Sunday was the day of departure. It was also, it transpired, the day of doing most of my packing. For all of the months of planning and preparation, there I was at 10 o’clock on Sunday, my planned time of departure, sticking everything desperately into my bags that I’d need for the next six months.
Almost ready to go, I had a quick run through my kit list, to ensure that I’d packed everything. I was surprised to see that I’d got everything. Everything, except my travel trowel! I searched in bags and boxes for ages, to no avail. Everyone was sat outside with my bike, expectantly waiting for me to set off on this great transcontinental adventure, and there I was, looking for a small folding spade, wondering how on earth I would be able to ‘go about my business’ without it. But my super sister, Sarah, saved the day. She practically leapt into her car, raced to the nearest camping shop, and returned in no time with a replacement!
I had some photographs taken of me with my bike, and there were no excuses left. I would have to set off. At least it was warm and sunny. My bike was heavy and unwieldy, but I nervously guided it through my village, and onto the road. I was away! I had begun!
I’ve covered nearly 170 miles since then. I’ve seen rain, wind, and sunshine. The rain began again about half an hour ago, when I leapt for the shelter of a pub near Huntingdon, north of Cambridge. I’m watching the summer rain fall, and my steak and ale pie is sitting, steaming, in front of me. Jam sandwiches are wearing a bit thin, and everyone needs a treat now and then!