On Sunday 19 July the Hounslow Singh Sabha held its annual sponsored walk. As I am useless at fund raising I volunteered to be a marshal.
The weather forecast for the day was poor, but it turned out to be a much better day than predicted. There were two ‘sant-babé’ performing in Hayes and it seems that many people prefer sants over a walk with sadh sangat.
The route of the sponsored walk is simple : turn left into Hanworth Road towards the centre of Hounslow and keep going in that direction, along the London Road until you come to Busch Corner. Here we turned left, walked past Syon Lane Station and again left at Gillette Corner into the Great West Road.
From there it is straight on past Osterley Station and Lampton Corner to turn left into Sutton Lane, which after crossing the Bath Road becomes the Wellington Road North. At the Staines Road we turned left and then after a few hundred yards right into Hibernia Road, which brings you to the side entrance of the Gurdwara.
Being a marshal means that you do not just walk the walk, but also check that other marshals/the police are in place at road crossings and that the walkers are all right. On the first stretch to Busch Corner I was in the vanguard and then waited till all had gone past. I then left taking big strides hoping to overtake all before we got to Sutton Lane.
I did not quite manage that, but saw a lot of the walkers who stopped at the free ice cream van. By then I took off my right shoe and noticed that I walked a sizeable hole in my sock, and had the beginning of a blister where the hole was.
I took off both socks and finished the last stretch at a more sedate pace, still overtaking many walkers. Between having long legs and not having a car I am in reasonably good nick in spite of being of the 1947 vintage.
I like walking, I love walking, it is a wonderful way of getting from A to B ! Of course if the heavens open and rain comes pelting down I am not entirely happy. But it is part of living in the UK, it is part of living a natural life. The best part of walking is that you do not need any special kit.
I have seen French ladies go up a rocky mountain path in stiletto heels and smart clothes. I would not advise people to follow that example, but ordinary decent shoes are fine for ordinary walks, ordinary decent clothes, suitable for the climate and the season will be entirely suitable.
Walking with sangat and taking exercise made me feel nearer to God, nearer to Creation. Walking to me is simran, meditation where you do not necessarily have to repeat words that remind you of God. I was on a spiritual high at the end of the day, which was helped by the big chunk of watermelon I was given.