Travel StoriesRain In The Far East
Going Home And Epilogue
Ride Date 12 & 13 May 2023
By Ren Withnell
It's been good to catch up with dad and his wife yet it is time for me to depart. I take a moment while in the comfort of solid walls to peruse the weather. Hmmm. What does 60% chance of rain actually mean? There's a 60% chance of SOME rain but it might only last 30 seconds? 60% of the time it will be raining? 60% chance in each hour or the whole day or the working day? Overall I figure there's a fair chance I'll be getting wet at some point. I shall leave my waterproof jacket on, I'll keep the waterproof pants close at hand.
With a wave and a smile I ride out the driveway and onto the roads. How am I feeling today? Somewhat refreshed after the comforts, and curious about what tonight's campsite will be like. Presently, surprisingly, the weather is fine (relatively speaking). As I ride northbound through the gentle rolling South Downs the skies above me range from odd blue patches to roaming dark clouds. I'm not convinced but it feels like today will be mostly dry.
There is an awful lot of England isn't there. Yes, OK, I know this isn't a big country and it is comparatively densely populated, yet today there's a lot of it if you choose to ride through it rather than motorway past it all. Oh gosh I'm waffling, what am I trying to say?
I am following a loose plan, heading north by north west, mostly north. I'm avoiding big towns as best I can. This sees me riding through a lot of farmland, a little forestry, and plenty of rural villages or pleasant market towns. I recall "the good old days" when being in the country meant 60mph - the towns and villages were 30mph. Now we rise from 20 to 50 to 40 to a brief 60 to 30 and back to 20. It's all very nice with cute cottages and luxurious mansions, verdant hedgerows and flopsy bunnies in the fields. However making consistent steady progress is nigh-on impossible.
There's hundreds of villages with hundreds of churches much like this.
I stop to check the maps on my phone and note my progress. Disappointing. I've been on the road for almost 2 hours and covered around 45 miles. At this rate it's going to take all day. Not to worry, I have all day.
Slow? Yes I'm going slowly. Very Slowly.
I have to admit - in spite of the slow progress I am enjoying this, far more than the motorway. This perpetual loveliness also helps me understand where Conservative governments get their votes from, where mean average house prices get their figures from, and where the people live who buy things like brass taps that cost £425 that I've seen in DIY stores.
Am I envious? No, and yes. I really don't have any desire for £425 brass taps nor a marble kitchen worksurface. I can see and appreciate how nice that settee is and the AGA cooker is very homely, but my life is no less enjoyable without them. I envy 3 things. The space around the houses which means not living cheek-by-jowel, the garages, and the surrounding countryside. I'd be happy with an old static caravan as long as it came with these things.
It's the garage I really want.
These miles may be slow yet as I draw closer to my campsite the day has not dragged at all. My next destination is Long Itchington near Southam.
The Green Man is a pub with a field out back upon which the pub runs a basic campsite. It was made perfectly clear before arrival that there's no showers, the toilet facilities are the pub's toilets that are left open all night, and that is it. And indeed, that is it save for a tap on the wall of the pub for drinking water. No pot washing facilities, no camper's kitchen, and no phone charging station. That's why it's only £8 per night. Remarkably though there is a pub on site.
It ain't anything special, but it's fine.
Long Itchington is very nice I must say - much akin to the hundreds of other lovely villages I've passed through today. There's a local Co-op for (expensive) supplies, a church, the village green, farming type places and houses ranging from the old and crumbly through to fashionably modern. This is your classic English village and all the better for it. All this and only 11 miles from sprawling city of Coventry.
Perfectly Pleasant Long Itchington
There's a small group of 3 riders pitched up now, I say hello and have a chat. I imbibe a glass of pop from the pub as the evening draws in. I catch up online as best I can using a mobile phone - it's damned hard typing on these things. Then to bed, perchance to sleep?
