It’s been a quiet week for me here in Devon. The monsoon season has returned with a vengeance. Temperatures dropped and rain fell so heavily that at times the gutters and drains around the houses where I live couldn’t cope with it. August feels much the same as January did, cool and wet with strong gusting winds. The weeks of pleasant warm weather we have recently experienced quickly disappeared from my memory as I tried not to think that summer is over until next year.
Waking up to warm sunshine wasn’t something I had experienced at all this year until Michele and I hit the shores of Brittany. All our fears about cold and wet conditions evaporated in the first few days we were there. When you are cycle touring you learn to take each day as it comes and there’s little point trying to predict the weather patterns of such a variable region. It’s better to just wake each day and see what it brings. You can always pull the covers back over your head and go back to sleep after all.
This weeks blog was supposed to be a follow on from the piece I wrote about my trip to France with Michele back in June. Life has had other ideas though and I feel compelled to write about something that was not even on the radar five days ago. Over the last five years I become accustomed to battling my mental health and all the things in my life I’ve had to change in order to begin to manage that.
I’m sat at home contemplating the last five weeks. That’s how long it is since I was last here for more than a few days and the first time I’ve been able to relax properly without feeling I had to do something. It’s also the first time that I’ve been able to sit and relive the three weeks spent touring in Brittany with Michele on our superb AZUB recumbent trikes.
Since I began my project four years ago I haven’t once left home on a tour where I wasn’t either riding a great distance or preparing for a long journey. When Michele and I leave for Brittany on Monday night it will be the first time that I’ve gone on holiday on my bike for decades. There are no mileage goals and our itinerary is just a thread of an idea of where we might go and what we might like to see. Add in the fact that I haven’t ridden any distance with anybody else and this trip begins to look refreshingly different.
After a couple of false starts we finally managed to escape this past weekend as families began their half-term break around this beautiful part of the country. Even this short break was in doubt until the last-minute. Saturday saw torrential rain throughout the day and night in Devon and we felt lucky to be able to move our short camping trip without losing any time away by leaving on Sunday.
With just three weeks to go until Michele and I head off to France to explore Brittany on our trikes we still haven’t managed a camping weekend. The beautiful week that has just passed by coincided with Saturday work for Michele and although I took the opportunity to ride out from home I didn’t feel up to camping or being away.