One week left, Raven packed – and ready to star in The Standard

MB and Raven loaded up a week before departure

So, Raven is readied, panniers, tent and bags test-mounted and photographs taken for an article on the pending adventure scheduled for next Thursday’s local Standard newspaper in the Cotswolds. Fame at last…

Below right is how my study looked with everything piled up in one great heap before being packed. (Note that Myshkin, aka Wussum the cat, is not coming with me – he’s trying here to find his way to his food bowl near the French windows, and miffed.)

Left, what it all looked like a few hours later. A lovely experience again to feel Raven loaded beneath me, with her low-low centre of gravity and so solid on the road.

Wussum seeking his bowl, buried behind the pile

Twenty-five kilos of bike, and the same again in luggage. That’s not light at all, so progress from next Wednesday will be slow and plodding.

If you’re curious about what I’ve packed into those bags, feel free to browse through my Take on Big Bike Trip list, compiled over the last decade of distance solo cycling (especially Budapest retour four years ago) and of tandeming with Sue. It’s posted here knowing how useful I have found similar lists compiled by other long-distancers in the past.

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Fundraising progress (£1500 and rising!) and the elasticity of time

Audi at the helm. Where she has always liked to be…

Two weeks today, and I’m off. Blimey.

Moscow, Beijing and beyond beckon, and nerves both emotionally and physically seem to be charging up, as I bid farewell to my very-nearly-85-year-old Mum (on the right at Braunston last weekend having a go at the tiller of our narrowboat the Molly May), and both greet and also very shortly thereafter wave goodbye to daughter Katharine, briefly over in the UK from her new New Zealand home with her partner Mela.

Self and Mater aboard Molly May

To these two, we meet again in September – an aeon, an awful lot of kilometres, but also just a tiny skip away.

And to Mum – hang on in there. It’s the longest we’ll not have seen each other since my correspondent days in the 80s, but six months will be gone in a flash.

So, suddenly it’s all very serious, prompting me to note just how curiously time stretches, elongates, contracts at times like this, as affairs are tidied up, relationships packaged ready for departure, as body and muscles and, again, nerves, are stretched and exercised ready for 60-80 miles a day, and I get used to the idea of a long separation from partner, friends, choirs, family… Continue reading

26 days to go: Client endings & sobering reminder why maybe best to have quit journalism

The Client's Chair

With a rapidly closing 26 days to go until I pedal into the sunrise (going East, after all), three things to muse about in this weekend’s blog:

  • The ending (at least for now) of the work of therapy during this coming week with some 20 brave individuals who’ve sat in that green chair in the CCPE’s 4th floor room 41 near Paddington for months and sometimes years, sharing profound personal journeys;
  • A reminder from my old journalist friend Graham Earnshaw, now in Shanghai, of why perhaps it was a good thing for all concerned that I quit the work of the correspondent in 1992; and
  • Chook alert (read on…)

First, the all-of-a-sudden winding down of psychotherapy at a time of my rather than my clients’ choosing is proving an extraordinary, and in some ways surprisingly rewarding experience, for many of those I work with as well as for me.

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One month to go, and thanks for generous donations…

One month tomorrow, Wednesday April 4th, the journey begins – reminding me of setting off four years ago this month on my so far longest, 4000-mile, round trip to Budapest, and of the nervous thrill of the first day’s journey across (picture l.) Salisbury Plain with its unexploded bombs.

“Danger – do not leave the road. Do not touch anything. It may explode and kill you.”

That’s pretty sobering and clear, but more on that below.

Time here at the top of this post (curious how blogs end up writing themselves in orders one really hadn’t expected) for the first of what I hope will be many expressions of warmest thanks to wonderful friends and colleagues who, as I write, have already donated an amazing £868.75, including Gift Aid tax relief, to the good causes for which I’m encouraging sponsorship of my ride.

That’s brilliant and humbling, awesome even (as my daughter Kat would say), and some of you have been quite astonishingly generous in the size of your contribution.

The Rory Peck Trust, the EMDR’s UK-based Humanitarian Assistance Programme, and sotte voce to one side (taking 20% of donations against 40% each for the other two, and by the way we have two brilliant concerts coming up tonight and next Saturday) my chamber choir Cantores are all already most grateful.

So, with two weeks’ worth of work with clients still to go, a blog post to write (later) on what winding down with clients in this way is like, and with organisational ducks increasingly in a row, so far – with waterproof-glove-protected fingers crossed – so good. More precisely:
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