Camchain and tensioner seen up close in a cutaway bike engine

Home Travel StoriesFriends And Family 2017

Time With David

By Ren Withnell

I sleep deeply enveloped in the duvet and yet I wake early as is my way. If only I were a wealthy man I would not camp, when travelling I would sleep in 5 star luxury and wake every day swaddled in fresh sheets then face the delight of a full English breakfast and hot tea on demand. Alas I am too lazy and feckless to work hard so unless random strangers offer a bed for the night - it's the tent for me.

Sharon has poached eggs on toast, I take the cereal option followed by toast. There follows a slightly awkward conversation. I don't want David to feel as though he has to entertain us, Sharon and I could take off and explore allowing him to get on with his day. David however wishes to be the host with the most and take us out once more to show us the highlights. Eventually I'm persuaded to allow him to entertain us. The motorcycles rest in the luxurious garage, David's driving again.

The Scimitar whisks us away once more by vast fields ready for harvesting, alongside hedgerows both thick and thin, through little villages with tractors and farm shops, up gentle inclines and down beside streams. This is agrarian land for growing crops and at this time of year the crops are ripe and full. 

A field of golden wheat ready for harvest in the British summer
It's that time of year when everything is growing

Exploring a strange area is all very well and good but one thing I know is just how ridiculously easy it is to miss the highlights. How many times have we returned from a trip to be asked "did you see the XYZ and visit ABC?" No, no we never did because we didn't know they existed. I know it is inevitable and yet I'm still frustrated when it keeps on happening.

A large tracked excavator on a barge at Wells-next-the-sea.
Wildlife and scenery and I'm taking pictures of machinery. I likes a good excavator.

So having David show us around means rather than getting lost down random back lanes or seeing only Tesco car parks we're parked in just the right spot for a short walk to whatever there is to see. 

Also having David with us helps bring a place to life. It might be a brief history of the landowner here, a tale of fire safety training there, an explanation of that building's use both past and present and an informed discussion on local geology. Later Sharon and I agree we really could do with a local guide for each and every place we visit. We stroll across the broad sandy beach of Wells-Next-The-Sea and Hunstanton provides a bite to eat.

The wide sandy beach of wells-next-the-sea with beach huts at the edge
Wells-next-the-Sea has a broad sandy beach to stroll along

Tonight David's wife has returned from The Big Smoke and we finally get to meet her. You'd think at 52 years of age most ladies would be looking to reel the pace of life in a little. Not so for Helen. Alongside working in London she finds time to exercise regularly, cycle a lot, qualify for top level cycling events, socialise and at some point I guess she sleeps too. She's completely at ease with the 2 random bikers that her husband as invited over to stay. As we dine I can't help but notice I'm relaxed, I feel like I'm round at a long established friend's house.

After another night's deep sleep and more breakfast it's time to depart. I haul the bikes out of their luxurious accommodation and we load up. With a smile and a handshake David assures us there's always a room and a welcome here if we're ever in need of a stopover or we wish to explore the area some more.

As I ride away I get to thinking about how I would feel if people stopped at my place. My house is but a humble house, it's also scruffy, in need of decoration, tired and worn out. I treat it as a rigid tent rather than an Englishman's castle. I'm not sure anyone would want to stop at my place, there's no luxury to be found. I suppose I could offer a tour of the best and the worst that the North West has to offer though, I do know my way around my home area rather well.

Prologue - Friends And Family 2017 Ren is setting the scene for the trip to that there "daaaan saaaaf" place. He's also wondering what kind of person would ask 2 itinerant motorcyclists over for a couple of nights.
Crawling To Sleaford Ren finds it odd to be riding in sunshine on a Wednesday with Sharon. Frustratingly though the traffic puts paid to any plans of motorcycling pleasure.
Dawdling To David's It's a lazy ride through Lincolnshire and Norfolk today despite the antics of other road users. Cromer turns out to be quintessentially English.
Time With David There's no motorcycling today but fear not there's a guided tour in a classic car instead. They say variety is the spice of life.
Time With Dad The miles fly by as does the chill out time at Ren's father's place.
The Cotswolds As Sharon and Ren return home they stop in The Cotswolds. It's as pretty as the promotional pictures so what's Ren got to gripe about this time?

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