Ireland – I’m too tired to be excited:Monday 27 July 2015 (Day 64)

Monday 27 July 11:55 am, Café La Coco, Kilkenny I’m tired. I had cramps in the night. When I rise at 6:45 to go to the loo Cornelia says “Good Morning!” – so I’m up. We drive to Kilkenny and I have a look around while she attends to some business. The camping store in town stocks the tent I’m thinking of buying. It’s been well-reviewed by Tom’s Bike Trip and I can get it on-line for € 140 – which I’d call a decent mid-level price.  In the shop it looks fine, but is rather more expensive, I’ll order …

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Crossing to Ireland with Pierce Bronsan: Sunday 26 July 2015 (Day 63)

It rained overnight and now it’s an ugly day – windy, cool, rain blowing about. I’m enjoying the laziness – I’m having a (not bad) flat white with a pain au chocolat. I wrote post cards. I’m watching pedestrians in the rain. My hostel host recommended the pasties from Ffwrn but they’ve sold out. (I’ve no idea how to pronounce that, by the way.) I’m having a delicious savory pie instead – cooked on site in their wood-fired oven. This is someplace, if I had a bit more time, I could have settled in for a rainy day of reading, punctuated …

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A Final Welsh Day: Saturday 25 July 2015 (Day 62)

Saturday 25 July 12:20 pm – Hendy-gwyn/ Whitland Train Station It storms – wet and windy – overnight. As I lay in the dry comfort of my hotel bed I think of my French cycling companions and hope they’ve found a good camping spot for the night and are comfortable despite the weather. I wake around six to sunshine and clear skies. A warm golden light falls on pastel coloured buildings and shimmers off the sea. An arch of golden sand awaits visitors. Wales has been a hard place but I like it. I’m thinking of circling back this way. I …

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Wales: You Are Beautiful but Hard: 21 – 24 July 2015

21 July 2015 10:35 am, Cardiff Cardiff makes me think of my ex-husband. It’s a Rugby place and a Doctor Who place. So it prods the scar tissue – tests the healing. I feel milliseconds of missing his friendship followed by doubts of the genuineness of that initial feeling. It reminds me of the swirling mess of thoughts and feelings I had in the weeks and months after we split. They are best left to lie. … I begin my exploration of the Welsh capital with an amazing exhibition at the National Museum. Chalkie Davies is a Welsh photographer who …

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A big trip is just taking the long way home: 18-20 July 2015 (Bath-Monkton Farleigh-Bristol-Cardiff)

Saturday 18 July 10:40 am – Colonna & Smalls Specialty Coffee (Bath)  There were two young women in my hostel dorm last night who set an alarm for 4:15 am – snoozed it twice and took an hour mucking about. Selfish defined. I’m spending the morning having a look around Bath before riding to Amanda’s in Monkton Farleigh – a village at the top of quite a hill not far from Bath. Amanda, you may remember, is one of the members of Tom Bailey’s band – among other gigs. Her steadiest of which is with the Psychedelic Furs, having played with …

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Where I Can See it Beyond the Hedges, the English Countryside is Lovely: 14-17 July 2015 (Dorchester, Sherborne,Salisbury, Pewsey and Bath)

I’ve decided to take a different approach with this blog and see how it goes. My posts have been overly detailed. Meanwhile over on Instagram I’ve been posting one photo from each day – the best photo, the one I like the most. The pressure of detailed posts – a pressure entirely of my own making for, as grateful as I am for my few readers, you are few and undemanding. So I’m going to take a similar approach to the blog as I’ve taken with the photos – I’ll tell you the best story of the day, the most …

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Pop Music, Pop Culture and Clotted Cream – 11-13 July 2015 (Southampton – Bridport – Dorchester)

Saturday 11 July I’m here for the Let’s Rock Southampton! festival. No, that’s not quite true. I’m here to see Tom Bailey play Thompson Twins songs at Let’s Rock Southampton! I am ambivalent about 1980s nostalgia gigs. If everyone is having fun, where’s the harm? Right? But revisiting the scenes of youth, in middle age, with the bands you loved when you were a teenager and they were in their 20s and 30s … there’s something weird and a little unsettling about it. It invites melancholy and a sense of mortality. When last I saw Tom play these songs I was …

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Finding the Charm, Seeing the Race, Returning to my Native Tongue: 8-10 July 2015 – Paris – Le Havre/Ferry – Southampton

Wednesday 8 July 8:55 am – Tom’s Place, Paris I head out thinking I’ll just get breakfast someplace. I look in at two cafes – the breakfast is €9.50 at one and €12 at another. For coffee, croissant, and juice. Fuck you very much. I find a supermarket instead, collect fresh bread and apricots for € 1.60.  I bring these items back to Tom’s flat, make myself a coffee, find my cheese, and voila: un petit dejuner. I’ve moved from one friend’s place to another. I stayed at Carson’s for dinner last night then rode here around 10:00 pm. Tom is …

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Paris Kinda Smells of Piss: 4-7 July 2015, Dijon to Paris

Saturday 4 July – 10:20 pm, Paris – Carson’s Place It’s still light out and hot but a breeze has come on. I got up early to walk around Dijon before it became an oven. I wandered the quiet cobbled streets winding past shops and churches. I stumbled upon the markets – Les Halles – and bought cherries, a wee round of chevre, and some bread. Back at the hotel I worked on my schedule and plans for a while. I sent emails and messaged some possible Warm Showers hosts in Le Havre and Southampton. I haven’t received any replies yet, …

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Eastern France Masquerades as Hades: 1 – 3 July 2015: Montbéliard – Baumes Les Dames – Fraisans – Dijon

Wednesday 1 July 2015: Montbéliard to Baumes Les Dames  My Warm Showers host feeds me a fantastic French breakfast featuring rich, beautiful, unhomogenised milk they buy from a local farmer several times a week. Elisabeth then rides with me to the edge of Montbéliard and sees me off with a cheery au revoir.  The heat quickly rises to the high 30*Cs and the French are hiding. Those who are out look wrecked, or determined, or a bit of both. I feel fine; I feel Australian. What company I have comes from the beautiful grey herons which have been with me for a couple of …

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