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Friday, June 10, 2011

England 2011 Part 6

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tire arrived!  After sitting in the sun this morning enjoying a breakfast of fresh bananas, Strawberries and soy milk it was off to town to pick up my new tire.  Coffee at Starbucks while checking and sending emails then on to Facebook to see what the rest of the world is up to.  Lunch time found me back at the campground working on the bike as the sun started to be blocked out by the clouds. 
Thursday, May 26, 2011, 4:57 pm:

Rain, Rain go away come again another day! 
Friday, May 27, 2011, 2:00 pm:

Saturday, May 28, 2011, 6:00 pm:

Today I’m to work the Cathedral again.  Yesterday an email was sent out stating that functions at the Cathedral required a suit, little late for that, tie etc…  The answer I received after writing back that all I had was a white shirt and dark pants as stated in the dress code was not to worry that will be fine.  I hurry to the Cathedral to take up my station and am there one hour early.  I take up my station at where I think I’m supposed to be and wonder why no one is there to relieve.  I pick up a Festival brochure and see that there are two events with the same name.   It appears the one I’m to be at is in the Cathedral on in the Cloisters. 

Shit I’m late now.  I’m five minutes late to the check in and John, the head Stewart, is already giving out information.  He looks at me and asks if there was anything he could do for me.  “I yours” is my reply to which he rolls his eyes.  Smile, play nice, I tell myself.  “Right and you are?” he says.  After telling him my name he rustles through some papers hands me a couple of sheets along with a badge and returns to giving instructions.  Meanwhile an older gentleman smile’s at me and says “This is the fellow for Arizona.”  I smile to all, but across from me is the grumpy puss lady for the other evening.  She does not smile and my heart aches to think how hard it must be to live in her unsmiling world.   I take up my post at the main door and do as the instruction sheet tells me.  I greet everyone, hold the door, and answer questions which most of which I guess at.  I’m at the main door; I’m the first one everyone sees as they come in for their tickets.   I’m quite surprised that I’ve not been placed on the back door or something of the like.  But, nope I’m here right out front and certainly not dressed as the rest of the stewards are.  No suit, no tie, no socks, however, the dress code did not call for tie and socks.

The show starts and after ten minutes I’m allowed to leave my post and enter the Cathedral to watch the show.   I’m motioned to come in by one of the other Stewards so I do and sit.  Grumpy puss lady is across from me scowling.  The show finished and I stand to take my place with the rest of the Stewards, however John walks over and says “I’ll have you badge now.”   Oh my being drummed out to the service.  As I head toward the doors the two stewards standing there say to me “That was very rude of John.”  I smile and say “It is what it is.”  As I turn to leave I think No he is not going to get away with this.”  I find him and say “Might I have a word in private.”   Of course he’s very busy but consents and I turn to him.  “John I’m sorry I’m not here to cause problems.  I told Helen, who sent out the email, that I had no suit.  She told me it would be fine. If you have a problem I suggest you take it up with her.”  He looks me up and down and says “That’s the problem with the Festival people.  We at the Cathedral just don’t dress that way.  I sure if you when to something like this in the states you’d not fine anyone dressed like you.”  My answer “John I go to Plays, Operas, and Symphonies dressed like this.  We do things different in Arizona and are not quite so uptight. Again I’m sorry I’ve offended you I’m here just trying to help out don’t mean to cause you problems. I understand you may be shorthanded for the second show and am willing to help if needed.”  He tells me there is no need for me to stay.  I shake his hand and leave.  Again on the way out the two of the other steward’s comment on how rude he was.

I’m sad for John and Grumpy puss to have to live in such a tight world.   I enjoyed the performance as it is always wonderful to here song in the Cathedral.

