Kevin has been in agony with his shinsplints and I encouraged him to bus to Santiago. He will of course miss gazing at my red nose and grey roots over dinner, but needs must. My sister Pietra headed out to Bilbao as scheduled and then back to London to edit her latest doco which is set in Afghanistan. She never complained about her myriad of blisters or sore back. We had loads of laffs.
And of course Im never alone, really. I'm having imaginary conversations with my friend Louise all day long. Like when I stepped into the deep dark woods at 6.30 this morning...
...and I was rigid with fear, I just imagined her furious netball stance as our Centre and I burst out laughing. When a German Shepherd came at me barking (there are loads of untethered dog on the trails and many bite stories) I remembered Lou did pro bono work for the Spca and transmitted this to huge dog.
And of course every time I think of just one word - "dogtucker" - that she used to say ( the anecdote is too ribald to repeat even on this blog) i'd be snorchorkling. To meet her in passing youd never have guessed the ribaldry; she was utterly classic with no makeup, pearls, silk shirts, blackwatch tartan skirts and court shoes. Yes Lou, butter wouldnt melt girl.
When I heard the news about Lou dying suddenly and unexpectedly I was so sad I just wanted to go home. There there was the shot of fear - life is so fragile. That flick of her hair, the way she chuckled, everything about her was vivid. If she could pass so swiftly - then what?
But after the sun came up on a green mossy Galicia all I could do was grin from ear to ear thinking about her. And cry a bit. But mostly grin.
Yesterday I walked 36km and today 44km, the hours just flying by, re-playing the tape of my memories; this time searching behind her, beside her, who else was there that day? her old flat, her cat, her pot of tea, that pub, that court, that corner of the library.
Then re-winding the tape to see her once again.