Firstly and mostly, I have to thank you all so so much for all the kind support you have lent us - and the support you have shown LLR. I didn’t realise when we started out how proud we’d feel that it will actually mean something to travel the 1000 miles ahead of us. I am particularly touched to see that Kevin and Kathy have lent their support - I came off my bike outside their house and they patched me up and sent me on my way.
And so it begins.
The four of us meet - auspiciously for only the second time - in a pub near Paddington station. The sort of preparation I imagine precedes most major sporting events. The air is tense, there are still some key decisions to make; the success of our entire enterprise depends on them - sausage and mash, or pie of the day. Lengthy research determines that the pie of the day is boar. Boar.
I am surrounded by an unreasonable amount of kit for such a short journey. The most important piece thereof is the Brompton - should your bike fail, it will be there - ready to carry you on its tiny tiny wheels; the hard leather saddle providing unwanted, almost aggressive support. I know - I cycled 300 consecutive miles on it - I was told by the salesman that ‘the saddle moulds itself to you - it breaks itself in’ - it doesn’t, if anything it broke me in. Its vigil starts today.
Soon it was time for us to board the ‘Riviera Sleeper’ - much as it sounds like a sun-drenched French terrorist cell it’s actually a surprisingly well delivered overnight train service. As I sit typing this, with a whiskey in hand, it seems like this might be the start of something great - or perhaps in the words of Hemmingway:
‘Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk - that’ll teach you to keep your mouth shut.’
It’s time to put the laptop away and get some sleep.