Thursday 18th October Day13 Daily Mileage 860 – Total 4445
Looking down at the clock’s I made a mental note, 3.36am & 13 miles to my first Gold Post Box, “Great that’s all I need!”
Day 13 and 13 miles to my first “iffy at best” location. “Suspicious, who me? no not one bit, yea right in your dreams” Damn right I am. A fatalist I do believe the correct term is (saw that on TV once so it must be right).
The ride almost never even got out of garage I was not in the best of “mental” places to be. I’d woken up 10 minutes after the alarm should have gone off, stomach churning due to rather dodgy curry Jeannie & I had eaten at our “ex-favorite” curry house in town. The rain was bouncing nicely off of the bedroom window as I ran through my farewell ritual in double quick whispers as I rushed downstairs to the loo, just in time! Kit on and just as I was about to put my jacket on, nature chose a different course, not good! Is this too much information- or what!
Nailsworth – Sat outside the Tesco Express on Tanglewood Road in Bussage I realised that I had got the location totally wrong! Unfortunately the information that had been given to me on Twitter by another Gold Post Box visitor was right it was the fact that I had totally misunderstood their instructions. “Thank the Lord for Google” is all I can say. After 10 minutes of searching and reading at 3.50am in the middle of nowhere I discovered that Pete Reeds parents had been shocked to discover that the Royal Mail where only planning on painting the small post box near their home (the one I was now trying to track down) . After a brief discussion the twin post boxes in the town center where then painted Gold to honor their sons achievements, the ones I’d visited earlier totally oblivious to this one’s existence.
I was 5.7 miles away from the Gold Post Box which was just half a mile from the other two in town but finding it proved to be very interesting as all I knew was the name of the area, Watledge. I rode down an amazing couple of switchbacks called “The Ladder”. Searching for Gold Post Boxes on the dead of the night on country roads & lanes dotted with houses is becoming a regular pass time of mine, it just never gets any easier. Still after one wrong ride into a dead end I spotted my target at the side of some very grand driveway gates. I took a couple of pictures because I could not see a thing in the view finder as it was so dark, mind the flash did a cracking job.
Old Market Nailsworth
Pete Reed - Gold medal Men's Four Rowing
Larkhill - So after a somewhat rough start to the trip I realised it had stopped raining and Larkhill was just 50 miles away. The thing that made me think was how long it was going to take me, 1 hour 15 minutes, “Why?” I was already running an hour late due to my wake up wows. Still there was only one thing to do in this situation, “ just get on with it Raymondo”.
Pulling up outside Larkhill Post Office I took two more pictures as it was still pitch black and pull off down the road to plumb in my next location. As I rode away I realised I’d been here before, and riding down the road I spotted a place I would rather have never seen again. It’s the aircraft hangar where I had called my first marriage to an end! It’s a long story and this isn't really the place to be explaining but I was there watching my ex-brother-in-law pass out as an Royal Army Air Corp pilot. “Hey, ho so long ago”
Heather Stanning - Gold Medal Women’s Pairs Rowing
Portland – 62 miles away on this small attached island lay my next Gold Post Box. Yet another that I should have visited on a previous trip when running out of fuel put an end to that idea. Still the day was starting to awaken sadly every worker in the southern hemisphere was too! I went from empty roads all to myself to typical rush hour traffic in just 30 miles. This was one of the reasons I’d planned to be at Weston at 6.00am not battling through the rush hour works traffic at 6.45am. That will teach me to download nice looking aps onto my iPhone and use them before testing them on an important occasion.
“No, no, no, f-ing no” the post box outside the post office was red. I knew I should have called this Day 12+1!
“Excuse me mate, do you know where the Gold Post Box is that they painted for Helena Lucas”
“The what?” came the reply I was dreading
“The Gold Post Box, you know for the Olympics”
“Naaaa, sorry I’ve not got a clue”
“OK thanks any way” came out my mouth, I cannot write what was being said in my head!
I wouldn't mind but they were waiting for the school bus! Do kids have no pride anymore?
Luckily for me the delivery guy at the petrol station gave me brilliant instructions and I’d only been 100 meters away from the Gold Post Box on the next street.
Pound Piece Portland
Helena Lucas - Gold medal Sailing: Single-Person Keelboat (2.4mR)
St Stephen – Asking the two helpful ladies in the post office where I could possibly find the Gold Post Box in town, dripping from every south facing part of my kit. I could not stop myself from grinning like a demented kid. By the time we had ascertained that a) I was in the wrong town & b) there are no machines in a post office that can give you a post code to an address of another post office I walked back to Mr T a little drier than when I’d left him. I left a puddle on the carpet which looked like I’d just wet myself. Don’t you just love riding in torrential rain!
Mmmmm, just a bit of rain in Cornwall!
