Quote of the week: “Did you ever think of walking faster Mari?” — Colin Stenhouse
Imagine this said in a very calm voice with the undertones of an exasperated Scottish accent.
I can picture those of you who know us laughing heartily as you read this and those who don’t thinking, “how will they ever get through 500 miles of walking together?”
The truth is that our 30+ year relationship is very loving, supportive and also provides a healthy dose of competitiveness and positive encouragement. That combination keeps us moving forward as individuals and as a couple. We have our complementary strengths and ultimately prioritize each other’s personal growth and happiness.
Colin is the one who can easily get through the physical challenges. For me it doesn’t always look so easy. For example when we both decided to go rock climbing for the first time with friends Colin shimmied up the rocks more elegantly than those teaching us-later becoming an avid climber. I, on the other hand, scrambled up the rock and enjoyed myself while thinking, “this is a little fun, but not my thing”. I am sure I looked rather out of place as I clung to the rocks holding on for my life.
Even when it comes to sports that are “my thing”, like Tae Kwon Do, Colin easily excels if he cares to. That is truly frustrating for me as my family can attest. There were several times that I was working on my board breaks – fretting and practicing for months to get ready for black belt testing. Each time I was left significantly bruised, swollen and deflated. During one notable practice session I was nursing my wounds and sadly looking at my wood -after having had a ridiculous amount of failed attempts with my elbow smash – when Colin came up to my perfectly selected pile of wood, instantaneously smashing it while saying, “just crush it like that Mari”.
Annoying as that was, it ultimately made me so mad I think it helped me break that wood. You can say that I am tenacious at least. And the successes feel so sweet and well earned when I finally get there.
So as we begin this walk I am just beginning to realize the physical feat that this particular test will entail. I hope that I live up to the challenge with grace and not too many tears. But if tears shall fall at least I think that both Colin and I will use this opportunity to learn from this journey.
Perhaps Colin will really slow down to walk at my pace – that will be a challenge. (Although he is chiming in as I write to say ,”I have been walking at your pace for the past week”. You can judge that for yourselves as you read the upcoming stories of our walks in Scotland)
Maybe the Camino will help me accept that I can also move at my own pace and be more patient with myself. I will let you know as we go.
We are considering doing some U-tube videos together if we can figure that out. I think that will be fun and provide some laughs for those cheering us on.
Anyway, you can read further in this blog if you would like to hear more about how Colin’s quote came about. And take a look at a few photos from our walks in Scotland. It has been a beautiful week with unbelievably sunny weather. With all of our visits here we have never experienced so many days with sunshine in a row.
* Arrived in Kelso, Scotland on Tuesday 3/20( and relaxed a bit with Jim and Vera). Then did a 6 mile “short walk” yesterday. Walked home from the Smokery (a lovely restaurant/gift shop) for any of you who know where that is.
* We took another walk that I can’t even remember on Thursday. Probably 5 miles that day.
* Friday 3/23: This was the day of the first big walk. We walked 14 miles in the countryside on a Kelso Paths route. When we stumbled back to Lismore (the name of the house) we were tired, but still happy. The main problem for me was that my toes and shins were very sore. After that walk I felt that it is very possible that there may end up being some tears on the Camino when we do 18 miles a day. This was the day that Colin said that memorable quote stated above. Thankfully I was just able to laugh and not throw my water bottle at his head. I am and will forever be a slow walker. Maybe I just need to think harder but I don’t believe that is the case. Don’t worry, All is still well. My lessons of that day- be happy with my accomplishment, smile and keep on swimming- I mean walking. The small things make a difference- new less springy shoe laces did the trick and helped save my shins for our next big walk.
* Nice Saturday lunch with the Stenhouse crew: John, Johnny, Kit, Agnes, Vera and Jim. Great food at the Cobbles. If any of you find yourself in Kelso get the beef pie.
* I think it was on Monday we had a short walk with the new laces and a small stop in to Rutherford’s microbrew pub in Kelso. Ever try a spiced vodka Kelsopolitan? their own version of a cosmo- very good. Met a nice local gentleman, Douglas Maclauchlan. A golf pro who does tours for golf enthusiasts. I said I’d send him business so spread the word please! Message me if you want his number.
* And a short 7 mile planned for Monday that turned into 13.5. But success. Shoe laces and a couple of 5 minute stops did the trick. No pain or water bottles thrown.
Tonight is our last night in Kelso. Heading for France tomorrow. Will miss the family but plan to visit more now that our work lives are more flexible.