Slow as a slug this morning. Ruth gave me an excellent brekkie of porridge, home baked toast and quince jam. Heap plenty ballast!
And a packed lunch of sarnies, cake and tomatoes for lunch (but no ginger beer). Ruth was accompanying me for a few miles – to show me out of Budleigh and also to try out her brand spanking new Kalkhoff Electric bicycle – she looked like an Oxford grad. I got rid of a few small bits from the bicycle bags (on the basis that it all helps). Things like the extra duplicate multi-tool which I hadn’t realised was lurking at the bottom of my bag.
First pic is of Ruth and Chris’ two boys, Alan and Toby, waving us off.
Ruth floated up the hills with the greatest of ease (not that I’m at all jealous, I’m normally that green colour). I was faster on the downhill – because Ruth still getting used to the feel of her steed. Showing me out of town also gave her the opportunity to show me her "favourite view in all Devon": the reeds and fields surrounding the River Otter by the South Farm road.
Ruth waved me goodbye before I zoomed down the hill toward where? Otterton I think. We got a passerby to take a picture of us. Thanks Ruth, for the hospitality - and being my very first host on this journey.
And I took a picture at the bottom of the hill, more because that house on the right of the picture was called ‘spinning wheel cottage’ with a pic of a wheel on the sign, and I quite liked the dog, cat and mouse on the house opposite too.
It was a long, long, STEEP climb up Peak Hill, pushing the bicycle all the way (NOT fun) – so I stopped at the top to admire the view (and the field full of lambs) to have a sandwich, which WAS fun. (I've painted a daily draw of this view but not uploaded it yet - will do so when it's light.)
The down hill zoom into Sidmouth was a blast in comparison (it’s just a pity that there’s usually an up following a down).
This descent was a little chilly however, so had to stop for a hot coffee. Disappointingly, the wifi wouldn’t work in Costa. 1500hrs and still got 30miles in front of me. At this rate, shall arrive at Poppy’s parents at some ungodly hour. Fortunately she told me that they are owls and John often goes to bed at 1am. Harcombe Hill was a 22%er and it started raining. My hearing aids decided to pack up in the face of the wet. (Remind me to remove them next time it rains, someone!). I lost the NCR 2 in town again, but stumbled on it after a bit of a detour around Colyton. I was over half way there but it was indeed getting late – so late I could no longer see the bluebells just beginning to show, or the buzzards (one likes a bit of alliteration).
In fact It got so late I wrote the rest of this daily post the next day.
The second day got steadily worse - there were just too many hills where I had to get off and push. Poppy phoned (she had stayed at her parents until 7pm which was a couple hours later than planned) – at around 22.45hrs and said I could always have a lift. Well, once the seed is planted, and the hills persist, resistance is futile. I was so tired I couldn’t even pronounce “Whitchurch Canonicorum”. I phoned Poppy's mum Philippa who came out to get me in the pouring rain at a quarter to midnight, from Ryall (about 5 miles from destination and just about at the brow of the hill) (THANKS Philippa- t'was a lifesaver!). If I hadn’t got a fixed destination I know I would have camped well before – no doubt about it.
Back at the beautiful Shute Hayes, I was fed Shepherd’s pie and whisky. Was so deep down exhausted I couldn’t even manage the apple crumble – when have I ever turned down pudding? Went to bed after congenial chat with John and Philippa at half past one. More unconsciousness. Woke to a fabulous view of the extensive gardens – and the house felt so friendly (lots of cats but no spooks).
I can only get fitter.