Allergic to England

Day 11. 532 Kms, 330 Miles.

Trip totals: 3664 Kms, 2291 Miles.

Last day today. We woke up in our little hotel room, and packed quickly. We are well rehearsed now in the art of cramming an expeditions-worth of clothes, shoes, bike equipment and sundries into the small amount of lugage space that we had. Once she was ready, Lena went off to a local cafe to get us some breakfast, and I carried on sorting out the bike gear. She returned with a lovely cup of coffee for me, and a couple of croissants each. Hmmm hmmmm.

Suitably fuelled, we did our final loading, paid the bill, and set sail. The Channel Tunnel port was only about 20 minutes or so away, and we made good time. However, the system that they had in place was somewhat stretched by the amount of vehicles, and there were long delays checking in, going through passport control, and we also got pre-selected for the special prize, a vehicle inspection.

With all this fun, we actually managed to get into the queues for being loaded onto the train just as our train closed for boarding. As there are trains every 15-20 minutes, it didn’t matter much, and we were soon being directed to the next train. We got loaded on, and sat on the deck for the duration of the short crossing. It only takes 35 minutes, and soon we were stood to attention by the bike, ready to ride into the garden of England.

The motorway from Folkestone to London was closed a few junctions up the road, so we were diverted through the countryside. The queues were horrendous, but as we have a privelegd pass that allows us to ignore traffic jams, we slipped through quite quickly. The satnav decided that we wanted to ride through London as well, so we went through the docklands, passing the Millenium Dome, and popping under the Thames via the Blackwall Tunnel. This was a throwback to my youth, when was a courier and used to ride through the Blackwall tunnel often, sometimes 6 times a day.

I had woken up with a red eye this morning. I thought it was just because I was tired, but it got worse, with a bulging yellowness adding to the spectacle. It was pretty scratchy too. Eventually Lena persuaded me to divert to a pharmacy, and after one aborted attempt due to a closed road, and some grumpy driving through the countryside, we consulted with a lovely pharmacist, who gave me a bottle of eyedrops. It is probably just saline, but it cost almost a fiver, so it felt like it worked, even if it didn’t.

I spent the afternoon with my nose running and my eye tearing up, while feeling like I had 3/8ths of a small beetle stuck under my eyelid, and all the while riding hundreds of miles on the bike. Not my preferred way to finish the holiday. However, we made it home in one piece, and went into pack-down mode.

It is now later in the evening, two loads of washing are on the line, the bike is washed and lubed, our stuff is packed away, and we are looking at pictures and reminiscing. I am pretty tired, so will be off to bed shortly. Tomorrow I hope to sort out the pictures, put some captions to them, provide some pictures within the posts from this holiday, and generally tidy up.

It has been a real pleasure sharing this trip with you. We have had the most marvelous, memorable, magnificent and <insert your own M-word here> time, and will have experiences and memories that will last forever. Thanks for staying with us.