Sunday, May 29, 2011, 1:00 pm:

I’m up and begin to get my stuff ready to pack for my trip tomorrow.   After shower I’m off to the Cathedral for a Sunday service.  This is probably the only church service I go to and usually there is a message for me.    Kites
Monday, May 30, 2011, 6:00 am:

After breaking camp it was time to head to the train station to purchase a ticket for Attleborough.  Now I’ve done this before may be four years ago.  I’m doing it again because the pictures taken there were all lost due to a computer clinch just after returning.  This is the area where my Father was stationed during WW II.  I had tracked down what was left of the airfield he had flown out of then and was out to do it again so I could recapture the pictures that were lost.  So the train would take me to London Waterloo station, from there I’d have to bike across London to Kings Cross Station where the next train would take me to Cambridge.  Upon arriving in Cambridge I change trains and am off to Attleborough.

Arriving at Waterloo it time for the loo and directions after which I off for Kings Cross.  This seems to be a different route then the last time I’m thinking riding down London streets with a fully packed bike.  People do tend to stare.  Arriving at gate 6 I watch the train pull away from the station darn loo stop.  The nice station person tell we it will be and hour before the next train is due in so I wait, rearrange so stuff and chat with a fellow about my bike and the load its carrying.  It is amazing how many folks I’ve talked to who are thinking about doing what I’m doing.  I give my card and tell them that reading my blog might help get them ready for the adventure.  It’s time to board the train to Attleborough via Cambridge.

After the switch in Cambridge I begin to think that I’d not taken the train to Attleborough, but to Thetford.  I’m remembering this because I when to the Halfords in Thetford so I must have ridden to the campground from there.  After getting off the train at Thetford it’s time to figure out which way to go to get to the campground.   I have a vague memory of being here, get off to a false start then get my bearing and Oh yes this I remember.  Riding brings back some dim memories of the last time I rode here.  Only four years ago and most of the memories of the place and ride are gone.      

Tuesday, May 31, 2011, 11:00 am:

Up early and on my way to Attleborough via back roads and not highways.  Again my memory is somewhat hazy things look familiar only just.  There is a nice fellow walking his grandkid down the road.  After inquiring he gives me directions and I’m off.  About an hour later I arrive in Attleborough and ride around the town.  Finding the post office and take its picture, then a Saintsbury where dinner is to be found, then to the local church.  Oh half a moe here’s the coffee shop that had Wi-Fi the last time I was here.  “Nope there’s no Wi-Fi here.”  She says as I order coffee and carrot cake which is quite good.   Now it is time to relax, read the paper, eat my cake and drink my coffee.  When finished it will be time to ride to the airfield and retake my pictures there.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011, 11:00 am:

Attleborough to Cambridge

Broke camp and rode into Attleborough to catch the train back to Salisbury.  Upon arriving in town it occurred to me to stop and have a coffee.  So after hitching my bike to a rail I head to the coffee shop.  Arriving at the door there are two prams blocking the door attempting to get in.  Now this is the same coffee shop from yesterday and it’s not the biggest place.  So after getting inside I find a lady with a pram leaving or at lease putting hers outside.  I enter the backroom where I know there is a plug to charge the computer battery.  In there I find two more prams and of course each has a baby of some size in it.  There are now no less than six mothers and nine kids stuffed into this small room.   I smile sit and plug in while I wait for my coffee and carrot cake to arrive.   I stay here for about a half hour then head over to the train station. 

I’m thinking of spending the night at a campground there and head back to Salisbury on Friday.  Since I have the time there’s no need to be back in Salisbury until Saturday.  As I ride up to the station the cars are stopped and backed up down the road.  There are two large gates blocking the cars from crossing the tracks.  After finding the correct platform I look around and again see the gates blocking the cars from crossing the tracks.  A train whips through the station and I expect the gates to open automatically open.  Across the there is a building that sits high up with windows all around much like a control tower at an airport, not quite as high.  From the building a trainman come out the door runs down the steps and manually opens both gates then runs back up the stairs into the control tower.  About five minutes later he comes out again closes the gates and goes back in the tower.  The Train passes out he come down the steps opens the grates and back up the steps.

