I was getting sick of goodbyes. My sister and brother-in-law turned up at the doorstep and said they wanted to ride to Croft with me. Since I wasn't ready yet, I said they might as well come in for a coffee. But they said they wanted to go now - hey wait, I'm setting off to cycle to the other side of the world and I'm going to be gone for over a year, and you're hassling me for time? I'm never very chipper in the mornings, and I was glad to get that bout of goodbyes out of the way. They left without me.
In Northallerton I was meeting a few friends to ride to York. I was a bit worried that I'd set off later than planned, but I needn't have worried, since Jonathan was an hour later than me. Being late was a theme for the day - Phil and Jonathan and Elsa and I rode down to York through Topcliffe and Helperby Brafferton and Shipton and stopped for a pint (and a half) just outside York, which made us late for dinner at Kat's. Kat had asked me what food I'd miss most about England - I weighed up the options and told her that it would be a full roast dinner with Yorkshire puddings and roast potatoes and all the trimmings. Typically, she went and made this for me, despite having fractured her shoulder on the Friday night. Thanks, Kat! And to think, I'd nearly said I'd miss fish finger sandwiches the most...
Kat's house was full of kids and friends, and leaving was hard, but I rode out towards Beverley with Martin and Greg for more beer at a pub in Elvington. They both returned west, leaving me on my own for the last 25 miles to Beverley, where I was staying with my oldest friend, Matt. We've known each other for 28 years, on and off.
I knew I was late, so I rode along the busy A1072 from Market Weighton to Beverley. On a Sunday night there wasn't a lot of traffic, but as it was late the light was fading and I did worry a little about some of the driving going on. I wasn't, however, worried enough to miss the moon rising in front of me over the North Sea as I crossed the Wolds.
The road into Beverley is a beautiful run through the commons known as the Westwood. It was perfectly atmospheric in the twilight, and I was soon at Matt's for more beer and food. I noticed that I'd ridden 98 miles that day, and I was tempted to ride a few times around the block to make it up to a round hundred, but beer and food were calling, and I was already late.
That was my last goodbye of a day where there too many, but they were good goodbyes, and a day of seeing so many friends couldn't be such a bad day.
The next day I rode the 20 miles to Hull docks. Heavy seas and high winds when we were leaving port. Goodbye to these shores.