My first stop in the morning was the barbers. Those who know how I pack for holidays will struggle to believe that I’ve left basic items such as a razor at home, let alone spare blades. However despite a shave being on the price list, they weren’t willing to give me one. A wash was out of the question too as the boiler hadn’t warmed up. Alarm bells should have rung but I went ahead with the ‘cut’ which at one point involved shaving into my forehead hairline – as if ageing isn’t taking care of that already! Hopefully it will grow back over the next two weeks.
I spent the rest of the morning at the Eden Project. It consists of two large heated greenhouses (called “biomes”) in a former quarry, the warmest has rainforest plants, the other has Mediterranean is the cooler ones (photos below).
Firstly kudos to those that masterminded this vision, I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
It has some of the feel of a centralist state “grand projet” like the millennium dome but the plants are impressive. They bang on about sustainability, which is odd as it strikes me that there’s little less sustainable than taking these plants out of their natural habitat and making financial losses looking after them. The lack of animals feels strange, and the disruption to the food chain means that many of the notices describe the actions they’re having to take to keep the plants in check (I’m certain the bird song was piped in electronically). I’m convinced the Eden Project could be a platform for so much more if they focused on addressing the elephant in the room: how to ensure the sustainability of man’s relationship with earth. In the end I almost regret providing details for them to claim gift aid – another hassle for this year’s tax return.
Back to the cycling…
My legs felt better than I had expected given the hills yesterday. I won’t bang on about the soul sapping rivers again but there was a welcome bit of relief from them during the day as the route took a disused railway line called the Camel Trail – flat and straight, yay!
I swapped the wet socks for a waterproof pair. I had brought them with me largely because I don’t want to bring them back. Cyclists will know that they’re a triumph of marketing over substance: “waterproof socks” sounds like exactly what you need to be written on the tin but the reality is that the rain simply runs down your leg into the stock which then acts like a balloon. In the heat they are uncomfortably sweaty. I can’t wait to jettison them.
I managed to complete just 90km which simply isn’t enough. It’s brought home to me the brutal reality that this isn’t a cycle tour with tea and scones like they picture on holiday brochures, I need to pull my finger out and can’t afford to waste mornings sightseeing.
90km was sufficient though to carry me into Devon. Cornwall has been hilly, a great warm up perhaps, though I hear that it is only after Bristol that the hills become more sensible. I’m grateful it has also been incredibly quiet and the lack of traffic has made it easier to acclimatise to travelling on the bike (in particular tapping the GPS screen). Presumably intensive farming means that the land doesn’t support very many and I haven’t seen much evidence of much other industry. Do the majority of youngsters leave for London?
I stopped for the evening at a pub figuring it would be quiet on a Monday. I’m not a morning person but organised with them to leave at 7am – I need to do a full day of cycling tomorrow.