Saturday, 9 July 2011

Back into England

This morning I left Stephen and Marjorie Page's house near Bridgend with their son Mike, who drove me back to the Penarth end of the Cardiff Bay Barrage. They had been wonderful hosts and I was extremely grateful for the comfortable stay and the splendid meal last night.

Yet again it rained for the first hour or so, but it cleared up later, only to pour again towards the end of the day. Getting through Cardiff and Newport without the satnav was tricky; I had to rely on my sense of direction and hope for the best. At one point in Newport I asked a guy who had just parked his car, if I was on the right route. I was, fortunately, but he asked if I was doing the ride for charity and dug in his pocket and gave me a £2 coin for the funds. I'm amazed at how spontaneously generous most people have been.

The highlight of the day was a visit to the restored ('regenerated') harbour at Lydney. Not having been there before, I was keen to see the work that The Environment Agency had achieved. A few years ago the harbour and its locks were derelict and the entrance channel deeply silted. Now, it sparkles with activity and the inner harbour is full of leisure craft. The sun shone briefly too, which meant I could take some reasonable snaps.

As I crossed the bridge over the River Wye at Chepstow, I re-entered England for the second time. I loved Wales, but am pleased now that the roadside signs are only in English!

The A48 to Gloucester wasn't too busy, but everyone seemed to want to drive at high speed. This, combined with several tough hills, required even greater concentration than usual. It was raining again by the time I arrived at Gloucester Docks, where the warehouses have been turned into offices and accommodation. But the enclosed docks were full of boats, keeping the place attractive and 'alive'.

Tomorrow I will be staying with my daughter Louisa, who lives in Bristol.

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