I write this from my luxury hovelette in Walkhampton, phew! Made it, but only just. I had a slightly weird night's sleep in Rob's 17th century gaff, explained by the fact that I was in the lying-in room when it was an undertakers. How I laughed!
Well, a quick slurp o'tea and back on that cruel old road again. Last day, I was thinking. How the gods laughed! "We''ll sort out that flash upstart, let's do the chain gag, then when he thinks he's home safe, a good dunking to finish him off." So followed a lovely ride to the Dartmouth ferry, and on the other side, an interview with the baying press mob. Well, the Surrey Advertiser anyway... then into the rest of the South Hams, Kingsbridge, Salcombe, Slapton et al. The old Smug-ometer was now running 11 on a scale of 10, picking up wealthy inhabitants with their BMW X5s and utterly crap driving.
I thought I was done and then, as I approached Mothecombe, I almost was. The knicker elastic chain leapt off the chocolate sprockets, mangling itself in the process and breaking a side plate. This meant that the chain had a horrid kink, at which point only half of it still worked. Looked like game over, but I managed to cobble the thing back together and limped on, having sacked the last (boring) ten miles into Plymouth and decided to go over Lee Moor, making horrid grinding noises. I was reminded of the poor guys limping back over the Channel in some horribly shot-up bomber in the last war, listening and praying. Yeah, right! Not as if I was going to die, just ring up the missus and wait for a rescue.
To my intense surprise, and gratitude, the wounded Yamaha, in dire need of a service, kept going. So, when I got to Meavy ford (so enticing!), Old Nick jumped on my shoulder and whispered in my ear. "Nearly home, eh, and you could just nip through smartly. Look pretty good in the blog, you could just casually just slip it in...". Yes, indeed, I certainly casually slipped it in. The front tyre found a rock in just the right spot. The bike lay there like a stricken whale, bubbling away as the left pannier filled its boots, so I took some photos as a worried passer-by asked if I was okay. Resisting the urge to snap "Well, as I've just dumped a quarter ton of bike and associated tat in the middle of a surprisingly deep river, I would say, on balance, no."
But I smiled bravely, and, bracing the old war wound, picked the beast up and rode it out, streaming Meavy in all directions. Clanking and dribbling down the hill into Walkhampton,(and the bike was pretty rough too), I passed Nigel Pollard in his motor... like I left yesterday, same old same old.
Some more nonsense tomorrow, if you can stand it. Now, must bail out that pannier.
Photos from day 30. [And some from day 29 I just got today - Ed.]