So when I blogged yesterday about a monthly adventure, I was thinking that the end of January is quite some time away and I didn’t need to worry too much about planning anything adventurous quite yet. This morning, the only cycling I had planned was a quick run up to new Nearest Village to pick up a prescription. But then I realised that I’d forgotten to ask the other half to pick up the paper and that left me with three options
1) Cycle to Nearest Village (3.5 miles in one direction) and then to Bigtown (10 miles in the other direction) and back home, which would mean retracing my steps, and that always feels like a bit of a waste of time
2) Text the other half to pick up the paper on his way home, but that would mean foregoing using our little voucher, which we’d already paid for, and shelling out an additional £2 for the paper, which was clearly a non starter
3) Get out the ordnance survey map and plot a route on from Nearest Village along rolling back roads to somewhere that might possibly sell me a paper.
Obviously, I chose number 3
As it happens, there is another village which is only 8.5 miles from Nearest Village and which has a shop and tea room, and is crucially only a couple of miles from a bigger village, giving me a fairly good chance of actually finding a Guardian. I calculated that, even then, with the inclusion of a cunning shortcut on the way home suggested by Google Maps, that it wouldn’t really be all that much longer than just boringly cycling to Bigtown and back. That was all the excuse I needed…
It helped that it was a gorgeous day.
If a little nippy.
I don’t know how many photos of tiny back roads, tumbledown walls and baffled sheep (‘what is she *doing*?’) you need, but the ride out had it in spades.
And also a portal into what might be another dimension.
Obviously, when I got to my target village, the shop was closed for the festive season until tomorrow, but I did snaffle the last Guardian in my fallback village (there was a woman who nipped into the shop before me and then stood staring at it for a long time, while I wrestled with my conscience over the ethics of just grabbing it before she did, but fortunately she moved on before I had to do something I would be be ashamed of) and set off home with a song in my heart and an emergency Snickers bar in my pocket.
By this time, of course, the sun was gone, the temperature was dropping, and although my route home was lovely and straight, it was also, mysteriously, slightly downhill. As I knew that my route out had also been a net downhill, this was merely storing up trouble for myself. With barely a mile or two to go, I realised that trusting in Google’s cunning shortcut without properly consulting the OS map and, crucially, its contour lines might have been a mistake.
I’ve only had to get off the bike and push a couple of times since we’ve moved here; I can make that three now. And when we finally crested the hill, only got worse as the tarmac ran out.
But we made it, the walk warmed my feet up, and the sky was nicely pink as I finally made it back onto the road and headed for home, the fire, and all the cake in the house…
Fun as it was, however, I think on balance I will continue to get the paper in Bigtown for now.