Sunday 12 May 2013

Return to the Great Cotswold Walk

I started off on the wrong foot - I went to the big Tesco for my lunch sandwich, and it was, of course, closed, it being Sunday. Then I drove to my starting position; the weather looked great, but the forecast was for rain in the afternoon ... and the forecast turned out to be correct.

First, I parked tidily, off the road, and started to get ready. I had the bike out of the car, and I was just getting the GPS set up when a Landrover pulled up next to me, and an old gent wound his window down, so I wound mine down.

"Are you OK?" he asked.
"Yes, fine thanks," I replied.

I don't feel the need to do any more than answer the question asked of me. But that probably wasn't what he was expecting, because he looked a bit baffled, thought a bit, and then asked me "Are you OK?" again. "Yes, fine thanks," I replied. I didn;t see anything that had changed so I didn't change my answer.

So then he thought a bit more, and after a little while he said "You're parked near my land" Well, A) that's not a question, so doesn't require an answer, and B) although I was, I dare say, near his land, I wasn't *on* his land, I was on the grass verge, which is, I think, owned by the Council. But I expect he'd hoped for an answer, because he followed up with another question. "What are you doing?"

Wewll, he probably could have spotted that my bike was out and very close to my car, but maybe he didn't realise it was my bike, it could, I suppose, have been anyone's. Or maybe he just hadn't noticed it. "I'm planning to do a bike ride," I explained.

"Ah," he said. "You see, there's been burglaries round here. So I was just checking up. No problem," he said, cheerfully.

My turn now. "Can I ask you a couple of questions?" I asked, assuming that that question wouldn't be one of them. "Yes?" he said. "Well, I guess you ask everyone what they're doing - how many people have admitted that they're about to burgle some houses nearby?"

He looked at me strangely. As if anyone would come out with that! "No, no-one has said that." "OK," I said, nodding, as of one who isn't surprised, "and my next question is, have you written down the registration number of this car?" "No," he said. "Huh," I said. "My third, and I promise you it's my last question - have you spoken to your local police and asked them what you should do if you see someone parked on the grass verge close to your land and you're concerned that maybe they're intending a burglary?"

No, he hadn't. "Have a nice day," I said, and he drove off. I'd like to think, he was slightly wiser.

So then I got on the bike and did 70 caches, four DNFs.

Near the end, I had to make a choice - ride through what looked like a quite broad lake, or try to get around it by crossing a small stream that was pretty much invisible under the tufts of grass. I chose to cross, and got two bootfulls of water and wet up to my knees. It's just as well that A) it was fairly warm today and B) I was pretty wet already from the rain and C) it wasn't far back to the car.

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