The People in Our Paths #2

Canterbury to Melton Mowbray [Part 2]: Sunday 23 July 2017

16:50. Market Place, Melton.

Nine days since receiving the confirmation. Ten days since receiving the warning about what was happening and wondering how in the hell we’d get from there to here.

We’re here.

We’ve journeyed across five countries, almost incidentally, in order to do so.

Despite the circumstances that impelled the detour, we’ve been able to take in: the fabulous riding experience that is Belgium, the scarily erratic to quirkily quaint North of France, the real beauty of Kent, and the, to be fair, not-too-shabby scenery surrounding my old stomping grounds.

The bicycle moments of feeling a place on all of the senses would have been tragic to miss on a headlong, blind dash here. We’ve felt and experienced them together, as we always intended to try and do once we made our first tentative steps towards achieving this way of life a little over two years ago.

Every cloud. As always.

And there would always have been a feeling that some of the world was missing if we’d never made it to England on our outing, so something else to appreciate.

And, of course, last but not least – people: the kindness and generosity of people.

Through our mediated lives, we are led to believe that the world is populated by untold monsters, psychos and fanatics ready to take your life, your belongings or your principles at the drop of a hat.

Then you get out and you meet people; you open your need to people; your self to people. Love is returned and is never the less touching for being much more ubiquitous than our subscriber channels would like us to believe.

Thank you so so much: Peter and family in Asse, Isabelle and Tom in Aalter-Brug, restaurant-lady in Schoorbakkehoeve, and Chris and Caroline in Canterbury. You warmed our hearts on our mini-odyssey here.

Now to family I see all too rarely, so, despite the circumstances, I hope we’re able to enjoy some quality moments together.

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Off Road

Gravelines to Canterbury: Friday 21 July 2017

11:35am. We sit on deck – on a ferry! Seven days and two hours later, after receiving the news on a sunny morning in Vienna, we have travelled to Nuremberg by five trains, Aachen by four trains, and Brussels by two trains, whereupon we sacked that method of transport and returned to the essence – and cycling 😁

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A great route through the Kent countryside up to Canterbury.

Beautiful.

For the first time in a while, whilst being in England, nostalgia kicked in as we pushed up and rolled down hills that ticked every cliché of the England I hold in the heart of the kid who spent Summer after Summer during the school holidays on bike-ride adventures with friends.

This was, yes, the England of my childhood (even though it was my first time in this part of it) and many a tourist brochure. Yes, it is only a small picture, but it is a beautiful one, and a wonderfully warm way to return to these shores.

Life is beautiful when you get off the main roads.

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