Breakfast with Giles and Pauline provided the first porridge for a month. Also enjoying a mug of tea, what a pleasure.
Was planning on using the Hythe ferry to cross Southampton Water and avoid some of the Southampton traffic, but Giles was driving to his daughter in Salisbury, so took the opportunity to have a lift initially and get dropped off at Junction 2 on the M27. From there it's cycling to Lyndhurst, Brockenhurst, New Milton and Christchurch.
Google wanted me to use the seafront prom to get past Boscombe and Bournemouth, and that was my plan, until Giles checked my chain with a gauge and found there was still life in it. I imagined the bike's drive train was shot from the distance and particularly the sandy trails in France, so wasn't worried about the prom sand flying about, but this news meant I wanted to protect the bike and stay on roads,
Immediately on setting off I was struck by how grey and dismal it was. I'm now used to a bit of sun, blue sky, brightness. Also, the traffic, congestion, breathing in exhaust fumes was just terrible. This isn't an area to enjoy cycling. Christchurch, Bournemouth, Poole are such a massive block to cycling going in this direction.
I had a coffee stop in Brockenhurst, but decided I'll delay the lunch stop until properly hungry. That kicked in as I was cycling through Boscombe. Now there will be some that say Boscombe probably isn't the gastronomic capital of the world, and that restaurants on the north coast of spain have some of the best sea food available, but let me just say that from my experience the fish finger and tartar sauce baguette at a hut cafe on Boscombe clifftop, will probably go down as one of the best seafood dishes ever. It was accompanied by a blackcurrant flapjack topped with yoghurt icing stuff. Proper Michelin star cuisine. All the fuel I needed for the last km's to get home.
I have to own up to going into blue power to get up the hill from the BIC to WestCliff, but I've got electrons to spare, so what the hell.
Got home after 3pm, didn't even get wet., Panniers off on the pavement and launch up the steps through the front door.
Don't want to get too settled as back off to Lagos on Monday on Ryanair, and as the garage is full of car and motorbikes, the bicycle is now in the house, probably a bit confused if this is another hotel on the way to somewhere.
After a big mug of tea, it's out to buy vegetables and more vegetables, bananas and more bananas. Stomach will wonder what's hit it.
I had a very strange experience the first night. Woke up in the dark for a pee and semi crawled into the ensuite. I was thinking this was a massive hotel room and have to come here again. I'm fully aware my house is in a terrible decorative state and needs a complete renovation, but now I'm wondering if it would be easier to just brick up the windows and keep it dark so I can't see it.
As I start to meet a few people I realise I'm at risk of verbal diarrhea. Conversation is such a novelty I may need to be told to shut up from time to time.
Let me tell you one thing, British TV is brilliant.
I'm starting to think about what comes next, what has worked, what hasn't - so I may do one last blog post in a few days to record my thoughts.
Distance cycling in the day 55km
Total cycling distance of trip 2023 km, or 2.023 mega metres, as brother Matt likes to refer to it.