Travels

This will be my last post here for a while. We’re off on our travels again tomorrow, driving through France, visiting friends and relatives as we go, then to Spain to visit our daughter – our usual annual jaunt. Depending on where we are I may be able to pop in from time to time as I will have my laptop with me, but it will be spasmodic as we will be in our motorhome and not always where we can have wifi access. As always our son will be holding the fort at home – what would we do without him? We don’t expect to be back home until early to mid-November so apart from a possible few brief visits I look forward to seeing you again then.

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Into Spain

After several days with my cousin Ruth we drove all the way on to visit our daughter in Spain in one day – quite a long drive, we arrived after dark to a lovely barbeque meal.

We had chosen this time to visit as we were once again going to participate in the Pedals de Clip classic cycling event that we have done several times before and, as well as the tandem we had taken classic solo bikes with us for this. The event usually takes place in the spring but due to COIVD it was cancelled last year and postponed until late October this year. The event, held over a weekend, starts and finishes in the small town of Sant Marti Sarroca in the Penedes area of Catalunya sort of a bit south west of Barcelona. Last time the event ran, in 2019, a time trial was introduced on the Saturday. The Sunday ride out traditionally finishes at a castle at the top of a steep climb up of one kilometre so the Saturday time trial started in the town for 1km and then up the hill to the castle – 2km in total. Our daughter had entered in 2019 but was unable to do it due to racing commitments but she entered again this year and won the ladies event. We took advantage of the podium for a family photo!

Family Podium!

The region is mountainous (by UK standards anyway!) and the route for the Sunday ride contains a number of hills, some of them quite steep and tough. I little helping hand is a blessing – its surprising how much difference it makes when someone rides alongside with their hand on the small of your back. Here Becky was in turn assisted by another participant! You can tell how cool the day was as we were all wearing arm warmers – mine quite snazzy!

That’s the way to get up a hill!

By the time we got the the castle at the finish of the event it was really quite hot although it soon started to cool down again. Sadly one participant was taken ill on the finish line which rather held up proceedings. He was eventually taken off to hospital by air ambulance and we heard a few days later that he was making a good recovery.

The boss and me with finishers medals and free beers!

After the event we stayed on in the area for a few days to sampler more of the countryside on the tandem before eventually going, via our daughter’s again, a bit further south to Peniscola – a lovely place that we have also visited before. While we were there the weather began to turn cold and windy but we managed a few tandem rides before returning again to Becky’s for a final few days before heading back home through France – a journey completed fairly quickly this time as the days were getting colder.

The Pedals de Clip is a thoroughly enjoyable event which I happily recommend to anyone to likes riding classic bikes, but it does seem to get a bit harder every time we do it! Next year it is returning to its usual spot in May so we have even less time to prepare. However COVID permitting it is quite likely we will return.

Home Again

Just dropped by quickly to let you know that I am home again after gadding about in France and Spain. Very little internet access while I was away has left me with a lot of catching up to do, but hopefully I will be fully back on board again in a day or too -watch this space!

Road Trip

This will be my last visit here for a while. I’m thrilled to say that at long last we have been able to arrange a trip in our motorhome through France, visiting friends and relatives on the way, and then into Spain to visit our daughter – the first time we will have seen her since January 2020. We are leaving tomorrow morning. As always with the motorhome we will not have much opportunity to access the internet and with roaming charges having rocketed since Brexit was finalised we will also be using our mobile phones as little as possible.

Thankfully our youngest son is able to hold the fort at home – what will I do when he finally leaves!

This trip has taken some organising, absolutely everything that is likely to need renewing had to be renewed – passports, driving licences, health insurance cards and, of course we needed to get our Covid passes. At one point we thought it would not all get it done in time but finally it all fell into place (the last documents to arrive were our driving licences about 10 days ago) and it has been a mad rush to get ready to go. While we are in Spain we will also be able to take part in the Pedals de Clip classic cycling event that we have done in the past. It usually takes place in May but was cancelled last year and postponed to late October this year.

We will probably be away until about mid-November but if I get the opportunity to drop by from time-to-time I will do so. I shall look forward to catching up with you all again then.

Plans

Our daughter’s birthday;
we had planned to be in Spain
helping celebrate.

VE and P de C

VE & P de C RideYesterday, as you are probably all aware, was the anniversary of VE Day, and celebrations were taking place all over the UK with the planned celebration Street Parties being reduced to people sitting in their front gardens having their own private ‘street party’ while waving to those across the way or passing by on their exercise allowance; all due to coronavirus lockdown.

At this time of year we would usually have been in Spain visiting our daughter and taking part in a classic cycling event with her – the Pedals de Clip (P de C of the title) which would have taken place this weekend, with the classic ride on Sunday.  It is an event I have reported here in previous years but this year the event was obviously cancelled, as was our trip to Spain.

Yesterday morning our daughter phoned to say that the P de C organisers had been in touch and were asking all those who would have attended the event to do their own private ‘Pedals de Clip’ ride and send in photos of themselves out on their classic bikes, wearing the kit they would have worn for the official ride. Becky asked me to send a photo to her which she would then send in with her own and asked specifically that we try to produce one that looked particularly British rather than Spanish so that hers and ours combined would be P de C across the miles or some such.

