Well, Steve had wanted a day to sit around and do as little as possible and that lofty goal was successfully achieved today! We did not very much at all!
I was up early and made use of the hotel gym and did a 10K run before breakfast. Once again it felt so good to be running, even if it was on a treadmill. I caught up on a couple of podcasts and had the room to myself so I happily plodded along on the machine and felt so much better for having been able to use the legs for my chosen activity, rather than just pedalling all the time!
Then began the designated task for the day…sitting! We caught up on some blogging, emails, skyping and the little things that usually fall by the wayside, due to an absence of wifi or the general limitations of cycle touring. While this was going on, it was pouring rain outside…again! So it turned out to be a good day for inside activities rather than putting on the blue raincoat and slicks again for soggy pedalling.
We ventured out for a walk in the rain so I could go to the health food store and for Steve to look for a small radio. He’s decided he wants a radio so when The Ashes start, he can ride along with a radio attached to his bike and listen to the cricket! So very soon, my shouts up the road of “I just love it!” may be replaced by Steve’s shouts down the road of “Bowled ‘im!!! Catch iiiiiiittt!!! Yeeeaaahhh!!!” We shall see! We walked past an enormous IKEA just down the road and popped in on the off chance they might have a radio. For anyone who has been in an IKEA you would know the “system” and as we walked out of the elevator I turned to Steve and we both uttered the code of the system…”Follow the arrows, just follow the arrows, no matter what, just follow the arrows!” So we did…we joined the herd and followed the enormous arrows on the floor and walked purposefully along the aisle. You have to hand it to the Swedes, they have invented a very clever system. The store is set up so you are forced to walk the entire enormous acreage of the show room in order to get to the section you actually want, encouraging impulse buying, and there’s no escape…follow the arrows! Don’t deviate…follow the arrows! So we followed the arrows through soft furnishings…lighting…bedding…kitchens…laundry accessories…on we went with our fellow herd members flowing along in front, behind, to the side and, as so often happens, right in the middle of the aisle three abreast to make overtaking as difficult as possible! Then…what did I see?…two people walking TOWARDS us! They had bucked the system! They weren’t following the arrows! They were walking against the arrows and walking against the tide and in the face of the herd! Rebels! Mavericks! We dodged and weaved around these system buckers and mechanically returned to the unspoken rule and “followed the arrows”! We eventually made it to the end… past gardening, carpets and storage and left empty handed! I was starting to flap my hands though, I’d just about had enough of the herd and needed to escape! It’s been a while since I’ve had to navigate crowded and huge shopping environments and this little “simple living cyclist” was getting stressed! We tried another store but with no luck, so we didn’t end up getting a little radio, so that task remains to be completed in the short time before the first over is bowled.
After a return to the hotel room, some elevenses and lunch and a bit more catching up on things, we again ventured out for a longer walk through the back streets to an outdoor store to look for a couple of camping items. Many things could have been bought there and Steve’s eyes lit up at the sight of puffer vests, head lamps and all manner of gadgetry. We can’t carry anything surplus to requirements though, so we left with only the necessary sleeping bag liner and Steve’s comment of “We’ll go to another one of those stores one day because they had lots of good things!” Space and weight big fella! Space and weight! Remember these things!
That was it really! We didn’t even take any photos today, so no record of our slothful behaviour and no scenic roaming achieved so nothing memorable to be recorded. Tomorrow we plan to do another short ride, just to make a bit of forward progress, while staying near the train line so we can catch the train to Birmingham on Monday for Steve to hopefully get his replacement bike saddle. So in the absence of photos for today, I shall just finish with a collection of pub signs. We’ve begun collecting them as we pass by different pubs, with their various interesting names. Normal pedalling will resume tomorrow and we will continue our northward journey, with hopefully some more delightful scenes and experiences awaiting us! On we pedal!