Back Home!

 

Back Home! Bristol

After a night in a travellers site (who were very welcoming unlike the official camping site down the road) we embarked on a balmy ride through the backroads of Southern England. Having cycled 11000kms  it was a thrill to discover just how gorgeous an English Spring can be, punctuated with the odd ale in sleepy weekday pubs. And the sun. Hot but not that hot. And the breeze. Cool but not too cool. After the dry desert lip cracking wind of the Middle East and the Indian humidity this Spring climate is a real blessing.

And the English . We love ’em, being English whippets ourselves, but some can be right rude and clunky. The only times we’ve been crowed at,  just for being cyclists, have been in the UK. Once on the way out- “get back in the cycle lane”- as if cyclists shouldn’t be on the road- and on our return through Southampton where a woman went into a frenzy because Jen momentarily wheeled the bike (Jen wasn’t even cycling ) across her path-“You cyclists don’t have your own rules you know.” The woman threatened to call the police.

It makes you wonder if there is something threatening about cyclists for the more uptight Brits. As if the freedom and independence that cycling represents undermines their sense of motorway order.

But the rest of this ragged isle were as kind and curious as the rest of this ragged planet. There was a particulary warm and kind man in a Wiltshire village who gave us long and melodious directions when we got lost on the backroads. His Wiltshire accent was so sonorous and familiar and yet so unfamiliar, an echo of  Bristol West Country tones.

And then the last pootle into the city of Bristol along the legendary Sustrans route 4 bike path. Our mate Joe turned up in a  boater hat with his ipod playing swing tunes from his pannier rack and Jen’s sister was resplendent on her sit up and beg cycle. And one by one  more of our mates turned up until the final few yards and we  freewheeled across the “Finish” line- a roll of wallpaper someone had found outside a house- the informal recycling system of East Bristol.  Everyone strolled to the local pub for the cheapest ale in town and it was brill to see so many old faces and say hello without having to explain our strangeness. After passing through so many homes that were home to others it was such a relief to be back in our own base. That wonky road sign was our wonky road sign, that charity shop was our broken charity shop,  and that terraced house, squeezed in a hundred, thousand others, our home.

Thanks to everyone who has helped us on the way and has been following this blog.

Our ride has been an adventure into the unknown, an unknown that has proved to be human kindness, an endurable care that extends around the planet like a force of gravity.

Don’t believe the hype. Don’t believe the 24hour rolling news that broadcasts terror into your living rooms. Most living is done outside those  rooms. And that living is not terrifying. But a world of quiet kind extraordinary giving.  Go see.

xx

jen and jet

billy and bertle

Return River crossing across the Hamble river Southampton (first crossing was in May 2010)

Home from Home

Billy Bertle take a rest English Country Lane

 

Billy and Bertle Au revoir

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Back Home!

  1. Robin (Aunt Rob)

    Great to see you home safe and sound – after what appears to have been an amazing trip and discovering that the world at large is not the scarifying place the media plays up on a daily basis. If we look for the good, the good is returned, and it sure looks like you both were the recipient of the best our human nature has to offer, with a few minor exceptions.

    Look forward to the upcoming release of a book on your wonderful experience.

    love
    xx00

    • Hi Aunt Rob,

      yep the world is a good ole place on the whole. For now I’m planning to lie on my back for a couple of months and then who knows? Maybe a book…

      Love to you and all the family in Canada,

      Jet xx

  2. Jet's Mum

    So thankful to the world for extending it’s kindness to you both.
    xxMum

  3. Aunt Gill

    Welcome back Jet and Jen,
    What a never-to-be-forgotten experience your trip with Billy and Bertle has been. We’ve all learned something as we read about it. Thanks so much.
    Uncle Doug and Aunt Gillie xx

  4. Congratulations Team UK, you made it!

    It must feel unbelievable and maybe a little surreal to be back home with your friends and family and all those familiar places. The English spring sounds very refreshing after the heat and dust of the Middle East and India.

    We really enjoyed spending time with you in Dubai and will miss reading your blogs.

    All the best for settling back into your life at home! Stay in touch.

    Team Malaysia

  5. Flozz

    heeelo r u glad to b home again or would u rather b traveling? lol flo X X X X

  6. will

    Thanks for the inspiring blog guys, had a good read through it as I am just getting my head around the possibilities of a similar trip. Good to know it can be done. Happy peddling wherever you are now, Will

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