Monday 23rd July 2018
Phew. I’m writing this sitting on one of my panniers outside my tent looking across the sunny valley in Dorset. So many of my posts start with a phew. Today it is the relief of leaving London. In fact I am still unwinding.
I knew it would not be much fun leaving London through the heavy traffic but before I had ridden 200 yards I ground to a halt as a dust cart and an articulated lorry jammed themselves in the tiny Elizabethan lanes outside the Rose Theatre. Then there were the duels with the nippy little cars full of young guys swerving in front of me then all turning round to stare at me menacingly till the lights changed and they zoomed off. Then Merton high street more stop than crawling for twenty minutes or more. The temperature was 30 degrees. Finally I seemed to turn onto a slip road and gather some speed on a dual carriage way, discovering I have more gears than two. Then the M3, a service station where I park up behind some caravans and sit on the curb in the shade drinking chocolate milk from the bottle. Gradually I find myself in the country driving along beside Stonehenge. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before. What a sight. And then I am in Dorset. But because I did not look at the map properly I was not sure where the GPS was taking me, mostly down the A303, not too busy and with plenty of places to zoom if you want.
So here I am, sitting on my pannier facing the sun with my motorcycle over to the left draped with my washing as usual on these trips. And it is 25 degrees or something like that down here with a welcome breeze that I don’t find in London. It has been a scramble leaving today, with a couple of other tricky chores to sort out at the same time as getting ready to go and with anxieties about the tail end of the renovation and a burglary a couple of doors away and a new washing machine coming with me not there to connect it up. But these trips simplify life: you find were you are headed for, put up the tent, go and buy some food and drink – in my case a handy Tesco about two miles away so that my pannier has become a portable fridge with a bag of ice chilling. A bottle of Chablis and some salad, have a shower then sit down. Phew. haven’t used my tent for three years but it is very familiar.