Monday, July 5, 2010

Day 52. Guest Appearance.

We spent the night in a field, with lots of rabbits and another caravan about 50 yards away. The farmer kindly opened his gate for us at 6.15 instead of 8.00 am, so I could get under way.

I somehow found my way through all the disruption experienced yesterday, in the Pear Tree Roundabout area, and located the canal without too much difficulty. Actually, I would have found this very difficult without my Satmap Active 10 device, which clearly showed me the options on screen.

Long Lost Fred had telephoned yesterday afternoon to arrange a guest appearance on VBW. He had spoken to mine host at the Rock of Gibraltar, a pub on the Oxford Canal and had decided this would be the best place to meet me. That is until he realised how early I would be at that point. In the event, he drove to Lower Heyford, then cycled down the towpath to meet me. When we got back to Lower Heyford, we went to the café there. We took our scones and coffees into the garden, until Fred realised that his yellow cycling shirt was covered in hundreds of small black critters. Fred promptly disappeared. I couldn’t find him. Eventually, I left a message with the café staff and re-crossed the bridge to the towpath, and there he was. We proceeded without incident, except for Fred falling off his bike, to Somerton Bridge, where Gay was waiting for us. A few hundred metres before that point, some people with a Great Dane on a narrowboat whooped and cheered and said well done to me (at this point I had lost Fred again because he had stopped to adjust his brakes). It turned out that these people had been talking to Gay and had left a small donation with her.

After a cup of tea and some coconut macaroons, Fred cycled back to Lower Heyford. And I was able to tell Gay that, to match the donation (for Pancreatic Cancer UK) she had received from the boat people, I had a blue note from Peter and Iris. How did that come about? When I reached the Rock of Gibraltar, like all the pubs on the canal at that time of day, it was closed. I asked a couple, who turned out to be Peter and Iris, if there was anywhere open for tea or coffee. They dragged me back to their narrowboat and regaled me with tea and biscuits. We had a nice chat, and as I was leaving they gave me the donation and wished me luck.

I walked 26 kms. VBW total so far 1439.5 kms. Looks as if a small celebration may be called for in a couple of days, when I reach 1500 kms. In fact it looks like Thursday, which could be ideal because Septimus and Mrs Septimus are going to pop up again, stay overnight at the hotel in Brinklow outside which we will be parked, then Sep will walk the Friday stage with me.

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