Duns greeted us with the type of shower that none of us wanted or needed. Ian's night had been disturbed by some Duns youths posing on the bike at 1am but he'd scared them off with a quick flash (of the van lights).
Our first stop of the day was Coldstream - it really lived up to it's name in that it was very cold and practically a giant stream (rain, rain, go away come again another day .... another day after the 29th August when we are not cycling a seven seater circular bike from John O'Groats to Land's End).
Miss CoBi needed a good old fashioned steam clean .... we tried to get her into the local sauna, but they were very prejudicial towards her size (a topic for loose woman perhaps?). Luckily the kind man from the Mercedes garage offered us his garage and lots of tea. I was told off for using my mobile phone next to a petrol pump.... something about causing an explosion ... who'd have thought?
Just before lunch we crossed the river Tweed into blighty (an old Indian word meaning home) .... there was a very small sign partially hidden by a thorn bush saying 'welcome to England’.... with a bit of rock clabering it made the prefect spot for a photo op!
Suddenly the traffic got worse, we saw less smiles and the rain drove harder and faster than Jenson Button - AND IN THOSE FIELDS IN ACINET TIMES IT WAS REALLY MUDDY AND RUBBISH.
We picked up the lovely Sam and Simon, brother-in-laws not civil partners. They joined us just before the electrical storm ... how dangerous can fork lightening be, we were only travelling in the open air with 200kg of steel wearing nylon very close to our crotch.
We found that games helped to get us through the day, and inclement weather (it went from hot to cold quicker than one of those hot/cold single taps). My fave was I’m thinking of something beginning with...... I kept everyone on tenter hooks for the best part of an hour with Sagittarius.
We had to do a bit of improvising which meant to dinner stop-off in Long Horsley at
The Shoulder of Mutton pub; a cracking gentleman found out what we were doing and brought us all drinks and food - it is that kind of generosity which really takes the sting out of long, cold, wet days.
We did a little twilight cycling, but decided we needed flashing lights and a banner so Ed's dad used his contacts in the Worshipful Company of Farmers and sorted us one out. The only downside was it meant a 45 min van journey to Alnwick, then an hour to Newcastle to pick-up Keith (he had been waiting 4 hours at the train station) and then 20 mins to the camp site. It was 12.30 by the time we got to bed, and the ever familiar rain had made us less rising and more damp.... this was a low-point for me.