Saturday, 23 June 2018

Day 16 - updated

One of the scariest times of my life was midnight in the church hall. I must have been sleeping lightly when I heard some voice outside the open window. They were obviously Romanian voices and possibly drunken ones. All of a sudden an image similar to the one below popped into my head. 

I was on high alert until the voices disappeared about 30 minutes later. I had a reasonable sleep after that episode and Alex returned at 8am to continue the building work that he was doing to the church hall. I started packing up the buggy and noticed that I had another puncture on the starboard wheel. 

The builders who were working with Alex took the wheel off and Alex drove me to get it fixed in Sacueni. The tyre was fixed in no time and as we returned to the church hall in Ianca a violent thunderstorm broke out. I sat out the thunderstorm in the church hall for an hour before getting the day underway. 

Thanks to Alex (real name Sándor Jakó) for letting me stay in the church hall. I started running at 1000 and knew that I’d have to work hard to get all 20 miles in as well as some bonus miles. 

The rainy tail end of the storm stopped after an hour and the day started to brighten up slightly. I found the buggy really heavy to pull and it was only after 3.5 miles that I realised the front break was still on. Gutted was an understatement and I continued on with a seemingly much lighter buggy. 

I stopped after 9 miles to cook some food. After a while I noticed that I was being watch by a lady from a house across the road. She came over after I’d finished eating and I gave her some of my supplies. These were items that I haven’t been and don’t think I’ll be using. It’s good to free up the space! She seemed very grateful and peered into the open buggy as if to see what else she might have.

The climb out of Sacueni was tough. I noticed the roads were a lot quieter and the hard shoulder got a bit wider. It was a good 11 miles to the next village and I tried to run as fast as I could to make the miles go quicker. I also listened to a couple of episodes of Desert Island Discs which helped pass the time. The episodes I listened to where from the archive featuring Victoria Wood, Sue Townsend and Annie Lennox. I’ve also got a load of Simon Mayo and Mark Kermode’s Wittertainment saved up for future miles. That is my favourite podcast bar none. (Tinkety Tonk, hello to Jason Isaacs and down with the Nazis). 

A man who I think was called Sabalch stopped me at the 14 mile point and handed me a 10 lei note. He took some photos and was on his way again. I paid the equivalent pounds into my Virgin Money Giving page. 

By the time I reached Valea-Lui-Mihai I was exhausted. 8000 calories burned and 1200 in approx is not a good formula. 

I asked a few people if I could stay in their land as was moved on. The light was fading and as I left the town on the 24 mile point for the day I heard the dreaded sound of a puncture. Absolutely gutting I dragged Chappie for another 3/4 mile before pulling in to a service entrance to a farmers field. I tried in vain to take the punctured tyre off but not only was I exhausted the bolts had been tightened too much for my small spanner to move. Gutted. 

I gave up and climbed inside Chappie totally demoralised and exhausted. Just as I was doing this, two policeman arrived. The older one asked for my passport and I explained to the young one what my mission was. The young one spoke a little English. The older one took my passport away and returned to his car to, I assume, contact someone to check my ID.

The older policeman was able to remove one of the wheel nuts but not the other and they said that a garage would be open in the morning about 5km back. They left after a brief conversation. They asked if I was hungry. I said that I was ok. They were extremely polite and helpful. I climbed into Chappie again and the policemen returned after 10 minutes. The older one had brought me a melon. I said that I had nothing to cut it with. I’m only equipped to eat army ration packs! The younger one said that there was a closer garage than the one he’d mentioned previously. It was 1 mile back and opened at 8am. I thanked them again for their help. I felt reassured that they knew where I would be sleeping and that I had a plan to progress in the morning.

I took my socks off, climbed inside the sleeping bag with my fleece on and attempted to get some sleep at the end of a throughly testing day.