Friday, 23 May 2008
A bit of LEJOG
Today, I took my bike on the train so as to join my friends Martin and Peter (and friends of theirs), who are in the process of cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats - they have a blog too. When I came alongside them near Slimbridge after lunch, they had already biked more than 40 miles. (I am now exhausted after a mere 20 or so miles!) They have another fortnight to go. And compared to the hills of Somerset, where they had started early this morning, I had an easy bit - up the Severn valley, and on through Gloucester. While I peeled off to come home and sink into a hot bath, they slogged up the A38. What particularly puzzled me - it must be a sign that I am ready to put my feet up - is that, so far from rejoicing at living life in the Slow Lane for three weeks, Martin confessed it was all a frantic business getting to the right place at the right time. What a mad way to celebrate being 65! Don't they know they are now eligible for a free bus pass, for use anywhere in England? OK, it wouldn't take you as far as John O'Groats. No, really I'm exhilarated to have been able to tap in, and admire hugely their cojones.
Whilst waiting to meet up, I saw lightening in the distance, but managed to avoid any of the sharp showers that were around: in fact, discounting the slight head wind, it was perfect weather for cycling. Going through Gloucester these days is heaven on a bike: the City had a cycling Mayor for some years: he encouraged the estimable Sustrans in their Route 41 planning, and the mediaeval lanes round the Cathedral are ideal for avoiding car traffic. We stopped to look at Llanthony Secunda Priory, and rode through the docks: that whole area is so much more attractive now than it was 20 years ago. The outside of the Cathedral is looking magnificent - in the places where the restoration has gone ahead. And we can recommend the teashop in the basement of the old Deanery (see picture - it's where Caroline's Great-grandmother grew up: her father the Dean kept chickens in the Cloisters, according to Tamara Talbot-Rice).