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Ancient Feet: 19 - 2000 Mile Socks

Blister-popping is the order of the day in this latest episode of Alan Nolan's hilarious account of a long trek from one side of England to the other.

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When I had arrived at the B&B the evening before, I had so much on my mind that I had forgotten all about the discomfort I had noticed in my big toe earlier in the day and had not even bothered to check it out, but all the talk about Andy's infected feet reminded me that, during the long and arduous trek over the fells on Saturday, I had suffered more discomfort despite the 2000 mile socks guarantee to keep wearers blister-free.

In the circumstances, before we went to our bunks, I asked Tom to check me out, which he did, albeit reluctantly. Give him his due, he conducted the most protracted and thorough inspection and, finally, announced that he could not see anything that could be causing any discomfort whatsoever. Knowing that I was not imagining the pain, I decided to take a second opinion but, after the most cursory look, Paul only confirmed Tom's diagnosis. I was not convinced, so performed contortions to see what I could find for myself (it is not easy for a sixty year old to inspect the underside of his big toe, particularly with muscles aching after a nine hour walk) and what I found was an enormous blister, covering the entire area of the bottom of the toe and which, consequently, I pointed out to Tom in my most polite manner.

'You can't see anything? What the bloody hell is this then?'

Putting on his glasses, which I have to admit I had not noticed he had removed prior to his earlier inspection, he prodded the affected area to see how much it made me jump, before agreeing to perform the appropriate pain-relieving operation. Even though his past experiences had prompted him to assemble the most advanced emergency first aid kit imaginable, what he had failed to include was a blister-popping implement. He searched through his bag for something that might be capable of making the appropriate incision, and I looked on with some trepidation, if not terror, as he produced a pair of rubber gloves and then unwrapped a pair of sterilised scissors. Surely he didn't intend to cut the blister, did he? I need not have worried, as he very skilfully pierced the troublesome blister, releasing enough fluid to fill a milk bottle (all right, a jam jar then). Tom was looking very pleased with himself as he waited for some comment of appreciation.

'Tom, you may be the most eminent blister-popping specialist in the world but if you can't see a blister the size of a small tortoise, you won't be getting many referrals.'

Needless to say, my 2000 mile socks were consigned to the youth hostel bin, with about one thousand nine hundred and seventy miles outstanding on the clock.


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