So – home at last. This final blog needed to wait a few days since, as computers do, my mainframe took one look at me after three months away, 10kg the lighter and as fit as I’ve ever been, allowed me briefly to copy all my pictures off the camera on to the hard drive, […]Read More Home At Last… Older and Nicer Perhaps?
And I couldn’t resist either a further almost-final shot, taken in Little Venice in Central London today, of Raven’s Brooks B17 leather seat after 4000 miles of intimate massage… It looks, and feels, a whole lot more comfortable than when I set out at Easter. Cycling into London from the English South-East, I have to […]Read More Raven’s Seat
My name is Mark Brayne and I am a Blogger. An addict, clearly. But Dorie said she’d appreciate some final, final thoughts, so, unable to resist another tipple, here’s a first batch. Climate Change. Take a deep breath. The picture illustrates, from Dunkirk, the quandary we’re in. Oil refinery in the background – the real […]Read More A Final Word on Climate Change
As I cross the Channel from Dunkirk to Dover on my conclusive way home, this probably will be my last substantive blog post (though I might be tempted to indulge once more on climate change) . Pic of Raven to illustrate, with rather bleak Dunkirk terminal and appropriately-named Norfolk Lines ferry (Norfolk being my home […]Read More And Finally, Aboard the Ferry Home
On my last evening in Europe – well, on the European mainland, anyway – I could post some pretty pictures of Bruges, which is indeed Very Pretty, and say, Dear Belgium, all is forgiven. But I won't, as all isn't. To the bitter end, Belgium's road surfaces were s**t, often consisting (see pic) of lumpy […]Read More Bye-Bye Belgium
I'm afraid Belgium – and roads/cycle tracks/pleasure-at-being-in – isn't getting any better. The rain doesn't help. The view above is of beautiful, tourist-magnet Gent this afternoon and the charming square in front of the cathedral here. Drenched, and as seen from a café to which I have repaired for some waffles en route from Brussels […]Read More Wet Gent and the Colonial Past
I can’t say the experience of sorting Raven’s tyre problems out has entirely redeemed Belgium, especially after 40 miles yesterday into Brussels along some of the worst cycle tracks and road surfaces I’ve yet encountered. But Kevin and Joey and their bosses at Jupiter cycles in Antwerp went a long way to reassuring me that, […]Read More Brussels at last
I wish I could say I liked Belgium. Riding over the border from six coastal days in orderly and proud Netherlands (orange everywhere for the Euro football team at the moment), and especially after Germany (of course), Belgium feels like old Eastern Europe without the hope of possible future change. Little things like verges not […]Read More Belgium, and sweeping generalisations
Yesterday's post had one contemporary Anglodigit poised to save The Netherlands. Today, I found the real thing. The Dutch take their legends seriously, so here he is, Hans Brinker by name, the son of a Dutch sluicer, as they were called. Little Hans knew that even the tiniest trickle through the dykes his father so […]Read More Rotterdam Reached
As I was saying before Blackberry email limits rudely stopped me saying more in that last blog (the downside of my new policy of taking photos at higher resolution)… It's interesting how the profuse birdlife of the dykes further north – oyster-catchers, peewits, starlings, terns, crows, seagulls of all shapes, swallows, house-martins and more – […]Read More Dykes and perspectives. And BBC Europe.