Tuesday, 24 June 2014

No bull, but nettle soup anyone ?

Sunday 22 June

We had our breakfast on the hard standing behind the Italian Restaurant at Gunthorpe - 2 boiled eggs each, porridge and black tea.  We saved the other 1 x boiled egg each for lunch.
We half expected to find a lovely campsite at the other side of the canal as we walked along it at the start of our day, just so that we could see what could have been the night before, but there really was nothing.  We felt pleased in a very small way about our final sleeping place of the night before.

We cycled + walked as had become routine.  As I cycled it became clear that there was a local cycling event taking place on the minor roads that I was on - both a 50 + 100 miler, I declined both.  Periodic batches of cyclists overtook me.  I’m sure they will have been sniggering at me weaving and wobbling going very slowly whenever there was a slight incline, or pothole, or drain in the road due to the weight of the panniers and my rucksack load. 

As I was happily eating my sardines waiting for Tony at our next meeting place, it turned out that Tony was having another bovine incident - this time with a bull and bullocks.  This is Tony’s story :

As can be guessed I have encountered a lot of very tall nettles today, which is not ideal when wearing shorts and nothing to bash the blighters down with - I think I need to ask Rachel to pop into Grantham, 10 miles to the East of us, to buy a Machete from B&Q for

the rest of the days!!
Bovine incident 2: As I neared the village of Grandby where we had agreed to meet and just three fields away I had to pass to the right of farm buildings. The first stile was a doddle, only baby nettles there. The second, I think they knew I was en-route and they had grown to above knee height. My routine now was to suss the blighters out - stare at them hard and then advance. Identifying the attack point, with left boot (sock pulled up well) squash with a slight left of path action - advance carefully and repeat with the right boot, and so on. In the previous encounters some had crept up behind me to whip on the back of the leg - ooooooo that smarts! Or words to that effect - well it is a family blog!!

Stile three was a non starter - Hawthorn hedge about eight inches above the stile so like a gazelle on speed carrying two more gazelles on my shoulders I vaulted the fence - poetic licence there.

Now I had a swamp of nettles ahead of me to wade through - ha ha I knew what to do here. Rucksack down and Leki pole out and thrash the buggers down like Indiana Jones and his whip action. Safe, now where is does the path go? After looking at the map, checking GPS I had to turn left past a fence line and an agricultural building - I looked up from the map knowing I was being watched - and yes Bovine number 2, but not just any Bovine, a great big brown bull with two very sharp horns glinting in the sun. It was a stand off, who was going first as I knew he knew we both wanted to pass each other. Just then my phone rang and I am not sure who was more startled me or the bull, on hearing it he leapt up and started moving around, I think he was unsure whether to answer it or not. And then if being tramppled by a bull was not enough, as I crept round the fence I was greeted by two bullocks a flipping big cow all going bonkers as my mobile continued to ring.

"Hello darling! Are you nearly here”?
"Well sort of, trying to remain calm. "
"Where are you and how long will you be”?
"Well it's like this, there is a bit of a stand between two bullocks, a big cow …….o and a bull with big horns"
" Don’t worry it will be ok but I might get eaten again……"

Needless to say I did survive, but O if Rachel had have been there…….well she wasn’t thank goodness, and I lived to tell this tale..

Distance today - 11 miles
Total miles since Helmsley - 183.3 miles

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