This was where the two events came together in a sort of symbiosis. There is no point in us having a ‘street party’ in our front garden, where we live we wouldn’t see anyone! So we could celebrate VE Day and the P de C by riding out on our classic ‘Freddie Grubb’ bikes in our Retro Team GB cycling kit, that we would have worn at the Pedals de Clip, looking very patriotic while cycling through our local small town where all the UK flags were flying, very British! Youngest son Chris was despatched with the camera to do the photoshoot – see photo above.

We then continued on for a short ride of about 9.5 miles (nowhere near as long as the Pedals de Clip would have been) while being cheered and waved at by the front garden ‘street party’ goers that we passed in much the way that on-lookers would have cheered the P de C participants. Thus we ‘killed two birds with one stone’ as the saying goes and had a wonderfully different sort of local ride past friends and neighbours who thought we were being terribly patriotic.

 

In Spain

I’m not in Spain
visiting my daughter, but
sitting in the sunshine
in my garden
I can close my eyes…
and dream.

Travellers Return

I’m back. We have returned from approximately 8 weeks travelling through France and Spain in our motorhome. We have had a mixed bag of weather – snow (yes, snow), rain, thunderstorms, strong winds and I admit, some hot days with sunshine – enough to at least show some slight signs of a suntan (I’m fair skinned and don’t tan easily at the best of times), but generally a lot colder than we are used to when visiting this time of the year.

Family at La Pedals de CLip

Photo from La Pedals de Clip website

I now have an awful lot of catching up to do so I don’t intend to give you chapter and verse of my time away. However one thing we did do is take part once again La Pedals de Clip, a rally for classic road-race bikes, together with our daughter. I have reported on this event in the past (here) so there is no need for me to fully explain it again. Basically it is a fun event that ‘does exactly what it says on the tin’, very friendly and enjoyable. My husband and I both rode our Henry Burton classic bikes (built locally to our home in the UK) and our daughter rode her James Fothergill which was built in Liverpool. At one point I thought I might not be able to take part, having taken a tumble from my bike a couple of weeks before the event and hurt my elbow rather badly – beware of pedestrians in Spain, they have right of way apparently and do not always look before stepping out to cross the road! (Hubby stopped suddenly to avoid hitting the pedestrian and I crashed into hubby’s bike.) Fortunately the pain had subsided sufficiently by the ride day, although I did ache a bit afterwards!

Always a fairly tough ride, up and hill and down dale with a final 1Km hill climb to the castle of Sant Marti Sarroca where the event finishes, this year’s ride was tougher than last time we did it due to an almost continuous strong headwind all the way round. (I gather that last year’s event, which we didn’t do, was worse as the weather was very cold and wet.)

We made one or two interesting observations at the cycling event. First we got the impression that there seemed to be slightly fewer participants than previously – possible due to last year’s weather – but there did seem to be more younger people in evidence, which must bode well for the future of the event. I also got the impression that there was not as many females this time and in fact I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I was probably one of the oldest females, if not the oldest, taking part.

Before we went away I challenged myself to write at least one poem a week during the holiday. Usually when on holiday I do very little writing other than keeping a journal so I decided I wanted to make better use of some of my ‘spare time’. Although I didn’t literally  write a poem every week, (some weeks I wrote two and then maybe nothing for the next week) overall I wrote 9 poems plus 2 Elfje, 2 Tanka and 10 Haiku or Senryu and I wrote my usual journal. I have impressed myself – not bad for just under 8 weeks away! Most of the poems do need some further polishing (I didn’t say they were good poems!) but I hope to share the Elfje, Tanka and Haiku/Senryu with you over the coming days, starting here with one about my little accident:

Falling off my bike
the road bites my arm and leg.
My elbow swells up.

 

Travels

I’m off on my travels again this weekend, in our Motorhome and we will be away for a couple of months. As we have often done before we will be travelling through France and into Spain to visit our daughter. We try to go via a different route each time so that we see more of the two countries which is always fun. Our youngest son, who lives at home, will be in charge in our absence.

One of the problems we have when travelling in the Motorhome is unreliable access to the Internet (we tend to stay in small villages rather than large towns with plenty of WiFi Cafes) so this means I will for the most part be off-line until we return in late May and therefore unable to post anything here. If I can I will.

Aware that I rarely, if ever, post any of my what I call my ‘proper’ poems I hope to share some of these with you while I am away, starting with one this coming Monday. All of these are poems that have previously been published elsewhere. I have also challenged myself to write at least one poem a week while we are away – but I will not be sharing these as they will need time to settle and receive several sessions of tweaking! Maybe some other time.

I look forward to seeing you back here again on my return.

Flying

Fly in
for fleeting visit,
fly out.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Our daughter flew in from Spain on Wednesday last week, spent a day with us then went on to the Isle of Man for the weekend to compete in the UK National MTB Marathon Championships where she came 2nd (silver medal) in appalling weather. We picked her up from the ferry on Monday and she spent yesterday with us again before we dropped her off at Birmingham airport to fly back to Spain this afternoon. A short and sweet visit, but wonderful to see her as it is the first and only time this year! Her next race is the World Championships in Italy next month.

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