Thursday, August 23, 2007

22.7.07: Botany Bay to Broadstairs

8.00 pm:
Temperature: 18c, humidity 41%, wind south west. Day's mileage: 5 miles

Set off to Broadstairs on what has been the shortest but hardest ride so far and it's the part I've been dreading. Up hill to North Foreland lighthouse, I dismount and push for 30 steps, then wait 60 seconds for oxygen to go up and pulse to come down; 30 steps, 60 seconds - 30 steps, 60 seconds - at least five cycles of this before reaching the top exhausted. It is at the lighthouse that, in Shipping Forecast terminology, I cycle out of "Gibralter Point to North Foreland" and into "North Foreland to Selsey Bill".

9.30 pm:
Arrive at Connie's - she has become worried as there's no phone reception and I'm late and got lost - and collapse in a room used by her son when he visits, but in truth owned by her cat Jess.

The room is covered with Laurel and Hardy posters and maps, including one of shipwrecks on Goodwin Sands. Connie tells me about being evacuated to Bristol during the war, and how evacuees walked past houses in a long crocodile and were picked out "like goods" by the people living there. She was twelve and still remembers the pain of being chosen last.