When I started writing this blog post I was tired, soar and had burns from stinging nettle. Now I am relaxed, rested, have a full belly and am in what is easily described as a Mecca for cyclist, The Cycle Hub in Newcastle. Oh the yin and yang of life.
There were two other highlights I forgot to mention from the tail end of my adventures in Edinburg. We played a cool word game one of the the last nights with a bunch of comics and I was paired with one of my best friends Dave. I thought for sure with our intellects and decade long friendship we would achieve victory. However we were handily defeated by every other team. Many of whom barely knew each other.
Also I co-hosted a crazy show that was a naked cabaret, where the audience and every performer was naked, things tend to get weird at The Fringe. The show starts with the Final Countdown being played and the audience and performers all simultaneously get naked. It’s very odd but was fun. On the show we had 2 naked comics, a hula hooper, a shakespearian satirist and it was all capped off by a naked unicyclist/juggler. Who’s final feat was carrying a random naked male audience member on his back as he unicycled. It was an impressive sight to behold. The set list was written on my bum, which is the final picture in this blog so only scroll to the very end if you want to see my butt.
Now to the cycling part of the blog. The first day of riding was straight forward I didn’t push myself hard and the scenery was wonderful winding along the north sea. I camped on the outskirts of town called Dunbar in some hidden bushes but didn’t sleep very well.
The 2nd day of riding was very challenging and for the first time there was one point that was so steep I had to push my bike. However the route wound through country sides and estates that could have easily been the backdrop to the Netflix series The Crown. In certain sections you bike along the coast in pastures surrounded by livestock and once I accidentally scared a cow that abruptly jumped out of panic and confusion.
I stopped in Holy Island, which is a funky bastion that can only be accessed at low tide as the road disappears into the ocean during high tide. You aren’t suppose to camp on the island but I managed to sneak into a secluded flower garden across from the castle. In the morning I ate on oddly well priced breakfast at quiet cafe. The cafe and town was super peaceful but as soon as the road opens tourists literally “flood” in.
The 3rd day I rode to Alnwick which was gorgeous but challenging, lots of climbing and headwinds. But the route rolled over pastures and was gorgeous. When I arrived I scampered over the walls of on old castle to camp. Only to realize that the ditch that functioned as a moat was filled with nettle, so I had nettle burns that kept me up most of the night. As well a dog sounded like it was being tortured howled all night. This was the 3rd night in a row I struggled to sleep, without proper sleep the muscles don’t get a chance to recuperate so the 2km ride to the McDonalds in the morning where I used internet felt almost impossible. I was exhausted so I reached out to a host that had an odd photo and a terrible write up. Plus no reviews this is word for word what was written in his description
“i like to offer some hot bath and a tea i process to feel comfortable and friendly with seen views . Honest and trustable person , loving nature and hoamn been contact ,As al;one many years some fun will be nice love lycra and the feeling up in the body when tired.”
But I was tired it was raining and I am a smelly Canadians hippie. So I suspected I was unlikely to be murdered or forcibly seduced. It was by far the strangest host I’ve ever stayed with, he was just on odd person. English wasn’t his first language nor do I think human was his first species. He seemed like an alien wearing a human outfit trying to fit in. Highlight quotes were when he left for a few hours “don’t be naughty while I’m gone” and “don’t open any of the curtains cause the neighbours are nosey”. There were lots of baby wipes around his home and some lube on his kitchen counter. I chose to sleep on my camping matt on the floor.
Evidently I never felt totally comfortable and he seemed harmless but SOOOO creepy. I didn’t take him up on any of his offers to hang out. The scariest thing was in the middle of the night I heard some footsteps, and for the first time ever I experienced sleep paralysis. My brain was awake but my body wouldn’t move and in my mind I was like “this is it, this is how i die…” But I woke up the next morning murder free and he was kind enough to have bought me a chocolate bar for the road. On departing he said “I feel like I am loosing a close friend” while I hastily packed my gear and headed on my way.
Fortunately the following days ride was wonderful with a tail wind. Numerous old castles, english countryside and easy riding. When I arrived in New Castle I had a lovely host name Laura whom was doing some painting with her mother. They we’re both kind and personable and we laughed about my previous nights experience. In the morning Laura and I had coffee and I biked to the ferry terminal to purchase my ticket.
I had intentions of leaving on the 7th, but the earliest ferry I could get was on the 9th. The stupid things is if you buy a ticket in person they charge you and extra 20pounds! I attempted to use my credit card and visa debit to buy online but banks don’t like to cooperate, so while I was trying to resolve the issue with one of my greatest foes, the bank! The lovely women working Judith waved the extra fee and just took my cash.
So that’s been my last week and a bit, I am 2 days late on this blog but that’s life. I have a great host Tim Owen tonight who is a retired doctor. I have already made some friends here in Newcastle and have a show tomorrow night. I’ve reached out to the local comedy clubs to try and score some more work, so should be a good few days here in Newcastle. Thanks for the read.
And as per my warning the last picture is of my butt so look at your own risk!