Week 9 day 58 – Wednesday 20th May

  • 65 minutes at 120 watts
  • Max heart rate = 144 bpm
  • Calories = 551 (total so far 19493)
  • Distance covered = 23.41 miles
  • Total distance so far = 727.33

I kept the programme at 120 watts as planned and managed to maintain my mileage at 23.41 miles. Phil Collins was singing along with us on his No Jacket Required album. I ignored the sentiment in his Long, Long Way to Go – as there certainly isn’t; we are on the home stretch! Take Me Home did strike a chord though!

I leave Hardwicke behind and continue south west, staying fairly close to the Severn. After a couple of large loops, the river really starts to widen out here and it is an ideal location for the famous Slimbridge Reserve, home to the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust started by Sir Peter Scott in November 1946. 

Besides having the world’s largest collection of captive wildfowl, Slimbridge takes part in research and is involved in projects and internationally run captive breeding programmes.

To the east, I’m passing the southern section of another ANOB, the very popular Cotswolds and with a short detour, it would be well worth visiting what is perhaps the most important and widely known arboretum in the UK, Westonbirt. 

The OId Arboretum, dating back to the 18th century, is a carefully designed landscape offering beautiful vistas, stately avenues and a host of rare and exotic trees. Silk Wood is more of a traditional working woodland and dates back to the 13th century. Together they cover approximately 600 acres and are home to some 18,000 trees and shrubs. All sorts of events and workshops are held throughout the year including a magical winter wonderland walk. 

My final destination for today’s ride is the village of Nibley. It all gets a bit confusing round here as there is another Nibley on the other side of the Severn, a Nibley Green, famous for being the site of the last battle fought in England between feudal magnates and finally North Nibley about 10 miles north of my destination but which tends to get called Nibley. I bet the postman gets confused! 

At North Nibley, we find the elegant Nibley House. one of the few Georgian great houses that is still a private family home, which is surrounded on all sides by gardens, farmland and glorious Cotswold views. Although it is still a working farm, they have really diversified and the manor is home to a children’s nursery, offers B&B and camping, and is a venue for weddings and other events. The most notable of which is the now annual Nibley Festival.  It started in 2007 as a way to raise funds for local charities and has grown over the years to its current capacity of around 4500, raising £30-£40m for various charities. It’s aimed at a family audience and this year’s is planned for 3rd– 4th July – fingers crossed for them. 

As we have become aware on this journey, there have been many events cancelled, both national and personal, and we all find ourselves in a very different place from where we had envisaged. Weddings, parties and holidays have been put on hold or lost all together, jobs have been furloughed or just ceased to exist and we have all had to learn a new approach to life. 

I came across an interesting little tale this week which I think sums it up well.

Welcome to Holland

Imagine you had booked a holiday to Italy; you had done the research and bought all the right clothes and guide books, but when the plane landed, you heard the words ‘Welcome to Holland’. And then you find that there is nothing you can do about it and you have to stay there.

You can either moan and complain about your lost holiday or, you can rethink your wardrobe, order a new guide book and phrase book and start to look around you and make a different plan.

Gradually you begin to discover that Holland has tulips, Holland has windmills and Holland has Rembrandt. If you spend the time mourning that you didn’t ‘go to Italy’, you will miss out on what you could gain by adjusting to being ‘in Holland’.  

So, yes, life is certainly not what we planned, but for most of us it’s not all bad. The best thing we can do is keep adding to the gratitude list.