Days 71 – 82 – INTERMISSION

This image of the clock in Winchester High Street is used to indicate the passing of time.

I slept for an hour-and-a-half in the afternoon and fourteen hours that night. I spare my delicate reader the description of the effects of this (as I soon realised it was) stomach bug during that night. I awoke feeling dazed and completely washed out. Walking was out of the question; I needed rest. The hotel was fully booked. There was nothing for it but to go home. Although deeply disappointing to have to retreat 9/10ths of the way through the walk, my good friend, Russ, texted me pointing out that according to my own rules: “The only exception [to my walk being discontinuous and still counting as ‘complete’ (see Rule 3b)] would be in the case of medical, or other un-anticipatable emergency, which would render getting to the nearest hospital or point of help impossible on foot or just too urgent.” And he’s right, this bug is precisely that!

It is unclear to what extent it was pure stomach bug, or a stomach bug giving a gradual build-up of exhaustion the chance to have its shout too. What is certain is that my physiology was telling my belligerent will “STOP!” And there was no arguing with it.

Anyway, having of necessity postponed, I am taking advantage and resting thoroughly. I have now booked accommodation for the rest of the walk, so I will be able to complete the South Downs Way with a far lighter pack. I am restarting at Winchester on Monday 15th August and will arrive at Rock-a-Nore Beach, Hastings (the finishing point), other mishaps excepted, between 17:30 and 18:30 BST on Saturday 20th August. I hope you can join me during those last few days.

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