Called him no answer Grrrr... frustration building
Made a coffee few deep breaths, then tried knocking the door, he had rented that dorm out and a guy woke up so I could get my bike.
Left the Backpackers, cheap, not cheerful lol accomodation, one gripe, I was walking up the stairs put my hand on one of the wooden crowns on the stairs and it came away in my hand, fell sideways caught my head a glancing blow, manager had left not impressed with that, it had been nailed in poorly with one nail, for a staircase that's criminal.
took photos leaving chester by the gate and the roman amphitheatre, vowing to return and investigate properly it is a lovely city and I want to see more worth a visit!!!
soon headed out onto the A roads, stopped off at one of those portable cafe stops, had a coffee cheap and nasty instant, served by an older italian guy, he should be ashamed of himself lol I expect better coffee of an Italian, we had a quick chat about his Princess Diana conspiracy theories, he is convinced the royal family are to blame, I just let him get it off his chest, when I mentioned the Borgias and Machiavelli for conspiricy and intrigue and that the English are probably fairly new boys on the block compared to the Italians, he suddenly talked a little less on :-) finished my awful coffee and pushed on (re: coffee think that stuff I bought at work for dire emergencies Jane, and this stuff was worse).
Riding along I started to think about how wonderful the human body is, I have already worn out a tire, my saddle is showing signs of wear my new handlebar foam has seen better days and I have had to tighten several bolts on the bike, not to mention the brakes will probably need a change... Yet my old skin shell is holding up remarkably well, think of how quickly the body repairs all those worn out cells for your joints and cartilage, not to mention the skin on my delicate behind... My achilles is healing, my wrist remains useable.. all while pushing my body through some pretty hard days... Yes, my body is a wonderful thing, as good as man is he can't quite engineer like mother nature...
Cycling along the road I came across a recently deceased bird, it had beautiful tail feathers so I plucked a few, don't know what for yet but they will decorate something, felt guilty because I broke the things leg pulling the feathers out... (Vic would not have been impressed, he's a vegetarian) Still they were nice feathers and a shame to waste them.
Saw a sign Welcome to Shropshire I was on the A5 to Oswestry stretch.
Came across a services station called "The Lazy Kettle" and I stopped for a breakfast, nice food and I took a few photos and moved on. Feeling good, phoned the hostel to book a place... aparently they don't open the desk till 5:00 pm so NO point in me getting up so early.. I slowed my pace right down or I would be ahead by about 3.5 hrs..
Took some Photos of a Church at Gobowen, cycled on to a place called Wawen there was a mini farm and classes for special needs children, I decided to be nosy and take a look, lots of Rabbits and then there were some Alpacas, took some photos AMAZING what you find if your nosy enough to look :-)
The metal on my wrist brace had finally given up, fortunately I saw a sign for an Orthopeadic hospital not far from the Alpacas so I headed there, the staff were great and gave me a new one, did I mention that after a few days on the road the old one smelled like hundred year old cave aged cheese... The staff binned it after a quick chase round the corridors when it tried to get away under it's own steam..
I came into a place called Whittington, there's a pub called the Old Boot, and it appears linked to Dick Whittington somehow, the biggest surprise of all is the remains of a castle that the locals have preserved. Photo opportunity and there were even the village stocks, so being the most likely looking candidate for the village idiot (aparently the job was going spare) I got some willing transgressor to take photos of me in the village stocks :-)
Pushed onto Pontesbury where there was a lovely old church, the gardens were being tended by an 86 yr old man more sprightly than many 40 yr old I had seen. He explained he moved from Anglesey with his wife to help their daughter. Aparently the church was open so I went inside for some photos and took a video. When I emerged we began chatting again, he asked if I was a religious man, I explained I was an athiest and he said to me, "well I often wonder what it is really all about, the wife is more religious than I am.", I asked why he looked after the garden if he wasn't particularly religious, he replied, "I like the company and the comunity spirit". Fair enough I thought, and it reminded me that in the church I had thought that whilst much evil has come about in the name of religion there is also a lot of good, for instance I doubt without the churches as glue, many communities would have fell apart early on. He told me a story about he and friends when they were young, touring on bikes twice as heavy as mine with twice the load in bags and how they did 160 miles a day.... I think time has faded that memory a little but it was a pleasant way to spend some time and he was a very charming old man.
