I've just spent a few non-biking days in the south of England. I flew down to London on Thursday to see Eric Clapton in concert with Steve Winwood. I wasn't too sure how the concert would go, not being a great fan of Steve Winwood; a first glance around the audience revealed more nose and ear-hair than flowing locks.... so thats an average age of 60 then - but as usual Ol' Slowhand managed to lift every song with a guitar solo in the middle;and the whole band excelled themselves with a version of Voodoo Child with the volume turned up to eleven - a good evening!
I was staying with number one son, but he flew off to Florida on a golfing holiday so that was me at a bit of a loose end on the hottest weekend of the year (so far). Luckily I bumped into an old lady friend, who mentioned that she'd never been to Kent (!). A quick glance at the atlas showed it was just a short train ride away, so off we went to
First stop was Rochester to explore the cathedral built in 604AD which seems pretty old, then the adjoining castle which looks a bit second-hand after King John tried to knock it down just after signing the Magna Carta.
That's the great thing about exploring England, everything is so old we talk about it as if it just happened last week, must be the influence of all the old Hollywood movies. Anyway, for some reason which now escapes me, we decided to walk to Canterbury cathedral along the Pilgrims way. As it was 45 miles away I had a suspicion we wouldn't make it, but who's going to argue with a woman? After a few miles we came upon an ancient burial tomb approximately 4000 years old called Kits Coty; it was once inside a burial mound but sometime in the past had been uncovered. 4000 years old and no-one had stolen the fence!
We carried on in the glorious blazing sun through the picturesque Kent countryside for the rest of the afternoon, but by the time we reached Maidstone, which is only 10 miles from Rochester, it was pretty clear we weren't going to make Canterbury any time in the next few days, plus my feet were killing me! So we stopped the night in an old coaching inn - which sounds quite romantic, except they had a 70's disco that night with a very average DJ and what must have been a huge bank of speakers 'cos it was louder than Eric and Steve the other night.
After a sleepless night we abandoned any idea of walking, and caught a train and bus through more quaint villages to Canterbury. Another glorious sunny day spent wandering around the old medieval cathedral and town - it really is amazing how many ancient buildings are still standing there.
Then to round off a perfect day, we came across a student concert in the park, lots of trance music and illegal substances in evidence - great stuff! Eventually we floated away and caught a train back to London tired, dirty but happy. I then spent Monday sunbathing in Richmond park before flying back to Aberdeen today, refreshed, sunburnt and ready to put some miles on that new bike.