“There they are…sun hats, sticks, fluorescent vests…that’s them.”
“Walking? From Bournemouth to Oxford? In this heat? They’ve just had their 50th wedding anniversary. You sure?”
“Yes. I’m sure.”
“They’re mad. Why do they do it?”
“It’s for Zimbabwe…for people in need.”
“But they’re not Zimbabwean…”
“Doesn’t seem to matter. They walk for those who can’t, and for those who need help. It’s tough without work in Zim.”
“Is that the place with the Crocodile in charge?”
“That’s the one.”
“And elections coming up?”
“What’s going to happen there?”
My imaginary friend and I stare into the middle distance for a few minutes – eyes sad, hearts down – then we heave a loud sigh and return to the business of the day: melted train tracks, scorched plants, Love Island, football…and the mysteries of Brexit.
We have, we think nobly, quite enough to worry about without adding Zimbabwe to the list. Who’s going to win this football for a start? That’s enough anxiety without a Bournemouth Benyon alarm.
“They’re walking all the way to Oxford.”
“Extraordinary…and in these temperatures.”
“Quite. How can we be expected to jump up, look for pens, write cheques, press ‘JustGiving’ buttons when there’s a heat health alert out for goodness sake? This is what the Bournemouth Echo says:
People over the age of 65, young children and those with heart and lung conditions are most at risk during high temperatures.”
“Well…that’s it then. All of us should be indoors watching football. And there’s Wimbledon. Totally irresponsible to put us in a fret about Zimbabwe…”
“…and in weather like this!”
“But, do they listen to us? Are they bothered?”
“And didn’t I read they’re taking a dog…”
“A dog? In this heat?”
“Can you imagine?”
“Pass me the strawberries will you.”
To find out more about ZANE and its work please visit the ZANE website. Once on the website you’ll find a bright red, sunburnt button that carries the hope and thanks of many.
A declaration of interest: I am now one of the ZANE trustees. I have not been asked, or paid, to write this piece.
Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2018