I’ve got about a 45 minute wait for the train and during that time this fellow runs up and down those stairs about ten times.  He reminds me of figures in a clock that pop out one door and back in another when the hour is struck.  I can’t imagine doing that for eight hours a day, five days a week.  But then again sometimes my life has been like that.  Gotten into a doing the same things over and over get comfortable doing it, and become kind of like the man at the rail station.  Then become fearful of changing the routine for whatever reasons.  Sometimes events happen that push towards the need for change but are resisted even when that little voice tells you move on.

Off the train in Cambridge and it’s off to fine the campground.  After requesting directions to the general vicinity of the campground it’s time to ride my bike in Cambridge.  Now I thought Oxford had a large bike parking lot at the train station, but this one is three times as big.  Riding down the street I begin to notice bike parked along almost every inch of fence or wall.  Bike fly by, car fly my on the road leading out of the station.  I’m getting to be really good at riding in cities and being right out there on the road with busses and cars.  At times I follow other bike riders to learn the ropes not that they are doing the correctly.

After a bit of a ride I find the campground and after setting up I’m off to ride about Cambridge less my panniers.  The closer I get to town center the more bikes go zipping by along with cars and trucks.  They weave in and out fearless of the vehicle’s size or speed.  Now I’m liking this reminds me for driving in Manhattan.  So I start zipping also busses inches from my rear wheel down the road we go.  You have got to watch those corners bike riders just pop out hardly looking left or right.  I’m not speeding just riding along with everyone passing me by like I’m standing still.  But, no one blows there horn or yells.  I ride around for a bit up and down very narrow streets.  I find the town market and near by a Starbucks.  Time for a little computering.

Starbucks here has a new Soy Strawberry and “cream” drink.  So I ask if there is any dairy in it and am told there is not so time to try one.   These are very good I could get hooked on these.  Sitting at a bench my bike is tied outside to a section of post I manage to find.  Everything that a bike can be attached to has one.  Mark was here already and told me about the bikes and riding in this city but you have to experience it.  It’s time to head back to the campground for dinner and some rest.  Tomorrow I’m gona do some serious riding in this town because it is fun like an amusement park ride I think heading back to the campground.

 Thursday, June 2, 2011, 9:00 am

Up early and I’m ready to ride.  Cambridge here I come!  I’ve spied a bike path that that’s you directly to city center down I go.  Peddling around a corner brings me head to head with a herd of cows.   No way in the middle of a city, in a park blocking the path is a herd of cows.  Carefully I walk around them and am off to Starbucks for a coffee and some internet catching up.   Now it’s time for some serious riding the streets of Cambridge.  With reckless, abandon, whipping up this street, then down the next one heading nowhere, but ending up seeing some interesting sites.  After passing Kings College, Queens College, Christ’s College, and two vast parks with bike paths chris-crossing them and finally ending up in front of the Cambridge Press book store.

While surfing the book shelves I find book after book to read.  I must stop reading all the paperbacks and start reading these.  Then I look at the prices and remember why I reading $5+ pulp books and not these.  There are some 5 pound books here, a special selection, none of which, of course, interest me.   But the history, psychology, Linguistics, religion and Science books oh my I want the all.  Well not buying them here at the pound price when I can get them in them for dollars at home.  Finding a Wetherspoons I decide to have dinner here so I can do some more riding around on this glories armament ride.   The weather is warm, the sun is out, and it is a beautiful day to be playing here.  For a short while the nagging of what I should be doing and where I should be.

My spirits fill from time to time especially during time like these.  However, I find myself not smiling much these days and know this has to do with my wants than anything else.  From time to time all that comes to mind is to go home.  Go home to what, to do what, I guess to find some of what has been lost, which might be lost only in my mind.  Realities come to me that make my no happier, but need to be paid attention to. It is time to return to the campground for some sleep.  Tomorrow I’ll pack and ride through Cambridge fully loaded as I’ve decided to return to Cambridge Print Bookstore for at least one book.

