Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Donkeys, parking, 'splash and crash'

We slept well at the campsite, until the usual problem emerged, and it's always worse when the girls haven't been in the tent for a little while - they wake at daybreak! Fine for them, because they can sleep it off in the trailer, but not so handy for the other three of us. Being on a working farm, and having picked up some eggs the night before, the rooster that sealed the deal and made sure we were all well and truly awake shouldn't have come as much of a surprise!

Within half an hour, we'd all nodded off again, and so by the time we surfaced, we weren't as washed out as we ought to have been after our exertions the previous evening.

We were really shocked to find that such a beautiful spot, and a site with plenty of pitches, was empty but for our tent, during the school holidays and decent weather, but it was wonderful to be able to let the children roam, and before we knew it, they had made friends with a pair of rescued miniature ponies, 'Tosh' and 'Tug'. 

Porridge and donkey rides contributed to a leisurely departure, but we knew that only 20 miles lay ahead of us if we left the Humber Bridge to start day three. There was no hurry, and after a mile or so's riding we paused at a bakery for a second breakfast.

We pottered along, hurriedly crossing the A15 on foot (if you're slow getting rolling, sometimes it's just easier to cross the big ones perpendicular to the traffic, and run!), perhaps not contemplating enough what we might do for lunch; by the time we reached Brigg we hadn't seen anywhere that looked like it was serving food and suitable for our outfit.

Sometimes, you reach a town and everything seems to be on hand; other places you reach and you just get an inkling before you even get in, that it's going to spit you out before you've had chance to think about it. I have no doubt that Brigg has all sorts of lovely facilities, but the main road through town offered us Tesco as the best opportunity for lunch.

I have all sorts of issues with Tesco - but right at that moment, a quick stop in their cafe seemed like the best chance of getting fed, stocking up for the night, and getting rolling once more. The trouble was, the cycle parking was a total joke - you could not stand a bike up in the rack, such as it was, because it had been put hard up against the wall rather than allowing room for wheels to protrude. In the end, we improvised and a very cycle-savvy and slightly embarrassed chap, who was otherwise looking after the trollies, looked after our bikes personally. The store turned out to be tired, poorly stocked and had no cafe at all, so we got out of there with some sandwiches, rode out of town and found a bus shelter on the edge of a housing estate for lunch.

A word about cycle lanes. Coming out of Brigg on a fairly busy road, I saw what looked like a generously proportioned cycle lane set away from the road, which in the first instance meant Thomas Ivor, whose wheel I was on, could avoid a busy roundabout. I persevered with it for all of a mile before Katie and I stopped and agreed that riding on a split path (pedestrians and cyclists notionally separated, but on a path not wide enough to pass freely on) where you had to give way at every single junction to the left, was far more risky for Thomas Ivor and stressful for us 'sergeant-majoring' him, than just holding a sensible line on the main road. On reflection, we shouldn't have been surprised that the little guy agreed - riding the road was less complicated for him, and he didn't mind the traffic.

Any suggestion that Lincolnshire is flat as a pancake is not strictly true. A bit like Norfolk, whose Northern coast is anything but flat, Lincolnshire has a few 'lumps' just to keep you on your toes. As we homed in on the Humber Bridge, one sharp rise, which we'd seen coming for a while, strung us out. The traffic was light but fast, and the twisting of the road as it rose meant that as I flogged up on foot, taking my turn with the trailer, I had to be careful to move quickly when I couldn't be seen well, and rest as and when the verge had space for me. There's no point killing yourself trying to ride up with a heavy loaded bike, when walking is quicker and more efficient - that's something you lose your hang-ups about quite quickly when you're towing. What tends then to happen is that the girls either decide to start cheering you on, or, more often than not, implore Daddy to 'go faster'! By the top of the hill, on foot, I'd dropped Thomas Ivor and Katie, who were 'riding and resting' - and a tired Ruth was becoming irritable with Rhoda trying to tickle her under the chin. The wind was getting up, the rain was closing in, but from the top of the hill, we could see the Humber estuary. If only the campsite we wanted would answer the telephone, we might get pitched before we got wet!

Peeling away from the side of the main A15, the old Brigg Road drops down into Barton-upon-Humber, depositing one in what feels like the heart of town. Faced with the prospect of riding on into the now steadily falling rain, for more miles, away from the bridge, that might be fruitless and force us to retrace, I looked dead ahead as I waited at the junction for Katie to catch up, and something told me the hotel I was facing was worth an enquiry.

It is rare that we stay overnight in a hotel, and even rarer that it isn't a hurriedly booked Premier Inn. Part of that is down to the homogenous nature of the latter, when you are a sizeable tribe with peculiar needs. I stood in the rain, holding two bikes, trying to distract Thomas Ivor and taking muttered abuse from pedestrians, wondering what, if anything, might be on offer.

The George Inn turned out to be a wonderful place to stay, a characterful place accredited for both 'Families Welcome' and 'Cyclists Welcome' under the respective Visit England schemes. We had a really great time, enjoying superb food and really attentive care from the staff. We will write a separate review in due course. From contemplating a bowl of pasta on a rainy campsite, we sat down to steak and chips. Sometimes, that's just the right thing to do.

Tomorrow starts with a crossing of the Humber Bridge, hopefully without too much wind!

1 comment:

  1. This post helped me to know about the illusion of control. I think it is the tendency for people to overrate their ability to control different events. It occurs when someone feels a sense of control over outcomes that they demonstrably do not influence
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