A Door from Supermarket to Pub – Like Narnia for Adults: Wednesday 29 July 2015 (Day 66)

Wednesday 29 July – 10:00 am Yesterday, at the local supermarket, Cornelia and I ran into one of her friends. He’s a cyclist and we fell into talking about rides around here. We decided to retire to the pub to have this chat over half-pints of Guinness. There’s a door between the supermarket and the pub – which is also a hardware store. Lovely. So small-town Irish. Today I have a cold and Cornelia’s ability to ‘do’ is amazing to watch – cooking, working, mothering. She is a whirlwind. This arvo I’m helping at some sort of fundraiser for some …

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I Need Some Time to Rest and Plan: Tuesday 28 July 2015 (Day 65)

Tuesday 28 July, 10:25 am – Cornelia’s As we drive Cornelia is telling me tales from her life and work when this oh-so-Irish comment jumps out at me: “All they talk about at tea breaks is hurling.” Hurling is a religion in these parts. The Kilkenny team is the Yankees of the sport having won 36 championships (of 129 played – they’ve also been runners up 26 times). Next closest is Cork with 30 championships and 19 as runners up. We’re in season and the team’s colours fly everywhere in Kilkenny. I don’t understand the game but am charmed by …

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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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