Mortimers Cross to Chester
A rainy Sunday morning. What do you fancy doing? How about an armchair, a purring cat curled up on your lap, a worn paperback and a cup of tea. Sit and watch the raindrops dribbling down the window pane. That is what I fancied doing. It’s what Ruth fancied doing too. Ruth had fallen in love with Mr Ginge and Domino, the campsite cats, but sadly we didn’t have the armchair, the time or the indoor space for the rest of it. With only four weeks to go to our wedding, I spent my morning cycling north in the rain while Ruth drove home.
Ruth had driven out after work on Friday so we could spend our rest day together. Yesterday we (my Dad, Ruth and I) had spent a very enjoyable day wandering around the food markets of Ludlow, sampling slices of local cheese and sips of cider before comingy back to the campsite for a slap up five course meal in front of the campfire. (We hadn’t intended it to be a five course meal, we’d just sort of forgotten how much we’d bought…) No sooner had we dampened the fire and zipped into our tents when the first splashes of rain fell on the tent.
This morning the showers came heavily and frequently. My freshly laundered socks didn’t stay dry for long as the water soaked through my shoes. On our right, Long Mynd looked blue and beautiful despite the cloud and rain. The roads were empty. Barely a car passed us all day – presumably all sensible folks were safely inside with cats and paperbacks (and/or watching the Wimbledon final).
At our mid morning tea stop, my Dad and I both made use of the customer toilet to wring out our socks in the sink. By lunchtime the showers had disappeared and the sun came out. I tried to dry my socks further by letting them flap in the breeze. I stuffed the brown paper bread bag into my shoes to try to dry them out and, surprisingly, it almost worked. With drier feet, the afternoon was a lot more enjoyable.
We left the Mynd, Stiperstones and the Wrekin behind as we descended the hills towards the flatter land of Bagley Marsh. We wiggled in and out of Wales on quiet, bumpy roads as the miles ticked away. The church bells chimed at 6pm as we stopped to observe the “road closed at level crossing” sign blocking our path. Bummer. A small detour along an A road brought our total mileage up to 137km (that’s 84 miles!) before we could flop at the campsite.
Now my very smelly socks are hanging on the line. It’s been a long day and I am very ready for bed. Tomorrow we have an early start and another 78 miles to do before dinner.