dst. (km) Today 79.72 Trip total 224.9 Odometer 79.9
I must write this down while I remember it, sitting here in a pub in Bristol. Somewhere along the canal in the past two days I came to a little bridge, a narrow boat had stopped and a lady was carrying a bag of rubbish across to the bin. A stereotypical west-country old codger was sitting on a bench nearby, just watching the canal and the world go by. He looked at the lady and said “’eee, you be watchin’ for trolls.” The lady didn’t seem to understand, he looked at me, “eer, you know about trolls…” “Sure,” I said, “they live under bridges — little ugly fellers.” Old guy nods and replies “eee, ’s right, I had some under me sofa once,” then goes back to watching the canal. The lady gave a quick “Harrumph!” and walked quickly back to her boat, and I rode off down the canal. Just a wonderful character at peace with the world, its a whole different world along the canals and towpaths away from the traffic and roads.
Back to today. There was an hour of fiddling about in Devizes after riding back up past Caen locks, phone cards and stamps and stuff, then back down the hill past the locks and finally on my way along the canal towards Bath.
Quiet and empty along the canal until Bath, then it was bizarre. Until then I’d only seen pensioners and mums with babies, all of a sudden I was in the middle of Bath and surrounded by hundreds of people of all ages. Tourists, shoppers, everyone.
Swapped the canal for a rail trail and rode the rest of the way into Bristol, a major problem being the “anti-car” barricades on the path. The only way to fit the bike through them was to stop, get off, and flip it up onto the rear wheel to walk it through, scraping the panniers on the poles or walls.
A strange feeling to be back in a big town. Bristol is not as touristy as Bath, but bigger. I walked around a fair bit in the afternoon and evening, getting a general feel for the place and making my way up to the famous suspension bridge over the gorge. Unfortunately all the postcard photos seem to be taken from aircraft or balloons, from ground level it was very hard to get a picture that wasn’t all sky, or included street lights and wires. Traffic was as bad as most large English towns and I was glad to be getting about on foot, not stuck in a car crawling along.