The Last Post …

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Photo by Diana Westberg on Pexels.com

I am finally ready. Tomorrow I leave for the beginning of The Journey.

For those of you who (thankfully for you and your sanity) haven’t endured my endless witterings, I must clarify that this is not an antarctic exploration, nor am I walking unaided through the Gobi Desert, climbing K2 or sailing solo around the world. No. I am, with the aid of maps and hopefully rather a lot of signposts, bicycling my way along the Atlantic Cycle Route from the port of Roscoff to a campsite known as Moliets-et-Maa which is roughly between Bordeaux and the border with Spain.

I suppose the only difference is that I am doing this trip with my old friend Betty. Betty is my little demon, my demon of anxiety and depression who hasn’t been around for a while, but I sense she’s waiting for me, smirking slightly and lying in wait, ready to pounce at any slight moments of stress.

But, in essence I have the real company of Claude (my bicycle), a rather natty little tent which Claude is not invited into, and my husband’s army sleeping bag. I’ve also managed to squeeze in most of the Clinique sun protection range just to ensure that I don’t arrive at my destination looking like a small shrivelled walnut. Claude has his own repair and maintenance kit but the packaging on mine is prettier. I have a tiny cooker thing that looks a bit like a Bunsen Burner and singes the hair on my arms every time I light it, a few other cooking and eating implements, and a stack of maps. First aid kits etc of course and … well, it’s all packed now and I simply can’t remember but am hoping to goodness that I’ve got my passport in there somewhere.

The anxiety levels are pretty much through the roof this morning. The usual symptoms which I’m sure some of you can resonate with … stomach doing a gymnastics performance, palms disgustingly damp, shaking hands and mind and thoughts darting from one corner of my brain, ricocheting off it’s boundary and firing off into another direction. You can understand therefore why I’m rather looking forward to just going in order to end this purgatory. Perhaps purgatory is too strong a word, but it’s been a while since I’ve had it, and had forgotten how awful it is.

But, let’s be very clear here as I’m certainly not looking for any sympathy, I am the one who decided to do this and it certainly hasn’t been forced upon me! In fact most people are appalled. I think they worry about my safety being a woman on her own and all that. But frankly, if it’s as regards the likelihood of being hit by a truck, well, frankly that could happen to a man too, and if it’s about some dodgy bloke trying it on … well woe betide him! They clearly don’t know the volatility and sheer force of a middle-aged, highly strung, hormonal woman when she feels threatened. (See my post Road Rage for further clarification on how I sense I am marginally unhinged).

So no, whilst I am anxiously waiting for the hours to pass, and feeling excited but terrified in roughly equal measures, I’ll say au revoir for now and will post again when I’m on the other side of The Channel. Hopefully, by then I shall have half a dozen croissants in my basket, a large grin on my face and my sense of direction intact (surely, as long as I cycle on the right and keep the sea on my right then I’m doing it right and going roughly south …). As for roundabouts, I haven’t yet mastered them in England, so ….. I guess I’ll just have to keep you posted. Adieu.

Katie xx

48 thoughts on “The Last Post …”

  1. Fantastic. Am slightly envious and definitely full of admiration. I would imagine that nerves are normal at this stage. I agree with you about the risks; I too turn fearsome when threatened. I’m really trying to remember a quote my daughter told me – Reach for the stars and you might get to the moon?? Meaning if you aim big, even if you don’t achieve all your ambitions, you are still going to have a bloody good time trying. I have complete faith in you, but maybe that’s one to shout at Betty??

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  2. You’ve got this. And from the moment you start pedalling you are going to enjoy it. Of course there might be the odd moment when you think why on earth am I doing this but mostly it is going to be a pleasure and a half pushing yourself physically, making sure you go the right way round the rond-points keep heading south and certainly not East (the mountains) or worse West (the sea) and just drink in the heaven that is France. Write if you want to, don’t if you don’t … the one thing I have learned about this blogging thing is that if you aren’t around for a while people do understand and they just welcome you with delight when you are back. So no worrying, please. And mostly just be content to be on your own with Claude, Clinique and Croissants. Sounds a pretty unassailable combination to me. Betty can bugger off … she wasn’t invited and she isn’t welcome and you are going to be too full of endorphins to give a flying fig whether she is lurking or not. Bon voyage ma belle amie, tous seront bien. Promise. Xx

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    1. You sweet, sweet friend. Thank you. Your encouragement is just what I needed and so very gratefully received. You’re right, there’s no room for Betty, just Claude, Clinique the croissants and I. Thank you, really thank you. Xxx

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  3. This is just the beginning Katie. This is what you were born to be; a slightly batty but brilliant author. You will do this and heaven help Betty or any hairy trucker who gets in your way. I believe in you, I always have and always will. This is your 26.2 miles. You have done the worrying, now pedal like fury and prove them all wrong 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much my friend. Thank goodness for the exercise to come otherwise I might return the size of a whale! I love your support … I’d never have started on such a venture if I didn’t have you all behind me willing me on and for that I am so grateful to you. Thank you. Xx

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    1. Ha! Don’t worry a hoot! Frankly anyone new to my blog is going to be confused by my slightly strange ways of viewing anxiety etc.!! Many thanks for reading and commenting, it’s so rewarding when someone does and therefore hugely appreciated. Katie

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  4. You are so brave! Even without Betty, doing this alone would be tough. I’m sure the experience will be worth the anxiety once you settle into it. Good luck and have an awesome time x 🙂

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  5. Hey there! For some reason, and I quite cannot put a finger on it, I find your writing very interesting. While reading it, I felt like how I used to feel when I read English books in my childhood – tasting the flavors of foreign land with wide, eager eyes. There’s a distinct diary-like quality to it, such that although meant for a wider audience, it might as well be a closed book in itself that I reading by myself curled up in my bed – I haven’t read anything like it in a long time. I’ll be sure to come back for more. Good luck on your journey! It’s incredibly brave of you to do so. 🙂

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