I'm not sure if this is going to be one of those long emotional posts or not. I don't think so. I took a couple of days and went to visit family, and my Dad's memorial tree. Pretty much all my family live up Derby way so I jotted a quick route on a post-it, stuck it to the screen on the Tenere and headed off along some interesting roads.
There's a lot to be said for avoiding the motorways.
I had a little P for Piddle break on the Alcester road and enjoyed a sausage butty and a creme egg for lunch at the same time. Long gone was the heavy rain of Monday, but a sneaky cloud kept appearing in my peripheral vision and eventually our paths crossed around Nuneaton.
First stop was my cousin's in Stanton-by-bridge, where I got to catch up with her two lads who despite being under strict instructions that they weren't allowed motorcycles until they were 40, seemed to rather enjoy the Tenere and my kit.
After a good few hours there it was onto my mate Dave's where he and his good lady Sarah put me up for the night. Thanks both, I appreciated it.
This morning dawned bright and I headed off towards the Peaks where my Uncle John has a smallholding farm. Last time I was here was about 25 years ago we reckoned. He and my Aunty Maureen gave me a walking tour of the farm and as we spoke about various things it came out that he'd been there for 40 years now. They've just got 3 goats now, the eldest being 20 years old. At one point they were up to 13!
It was really great to see the work he's put in, how the trees have come along and how the land is being cared for. The arable sections are all ploughed by horse and they have two good looking stallions in the stables.
We had a tea and home made jam tart break and chatted about life in general. The caravan makes a great tea room, and as we sat out listening to the thrush calling and not much else on the breeze I thought they had a pretty good lot.
From there I went to visit my Dad's memorial tree in a nearby woodland. Seems strange that it's 14 years now since we buried his ashes there. With a few words spoken I set off to my Nannie's down in Mickleover. It's been a few years since I saw here but she was looking well for someone in their mid 80s. I was spoiled again with homemade scones and mug of tea and we sat out and chatted about the garden and nothing much in particular. Time passes and soon it was time for me to wend my way South again to home. I made the mistake of using the motorway and realised that I really do hate the bloody things.
A bag of freshly cooked fish n chips from my local chippy and the last few miles drifted by happily enough.
I shan't leave it so long next time.
4 weeks ago