Friday, June 3, 2011, 11:00 am

Today finds me up at 6 am, packed and on the road to Cambridge.  People staring at my fully loaded bike is nothing new, other bike riders coming up alongside me to ask were I’m heading or where have I been are not new.  Going back to the Cambridge Print bookstore and buying a book which is not pulp fiction is new.  It is also something I’ll be doing more of, but at the price there may be fewer books to read.  In Starbucks I’m reading my new book with coffee rather than internetting.   I’m going to stop typing now and go back to my book.

Saturday, June 4, 2011, 11:00 am

Salisbury: Closing Night of the Festival

This morning starts off with my doing wash at the campground.  I get things organized as I’ll not have time tonight because I’ll be working at the Closing Night.  Around noon I ride into the town marked to get some fruit and look around for some bungee cords.  There may be a way to hold my panniers on other than the system they came with. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011, 8:27 am

Arrived at the train station an hour early to catch a train from Salisbury to Clapton Junction where I’ll change trains for Victoria Station where I’ll change again for a direct train to Canterbury.  I’ll meet Mark at a campground we stayed at last year.   Arriving in Canterbury an hour early on a rainy day I headed for the town center to see if I could find Mark.  After having a coffee at Starbucks and using the wireless to see if Mark was online somewhere in town I head out to the campground.

Arriving at the campground I find that Mark has not yet arrived.    I get us a spot and begin to wonder where he might be as he was to be here before already.  Just as I’m finishing setting up my tent Mark arrives after riding down from Sandwich.  It is good to see him and now we will be doing some riding together.  He has spent the better part of two weeks in Holland ending up in Calais where he ferried across to Dover.  It is a rainy, drizzly day and we decide to have dinner in town. 

Monday, June 6, 2011,


Tuesday, June 7, 2011, 9:00 pm

Canterbury to Ashford

Bikes loaded we had out to Ashford.  The ride is filled with up the hill and down the hill which covered 25 miles of country lanes.  We had agreed to follow the National Bike Route to get to point “B.” Arriving at Ashford we stop a Wetherspoons for lunch then off to the campground.  We don’t get too far before the course decided on can’t seem to be found.  As we stand on the corner I fellow rides up and asks us where we want to go.  After a bit of explaining the route he must have thought there is no way these guys are going to find the campground.  He tells us to follow him and he take us to the campground but he has an errand to do.  So he sends us off down the road and tells us he’ll catch up to us.  Yeah right I think.

We reach the end of his directions and are about to strike off on our own when he does indeed show up.  So we follow him across the street, then down that street, across the street again round and round she goes and where she stops nobody knows.   At last we arrive at the campground and set up for the night.  We have a pleasant dinner and I enjoy some nice Italian wine Mark has purchased for me.  There is Wi-Fi here so we purchase a day’s use which we use prior to falling into a deep sleep.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011, 9:35 am

Broadhembury Holiday Park:

This campground is really quite nice.  The showers have heated floors and are very roomy.  There is a TV room, game room, and outside two playgrounds one for children under four.  The laundry has heated towel dryers on the wall.  At breakfast we decided to spend the day here and head off to Hastings tomorrow.   As the wash gets done I watch a little British TV in the hope of find a channel with weather on it.  We find a map in the campground office which gives up directions to get back to town on a less hectic route then the one which brought us here.  Arriving in town we head to the Witherspoon settle in and spend most of the day catching up online.  I spend a great deal of time planning a route to get us from Ashford to Hastings using National Bike routes and other back roads.  The days are nippy with little sun.   So after spending the better part of the day here it’s time to ride back to the campground for dinner and rest.

Thursday, June 9, 2011, 6:55 pm

Broadhembury Holiday Park to Rye.  28.5 mile ride