The thing about major expotitions with an 8 year old, is that you have to factor in countless unthought-of impediments and find a way to muddle on regardless whilst being genuinely ready to abandon all so that there is never any overt pressure to follow the original intentions, or at least something approximating to them.
Today has been full of the unexpected and several moments of wondering if the bikes would ever venture forth from the midst of the impossible collection of camping gear in the back of my car.
We didn’t like the weather. We were tired. We were busy lopping off the tops of thistles with terrible vigour or whizzing up to great heights of grassy hillock….the saddle was wrong, the brakes squeaked, we must swap helmets or we wouldn’t wear our hi-viz vest……. anything to put off the moment of mounting up.
And then almost without a moment’s notice ( and I may say a great deal of quiet, dogged packing, bike fixing, negotiation and moment by moment letting go) off we slipped, from the top of Gospel Pass, at agonizingly slow, moto molto interuptibus for a 7 mile descent to Llanthony Priory.
By the time we got to Capel-y-Fin, it was pouring with rain and “nobody ever listens” but there was some Elgar sheet music on the harmonium, (STOP IT NANNY) the teddies were still there and for my inner peace, the beautiful window, ” I will lift mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help”
It was Ollie who said ” let’s not wait for the taxi, why don’t we just ride back up?”
But on this I was firm. “No darling, another day when we have built up our muscles and not had so many chips”
Back up on the heights we scampered off to conquer Lord Hereford and then watched countless cyclists sweltering up from the Hay side as we pottered quietly down in awe of the fantastic landscape.
We really thought about staying to camp so that we could go up to come down, but jags of lightening, black skies and torrential rain persuaded us to go back to Bristol via ‘Golden Valley’
A diversion meant a tiny steep, narrow lane. Reversing cockily to allow a big car through I slid gently into the invisible ditch and was truly stranded.
The big car owner ( who knew every inch of ditch ) nobly stayed put until it was clear that I couldn’t budge and hailed a farmer to help me out with his tractor. Mercifully the underbelly of the car must have cleared the ground by a fraction of an inch and we were pulled out without the faintest graunch or scream of metal on gravel.
The entire contents of the boot ( ejected to the road edge in a fruitless effort to find the tow hook ) were slung back in any old how just in time for us to pull forward so as not to obstruct the big car on his return. Friendly exchanges and a promise to reverse for no man, woman or beast on account of the rest of the ditches and our adventurous day ended with a couple of episodes of ‘Narnia ‘
Reality and fantasy are merging with the help of my very fine apple brandy. Ollie is covered with teddies and asleep.
I am trying not to think too much about our fitness/aptitude levels for our French group cycling holiday at the end of July.
Here are some pics of today