This weekend Gill and I travelled to Gloucester to see her side of the family for the last time before we depart. I’m not sure whether it is to do with the distance involved, or the fact that it took up a whole weekend, but for some reason it has taken on an importance in my mind that makes it very significant. It’s like the beginning of the end of the final preparations. If that isn’t too convoluted. You know those rows of dominos that you set up as a child? The ones that all fell down in sequence once you toppled the first one. Well that is how it feels. Like we have knocked over the first domino and now nothing will stop all the others from tumbling. On Sunday we will be getting together with some friends for a farewell party and then my sister will be coming to stay. She will be our last overnight guest in this house. The following weekend we are visiting another friend for the final time before we leave and so it goes on. Each occasion like another domino tumbling and leading inevitably to the next one. The flaw in the analogy is that, unlike the toppling dominos, there are frustrating delays between each event. I’m impatient. I want all these moments to roll together into a seamless continuum that takes us up to April 26th. Fortunately there are plenty of things to do in between these engagements to keep us occupied.
Over the course of the next week we plan to do our first full packing session. This involves gathering all our clothing and equipment for the trip and packing it into our ten bags to go on the bikes. Yes that’s five bags per bike. Two rear panniers, two front ones and a handle bar bag each. The purpose of this exercise, so long before we go, is that it always reveals last minute things that we need to buy, mend or adjust and leaves us plenty of time to do it. I’ll take some photographs for those of you who have asked us how we intend to carry everything on the bikes (and for other cycle tourers who just like to see other peoples setups, geeks I suppose). It’s also a chance to check that the weight distribution is reasonably even and to re-familiarise ourselves with what goes where. This is really important as there is nothing more frustrating than having to delve into three panniers in succession in order to find an urgently needed piece of kit when the weather suddenly changes.
On a more tedious level it’s probably time now to start talking to the service providers about terminating our various contracts with them. I did start to look on line to do it but of course their web sites only cater for people moving from one home to another. As opposed to weirdos who plan to put their homes on their bikes and pedal off into the sunset. No doubt some of the conversations on the phone will be tortuous. “Address you are moving to?” “There isn’t one, we are travelling.” “But we need your new address for correspondence.” “We won’t have one, we will be in a different place every night.” “Oh that’s a bit difficult, I’ll just put you on hold a minute.” Yadda, yadda, yadda. I can’t wait.
My next blog post will probably be a rant about the intransigence of one or other utility company.