Red sky at night shepherds delight. Red sky in the morning shepherds warning. We had both. I wish the bloody shepherds had made their minds up but they were obviously too busy fiddling with their flocks to give us clear elemental sky signs.
The 5.30 start was lovely, we literally bounced out of bed (someone had blown the mattresses up too much) and retraced our steps back to the layby which we had nearly died on the day before. It was good to have Big Will on board, and we soon realised the extra 110 killos he added to the weight would increase our downhill speed 10 fold. Emily, although half the size, had strong legs and wore the lycra well (very well).
We made a brilliant early pace, chewing up the hills and spitting them out again.We only had to stop beause Ian stopped flashing (his lights) so we pulled into a garage and tinkered with Ian’s box (fuse box) until he started flashing (his lights) again. We also picked up team Sowerby (James, Duncan, Eward and Pippa). Now I’m not blaming them, but as the Sowerby’s arrived so did the rain. Coincidence? Perhaps, but I swear I saw little Pippa Sowerby chanting a rain incantation, so I was forced to burn her at the steak. Hilarious jokes aside, once the rain arrived it did it’s shopping, had a light lunch, some coffe, a trip to the gym, a pint at the pub, dinner and a trip to the Sweedish massage parlour – it never bloody left , and it was heavy, windy and cold, the pace began to drop faster than Ann Windicomes cleavage. Not to worry, we had another family to help us, this time the Ireland Jones’ aka the Von Trapps. You would be pushed to find more enthusiasm in a Eunuch's finger than these guys and girls had. I must say, everyone put in a cracking effort; Duncan Sowerby won the medal for consistent pedalling, James Sowerby gave us the sort of push I would like to give David Cameron (off a cliff); Ed, Rachel, and Naomi Ireland-Jones did not want to get off the bike, even Mylene the French pen friend rode the storm couragelously (and this really was a storm).
Although we took the ‘short’ cut around Lyme Regis(look up swear word in the dictionary to see a full relfection of my thoughts on this) and had Nick from ‘Farmer’s Weekly’ on the bike, we were not going to get to Exeter for the 5pm press call. So with a haeavy heart (I have had far too many chips these last few weeks) at 4.15 we loaded the bike onto the trailer and headed to the cathedral. Once again we were behind. But we would worry about that tomorrow.
When we got to the cathedral (just after Exeter City striker Adam Stansfield’s funeral) we had lots of photographs taken. Stano sadly died of bowel cancer at 31 and with Ed and Will’s local connection we really wanted Miss CoBi to be visible in the city.
We managed to get through 14 of the ‘worlds greatest sandwich’ (with some gorgeous Ruby Red beef from Piper’s) between about 8 of us which was a great effort! Once again the generoisyt of Henri and Peter was extraordinary, it was lovely to see them again, and ‘Gig Gig’ (granddad Guniess) and meet Juicy Lucy.
We set off for Piper’s farm, stopping for a fuel refill at the TNT depo (thanks TNT!). On Emily’s orders we emptied the van of it’s load and then she emptied Will of his. With pants and socks drying on every surface, and Chip the dog in kanine heaven (many smelly things to sniff at) we began to relax.Ed had a shower before his massage with Deborah and I had my first bath in 3 weeks, before my massage with Deborah. Deborah was very gentle andher magic finger touched me deep inside.
Henri and Peter made the most lovely supper, and the evening was only sullied by the kitchen curtains (I AM JOKING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). After a large glass of wine I retired to the living room and fell asleep infront of a crackling fire – ‘oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree ……..’