So Peterhead had come and gone – my walk was no taking me to Fraserburgh and beyond.
The most notable thing about this leg of the journey was that, quite suddenly, people were offering me lifts in their cars.
Maybe I looked more fatigued – maybe they’re just that sort of folk.
The offers of lifts contonued and the thought of jumping in a car was mighty tempting – but that’s not what this little escapade is all about.
One guy stopped and said he’d give me a lift to a place called crimmond about another 6 miles up the road. I politely declined his offer, explaining what I was doing and that I’d get there soon enough.
“it’s a long walk!” he beamed as he drove off.
It was, indeed, a long 6 miles. I arrived in crimmond a while later – a bit foot sore and weary looking around for somewhere to pitch my tent.
There was the guy who’d offered me the lift – he was taking a timid Rottweiler for a walk.
“I bet you’re tired now?” he smiled at me. Not the dog, the guy…keep up.
I conceded that I was and that I needed somewhere to stick my tent.
“You can put it up in my back garden,” said Kenny as he walked me round.
A cup of tea and fish fingers and chips later and we were getting on famously.
He has, what must be, the second best job in the world. He drives high performance and luxury cars backwards and forwards between Peterhead and London.
He loves it.
Kenny showed me pictures of himself a couple of years ago – when he weighed 28 stone – he now weighs 14.
How the? What the? I asked coherently.
He’d had a heart attack while he was driving – apparently it had been a near thing – but they got him to hospital and put 4 metal tubes in his heart.
That was his motivation to lose weight.
“I eat less fat and brown bread – and I take dogs for 10 mile walks in the evenings..”
No need for a pile of books that you’ll never read because they make you feel guilty that tell you that colonic coffee is the only way…
There is something about Kenny – he’s kind and generous and very matter of fact – he likes to help people.
I think he might have a bit of a learning disability? He may have a touch of Aspergers…it was really lovely when he showed me his birth certificate.
“It’s the original,” he told me
proudly,”Not like my brothers and sisters – they’ve only got copies…”
I thought of my tattered old replica…
We watched shit tv – reality shows about customs – and then I escaped myself and went to tent.
I thanked him for his hospitality and kindness – not expecting to see him in the morning seeing as wot I was knackered and he had an early start.
“Tea and toast, chris?” came the voice through the tent.
It was 7.30 as I slowly emerged. I thanked Kenny – this was above and beyond…
My gaze was met by his neighbour. I suddenly realised it wasn’t just his back garden that I’d camped in, it was a communal drying area.
I started to babble,”Kenny said it would be ok if I camped here…”
“Oh, I don’t care about that,” said the woman in her early 60’s,”I’ve run you a bath….just a few bubbles and stuff…”
Clearly, from her accent, from Liverpool.
I thanked Kenny again – necked the tea and toast and jumped in the bath.
Bera – short for Beranice – explained if she’d been camping a bath would be just what she wanted – she thought I’d be no different.
She was right.
We talked and she explained that she’d been caring for her friend over the last 6 years. She’d attended her funeral yesterday.
She told me she’d received carers allowance for her support.
How much might that be – bearing in mind that she had to demonstrate she cared for at least 40 hours a week?
A Bentley? A huge house? £100’s.
£90 odd is what she received.
“I’m all cared out now,” she told me, “I want a job in tescos or asda…”
“Given up caring?” I couldn’t help but laugh,”you just ran a bath for a complete stranger…”
She was so sad.
We talked about her younger years in the 60’s – she felt the world was more optimistic then – with space travel…
She smiled and told me about her name Beranice came from an old Greek story. The girl Beranice grew her long beautiful hair – when it looked like her father might not come back from the war, she told the gods she’d cut off her hair and give it to them if they would guarantee his safe return.
There is a star constellation called Beranice’s locks.
We hugged and I went on my way – she went off on the bus to find her job filling shelves.
The woman who gave and continues to give so much.
Walk a mile