"Where shall I drop you?" asked Kim, "At J.C.B. City!" I cried. And we sped off back to Uttoxeter at the start of yet another grey drizzly day. I'd met Kim on a "Natural England" training course, where we'd swapped "if you happen to be passing through this area..." contact details, and here she was! Why J.C.B. City?, well, the surreal landscape of "giant prawns claws" had really caught my attention last year, and I'd ever since regretted not taking a photograph. I think Kim must have dropped us at another smaller depot, as it didn't look quite so majestic, especially under grey clouds. Never mind, it was onwards and out of Uttoxeter, a place I'd never imagined I'd be in again. As we left, I thought back to last year, the enthusiasm of the local press, how we'd "posed" purposefully walking down the High Street, for "how many times was it?" to get the photo they wanted. This was no time for nostalgia as there were more pressing matters to deal with, e.g. the burgeoning blisters on Sheila's feet. Sticking to the roads to make the journey quicker we stopped en route at a pub where the locals were busy preparing for a big BBQ "fun & games" event. As we left under menacingly dark skies, it looked likely to be a wash out. Or hopefully not, because as we walked southwards, the weather certainly improved for us and it looked like we could enjoy a scenic route into Penkridge along the canal in the afternoon sunshine.
But we didn't. Why?, because, as usual, I talked too much when I should have been map reading.
Faced with a ford in the road caused by the heavy rain, I had to persuade a doubtful Sheila that there really was no alternative. Besides, "It won't be that deep" two seconds later we were ankle deep in water. It wasn't pleasant squelching into town on yet another main road. Had we gone back (as she suggested) we'd have picked up the right track to the canal. Oh dear. When Sheila, cried "I need Blaster Plisters!" it was lucky we hadn't got far to go and could see the funny side of what she'd just said. And finally, to round of a "cracking" day, if we were hoping, showered and refreshed, to venture out of the hotel into the evening sunshine, it wasn't to be. The thunder cracked, the lightning struck, the heavens opened and it was another night dining at the "Quality Inn"
The following morning, we weighed up the situation. With the odds stacked against us, rain, blisters and the fact that I'd probably walked too much for too long, we made a decision, booked the first bus back to London and called it a day.