This particular 'Joe' has now clocked up 90 days on the road. Just eight days to go. Of course, I'll be pleased to get back, but I'm still enjoying the ride so much that it'll be a pity to have to stop!
When I was in the extremities of Scotland and Wales, I didn't think about what it would be like to be near the end of the journey; I was just enjoying each day as it came, savouring the scenery and meeting pleasant people. Now I am near the end, I'm starting to look back on earlier parts of the ride, especially those with dramatic weather conditions, or where I'd like to return to on a different sort of holiday.
I've also had time to reflect, and to ask some questions about myself. What sort of person do I want to be? In what way(s) should I, or do I need, to change?
I learnt an important lesson from a 75-year old gentleman who ran a restaurant in Bude. He asked me a question: "If you try to give me something and I refuse to accept it, who does it then belong to?" The answer of course is that first person. He then likened this rationale to giving someone a hard time, or moaning about something to another person. If you decline to accept whatever it is they are saying, then the problem stays with them, not with you. I may not have expressed this very clearly, but I was quite impressed at the time.
Starting tomorrow, when there are seven blogging days remaining, I plan to give a daily 'do' or 'don't' which I intend to stick to for the rest of my life. Whether others agree with me is irrelevant. There'll be nothing earth-shattering, just some thoughts and beliefs that have crossed my mind as I've cycled nearly 6,000 miles. I've had plenty of opportunity to reflect.
Back to today, which was a doddle. I called in at the Port of Shoreham, one of my major sponsors, then in Hove visited my 'Uncle' Bill, who will be 92 in a couple of weeks' time. Then on to see Lucy and Jane (ex New Zealand) who also live in Hove. So, three fairly short visits, but I still made Seaford by 15.30. This evening I met ex-Norwich chess player Keith Osborne, who now lives in the town. He treated me to a beer and a meal at a local hostelry.
I'm bang on schedule and for anyone interested in welcoming me back, I plan to arrive at the Old Custom House in Ipswich at 16.00 on Friday 5th August.