Saturday morning Nali and Grandpa DAVE visited to say a final farewell to Super Mum and the grandchildren as they start their road trip across to the East Coast of Australia. In the afternoon, the Nicholls family dropped in and Eloise showed off her monorail construction skills.
During the afternoon shop, we picked up some Chippy salt to bring back to the UK, one for us and one from Emma. For a country that prides itself on its chippies, we are not sure how they have not discovered Chippy salt yet.
Shortly afterwards, on the dark side of the
moon world, Liam was up early preparing for the Unsponsored Tour Over the Top, as opposed to the Santos Tour Down Under, which wound up in Adelaide last week. The spontaneous plan was to cycle from Glasgow to Edinburgh. To ensure this was done properly, I had to start from Glasgow George Square with the finish line being Edinburgh Castle. After I had put on two pairs of socks I jumped on an early train, to conserve my legs, and headed away from Edinburgh. The early start did not feel too bad as I am still jetlagged and waking up around 5am. If I was struggling with sleep, it surely was not going to be a problem after the day was done.
A quick photo at the start line, this was it, pedal, pedal, pedal. Admittedly I was a bit anxious, not entirely sure what I had got myself into.
The jet-lagged, unfit, old man on his steel framed Brompton who had done no training rendezvoused with the youth of today on their fancy Cambridge-designed carbon framed bikes. By this stage, the sun had arrived, although it did not feel much warmer. We started to follow the canal which had a thin layer of ice on the surface.
The youth of today set an absolutely cracking pace. I wish I had taken more photos but I was deeply focused on channelling every watt my body could produce to stay in their slipstream. It was without a doubt the most picturesque scene I have cycled through.
We were all feeling pretty good as we arrived at the Falkirk Wheel for a midday snack, it was also nice to warm up inside the tourist centre, we should have gone with triple socks. Curious George’s pokemon duck “bell” was a good laugh, although its effectiveness was questionable. The kids would have loved it, might have to get them one for their scooters.
Unfortunately, the inevitable happened and we had our first flat tyre for the day, perhaps it was from the incredible cobbled path aqueducts. We passed over five of these throughout the journey, they were breathtaking how high they were. There was a brave and happy Scot paddling his way across with no worries in the world.
The miles kept ticking over as we continued down this beautiful path. On one of our breaks, Kirsty was keen to try the Brompton but could not handle the power of its V10.
We had all done well, impressively the Brompton had not skipped a beat. I was in struggle town for the last hour as we approached Edinburgh, by this stage I did not have a choice, I had to get to the end. After 91km and just before the six-hour mark we arrived at CG’s grandparents in Edinburgh. We had done it, well almost, I was not at Edinburgh Castle yet, I could see the finish line, the next problem was the finish line was high in the sky, why do I do this to myself?
I set off for the finish line, this was the final leg, the glory leg. Imagine the Champs-Élysées stage in the Tour de France. As I mentioned, the last hour into Edinburgh was difficult, the climb was even more challenging. Luckily without the youth of today, I could potter up at my own pace. I had to walk the final hundred-odd metres up the Royal Mile as I did not have any desire in dislocating both my wrists on the Old Town’s cobbled roads, again just like Champs-Élysées.
After a difficult day, I was proud of myself, especially as I was in Australia four days ago.
The most impressive point was the three of us had ridden for almost six hours within a couple of feet from the canal and none of us had fallen in. I hung around the top of the hill for a long time, soaking up the incredible views while resting my legs. Eventually, after I had conjured up enough physical and mental power to regain limited control of my limbs, I started the descent. I may not have been thinking this at the top of the hill, but who would have thought such a small bike would be so much fun?
I thought about heading to the Edinburgh Brompton store to receive my gold medal, but my legs and mind would not get me there. No offence Edinburgh, I don’t want to see you for a long time. The Grassmarket was in full swing, but I did not need a market, I needed a train.
By this stage I was feeling pretty sleepy so grabbed a terrible coffee, oh yeah, that’s right, I’m back in the UK, missing the Grandpa DAVE coffees already. I timed the train home perfectly. After almost six hours on the Brompton, I had some pretty radical helmet hair.
This weekend was the final of the Australian Open, “Aryna Sabalenka converted on her fourth championship point to win her first major singles title, defeating Elena Rybakina in a tense three-setter in the Australian Open women’s final”.
Sunday morning a light bulb clicked and Lachlan had mastered the scooter. With his newfound confidence, he was bouncing off the walls and darting all over the place.
Today we piled back into the car for another long drive, this time for a sneak peek at the Aunt and Uncle’s new house and to check on the River Murray water levels, the water level were still so high we had to go the back roads to get there. The kids were excited to be reunited with their second cousin again.
After Liam had finally woken up from a big day yesterday he called Lachlan who of course was running about juggling.
In the morning I watched, the men’s AO final as “Novak Djokovic has won his 10th Australian Open title and equalled Rafael Nadal’s record of 22 men’s grand slam singles titles after what he called the “biggest victory” of his life”.
Surprisingly, the legs were feeling pretty good, I did a few laps around the neighbourhood to stretch them out. Grandpa DAVE the possum beanie and gloves were A+, cheers.
It was then home time to sit on the couch for a James Bond marathon.