Thursday, July 16, 2009

23 June 2009 - Day 24: Bosham to Emsworth

Before I leave, I set out to search for Ken, the birdman of Bosham. Ken has fed birds here for forty two years and knows them all.

There's a couple of swans but they have no cygnets this year; the male is in a mean mood but no match for Ken.

Ken cycles to Chichester each day and collects free bread for them. He's eighty this year.

He tells me about his childhood growing up on a U.S. submarine chaser his family acquired after WWI. He documents all the wild life in the village, the boats, the tides, and stores his pictures on memory cards; he shows me his current batch. He also tells me he used to own five pre-war Mercedis; not a man of half measures.

Around 1.00 p.m.
Temperature and humidity not recorded.
Sunny, warm, but cloudy and colder later.
O.S Explorer Map No. 120
Distance cycled: 8.4 miles

I leave at high tide and take a coastal path towards the dreaded A259, visible in the distance. Accessing it proves harder than expected . . . . .

I have to unload the bike, and even then it's hard to heave it up. Finally up on the 259 with, for once, a good cycle track, it has begun strangely to feel like a friend. I realise how ready I am now to get to the end of this journey.

I'm even more convinced of this when I try another country track, only to be confronted by another bike proof gate.

Giving up I return to the A259 and espy a pharmacist, the first I've seen since the weekend, and I need a bandage for my wrist.

But the pharmicist won't sell me one. She says it may be broken and directs me to the nearby surgery, where receptionist Jill makes an appointment later with Nurse Bridgit who prefers not to be photographed. She checks my wrist and points me to A+E for an x-ray.

But first I cycle on to Emsworth and register for the night at the Crown Hotel. Then another drama - it's that kind of day - I lose my wallet, only, embarrassed in the extreme, to find it in a different bag. Stevie, who works the bar, has looked all around and I am deeply apologetic ... and grateful when she steers me towards A+E on the bus.

So the evening is spent at St. Richard's Hospital at Chichester.

Apart from a sniffy receptionist (dog-tired-end-of-day-syndrome?), everyone is kind and efficient. I'm triaged by Louise; she is the sister of Rob Gauntlett, a young climber who died on Mont Blanc in January this year. My situation pales into insignificance.

Louise asks me to put a link to Rob on the blog, but his website has been taken down following theft of his identity after his death. But there are others and I will find one to link to later.

After the x-ray by Tom, the radiologist, my wrist is pronounced sprained, not broken, and I get a support splint from Vicky, the A+E doctor.

The end of a pretty crazy day.