Ah well squared.
The great 6000-mile bike ride from Cirencester to Hanoi didn’t come off, but there have been compensations.
Since my last post, I was for quite a while in a bit of a grim state, recuperating at home from what a lovely young German neurologist – eventually consulted at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford – agreed was probably the impact on an old injury to nerves in the neck of, in effect, an overdose of antiobiotics, anaesthetics and inoculations.
One can, it seems, over-prepare, and that’s why I had to turn back in The Hague.
For a while, I’d hoped to resume the journey just with some delay, as outlined in previous posts. My nerves had different ideas.
At the beginning of June, I called the whole thing off. And warm thanks to my insurers, Citybond via the Cycle Touring Club, for reimbursing most of the flights and visa costs I’d run up in readiness for the Big Trip.
Nerves, as I tell my bereaved or traumatised clients, take time to heal, whether the damage is physical or emotional – and as I can now personally confirm, that’s measured in months and sometimes years rather than days and weeks.
In my case, it was mainly physical, going back to the squashing of a neck nerve sleeping awkwardly two years ago in Dublin, although no doubt exacerbated, in the shape of secondary or vicarious trauma, by years of sitting with clients working through some pretty unhappy stories and experiences.
But the past six-month sabbatical has certainly given me deeper insight into the trauma of nerve damage, and a massive and deeply thankful appreciation of feeling well again after so long.
My wife Sue (her own trip to India and Vietnam on which she has entertainingly blogged kyboshed at the end of June by a nasty chest infection picked up in the 45-degree heat of Varanasi on the Ganges – thanks again to Citybond for rescuing her from that one) and I are just back from three weeks gloriously OUT and OFFLINE on our lovely narrow boat, the Molly May.
We cruised gently down the Thames through Henley, Windsor and Eton Dorney into Olympic London (and past my therapy centre the CCPE near Paddington, see top right) and slowly back north up the Grand Union canal to her home base near Warwick.
Gorgeous, and enormously healing.
Pretty fully restored now, we’re off to France at the weekend with our tandem Sunshine, taking the European Bike Express down to Montpellier and spending the best part of the next three weeks cycling back through central France.
And come mid-September, for me it’s back to work, clients, EMDR and supervision, followed in December by five weeks cycling in New Zealand, pedalling South to North through South Island and then in the North visiting my daughter Katharine and her partner Mela in New Plymouth.
Could be worse.
(To conclude, couldn’t resist posting the following two pictures. One from Hyde Park and the other from a narrowboat on the Paddington Arm. I sense the narrowboat needed the sign more than the Park.)