Well here we are the FINAL week ! A fairly wet and chilly week, wending our way along the Essex coast from Southend back to Suffolk, passing through Maldon, Brightlingsea, Harwich and Felixstowe to Bawdsey – 3 ferry trips in all – and finally to Aldeburgh, after a lovely night with my daughter and family.
After 6 months on the road Oscar and I finally made it back to Aldeburgh – an amazing homecoming – family, friends, supporters – piped in by my friend, David, playing the bagpipes. An emotional moment as the cheering became closer and louder, a sea of welcoming faces getting nearer and nearer.
The sun was shining and the wind at my back – a stark contrast to that cold bleak day in March when the cheers became fainter and fainter as we pedalled off into the distance – 5000 miles seeming a crazy and unattainable distance to cover – just me, Oscar and the bike !
However, despite all that the elements could throw at us and the sometimes relentless steep hills we managed it – the enormity of it as yet to truly sink in – have I really pedalled all that way ?!! It has been an incredible journey – a journey of highs and lows, funny times, tough times, so many new places and new faces, changes in landscapes, architecture, cultures and seasons. A huge physical challenge but even more of a mental, psychological and emotional challenge than I expected – a life changing, spiritual experience.
Oscar has been a wonderful companion, a real star, adapting to each new day with apparent ease. Loving all the attention from passers by, his new doggy friends, the long walks and swims and generally watching the world go by ! He might find life a bit dull back at home ! It is now time for reflection, rest and recovery. A time for catching up with family and friends. As for what comes next – who knows………?!
I would like to thank everyone for their support,wonderful comments and interest – a huge morale boost and motivation, especially when the going was tough – the days when I woke to the wind howling , the rain battering against the windows and the duvet seemed an altogether better option to getting back onto the bike !!
For all your generous donations – we are not far off the target of £25.000.00 – amazing ! A huge thank you to Steve, Leanne, Linda , Gareth and all the Dog Friendly team – you have been a tremendous support finding accommodation for us, sometimes against all odds, and generally keeping me sane with your cheery banter. Thank you, Leanne, for your wonderful help keeping my website and social media updated – you did a brilliant job.
A big thank you also to Steven Salter for keeping Oscar well fed with faultless deliveries of food miraculously appearing at fortnightly intervals at the appropriate addresses.
Last but by no means least, thank you to all those who so generously gave us bed and breakfast and supper – B&Bs, hotels, caravans, tents – friends and total strangers welcoming us into their homes. The luxury of a hot shower, food and a bed was hugely appreciated.