Stena awaken its customers with the intro to the Happy song, which is a great way to start to the day. Even if you’re having to put on four day old sweaty clothes and get back on the saddle! We disembark and start cycling (on the proper side of the road at last!) and encounter our first serious hills since Northern Denmark. The first was the ramp over the incoming traffic! Rather than wait our usual hour before breakfast we stopped at a Brewers Fayre (Google misdirected us and there it was in front of us- we couldn’t say no!).
You might have thought that after a month of European breakfasts I’d have stuffed my face with a full English; but no! Self restraint and the knowledge that I had a hard cycle ahead persuaded me to delay that treat- we’d already arranged to have a breakfast the next day, at home with Ann’s parents.
Google predicted 41 miles to my brother’s but it felt more…but it was so lovely. Winding roads, hedgerows, the higgledy piggeldy alignment of English fields and people speaking English! There was also a massive reduction in the consideration given to cyclists by road planners (although Sustrans had done a good job with their cycle routes) and also a huge downgrade in the quality of the roads! I feel that we have the worst roads in Northern Europe- and feel qualified in making that statement. I could rant on but won’t!
So our 28 day mission drew to a close with a lovely shower at my brother Greg’s. No punctures, 5 broken spokes, we still have the bobbly bits on our tyres that make them look new, which is embarrassing, over 700 miles cycled, four nights in shelters of one form or another, four nights camping, seven lovely nights with family, one in AirBnB, one on a ferry and the rest in various hostels, Bed and Breakfasts and hotels.
We return to civilisation thinner but with bigger thighs, determined to enjoy the simple things in life and to live lives that show God’s love to those we meet. Ann’s bedtime reading though the time away was Heidi Bakers’ “Compelled by love”, which inspired us, made us weep and gave us a picture of what life could be like as we allow God to work in and through us.
And so the adventure continues. Less cycling, more sleeping in our own bed; less unfamiliar languages around but more of the language of love; less Spartan lifestyle but more Jesus extravagance.
More of Him, less of me/us.