Saturday

Rutland Water to Southam 68.5 miles 03/06/04..

03/06/04
Good evening yesterday, I got chatting to the couple in the next tent.
They arrived with two young kids on two tandems just after I got here yesterday. An amazing set up, Top Marks for organisation. Their whole family + tent + all the gear on two bikes.
I let them do most of the talking as I was too tired to do much myself, but was invited for a chat, so went. Could hardly think straight, let alone talk. The first day was a long day and I had a lot on my mind.
Woke up at 03.30 this morning, showered, kettle on, then thought "its a bit quiet". I remembered my bike computer had a clock, 04:00, too late to sleep again now.
Drifting fog in the valley and a red sunrise, nice.
Got riding at 06:00. Serious hills with no signposts, or rather, plenty of posts but no signs. It's like wartime around here. I just guessed and didn't take yesterdays route. Worked well, found the B664, a superb road to Market Harborough and walked the worst of the hills, Hmmmm, this won't work all the way across Europe.

Everything's damp now, I put the tent away wet after a heavy dew and fog.
I think I'll have to leave later in the mornings and let it all dry out a little.

Todays view out of the tent door......round bales covered in black plastic, years old and about 8 feet away. Large trees behind them, then a small lane.The campsite is off the A473 going south from Southam, about 3 miles (ish) almost at the top of a hill, on the left.
I saw the sign through the drizzle and went in... "I'm not supposed to take tents, I'm a CC member"
Oh No!!
Has been a long day (11.5 hrs), and I couldnt find anywhere for miles before this place. We got to talking for a while and, luckily, he's a good one. Maybe he didnt want to turn a camper on a bike away in the rain, lucky for me.
It's been a fair day today. A little rain about 15.30 to 16.30. Nothing too bad, no need for my poncho. It started again about 17.30, just in time for the campsite.
Tired now.
It's 19.15 and I'm "indoors", I really like the smell of wet tents.
Stopped in "Little Benton" to use the internet at the public library, txt to Zarah and told her, and was there for for the opening time at 12.00. I waited a while and noticed that the people walking past were all ignoring me. I was stood next to a 12' bike and trailer rig, fully kitted out, and no-one showed the slightest interest. Jeez, am I invisible??
I soon figured out it was this place all over. Nobody happy, no smiles, not even the kids. Went for a ride to find something to eat while the library got itself organised and found a nice cafe a little way off. Steak and chips in amazingly quick time, and they even opened a side door and let me sit next to it to keep an eye on the bike. Thank you ladies for the only smiles in town :))
Back to the library for 13.10 and waited, still no-one speaks or acknowledges, nothing till 14.00. Finally got into the library and found they were charging £1 for 20 mins (free library services in UK?) and they wouldn't let me download Yahoo messenger. Miserable. A part time librarian stood watching me with a look of mild distaste, apparently the place only opens 3 hours a day, I'm not surprised at the lack of demand. I sent a few emails and left.
Not happy, I lost 2 hours, and have not spoken to Z for 2 days now. I left the town in a really miserable frame of mind, not so much for the time lost or the pettiness, but because their manner was infectious, the place was infectious, I arrived happy and left seriously pissed off. Took me all afternoon to shake it off. Strange place, avoid it.

Late in the day I was worrying I would not find a campsite, I couldnt physically find any of them that were marked on the map actually on the ground. I have been lucky twice now, especially here, I almost missed it. I dont fancy a night out in a field around here, it's too built up and industrial and looks like bandit country.
Miles today = 68.5
time cycling = 6h 27min
nutters = 1.A sales rep overtaking oncoming traffic at about 75mph came far too close to me for comfort. I gave him the bird but he didn't stop.
Pushed = way too much, absolutely shattered, (you should see the handwriting in the note book hahaha)
Route today, Wing Manor, back roads no signs, A6003?..
B664 to Market Harborough. USE THIS ROAD.
West Haddon, Daventry, A425 Southam, A423 south, here.

I was stood on a footbridge between Clipstone and Naseby watching traffic on the A14 Coventry / Kettering pass below, and saw an ex works lorry, the blue one, 10.30 am..... I can't get away from them, but at least they are beneath me now!

The owner here seems to be worried about thunderstorms and my tent being under a tree, I hope he's wrong.
Will have a short day tomorrow, perhaps finish at Bourton on the Water.

Barcelona cathedral, send postcard here, daughter, Mr T P Seden, Withytree farm,
No showers, very basic, but I like it.
£5 a night.

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Good luck with your own journey.
Thanks for visiting,
Rob.