A big thank you to all those who came and supported my Around the World by Bicycle Talk which I gave in the local village hall to raise money for Molly’s primary school. So thank you to all the locals who came and especially thank you to those who came from quite far afield like Selsey and Portsmouth. We managed to cram 175 people into a not-very-big hall and that helped me raise £1515 (some money still to come) to get cycle-training going at the local village school.
Meanwhile, here’s the last batch of pictures (see previous posts for other snaps) from our family cycling jaunt last summer when we rode 800-odd miles from Holland to Denmark with an unwieldy road-train of tandem, bike, trailer and endless panniers and bags of various camping paraphernalia:
Click on pictures to enlarge!
Wet but happy camping dans Deutchland.
Tending to potty duties beside a windy chilly dyke. Gary has formed a wind barrier with his jacket to fend off the gale blowing around more sensitive areas.
Playground camping near Busumer Deichhsn
More camping among more stuff. Here most of it is packed, but a lot of it isn't. Our caravan-camping German neighbours found it an amusing spectator sport watching where everything would go (including the girls). When all clobber and every girl was packed away or sitting in position our neighbours gave us a congratulatory box of very tasty schoko waffelrollen (rolled up wafer biscuits with chocolate tips for the uninitiated in German chocolate biscuit design).
Taking a breather in the very lovely Friedrichstadt.
One night we didn't camp and had a treat - a sofa-bed in a small hotel. It was a bit of a squeeze.
A seaside playground stop at Schluttsiel.
Another seaside stop to investigate grounded jellyfish.
Milkman - German style on an all-weather-thrown-at-you open-topped narrow-gauge railway. He was traveling at impressive speed and was just returning to the small town of Dagebull. He had been delivering his goods out across the thin sea-washed spit to the island of Nordmarsch-Langeness.
Molly in free and happy mode on top of a dyke (and not keen to go back to school.)
Morning ablutions - camping style.
Camping and yet more stuff. Field near Klanxbull.
Don't fancy driving your vehicle somewhere? It's easy in Germany - just drive onto a train, sit in your vehicle, have a snooze, read a book and let the train take the strain. Near Hindenburgdamm.
Denmark here we come! It's just down there although it looks the same as up here.
The Deutsch-Danische border. No border sentry guards or passport control - just a big rock and a lot of wetland and airborne geese...
…and more long flat sheep-filled cycle paths…
...that is until the long flat sheep-filled bike paths ran out and the gritty dusty roads began.
Nice churches though!
Same church, different end. This church is at Ballum which is just north of Badsbol-Ballum and Buntje-Ballum and Rejsby-Ballum and Norrehus-Ballum and west of Husum-Ballum and south of Forballum which in themselves are south-west of Skaebaek, just in case you were wondering. (By the way Badsbol-Ballum should have one of those little Danish circles above its first 'a' but I can't find such an exotic addition on my computer.)
A very wet and windy ride near Harknag.
But we dried out a treat in a Danish campsite camping cabin.
On the day Molly was supposed to be back at school we were still several hundred miles away on the wrong side of the North Sea and having a fun time looking around Ribe open-air Viking museum. Who needs school when you've got a longhouse to hand?
Voila! La DFDS ferry from Esbjerg to Harwich.
Queueing up behind the motorbikes waiting to board the ferry we met the only other cyclist (riding a bottle-green Thorn with Brooks saddle and Carradice panniers) and his name was James. James is what one of my fans looks like and apparently he knew all about me and had read my books, but I knew nothing about him. Though not for long. James was a good northern sort from Lancashire. Earlier that year he had finally decided to pack in his job as a fork-lift driver at a company he had been working at for 18 years. Then he took off on his bike and with the help of a few ferries cycled up to near Trondheim in Norway. He was away all summer and had one of the best times of his life, fishing and wild camping and learning a lot about Norway. We were hoping to have more chats with James once on board but we never saw him again - that is until we had disembarked at Harwich. 'Where did you go, James?' I said. 'I'm not too good on ships,' said James. 'I have to lie flat out!' James gave us his address and said if we were ever riding Preston-ways to give him a ring. 'If I'm not around,' he said, 'Mother will be at home.'
On board the DFDS Dana Sirena - with bikes tethered well for the rocky ride.
England! Molly and Daisy flaked out on the train home. Gary's brother met us at Harwich and took Gary and all the bikes and bags home. As we couldn't all fit on the bench seat in the van, the girls and I went home by train. The next day Molly was back at school.