comments iconDays 26 & 27: Reflection on the the journey to Manchester


Total walk:  373.3 miles

Today rasied fund: £ 373.71 +  ¥ 3702.00

Total raised fund: £ 9272.09 +  ¥ 65,393.45

So now we are in Manchester 373.3 miles (602.2 km) walked out of 625 miles (1000 km) and with 25 days gone and twenty days left to go.

Xuelin has managed to raise £17,080.01 for the UK Solidarity Fund which is fantastic.

To follow a theme of my last reflection on reaching Bristol I would say on this stretch:

The favourite place we have stayed on this stage–Blakemore Air B&B in Littledean, Wales tied with our stay with Rob and Di Parsons in Cardiff.

The favourite visit– Chinese Art & Culture Centre in Telford.

Greatest relief–Newport MacDonalds manager, Louie, telling me she had found my walking stick.

The favourite stretch of walking was along the Trent & Mersey Canal between Stafford and Stoke.

The favourite short stop–Let’s See Bistro in Stone, Staffordshire.

Best value meal–£2.50 for tea and a bacon bun in The Italian Kitchen, Newent, Gloucestershire.

Best view–Looking at the rolling Cheshire countryside from a bench at the Church of St James and St Paul, Marton.

Most beautiful village–Ombersley, Worcestershire

The best meal–Mark & Clare Mabey our hosts in Stoke-on-Trent and overall ‘Good Samaritan Award’.

Most thought provoking meeting–Discussion on education with Dr Kai and the New Beacon Group in Stafford

Most thought provoking message–‘Aspire not to have more but to be more’ Alderley Edge School for Girls

Favourite song on my iTunes playlist–Gabrielle–‘Rise’.

Most unexpected act of kindness–two pound cash donation by van driver in Newport.

(If you are feeling happy and have had enough for one day then finish reading here and wait for tomorrow’s blog)

Manchester is the exception of the five major cities which we will visit on this walk as it is not a national capital city. The reason is of course the horrific terrorist attack at Manchester Arena in May and the fact that we are raising money for the UK Solidarity Fund which is to help the Red Cross provide support for the victims and survivors of that attack. An attack which was deliberately chosen to target at young girls and their mothers attending a pop concert.

Sometimes we describe such behaviour as ‘animal like’ but I can’t think of another animal on a planet that would deliberately target its own species in such a random and brutal way without direct them being a threat to their territory or to their position within a social group. In fact most aggressive male behaviour within the animal world is aimed at protecting the female and the young.

For this reason we must ask ourselves questions about what it is uniquely within some male humans that seems to make us prone to this evil mutation whether it be in Manchester in 2017, Sandy Hook Primary School in Connecticut in 2012 where a man shot 20 six and seven year old children in a classroom; in D R Congo and South Sudan where rape is being used as a systematic weapon in war or in Pyongyang where the 160,000 population of a small pacific island, Guam, are being threatened with nuclear annihilation whilst representing no threat and having no quarrel with the North Korean leader.

Whatever it is we need to identify it and root it out if we are to survive as a civilisation. The nearest I can come to thinking of a possible solution is to elect and appoint more female and less male leaders at every level of society especially amongst political, military and religious organisations. Greater female empowerment coupled with awareness amongst men of the effects of hormones such as testosterone and androgens on their competitive, aggressive, hierarchical and power craving male instincts. More competitive sport to burn off aggressive hormones. Greater restraint exercised by computer games designers, television and  film makers of glorifying violent male behaviours. Reimagining the evolution of the male role in human society away from hierarchical, tribal, competitive aggression of the primeval species.

That might be a start but only a start.