Not apocalypse now, as it might sound, but one of our Earth Balls coming a cropper early today. After a start considerably delayed by a pleasing amount of media interest in our departure from Big Ben, we set out to start our walk to Brussels, packs on backs and inflated Earth Balls on packs. We were walking along the Thames Path towards Tower Bridge when my phone rang. It was the Associated Press news agency wanting to verify a few facts.
I was just talking with them when I heard a pop and turned around to see an Earth Ball (not mine, but I’m not going to name names) float over the railings and down into the Thames. I burst out laughing, at the same time gasping in horror that we had not only lost an Earth, but also inadvertently dropped a piece of plastic in the river. I then had to explain to the AP journalist what was going on.
“We just lost Planet Earth,” I said. “Luckily, we have another nine.” Then a useful soundbite popped into my head. “Unluckily the same can’t be said of the real Earth. That’s what we’re going to Copenhagen to say. We’ve got just the one Earth, and we have to look after it. In real life, we don’t have any spares.”
And that’s really what it’s all about. We need to clean up our act, and soon, if we’re going to have a nice clean, healthy planet to live on, rather than one polluted with toxins, trash, and, errr, errant Earth Balls.
Fortunately the rest of the day passed without incident. We walked along the Thames Path for a while, then turned north along Regent’s Canal, then followed the River Lea out towards Walthamstow. After an early downpour – which unfortunately coincided exactly with our photo shoot for the press on Westminster Bridge – the skies cleared and the winter sun shone weakly on us as we walked along footpaths and towpaths through the of East London. After our late start it was nearly a couple of hours after dark by the time Jane successfully navigated us to the County Hotel in Woodford.
We have already gathered quite a healthy number of signatures on our Earth Balls – everyone from the patrons of the tiny Caffe Nero where we assembled for our pre-walk breakfast to a group of schoolchildren we met on the canal towpath.
A few thank yous are in order:
Thanks to Marmot for our lovely matching orange waterproof jackets. They looked absolutely splendid for our photo shoot this morning, brightened up an otherwise dreary day, and also made it easy for us to spot each other if the group started to stretch out too much.
Thanks to Keen for my lovely walking boots. After a mere hour of breaking in yesterday, they performed magnificently today, with nary a blister in sight.
Thanks to Sue Losson of Green People for turning up to see us off this morning, despite the inhospitable weather. And to Alan Murray of Murray PR on a great job of getting the press along to witness our departure.
And – of course – to all our backers on Kickstarter, and all the other people who emailed or texted today to wish us good luck on our walk. 15 miles down, 235 to go!
And last but not least, the wonderful women of Team BB2B – Jane, Laura, Alison, Nora, and Mary. It makes a welcome change to have company – and such great company too.