The first time I spluttered coffee over my keyboard reading this book was towards the beginning of 'Vic's Big Walk': some difficult incident lured him into coining the phrase 'dangle a dongle'. There were more of those moments at least worth a chuckles if not outright laughter.
I didn't know about Vic Heaney or his epic walk until a couple of months ago when I met him here in Lima, Peru, together with Gay, his lovely wife. During his 70 days and nearly 2000km of walking from the Pyrenees to Blackpool, the town where he was born, Vic repeatedly meets with people, situations and objects which convince me (and him, I dare suggest) that the world is indeed a handkerchief and events within it aren't random.
Just follow this: I used to work in a major multinational in Madrid, Spain, and met and worked with a South African who lives in the South of France, and who happens to know Vic Heaney who lives in the Pyrenees. Mike sent me a mail saying more or less 'you must meet', because Vic and Gay were coming to Peru. And we did. I met a couple of youngsters, really, but if Vic says he's over 70 and I suppose he can prove it.
Vic's book lets you walk with him, let's you share his frustrations, his limitations, his achievement--and all that in small bites which make you forget that this man actually walked almost 2000km (at a rate of about 30km per day) to raise awareness of pancreatic cancer and funds for research. His narrative is human, simple and often funny. And anyone who knows the area (French and English side) only a little, will enjoy seeing everything in 'close up' through Vic's eyes. We get some reminiscing, some historical facts and meet some of the odd folk he encounters on his journey, and enjoy the relief of his homecoming.
Pancreatic cancer killed Vic's first wife and a dear friend of mine. We need to understand and manage this killer disease which (normally diagnosed late) gives the sufferer at best only weeks to live. Buy this book and you not only share his adventure, but contribute to the cause. There is nothing in it for Vic except the satisfaction that he is making a difference.