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Wednesday, 21 January 2015

I am a megastar!
Why the self glorification? I reached Pembury, just outside Tunbridge Wells today despite the constant rain and the terror of the A21 in the dark with rush hour traffic.
Tomorrow I can get to Tudeley Woods RSPB reserve and then cycle onto Broadwater warren RSPB reserve the other side of Tunbridge Wells.
Today was about going the distance and saying thank you to three special people who helped me when I cycled this way back in 2010.
First port of call was a roadside cabin with 'Arnold'. This was what one of her customers called her. This lovely lady gave me a free cup of coffee last time and so I stopped to remind her of her kindness. She offered me another one but I refused.
Next, after getting lost (twit) I called in on Jim and Kate Lawrence.
In 2010 the bike's gear system failed me as I cycled towards Forewood RSPB reserve and I arrived there when it was almost dark and like today, it was raining. This lovely old couple took me in when they saw me trying to repair the bike and gave me a bed for the night.
Now Jim, now 91, used to play for Manchester City back in the 50s and worked with Walter Winterbottom as a coach after that. On that evening in 2010 we spent it looking through all of his football memorabilia, including two tickets from the 1966 World Cup final.
Today I accepted a glass of water, which was delicious, and a bar of chocolate. I refused Jim's repeated offers of a whiskey and ginger!
I also declined kate's offer of a meal. Last time she had arranged tomatoes and eggs on wholemeal toast for breakfast so that it looked like a flag. Beautiful people and their reaction to seeing me again was humbling and affectionate.
"Don't forget to write and always remember that there's a bed and a meal for you anytime." I felt like the prodigal son yet I am but a stranger to this wonderful pair.
Another re-encounter was at Stiles Garage in Battle. These fabulous people fixed those gears back in 2010 for free and today they quickly checked my brakes which were a little loose. Thanks Tom!
The rest of the afternoon was spent cycling north to Pembury, back into Kent and the less mentioned about the A21 once darkness fell the better my dear Mum will sleep tonight!
Now I have over-faced myself at the local Chinese take away and will save one tub of something containing chicken for an extra breakfast item.
One last maybe spiritual thought.
This morning I lost my way. Actually I hadn't looked up where Forewood RSPB reserve actually was, thinking that I would remember on the way.
I didn't and ended up about 6 miles north. Feeling foolish but in too much of a good mood to really care, I was pushing the bike up a hill, the roads seemed to have long upward pushes followed by long lovely descents all day, when I came upon a 2p coin on the side of the road.
Now Paul Coelho's book, The Alchemist states that one should always look out for omens when aiming towards one's dream.
Why is a 2p coin an omen? Remember Mary Poppins? Feed The Birds song? How much a bag? Exactly.
Just a little way up the hill was a piece of debris from I presume a car. On it was written "Alex Original". The original Birding Clam members will know why this was an omen also.

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