I was in bloody St Austell for a start but after a frantic look on Google and a quick Tweet I had the correct address. Cheers Wikipedia for yet another “wild goose chase”. Still St Austell is a beautiful place, full of very friendly and helpful folks including the two taxi drivers I’d asked earlier as I rode through the middle of town the wrong way up the one way system (“do you see a pattern forming here?”)
Luckily for me St Stephen is exactly 5 miles away (another patter me thinks!) so within 15 minutes I’d waited for the old lady who just walked straight in front of me to post the most important letter in the world. Well it must be the filthy look she gave me! Or is it just going to sit in the post box for the next day or so?
Fore Street St Stephen
Jonathan Fox - Gold Medal Swimming: Men’s 100m Backstroke S7
Pandora Inn – Now I cannot give the place any other name as it’s literally in the middle of now where other than in an idyllic location on the south coast. Stunning does not even come close and the next time I’m down that way I will definitely stay for some lunch but as I was running 1 hour behind schedule putting “Snuggle Buggles” with Lilie Rose in grave danger of not happening I made a quick exit after taking a couple of nice photos of both the pub and the estuary. (Please bear in mind the Walton Household runs to a very strict, regimental and practiced routine. Snuggle Buggle are IMPORTANT!)
Pandora Inn Restronguet
Ben Ainslie - Gold medal Men's Finn Sailing
The Pandora Inn, Beautiful.
What an amazing view....
Penzance – At least it stopped raining or had it stopped a while back and I’d been so wet I’d not noticed? The ride along the whole South west coast had been stunning and to find my penultimate Gold Post Box outside a lovely public house I was so tempted to call in and see if they had a bed for the night. (Not really Jeannie it’s only just popped into my head as I’m writing this but it would have been nice if I’d not got you. Right, creep over).
Riding back to KFC where I’d stopped for lunch a few time I felt that strange comfortable feeling descend. I parked in exactly the same spot I’d parked in in 2009 when I’d ridden the End to End Gold with Ron. Having bought my lunch and settle outside in the sunshine, shock horror, the sun was out. I called Jeannie and caught up on the fun of the day back home. There was so much to catch up that I ended up eating and talking at the same time, not a good look but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do.
Quay Street Penzanc
Helen Glover - Gold medal Women's Pairs Rowing
No time for clotted cream tea’s!
Trull - Plumbing Home into the Garmin 660 with the final Gold Post box of the day in at Trull I discovered I had a 375 mile ride home in front of me. 11 & half hours in the saddle and now there was just a matter of 375 miles & 6 hours to go.
So why 2 hours later did I find myself riding on a single dirt track through the field at the side of the M4? The Garmin had said 4.3 miles to my destination as I’d left the M4 & showed a lovely bit of twisty for me to get stuck into. What it hadn’t pointed out that the twisty road was little more than a farm track. Running head long into the front of a white van at 20 miles an hour was not high on my things to do at this late stage of the game. How I missed him I have no idea, it may be down to the fact I was travelling at little more than walking speed, not something he could have said by the length of the four skid marks at the back of his van.
Pulling up on the opposite side of the road to Trull Post Office to wait for a couple and their 3 year old daughter have her photo taken by mum on her mobile. I was surprised to be scowled at by said mum, just for waiting! I’d even turned Mr T off so as not to cause any disturbance.
I got a thanks’ from dad, a smile form little girl and another scowl from mum as they walked passed me. Just home it turns out to be a nice picture for the old “scowler”! I was just about to pull in and get a picture when I car cut across the front of me and pulled into the parking bay. Struggling to get Mr T at the side of the box I ended up waiting for the guy with the car to come back and drive away without even a sidewise glance.
At least it gave me time to speak to the car lift repair man who had called me 2 hours earlier and not turned up for an appointment to fix the car lift. All because I’d not answered the mobile. I text Jeannie to say he would be in after tea some time as he’d not been able to contact me!
Trull Post Office Church Road Trull
Deborah Criddle - Gold medal Equestrian: Mixed Individual Freestyle Test - Grade III
Heading back onto the M4 through the center of Taunton was interesting! Back on the M4 it started to rain & rain & rain & you guessed it rain. All the way to Rochdale where for the last 15 minutes it stopped.
All in all 869 miles in 18 & half hours with 8 Gold Post Box locations visited the 7 actual Gold Post Boxes photographed I ‘m glad to say that was a long day. However Daddy was home in time to give Lilie Rose her bed time “Snuggle Buggles” so all’s well that ends well.
Day Thirteen - 7 Gold Post Boxes
Reviewing the day’s events whilst bringing Mr T back up to his normal level of cleanliness I realised It had been a tough ride yesterday, I’d met some great people and some not so great. But what stands out the most is, the people of Great Britain are still having a fantastic time remembering and respecting our Olympic Gold Winning Hero’s and I for one am proud to be doing just that in my own, possibly demented little way.
Here’s a short walk round of Mr T, dirty! Shock horror, yes he does get dirty from time to time.
He does get dirty, some times you know!