One of the supporters who generously donated to this walk, Eric Lanning, died yesterday morning. He was 98, and a close friend from my long-ago Chislehurst days. My heart goes out to John and Lindy, who have lost their brave, humorous and devoted father; he was also a wonderful raconteur.
This made for a quiet and reflective morning's walk along the banks of the River Stort, nine miles in peaceful sunshine. If it hadn't been for aircraft droning overhead on their way to Stanstead Airport, I could have been in remote rural England instead of just beyond the boundaries of London.
Towards the end of today's journey, I caught up with an elderly gentleman, well wrapped in his overcoat and woollen cap, walking even more slowly than me. We fell into conversation. He told me that he was now 85, had never married, had never once left the British Isles, had never even bothered to get a passport. He said he was perfectly happy, had no regrets, and kept a bright and optimistic outlook on life. He also said he was in excellent health. When I asked him what the secret to all this success was, he replied "Walking, of course". Thus we wandered on together, until we reached Bishop's Stortford.