring home. When she returned I got in the car and she drove us to a
beautiful farmhouse about a mile away and her dad apologised profusely and
told me why he had rung the police. Twelve months previous someone had
parked in that same spot and committed suicide in the car. He had expected
to find a body in the back of my car and didn't dare look, so he just rang
the police, who decided it must have been stolen because it was so far from
home and so they towed it away.

The car was towed away on orders from Berwick police and taken to
Coldstream, and the officer who was dealing with it was now on leave for two
days. I had to go back to Berwick (20 miles) with some ID, which I didn't
have on me, and ask for an Inspector to authorise its release from
Coldstream, another 15 miles away. Struggling to prove who I was and that
the car was mine, I mentioned that I had met the Mayor, Hazel Bettison, when
I arrived in Berwick and the Inspector rang Hazel to check. Five minutes
later a Community Bobby was running me to Coldstream to collect the car.
Phew! And I didn't have to pay to get it released either.

If you have time, have a look on my website at the poem Hazel wrote after we

I'll have to go back up to the area and complete the day and a half walk
that I missed due to having the car lifted. Am I bovered? Nah. I'm looking
forward to it already. I'll take Gwen with me next time and show her some of
the most beautiful scenery in the World.

Tomorrow we're in York, only half a day late, but that's another story!

I'll update the donations at weekend too and let you know how much has been
raised to date.

Will keep in touch and update you as often as I can.

Kindest regards



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