As my (now ex) front door clicked shut and left me locked out, a question repeatedly ran through my head, “what on earth am I doing?” This is the nearest thing to a panic attack I have had. The whole situation seemed ludicrous, but at this point I have very little choice. I’m actually doing this.
The last two days have been an emotional roller coaster. An hour of cold rainy headwind was a particular low point, reversed by a glimmer of sunlight as the road turned downhill and I started to feel my fingers again. About five miles before arriving both times I felt the premature elation of arriving before realising slowly that I still was a way off. However this only seems to accentuate the bliss of climbing off the bike knowing I’m not going to fail today.
The most striking epiphany I’ve had so far was invoked by my first host. Heather didn’t know me at all but took me in, fed me and gave me a guided tour of Chelmsford. She had no agenda and took nothing. It was this fulsome hospitality that eased my doubts and reminded me that we need people. Her hospitality not only gave me the essential shelter and sustenance I needed but also the encouragement that out there people are kind. This reminded me of my last night in London with good friends, one of whom (the ever thoughtful Amy), gave me the chocolate eggs that powered me through the first day. My brother was also there. He bought me my saddle to cradle my bum as gently as possible for as far as I get. Tony wasn’t there but he sold me his bike at a very reasonable price and threw in some extras for free. Renata taught me how to stretch and told me what to eat to stay healthy. El lent me her titanium spork which is apparently an essential touring companion. The people from Tech 21 sponsored me with an Ipad and an Impactology case. It is this Ipad that directs me as I meander through strange places.
While I wait for my ferry at Harwich I will leave you with a picture of Mrs Slocum who’s breakfast I mashed this morning as she’s getting old and her teeth aren’t up to much.