Yesterday afternoon I cracked it. I set out from Stephen of Glastonbury’s house and headed west out of the Glass Town to the Somerset Levels, which used to be the Sea of Glass.
Beautiful swans and a cygnet, budding daffodils, fluorescent cyclists. I used my Garmin to program a Jeff Galloway run-walk workout and ran walked 17 miles to Wells, down quiet lanes, dodging cars on busier roads. Along the way, I saw an articulated lorry distressed in a ditch, a swannery of a thousand swans who must go and ring the bell at the Bishop’s Palace in Wells when they want their food, a German girl who told me the way; a very Sebaldian moment.
A bottle of Lucozade and a bottle of water in Wells perked me up and I decided to run the five miles back to Glastonbury, rather than get cold and wait for the bus. Into Glastonbury, I half mistakenly took the Old Wells Road into town. Only half a mistake as I felt like an old Wells. It took me up a steep steep hill next to Glastonbury Tor. The pay-off was the majestic sunset view back west over the Somerset Levels, where I had spent the afternoon training.
I arrived back down in the centre of town, endorphin-crazed, euphoric and stiff-legged. After a glorious soak in a hot bath, we made a delicious supper of steamed brocoli with butter and salt and pepper as a starter, smoked cod stew with Puy lentils and carrots, cheese and celery leaves and sticks, pineapple and melon fruit salad.
More than the physical challenge, I now know what the mental landscape of 26 miles is going to look like.