Nuala McCann: Between the Vaseline, the Epsom salts and the uddermint, I’m hoping all will be well...

Nuala McCann

Nuala McCann

Nuala McCann is an Irish News columnist and writes a weekly radio review.

Nuala is heading to the camino, complete with uddermint and zip-off trousers
Nuala is heading to the camino, complete with uddermint and zip-off trousers

It is a sad reflection of the current state of affairs that by the time you get through to your doctor, you’ve forgotten why you rang.

I had gathered quite a shopping list for him when he got back to me. The secret is to write it all down. His ear was truly bent.

The accessory of choice is no longer a Birkin bag, it’s a pop-out blister pack and a bright coloured pill box.

Ours sit on the bedside table beside glasses of water so that we can wake up and glug.

And we are the lucky ones.

All this is a diversionary tactic. I’m just trying not to think about the camino. This time next week, I’ll be walking the line.

The clock is ticking down… be afraid, be very afraid.

Not least, because my camino companion clocked up 22 kilometres last Saturday and the same again last Sunday.

Halfway through, she texted a selfie of her hand clutching a huge 99 with raspberry sauce.

“Here’s looking at you,” I texted back.

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Later, she texted: “Bath in Epsom salts, rubbed on the uddermint and all is well.”

The uddermint is an ointment for those aches and pains. My country friend swears by it.

My city friend had never heard of it, until he was on the bus into town the other week and noticed a minty whiff in the air.

“That’s me,” confessed a man sitting near him. “It’s the uddermint.”

This was a new one on my city friend.

It’s the ointment that farmers use on cows’ udders but there are those minus the udders who swear by it for aches and pains.

This column comes with a government warning... if you want to try it, you’re on your own.

My city friend got chatting to a woman on the bus who assured him that uddermint was wonderful.

She asked him did he go into Maisie’s shop and he told her he did – for his Irish News – and she told him she’d leave some for him behind the counter.

The woman was as good as her word. I am awaiting his verdict.

In a week’s time, in sunny Spain, I may be glad of the uddermint. My country friend is bringing a supply.

She is much more prepared for this camino than I am.

“Do not worry, the camino will teach you,” says my brother.

The question is what it will teach me… perhaps a lesson on how I should have been better prepared.

The 10,000-mile socks are bought, the zip-off hiking trousers are calling “hello, sexy” from the drawer and Belvoir forest has seen more of me than my loved ones.

Many of my friends have done the camino.

“You’ll love it,” they say. But someone said that about beetroot and I never did.

There are tales of menu del dias to die for, woodland paths and beautiful seascapes.

Camino aficionados recommend Vaseline – for the feet and also for the, eh... chaffed thighs – ouch.

Special blister plasters and a sharp needle for bursting said them are also on the list.

I have hobbit’s feet – big, hairy and devoid of much feeling.

You can take a potato peeler of a podiatrist’s blade to them – I assure you, my podiatrist has – and I shall not complain as I feel nothing.

“Strange,” he has been known to remark.

I’m hoping this bodes well for the camino.

People say that when you greet fellow pilgrims, they do not ask “How are you?” but rather “How are your feet?”

Between the Vaseline, the Epsom salts and the uddermint, I’m hoping all will be well.

As a side effect of walking about 20km a day, I’m also hoping the weight might drop off.

There are friends who said they put on weight despite the distance… blame it on the menu del dia and rivers of wine.

There is a place on the camino where the fountain pours wine instead of water. Lord give me a mouth worthy of such a place.

But the trouble with the walking is that it makes you mighty hungry. Like Desperate Dan you’d kill for cow pie.

My camino companion who is putting in all the practice can vouch for that.

After two days of 22kms and 2,200 calories burned, her stomach was grumbling.

“In Friar Tuck’s for a chicken burger,” she texted me on Sunday evening.

Wish us buen camino... I’ll be needing it.