Blog Backlog - pushing on past Lincoln
Now that technical problems seem to have been resolved, Neil is firing off photos, films and blogs at such a rate that it's hard to keep up - even his daughter Milly has written a blog for the website. (Editor: The blogs are for Day 10, 13th April. Sorry for the delay in posting.)
On top of this, Neil has fitted in the regular maintenance needed for the van (for example, ever wondered where you go to empty a portable loo?), regular maintenance of his feet (frequent fresh socks) eating enough calories (Ray can cook from the van, as we'll see) oh, and Neil's been pressing on with the walking miles too, getting further ahead of schedule with each day.
Thankfully the weather has been incredibly kind to Neil. Apart from "a few spots" of rain recently, it has been sunshine all the way. Here Neil describes recent progress:
"You know the button that clears the page when you don't want it to, can someone explain where it is and why it exists? On my laptop it would save pages in 'Drafts' but it doesn't do that on the tablet! So here we go again with blog attempt number two.
"Walked through Linçoln and went up to the cathedral. Normally there is a substantial number of elderly in any congregation and if this is the case in Lincoln they must be tuff buggers as the walk up nearly killed me.
"I headed off through the castle as it set me in the right direction for the day. Local MP Karl McCartney had been told of my walk so when I rang him he said he was coming out to join me. GOOD MAN.
"We met on the road to Scampton. He's a very nice approachable fellow and we seemed to agree that expanding Heathrow was a terrible plan for all. He knew the arguments about the Midlands and the North paying for the infrastructure in the South through their taxes. He understood that the benefits had been exaggerated and the negatives played down.
"He certainly understood how devastating it must be for the villagers around Heathrow. He then spoke about electric cars and asked If I was aware that there is no second-hand electric car market. The reason being the batteries are £8,000 to replace. I said the range on most was 100 miles and this is only if you warm them up on the charging post first, don't put the radio, the heater or the aircon on and only drive smoothly ie no stop-start driving like we have to do in urban areas.
"Karl pointed at the two big power stations not too far away and told me that if we have the number of electric cars on the roads needed to reduce pollution in our cities, stations such as these would produce more polution for his constituents. We would be simply moving the problem around.
"Hand shakes and pics later, I was off feeling well supported by the MP for Lincoln. Thank you. Heading to the support van in Lincoln, it felt like the ground shook as the Red Arrows roaring over my head at low level. I called my Emma (Ed: Neil's partner) and she asked if I had taken a pic. You must the joking! They were gone so fast there was no time to take a breath!
"I thought I'd get the camera out in case they came back and my timing for once was spot on. I did one better than a photo and got a short vid (Ed: now posted).
"My walk took me past The Dambusters Inn so I met up with Ray outside a church and we went to the pub for lunch. Over my avocado salad, Ray said he noticed that all the graves in the churchyard were for World War II airmen. It was at this time I received a text from Armelle Thomas who lives in Harmondsworth. Her message said that her husband Tommy is with us on this campaign, and I know she is right. (He was in the RAF during WWII, regularly flying to occupied France. He died in 2015, shortly after getting a letter from Heathrow saying his home would be destroyed for a runway.) I took a few minutes to pay my respects and then got back on the road to Scotland.
"Last night we stayed on a farm campsite (the place to empty the van's loo) and my youngest has blogged this for you (see below). Today we went through Scunthorpe; I'm about half a day up on schedule. We had a lovely breakfast in Morrisons and a young lad walked a while with me, chatting on the way to his mates. Lots of beeps of support, thanks to all. They seem a real friendly lot around here.
"One disapointment is BBC Radio Lincoln did not want a chat. They could not see the public interest. This is not the impression I've got from the people I've met in this community . Face to face they are very interested.
"Tonight we are in layby a few miles short of Thorne. Had sausages, mushrooms, tomatoes, eggs etc then washed and jumped into bed. A bit of dampness in the air and in the fabric of the van. Plan to press on hard tomorrow, making the best of weather and flat ground.
"Thanks to all the team especially Ray who is doing a great job here."
MILLY'S BLOG - SENT DURING THE INTERNET PROBLEMS
"My name is Milly and I'm doing daddy's blog today as he has got no internet where he is.
"Daddy and Ray are further forward than planned. They reached Kirton in Lindsey and were sent to a camp site where they could empty the loo, fill up their water supply and Dad could tumble dry his socks and have a shower. Daddy says Sunflower Campsite is lovely!
"There were 4 or 5 families there and a number of rescue animals. There were 3 massive dogs that looked like bears, and one of them was called Lady. There were 3 pot-bellied pigs and a giant three-spot pig called Mary. Also there were rescue geese, and the farmer said 'If the male one gets lary, stand your ground and tell him to get lost!'.
"This morning daddy and Ray were woken up by a cockrel. They are both well, thank you very much."