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I feel it’s completely reasonable that, having grown up in a country that uses the metric system, I should have no idea how far a mile is. Because I work in kilometres. Not that I have a precise understanding of how long a kilometre is, but I know I can swim two of them in forty minutes, so I reckon it can’t be that far. I’ve always thought a mile was about the same. It would appear that I am wrong.

Which I came to find out when I told The Mom that my friend and I were going to do a long walk in the Cotswolds.

It was a confusing conversation in many respects because The Mom had apparently forgotten that I generally embark upon ridiculous journeys without much in the way of forward planning. In my defence, with this, it’s my Japanese friend’s idea so I figure she’ll sort it out. Besides which, she’s totally otaku with ordinance survey maps (good thing too because I can barely read a map).

“So I’m going to go and do a thing, in a bit. A few weeks, maybe a month,” I announced when The Mom asked me what was new.

“A thing?”

“A walk. Like last time. Bristol to Bath. Except not. Except in the Costswolds.”

“Where is that?”

“No idea, but I don’t think it’s far.”

“How long is the walk?”

“A hundred miles.”

“You’re out of your freaking mind.”

“Yes, but why specifically?”

“Do you know how far a hundred miles is?”

“No. Should I?”

I can hear The Mom face palm when I say this.

“You can’t walk that far, that’s how far it is,” The Mom said.

“Sure I can. I walked to Bath from here.”

“A hundred miles is from here to way past Toronto,” The Mom said flatly.



“Huh,” I said. “that’s too far for me to walk.”

“How is it you’ve made it this far in life?”

“No idea. But I better email my friend and tell her that a hundred miles is too far for us to walk.”

“Does she not know how far that is either? Are you two idiots going to go out in the woods never to be seen from again? Tell me at least you’re taking her Jack Russell with you?”

“No, Pop-chan doesn’t come for such long walkies. Besides, she has maps. She’ll know if this is a foolish idea or not. And anyhow, it’s Britain. We can’t get too lost, there’s always a pub.”

“This is a terrible idea.”

“You told me to go out and do stupid things. And you told me to go and watch that movie about Bill Bryson’s book, A Walk In The Woods. What did you think I’d do?”

“As a child, you listened to none of the things I said. Now you listen?”

“Not really. It’s just a coincidence.”

Anyhow, so the plan is for us to go walking in the Cotswolds. There will be well marked paths. It will be in no way arduous. My friend has promised us an easy-peasy walk. And it’s research, so you know, this isn’t just for fun. She’s been asked to write a book for the Japan Long Trail Association. So this is serious business.

The Mom however, is convinced I’ll be dead before we get to the end of it. I tried to reassure her by reminding her that my friend isn’t exactly a marathon hiker (I didn’t mention that her father is, and that she and her husband go hiking in Switzerland every summer with her parents), and wears beaten up sneakers like me.

I personally think we’ll be fine and that it’ll be a lovely way to be outside. We’re planning on going in early November, so you know, the weather ought to be great here, and by great I mean cold, dark and rainy, which should hasten us along. I’ve even got something in a water-proof jacket from one of those stores Crazy D likes so much, the ones that sell technical gear. To me, this is the utmost in preparedness.

I think The Mom’s just jealous. With no dog living in the house, she’s not doing as much walking as she used to. Obviously, she wants to come over and go on a nice long walk with us.