Wednesday, August 08, 2007

The Cycle Ride - I made it!!

... and have brought back some pebbles from Brighton beach to prove it!

The Sussex countryside on an August evening was beautiful as I left West Grinstead and headed through Partridge Green , then past fields and woods to Cowfold and Bolney. I stopped briefly at Parkminster - the great Carthusian monastery of St Hugh, standing alone and silent up a driveway. No one was about, but you can peep through a window-slot in the great door to an inner courtyward with immaculate lawns leading to a great church.

But traffic roared terrifyingly along the lanes and roads, making life very difficult for the cyclist. I can quite see why most parents do not dream of allowing children to go about freely on their bikes or on foot- a restriction unknown to previous was bliss to arrive at the lovely farmhouse of friends near the village of Ansty and to be made welcome with cool drinks...I used up a lot of my kind hostess' heavenly lavender-scented bath salts and then we were sitting down to a chicken supper and swapping news and talk. G. and A. are old friends whom we first came to know through G's wonderful help with the International Congress for the Family back in 1990 - which coincidentally was held in Brighton (and, goodness, how prophetic it was in its call for a restoration of the rights and values of the family based on lifelong male/female marriage).

The next morning, after much consultation of maps, I was off to Brighton. It was delightful until I was forced to use the main road. I couldn't locate any cycle track - with relief I saw a sign marked "Equestrian route" and felt that, where a horse could go, a bike might too. This was great for a while, but then veered off up to the South Downs, whereas I needed to keep on to Brighton. It was horrible, in terrific heat, trying to keep safely up against the verge and away from the great trucks and lorries thundering past. Eventually, there was a turning where I pulled off, and while I was resting a rider came by: we hailed each other with the sort of vague solidarity that cyclists and riders have, and she told me there was a cycle track that began just across the bridge:"follow the pink track, all the way to Patcham". I did as I was told and I was soon on my way to the coast.

I was late arriving at St Joseph's, and midday Mass was just ending, but at the church door a lady greeted me with "Congratulations! You've arrived!" and in the cool church I was welcomed with evident relief by some kind people and was soon chatting to them and to Father Paul Williams, chaplain to Sussex University, who had just said Mass. I wanted some something formal to show my sponsors, so he wrote on a parish newsletter: " Joanna Bogle arrived safely, if hot, at 1.00pm on Tuesday 7th August."


Anonymous said...

Thank goodness you are home safely from your travels and Well Done You!!! What a fantastic achievement... I hope you are feeling very proud of yourself.

Have a good rest and keep up the good work
From your ever admiring and favourite Big Sis.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like your Guardian Angel had a busy time... Well done!

Mulier Fortis said...

Many congratulations, Joanna. How much money have you raised?

Anonymous said...

Congratulations - a wonderful achievement. Of course, I have forgotten where you said to send the cheque...


Anonymous said...

Congratulations Joanna, well done.

Fr Ray Blake said...

But next time Joanna, cycle past St Joseph's down to the pier, turn right, down to the old West Pier, look up inland and you'll see the spire, head towards it, that us, we'll be delighted to see, and give you lunch.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I hope you managed to have a nice swim in the sea to cool off. Are you cycling back again??