Monthly Archives: December 2012

Another Auld Lang Syne

Hard though it is to believe, it is New Year’s Eve again. Another year has spun past at alarming pace, and now we find ourselves on the threshold of 2013. Where is the millennium going? I was talking to my kids the other day and recalling some memories of Christmasses when I was a kid,…

Cold Hard Rain

“Twas another dark and stormy morning, with the raw winds gusting along the seafront and the marsh road swamped with rainwater – not a time to be out and about on a bicycle, although I went out anyway, at least for a shortish ride. It is getting rather tiresome, this relentless line of squalls and…

Chapter 8 – Through Darkest Belgium II

It was the classic dark and stormy night, straight from the pen of Edward Bulwer-Lytton, with moaning winds, thunderclaps and lightning casting outré shadows on the walls. At one point, somewhere past midnight, I was treated to that old Victorian Gothic stand-by of the violent gust blowing open the paired windows in my room; I…

Boxing Day Blues

I am always a little wistful on Boxing Day, with all the presents unwrapped and a sense of anti-climax settling around the tree. Although I am well into my Fifties now, I still look forward to Christmas the jaunty expectancy of a child opening an advent calendar and counting down the days. I love it…

Merry Christmas

A quick post to wish all of my readers a very Merry Christmas – or Season’s Greetings, if you happen not to celebrate Christmas – and a hope that your holiday is filled with happiness and much good cooking! As for me I shall be back in the saddle tomorrow, but for now I am…

Chapter 7 – Through Darkest Belgium

It was late in the afternoon, on a quiet, lonely woodsy stretch of road, with the Semois gurgling somewhere down amongst the trees, that I came at last to the Belgian border. I’d been looking forward to crossing it all day – for the past couple of days, really. This would be the first time…

Jaunty Cream Tyres

 There is something jaunty about tooling along an old-style seaside promenade on creamy white tyres that to my mind recalls an era of gaudy hotel labels and co-respondent shoes, spats and panama hats, a time when life was ‘swell’ and the going was good. Being the travel nostalgic that I am it was just this…

Chapter 6 – Into The Forest

I had heard of the Ardennes – it was one of those quaint European place names with which I was vaguely familiar but could never quite place correctly on a map – but on my fifth day on the road I found them, a great brooding mountainous forest on the borders of France and Belgium. It was on the endlessly twisting, winding hilly roads through here the writer in me came to appreciate the origins of the word ‘travel’, which I gather springs from the French word ‘travail’, meaning hard work or toil. Over the next few days I travelled much in the Ardennes.

The Christening

At long last it happened – my dream tourer, which hitherto I had ridden only in the fairest of weathers, has been well and truly rained upon, soaked in fact, in a cold, hard December rain. The belated christening took place last Sunday and, believe me, it was wholly unintentional. When I poked my nose…

Chapter 5 – The Rainy Road to The Ardennes

A brush with a pack of young bicycle thieves in a downbeat neighborhood in Cambrai nearly scupper my hopes of riding to Istanbul, but dumb luck, the alert eyes of others, and a shopkeeper’s wife sallying to the rescue with a mop handle save the day in this fifth part of the tale of my cycling jaunt from Sussex to Istanbul during the summer of 2000