Take what it says at face value

On 9 August two men nobody could describe as youths set out to walk the Wherryman’s Way, roughly 60km from Norwich to Yarmouth. We set off on foot from Norwich Station at 6am, with just a few reluctant commuters around. It was a glorious day, and as we walked through to the outskirts of the city and up to the sewage farm we congratulated ourselves. Conversation flowed, the pace was good, and as we passed the six mile mark we were ahead of schedule. We encountered a three-day fishing competition, and learned about how it’s marked from a man who is driving in from Ipswich each day to compete. We passed several attractive riverside pubs, all still closed before the lunchtime rush. As we turned towards Loddon, a few more people appeared and a few boats appeared. We walked through a busy park in Chedgrave, with several mums picnicking and many happy children. In Loddon, a lot of the shops seemed to be shut for lunch. Though the pubs were open, we resisted and carried on to Reedham Ferry. Which cost £0.50 each.

Isaiah 40:30-31

30 Even youths grow tired and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall;
31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

We’d set this as the refreshment point and enjoyed beer and crisps, a fifteen-minute pit-stop before setting out for Yarmouth. Stopping was easy, starting again unexpectedly hard. After a walk through the town, and past the station with “Trains to Norwich” clearly advertised, we were on the riverbank, with 17km between us and the target. Now it was just a question of keeping going for another four hours or so. We met a man with a very fine stick in the middle of nowhere, he can only have walked from Yarmouth. Conversation was rare, all I wanted to do was not get too far behind Tim, and when leading, not to go too slowly and get in his way. The Berney Arms was closed (probably forever), a disappointment because I had all sorts of plans for this half-way point, including orange juice and lemonade, more crisps and a top-up of the water bottle.  It’s also the last bail-out opportunity, with a station only 800m away. The next four miles were a test of will and endurance. Blisters on my left foot and endless long flat grass to trudge through. I picked up some litter by way of variety. I tried to get the Lord’s Prayer backwards as a distraction, and was disappointed to find only ten minutes had passed, not even a kilometre.  About 1km from the station we met a man, with a dog called Biccy, who was keen to talk. We must have seemed rude trying to get away, but it had become important to finish within the twelve hours. We both admitted we’d not have completed it on our own, we’d have exited at Reedham probably. We did no running, certainly no soaring but we walked and didn’t faint. We were reminded how important it is to take God’s promises at face value.

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