As promised, the sun shone on day three, indeed it turned out to be the warmest day of the year so far. We packed up our stuff and bid a fond farewell to Granny Apple, with whom we have been staying in Bristol, and headed homeward.
We decided to travel along the Avon Gorge on the opposite side to the one we had taken two days before as the going had been difficult due to the slippery mud, and the weather had not been conducive to this having improved in the intervening time. The downside of this though was that it meant cycling adjacent to the busy A4 Portway road, though thankfully the cycleway was separate from the actual road. There was an upside; we did not have to traverse the Avonmouth Bridge.
We wended our way through the outskirts of the city through scruffy scrub land and came to what we have come to call ‘Burnout Alley’ and in the two days since last travelling, true to form, a new burnt out car had been deposited. Just along from Burnout Alley is another landmark: ‘Fridgedump Corner’. It seems that what had likely been conceived as a pleasant strip of greenway by the planners, has become a polluted and defiled dumping ground. Another thing that I have noticed around the countryside surrounding conurbations, is strange fruit left in trees and bushes. Dog walkers who take the trouble to pick up and bag their dog’s poop and then toss it to hang where it lands are a special kind of idiot.
Putting the soapbox away now!
We were soon leaving the built up areas behind and the scenery became far more bucolic. With the wind at our backs we built up some speed and made our way back to Olveston to once again avail ourselves of Roly Bain’s bench in the churchyard to enjoy a coffee in the sunshine. Afterward we went in to have a look around the church and chatted to a gentleman who was a friend of Rev Bain (https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2016/aug/21/the-rev-roly-bain-obituary) and it seems like many clowns who bring joy to others, he was ultimately a lonely person in the end.
Travelling on, we worked hard for another couple of hours before reaching Ham Green near Berkeley for a peaceful and well earned lunch.
On the final stretch now, we worked our way through Slimbridge but had to halt our progress to wait for the swing bridge over the canal. The heat of the day was building and we decided to stop for a cool drink at Frampton on Severn before the last leg home. We were entertained by two small dogs repeatedly chasing a ball, and though the one dog always seemed to get to it first, the enthusiasm of the other for the game was not diminished. A metaphor for life perhaps; it’s not always about winning if you enjoy playing the game with your friend.
Soon we were back on the toe path and on the home turf of Gloucester Docks and talk turned to debate whether we wanted a cup of tea or gin and tonic on arrival. We opted for the tea. First.
Weather permitting, we hope to peddle as yet untraveled paths to Hereford next week to view the ‘Weeping Window’ installation https://www.herefordcathedral.org/News/poppies-weeping-window