I was intending to get up and cycle over Hartland way for a weekends camping. Sleep hasn't been coming easy lately and I didnt wake until 10.30 on Saturday. 'Oh well', I thought, 'I don't need to leave until later anyway.
After a slow start, coffee, rolly etc I got the trailer out, I'd already packed my kit, and lo and behold, a flat tyre! 'Hmm best sort that out then', I thought to myself and got on with the job in hand. It's hedge trimming time in Devon and the roads are paved with thorns. Job nearly done, I went to remove the seatpost pump from the little bike. Would it come out? Would it buggery! I heave and twisted and pulled and yanked to little avail until, eventually it flew out along with the metal sleeve from the frame, and the seatpost clamp. Bugger!!!!!!!!!!!!
it seemed that one of the rivets holding the pump in the post was proud and sticking to the inside of the frame. "No time to do that today, I'll take bike number two. Well that was a good idea until I lifted it out to find a puncture on the front AAAAAAAAAGH!
Ok, dont panic, you can fix this too. So I did. When I came to blow the tyre up, the handheld pump decided to break. Ever wonder if somebody is trying to tell you something?
Time was ticking on now, it was 1.30 and I was nowhere near leaving. having put both bottle holders on the 'little bike' I had to remove one of those and replace it on the Cadenza, along with the Brooks saddle, oh, and the bar bag.
By this time, I'd remembered the other seatpost pump that came with the Cadenza, so I swapped the boingy seat post for the one with the pump in and finally seemed ready to set off. By now I ws hot, sweaty, annoyed and anxious about the whole malarky, so, I sat down had another coffee and rolly and let myself calm down a bit.
I did get away at about 2.30ish and straight away relaxed and felt good to be going out again. The ride to Hartland was uneventful, with the toughest bit being the hills on the first 4 miles from home to Sheepwash, yes that's a village near where I live where they hate dirty sheep.
As I approached the coast, the number of cars increased, all trying to get to the end of the road as quick as possible.
I stopped and chatte with a lady who was looking after the chapel a couple of miles from Stibbs Cross (I don't know what he's cross about). Inevitably, she asked if I was going a long way. I said no, I'm only going to Hartland (which she thought was a long way!), but I was riding the whole UK coast next year. that seemed to end the conversation as she tried to get her head around that, but she wished me well and waved me goodbye.
Funny, but the front tyre felt a bit soft! Bugger (again, a double 'bugger 'day!). The patch I put on was right on a seam, so it wasnt ever going to last. Still, I pumped it up and continued to the campsite at Stoke Barton Farm. A gorgeous place with its own Tea Room, and reputed mega cream teas (now you see why I was so keen to get here.
Up with the tent, on with a brew, and chill. lovely lovely lovely. "you cycling around the coast then", said a man with a dog. "Not this year" I replied, to which he looked puzzled. I'm just having a weekend away. "Come far have you?" "No", I replied, "just from Hatherleigh". He looked more puzzled. 'Seems like a bloody long way to me, I couldnt ride to the local shop" Hmm, what do you say. To a cyclist, it isnt far, I thought, and talked about the weather instead.
Next up was a lady Shamanist Healer. she was lovely and peaceful and talked about all sorts, and how it had helped her. she had a caravan on the site permanently and came down, even in the winter time for quiet. She asked if I would like to join her and a group of friends later on, but I politely declined as I'd not slept until 4.30 am and I really needed some quiet sleepy time to myself. I did say I would 'pop over' tommorow though.
It was breezy that night, but warm, and despite the tendency to be fully awake and buzzing when I should have been ready to sleep, a peaceful night was had in the luxury of the Teepee with biscuits and tea for company in the long dark hours. The teepee wobbled in the wind and my brain wobbled in my head, full of emotions and fear, anxiety and stuff I had little control over. I did relaxation stuff, but couldn't switch off, so out with Josie Dew to read about her epic trip around the Uk. Josie's writing is so chatty, it feels as though she is writing just for you and I read this, by headtorch, eating cheese and biscuits, whilst drinking a cup of Redbush tea.
Eventually, I fell asleep, phew.
Sunday was windy and cloudy, but on the 'chearing up' side of raining. I ate sausage sandwiches for breakfast and set off on a walk down to Hartland Quay after coffee and another dose of Josie. the walk was pleasant and the views sublime as I approached the cliffs. This is one of the most impressive pieces of coast in Devon, and it isnt hard to imagine ships being wrecked here, amongst the fin like shards of rock that lie buckled and folded in wait. the wind was really strong now as I wandered around taking photographs and looking in the 'naff' trinked shops, bucket and spade anyone?
Most of the people here had driven down, taken a quick look (it was very windy) and then driven off, or, gone in the Hotel for refreshment. Even others from the campsite had driven!! but then they drove to the toilet anyway, because it is dark you know, and 300 yards! no wonder there's an obesity problem, sitting outside a caravan/tent, stuffing your face all day long tends to pile on the pounds, unless you're a cyclist when it doesnt ;-)
Back at the tent, I just dozed and chilled and ate and drank to my hearts (stomachs?) content. About three O'clock, I had to head to the Tea rooms (open weekends 2-5.30) for a cream tea. Wow, is all I can say. This was cyclist portions and they will even put the left overs in pots for you to take away, which I didnt do.
Sunday night was stormy. The Teepee Flopped, and flapped, but didn't flip fortunately. Rain hammered the outside and I wwent to bed with Josie (eer figuratively speaking). i watched the pole dancing (tent pole that is) and listened to the wind slamming into the Teepee and then spilling around the sounds like a clip from quadrophenia. sllep actually came a little earlier (2.30) and I tossed and turned all night, like a mad thing on acid!!
As it dawned on me that Dawn had come and gone, I stayed in my 'pit', made a brew and finished the book I was reading. I love the way Josie Dew is so chilled and doesnt really ever make any plans. That taked a lot of self confidence, but I gues when you are as travelled as she is, you have it.
I did eventually pack up. The rain had stopped and the Teepee calmed down from the storm overnight. I eventually packed up and set off, all mellow and in no hurry at all. at some point, I'd been looking for a place to stop and nibble some food. A nice parking place was up ahead with views as far as bodmin to the South and fine views of Dartmoor too. Just as I got within a hundred yards, a massive lorry came out of an unlikely, small lane and turned into the parking space, completely filling it up!! So, on I plodded, and as luck would have it, an even nicer spot came along where I sat rekindling my 'bannanergy'.
All too soon, the steep hills told me I was nearly home. I trundled up the close and unhitched the trailer. I was so relaxed and chilled which just goes to show that 'one of those weekends' can become a really good weekend, as long as you don't give in and go to the pub instead.