I'm sorry to report that my grand tour - see my last post Northwards Ho! - ended yesterday with a bump. On the last leg of my journey, biking home from Brackley, I was intending to head for Chipping Norton, when instead I headed into the tarmac, and to Banbury Hospital. Coming down a steepish hill at speed with a clear road ahead, my front wheel hit a pothole and buckled. I didn't know too much about what happened next.
An amazing procession of extremely helpful people then introduced themselves to me: the couple with a first aid kit in their car, and telephone (for a 999 call); the local police; the ambulance crew; a team of nurses at the hospital; Dr Ahmed; the radiographer; the Plaster Queen - and above all Caroline, who dropped everything and rushed over to be with me, drive me home (and rescue the remains of the bike from the roadside).
And so I returned home to my birthday tea party feeling rather sheepish and very battered and bruised, with possibly a fractured foot - hence the plaster. (Agnes took this picture, and also photographed the remains of my cycle helmet, see below, without which I would certainly not be writing this today.)
Oh dear, and it had all gone so well till then! After a cold, wet start from Ludlow, the weather gradually improved once I had reached Edinburgh. The cycling was glorious when I was on canal paths and country lanes - less so at the times when my route took me along the side of a dual carriageway. All but one of the 16 trains I caught ran to time. I met as planned - amongst others - some Christian Ecology Link and RCE contacts. I visited more than 20 cathedrals and churches (more counting the ones which were locked).
But more importantly (as it was the object of the exercise), I checked out most of the places where my ancestor Peter Davis had been (and which he had written about) on his travels 174 years ago. If I found it tiring, getting round his 800-mile itinerary by comfortable train (mostly) with 100 miles on my bike, then he must have been completely exhausted after his fortnight spent mainly on top of rattly coaches with 100 miles on foot!