After a while you come to a point in life where the decison has to be made. Do you carry on in the vain hope that everything will be all right or do you put a stop to it.
It's a big one.
I have thought long and hard about this and I have made my mind up. Too many miles on the clock. Time to retire.
No, not me: My boots. My beautiful Scarpa Nepals.
They have seen me through thick and thin. One thousand, nine hundred and fifty six miles to be exact. 1,956 miles. Phew. All the training walks before the big walk, the big walk itself (1,687 miles) and a few messy little walks up until this last Sunday; a boggy walk in the Cambridgeshire clay with Lord Elpus and Miss Whiplash.
Remarkably, they still have a little bit of tread left and their uppers at first glance look great. But in reality they are clapped out. I have somehow worn through the leather linings in a few places and they started letting water in through the leather at the main flex point during the big walk.
They are still comfortable, but they will not see me across Scotland this May on the TGO Challenge, so it was time to bite the bullet and buy some new boots to give me some time to get them broken in.
I have not got it in me to just throw them away - it would break my heart. They have been faithful to me all through those miles - never once giving me cause to complain. They fit like a pair of comfy slippers.
I shall find them somewhere nice and warm in the attic space with the rest of my old rucsacks, so they can sit in comfort and have a chat about places they have taken me with other old friends.
So the Nepals have been retired.
I have this afternoon purchased their replacements: A brand spanking new pair of...
Scarpa Nepals... Happiness.