Wet,wet,wet…. powered on, somewhat boring railway track from Market Yarborough to Northampton – would have been pleasant, if sunny… Northampton itself was not too impressive either and we were pleased to thread our way through, fairly easily on NCN route 6. Rain did not ease and we were starting to think of where we would spend the night… so on toward Milton Keynes.. this place needs to be experienced, especially on a bike, its network of cycle routes probably out does anywhere else so far. Lots of green spaces.. we followed Grand Union canal for a little way and ended up chatting to nice lady living on a boat there… she recommended the Premier Inn, not far from where she was moored – we headed there to find them fully booked – with not much encouragement for anywhere in the town… she suggested another Premier Inn, south of M.K. – as we discovered it to was on our route we booked our room through her, and proceeded another 4kms. Not any other choice, but this time, no bargain price, still we did manage to get our dripping wet bikes complete with baggage into our room again!
Wet x 4!
Even more of Milton Keynes remained this morning, just unbelievable the number of cycleways… so pleased we had the Garmin with velomaps installed. So afraid it was heads down and on to Oxford the verdant countryside just melding into a misty haze through our steamed up specs… we actually stopped at a B & B in Kidlington, a northern suburb of Oxford – an ironically named establishment ( for our current mood) ‘Happy Lodge’ but we were given our own ‘suite’ in a completely separate house from the B & B – with access t a kitchen to cook our own food AND the boiler for the whole house in our ‘Little Flat’ which has allowed us to hang all our soaking clothes to dry – bargain for £55…
Wet x 5!
BUT not what you were expecting, awoken in our ‘Happy Lodge’ this morning at 6 O’clock by water pouring through the ceiling from the shower in the room above – went up there to investigate but it was like the Marie Celeste … had to phone the proprietor, Sue who, understandably was not too pleased – but was gracious enough to thank me when the panic died down for, perhaps, averting more damage.
Any way we started the day having not had much of a wash, or breakfast and the day looked like it was going to follow yesterday’s formula of ‘continuous’ showers…. actually it never really rained but was fairly miserable all day, just a few minutes of sun in patches… the route took us through the heart of Oxford, past the colleges, meaning we had to ‘dice’ with students on their bikes and the usual traffic, making a stressful, but interesting break from our usual countryside route. We were not sorry to leave the hustle and bustle when we reached Folly bridge, where we joined the Thames towpath and the calmer river traffic. We were to follow a lot of dedicated cycle track to Abingdon where just after we were about to stop in Radley to buy provisions when we were befriended by a very nice man, interested in what we were doing, who invited us in to his house for a very welcome cup of tea where we proceeded to give him details of our trip – sorry, nice man, forgot to ask your name, and hope you read this! Two things came out of this, other than the refreshment – realisation, by looking at our journey to date on a complete map of Britain how far we have actually travelled and the fact that we have met so many really nice, friendly people on route – we left Radley more than refreshed by tea…
Just as well as we found quite a few cruel hills around 50kms in to the day when going over ‘The Ridgeway’. We eventually descended into Reading, crossed the Thames and booked into a very nice private hotel, providing us with a room with a great bath and a nice dry room for the Surlys. Tomorrow we go west, at last! 🙂