The Brown family discovered their own equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle back in the late 70’s. It was exactly 7 miles from Winchester. I forgot all about this fact until last Sunday when yet again a member of the family was lost, you guessed it, 7 miles from Winchester.
I remember the original incident as a hot summers day with the whole family, grandparents included, packed into one of the succession of interchangeable poo brown or boring blue 70’s cars. We were in search of one of those child friendly farms/butterfly houses/monkey or bird worlds that we went to en masse. There would be a café to provide tea in proper china for my Nanny and enough to keep two boisterous children distracted from trying to kill each other. Unfortunately I am the only member of the family blessed with any sense of direction and it was yet to be recognised or trusted in my much younger self. So when we got lost, pre GPS, we spent what actually felt like most of the day driving down lane after lane that led us to sign after sign stating we were still 7 miles from Winchester. It didn’t matter where we went, in which direction or how long we drove for, we were still 7 miles from Winchester. It is now a long standing family joke that if anyone gets really lost they can use the shorthand to describe the extreme nature of the situation by saying they are 7 miles from Winchester.
I can’t believe this had slipped my mind when I suggested the route to my friend as a trip for this Sunday as part of my London to Paris training. We were attempting ride 14 from Jack Thurston’s ‘Lost Lanes’, and it was a gorgeous route in lovely sunshine, a perfect day to be on the bike, but the inevitable happened, a slight misinterpretation of the directions and we were on an unplanned deviation. 7 miles from Winchester.