Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Day 7 - Etwall, Derby

This is Martin as he left Peter and Liz Teisen this morning – thanks to them for sending me this pic. The whiskers have started to sprout! Peter has highlighted the fact that I used to fall asleep in geography, by pointing out that the Malvern Hills had already been cycled, not as I wrote yesterday, that Martin was looking forward to them. It is sometimes difficult making sense of the hurried notes from Martin’s phone calls, when I eventually shove the kids off the computer in the wee small hours!!!
78.85 miles is today’s total, with Martin finishing the day on target at Etwall near Derby. He has navigated his way through Birmingham, West Bromwich and Walsall. It has been a tough day; mainly due to inadequate signposting on the West Midlands Cycleway and through Birmingham. He said that he felt very conspicuous cycling in the city with all his bright yellow gear and panniers, sticking out like a sore thumb. When he stopped in the rougher areas to read the map, he was subject to intimidation by groups of youths who gathered round the bike. In Walsall there were a lot of yobbish youths out on the streets and shouting obscenities out of speeding cars (which he had also experienced in Bristol). So he is very pleased to have got today over with!!!
He is camped tonight at Tara Buddhist Centre, in the grounds of the Temple (mansion), by kind permission of the people there, where there is hot water, toilets and a shower. So once again he has landed on his feet! He called quite late – about 10.30pm and had only just put up his tent. This was because he was determined to power on through the miles ‘dementedly’, as he put it, to get as far beyond the cities as possible.
His stomach is better, although the drink compound continues to affect his, um…, ‘system!’ The knee is hurting a bit today and he has lowered the saddle again. The seating department has not responded to the Sudocreme yet!
He eats his meal tonight, looking forward to tomorrow. The promise of Derbyshire, the Peak District and Yorkshire Dales on the Pennine Cycleway is one that he relishes and is familiar with. Although today has been arduous, it is another view of the country to put in the jigsaw – the coast, hills, dales rivers & canals, town and city centres, housing estates and leafy lanes; all part of the varied landscape of England.
P.S. Again, if you have anything to comment on, ask about or just want to pass on your wishes to Martin, you can email me at


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