I was 6.5 miles from my destination so bought some food at a local "EXHORBITANT" shop paid and then noticed there was a co op further on... bought some more "REASONABLY PRICED" stuff in there. One thing I should mention is that there were still blackberries available in October, very sweet and I had quite a few to cheer myself up with the road which seemed to get steeper...
I headed of to Bridges Youth Hostel Long Mynd, I thought I would get a relaxing end to the day BE WARNED THE HILLS ROUND LONG MYND ARE STEEP AND GO DOWN FAST THEN GO UP AGAIN... not how I wanted to end the day. Seriously the last 6 miles were exhausting it didn't help when i mentioned it to the Matron later she announced why did you do that, if you had continued on from Church Stretton for a mile you could have come the back way it's flat save going over all the biggest hills... Thanks Co Pilot Sat Nav your wonderful, I bluffed and said "Hills are what I am here for".. she wasn't impressed..
I was to sleep in one of the dorms for the night I went for a quick bite to eat and noticed that my face was purple round my mouth, I looked a sight apparently I had eaten more than a few blackberries :-) Sue if you ever read this, here is your revenge.. you will know the incident I am referring to, all I will say is Spain, squid in it's own ink, and a night out :-)
Went into the Youth Hostel, staffed by the archetypal matron, she gave the air that she disaproved of me, in fact she gave off the air that she disaproved of everything except herself and the YHA... felt so welcome lol.. aparently I am under curfew, the door will be locked at 11:00 don't you just love YHA rules.. compared to backpackers they are just completely out of touch, curfews... too many rules...
Met an older cyclist in his 60's he was like some sort of 70's comedy character I couldn't stop thinking of porridge, he reminded me of what Mr Mackay would look like on a cycling holiday. It turns out we were in the same room, I cheerily said "looks like we are bunkmates" he replied very curtly "certainly not, we are sharing a room NOT bunkbeads"... relax I wasn't suggesting we get married or anything I smiled and avoided any further conversation, he spread himself out on a table pouring over some out of date maps when the children charged in for tea,.. the silence was broken, he moved to another table when they started laying cutlery around him. Then he moved next to me as two teachers sat next to him, then the ignomy of it all matron appeared and without asking picked up his maps and moved him back to the table with the two teachers explaining more girls can fit in that way... I looked at her and met her steely gaze like for like.. it was battle of wills time, I am not small and I was not going to sit cramped next to map man and the teachers from mind your language.. she stared for an eternity and something seemed to give she walked off and i continued to eat.
I had made myself a huge dinner of stir fry with stake and a plate of pasta, an apple and orange,he kids had eaten some nasty looking pasta and some food matron had prepared, there were several loud comments of I would rather have what he is eating matron and a few teachers glowered at me hehe... I caught the glance of one of the girls, couldn't help it a giggle cracked my stony face and this sent a ripple of giggles round the girls.. don't you just love what happens when you force completely disimilar people together by chance.. People watching is awesome entertainment... Just me and my inner voice giving a running comedy interpretation of the events.
I washed up and then headed to the pub (The Horse Shoe Inn) where they let me use their landline, no phone signal from 02 and then use their broadband all for a princely sum of £3.40 for a pint of stout with blackcurrent... yes that's right they don't do Guinness only a local WARM stout.... but really nice people and a lovely pub.
there was a school in, one of them had an expense card and announced they would hide the drinks on the food bill tab... lol they will have a happy night.
Earlier on another retired cyclist had turned up at the YHA, he insisted on camping he was it turns out part of a cycling club. We had a good chat and he availed me of his years of experience cycling since he was 16, he had ridden from Manchester on a bike he had rescued from a tip (he has 10 bikes). He was aghast at the kit I was carrying lol, and probably thought I was mental.
We headed back to the YHA and shook each others hands, wished bon voyage and best of luck. I had opened the windows and the curtains in our room it was stuffy and I was burning hot my metabolism was in over drive, when I got in they were all closed up. I opened them both and went off for a shower, I got back and they were closed, the other guy had shut them. I would never get off to sleep feeling so stuffy, so i opened them up again, he kept his back to me feigning sleep. I went off to bed.. when I awoke in the morning they were closed.. sneaky bugger lol