10 September 2010

Felixtowe to Chelmsford

The violent rain and wind that lashed on Monday night promised a really miserable ride, but Tuesday dawned fine, clear and with only a gentle breeze. More VIP hospitality at the home of Lindsay and Marisa Gillespie. Their son. Oliver, seemed pleased that I had stayed for the perfectly good reason that a full English was on the table! Thanks so much to Lindsay and Marisa for your kindness and Marisa, for finding time in addition to caring for your family and four sons, to be able to visit seafarers too.
A further twist to the saga of Rebecca's suitcase emerged when it was revealed that Angie and Nigel Getting's son James actuallly cycled 2 miles in order collect it - not expecting that this was no overnight bag and not readily carried on a bike crossbar! The unanswered question of course, was what on earth was in it to make so heavy!
Picking up Rebecca at her B&B, we retraced our steps back to the Seafarers Centre. To maintain the integrity of the ride, it is important that the completion point of the previous day and the start poin the following morning are the same. Taking the foot ferry from Felixtowe to Harwich would save us at least 10 miles, but when Rebecca called on Monday night to reconfirm our reservation, she was told that the bad weather might mean a cancellation. We were pleased therefore to see that it was operating normally.
Interestingly, we passedf the MINAS Navigation Service vessel Relume moored at Harwich, of interest perhaps my old friend and amazing cyclist, John Hughes. On Monday, John texted me from the Pyranees to say that he had just conquered the Tormalet and Aspin, two of the toughest cols in the Tour de France. In comparison, my efforts look puny.

Avoiding the A12 resulted in a meandering trip towards Chelmsford. This, and a series of navigation errors, (none of which can be blamed on Garmin BTW) added to our journey, but the flat terrain and pleasant weather made it an enjoyable ride. The proximity of Tiptree allowed us to take a detour and we were pleased to unexpectedly stumble on the famous Wilkins Jam factory where we enjoyed a sandwich lunch along with bus-loads of seniors who obviously like the jam.

Rendezvous-ing with Sr Marian just outside Great Baddow, we were soon arriving at the home of John and Ann Holland, hosts for the night. They gave us a great welcome, but this celebrity treatment needs to stop! We had an excellent dinner with John, Ann and their daughter Hannah, all accompanied by excellent craic, with tales of loss of balance and keys in the sand causing great hilarity!!
Sr Marian heaved a great sigh as she relinquished responsibility for me and she returned to Ipswich by train. It was a huge pleasure to see the rapport that Marian has with everyone she meets. What a credit to AOS! Many thanks Marian for your companionship, humour and support.
Dist: 89 KM
St Time: 4.6
Spd: 19.35 k/h

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