Monday, 14 July 2014

A Boy Named Sue....Stage 4: Calais to Saint-Quentin.

I know that it is Bastille Day but with the destination in mind, there's only one artist who's featuring here tonight!

Although my acco in Calais appeared er, rustic, it was the best night's sleep in ages. Their wi-fi worked and the room's telly showed Allemagne netting me £90 courtesy of the work's sweepstake. Suckers, haw-haw!

Breakfast served to your room: bacon & eggs must be hiding.
On departure, the proprietor asked me where I was headed: the eyes always give it away. Her phrase was "...but that's many kilometres?" but she was really saying, "give it up- you've no chance. Btw, can you lend me £90?".

Here's my own Le Tricolour to celebrate Bastille Day: factor 30 has been applied. Retrospectively.

(Clean) socks are so last season.

Suffered the by-now anticipated nav-pfaff: getting sent down paths more suited to MTBs etc...saw this fantastic looking tower while I swore at Calais & Garmin & my own inepitude...

Eventually I got away on what looked like a decent track: the worst I had all day was a crosswind, so that is massive!

This'll do nicely.
I didn't realise that it was Bastille Day until I happened across this band: they had a few veterans amongst their audience too. Funny how things dovetail sometimes.

Routemasters shouldn't have this indignity forced upon them!

Yesterday you told me left, now it's right. Make up your mind!

This fellow was having a ball: he was cycling away, talking loudly, "Oh, aren't you being a good boy? You're so quiet back there!" to all and sundry.

This was a rolling terrain: I effing hate it...either give us a big climb or not, but make your effing mind up, hah-hah! I went for a re-route which would shave 10 miles off the distance but add 1000' to the climbing. Regardless, I was mightily chuffed when a proper cyclist coming the opposite direction downhill shouted at me, "Courage! Courage!". It's the little things that give you a gee-up, isn't it?

Funky water tower.

Need to have a word with my PR people. This isn't working!

Sheer class. And ferme!

You couldn't fail to be aware that this was the ground where so many people were killed and injured in the Great War that began 100 years ago. As I made progress through Arras and beyond, it was a bit chilling to look at the corn and wheat fields and imagine the horrors that went before.

The French haven't forgotten either: far from it and I saw a few Union Flags flown alongside Le Tricolour. I even got a little applause and a few shouts thanks to the RBL cycling jersey as I rolled on through a couple of villages.

It still means something around these parts.
It wasn't until I stopped at one of the memorials that you begin to have an idea of the scale: there were churches along the route with military graveyards. All in immaculate order. 

Back on the road again and an amazed to see more lunatic 'Town Twining'...

Peronne = Ewood Park?

Followed by more memorials to Canadian and Australian forces, plus the occasional road-reminder:

The final 10 miles were a blast through ridiculously lovely roads...prior to wasting 20 minures looking for the flamin' Ibis!

...however, nothing beats the taste of this number! An outrageously excellent brew, and thoroughly deserved. Well, a bit... 

Probably the best cider in the world. Certainly felt like it, hah-hah!

                              Click here for BASTILLE DAY NOMBRES!

While we're here, and I know that I say this quite a bit, but a massive thank you to you generous types who have donated to these causes. Good on you.

I will give £10 for every £50 that you do. Aside from that, there is one other thing that would help, if you can do it...please share this blog and/or the JG links with your pals/acquaintances/enemies.

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