Let me first tell you that as far as Tuna is concerned, you get what you pay for. This (pictured above) tin of tuna was to die for. Eaten on the side of the road with a dash of curry powder and a pinch of salt, it formed the perfect lunchtime filling. I am whole heartedly endorsing this line caught M&S tuna as delicious [I am getting no money from them so you better believe me].
So this is it with England. I have now arrived into Southampton, well kind of half way between Southampton and Portsmouth, and I’ll be riding the last 14 miles today to get to the docks and the ferry.
My luck has finally run out and it’s poring down today, never mind, I only have a short ride to the docks and it’s mostly downhill.
In the few weeks I have spent crossing these two auld and proud nations I have found that there are many reason why there is cause to be proud to be Scottish, English or even British. Most of the people are more open that they like to think, of and the generosity of both friends and stranger is a continuos pleasant surprise everywhere I go.
What about yesterday though? I came down to the sea and it was a longer stage that I had expected, I guess you can run from your legs but you cannot really hide. I got into Southampton in the early afternoon and, while it took me a bit more than I thought to get through it, I enjoyed the views of the city from many vantage points, including the very tall and steep Itchen Bridge. I got to Peter and Jacquie just before 4 PM.
Peter and Jacquie are friends of my friend Cathy, them and their lovely four children hosted me last night. It was the last in a series of great home stays. it is really unusual for me to see the interaction of families and over the past few weeks I have had a good share of that. I was talking to Peter about the challenges and rewards of teenage child management and I am starting to consider that if there was an MBA program in it, it would go oversubscribed the first day.
The hot topic in the house, as it must be in most houses around the country is internet access time. On one side you have the children and young adults for whom access to the net is like oxygen, the backbone of their socialisation activities, the glue that holds their microcosms together. On the other side there are the parents for whom, rightfully, excess wiring means insufficient real life skill development. It cannot be easy to find the balance and yet I have complete faith that if someone can, then it’s Peter and Jacquie.
Cathy joined up for the evening and I got a farewell present from her. I do really treasure her advice and, even if I do not show it enough, I do actually follow quite a bit of it. I have learned a lot in the last couple of weeks but none more important than humility.
#3 When you are a beginner it pays to listen to what people tell you.
I have now lost the chair, the weekly shopping, the hammock (much to Cathy’s disappointment), and acquired a healthy road side eating attitude. The bike is still a bit heavy but I reckon I have already shed a few pounds from my middle so it’s all getting a bit easier.
Now the only thing between me and an international achievement is a Brittany Ferry tomorrow.