Report 11

HELLO BRITAIN ! Week 9 : from April 29 to May 4.

These are my final days in France. After a heart-warming visit my family left this morning and for a short while I have to get used to being alone. In Europe though you’re never on your own – so far I know already.
I enjoy visiting an authentic and beautiful village called Vitré in Bretagne. It’s a fortified town, high on a hill. Beautiful ancient merchant houses with bright colours are hidden in the small streets.
Via Coutances I cycle through the green scenery of Bretagne and its many apple trees, meadows and cows. The well-known cider and strong cheeses are not ‘my cup of tea’ though!
It’s the first of May when I visit the last camping site in France. On public holidays the staff only arrives in the afternoon but a true cyclist has to be on the road before midday, so today’s camping is free of charge! The final journey takes me through Normandy. At the seaside lies the port of Cherbourg where I purchase a ticket on the ferry to England! On May 2nd I cross the Channel under a deep blue sky. I enjoy the fresh wind on deck and at high see I even witness a rescue exercise of the British coastguard.


Arriving in Poole in Dorset I have difficulties adapting to the traffic. The moment I take off I can’t spot my rear view mirror and then I realise … that I fixed it on the right side of my bicycle. If I’m being logical I learn that from now on I have to drive on the left side and that cars will overtake me on the right side; no wonder I’m loosing my wits!
A warm welcoming ‘real’ bed will be waiting for me tonight, but only after 127kms! I’m invited to spend a few day’s with Dave Leggett a former colleague of my Dad’s.
The scenery I cycle through gives me the feeling to be in a very big rabbit hutch. There must be thousands of them and most of the time I address them by the name of « Mientje » which is the name we gave our little rabbit at home.

Dave has explained the way to his flat on E-mail but this is of no use when you’re on your bicycle. So I try to make my way through Swindon and discover more roundabouts than I could dream of.
The ‘magic roundabout' for instance, which is supposed to be an experiment, is unbelievable. You know when you drive in but due to a combination of more internal roundabouts you can only hope you can get off by teatime.

Dave is welcoming me with the famous British hospitality. We talk nineteen to the dozen till half past midnight. Then we call it a day (or better ‘a night’) as Dave has to get up early to go to work.
Walking in England’s oldest university town, Oxford, I imagine having an appointment with Inspector Morse. All the time I have the impression to be in a life TV series.

In the evening Dave is taking me to the pub (where else could a true Englishman take his guest!) I meet Dave’s friends, who after hearing the reason for my visit secretly wish they were back in there twenties. I presume that for most of them this is way back in time.

For a moment they think I’m a real Scotsman: not because I’m wearing a kilt today but because of my name: Ewan. But unfortunately I’m not related - as far as I know - to the well-known beer Mac Ewan’s. With a name like mine I should have asked these lads to sponsor me! Cheers!


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