I'll cover the next day here rather than in another page as there is so very little to report. Take the tent down, pack up, ride back to Sharon's and that's it, job done, trip over.
Would I recommend anyone reading this travel tale to visit Ness Point? Yes - but with a HUGE proviso. Do it to say you've done it rather than go to Ness Point to enjoy the spectacular scenery or witness the wildlife. Do it if you're passing and just curious rather than making a big effort to go there. That's not to say that the East Anglian coastline doesn't have some lovely places. There's beaches aplenty, lots of countryside and villages to explore, I'm sure you'll find everything from cheesy arcades and kiss-me-quick hats through to extravagant hotels and nature reserves. Go to Ness Point by all means, I'd advise not making it your only reason to go though.
The nature and vista at Ness Point leaves a little to be desired.
Am I glad I went? Yeah, of course. It's been a trip, it's been travel and to some extent it's been an adventure. The weather over the first 2 days was far from ideal. Of course I would have preferred sunshine but I survived, nay, even enjoyed it in a masochistic taking on a challenge way. Regulars here will be disappointed the rest of my trip was dry and without mishap. I can only apologise and reassure you this is a temporary hiatus and normal chaos and misery will no doubt return.
I've now been to the most easterly, westerly, northerly and southerly points on the UK. What excuses can I find for my further travels? I don't drink so "Pubs With The Strangest Names" ain't much good. Nope, I'm out of ideas - any help?
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Prolugue - Why Ness Point?
Ren explains why he's off to the land of Daaan Saaaf. There won't be any mountains and no-ones going to give him any money, there must be a reason?
Wet And Wild, Sorry, Mild
It's a somewhat mixed start to Ren's latest escapade. There's rain and the risk of being thrown into The Gulag, but it's not too bad at the end of the day.
Way Out East
It's another grim day on the road although the reason for this trip is close at hand. So what does Ren make of mainland UK's most easterly point then?
Off To Pop's
Bad news folks! Ren's having an OK day. This is the easy part of his trip and he's making the most of it.
Going Home And Epilogue
It's time to go home and Ren is making his way North across country. There's a little too much time for thinking and he's on his high horse. At least it's not raining. Sorry.
Upt'North ¹ said :-
21/06/2023 18:52:44 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
The comments on this here blog are enough to drive anyone to drink!
Nah, not happening. I've not had a drink save for the occasional sip since I was 19 and I'm glad. I have no problem with sensible drinking but it just made me ill rather than happy. Anyhoo it costs money...
21/06/2023 21:19:32 UTC
Bogger said :-
Go somewhere far away without breakdown cover. Preferably it'll be isolated with no phone coverage for miles. Obviously it has to be wet as well. Oh and cold.
If you could just find the perfect bike to go on. Say a 100k knackered 125. That would be worth reading about!
21/06/2023 21:22:57 UTC
nab301 said :-
Quote "I don't drink so "Pubs With The Strangest Names" ain't much good. Nope, I'm out of ideas - any help?"
Visit all the Temperance bars / pubs.... Repeat all the trips you've done already whilst riding side saddle , the possibilities are endless, alternatively get yourself a more demanding job and you won't have the time or the energy for any other distractions.
I know it's a small village Ren but you barely scratched the surface of long Itchington!
23/06/2023 16:54:04 UTC
Ren - The Ed¹ said :-
Regarding Long Itchington - yes you're quite right I barely scratched the surface. It takes a long time in a town or even a village to see all there is to see doesn't it. Still, the little bits I saw were still quite lovely.
A tour of Temperance Bars? Sarsaparilla all around? I don't even like sarsaparilla. I don't particularly fancy doing it all again side saddle either, I think that would be illegal anyhow. As for the demanding job - I have been right royally screwed over with my holiday allocation this year now I've started a new job "mid term" (in the middle of the year) which is going to seriously curtail this year's travel plans. I need to retire... I really need to retire.
25/06/2023 10:53:18 UTC
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Travel StoriesRain In The Far East