May 14 was our first real day back on the bikes after having them shipped over from Kenya. We rode from Edinburgh, Scotland to Penrith, England where my friend Jenny lives with her husband Martin and their two kids, Isla and Lewis. The last time I’d seen Jenny was a decade ago so it was obviously great to reconnect, go for some hikes, get to know their kids and laugh at the same dumb jokes we laughed at 20 years ago when we first met in Canmore, Alberta. My only regret was that we couldn’t have stayed longer. Five days just wasn’t enough!
One day from Penrith, Dave and I rode the bikes up into the hills to visit England’s highest pub. It wasn’t much of a day for views and unfortunately the café was closed but there was a take-out window open, so Dave and I ordered a couple beef pies and ate out on the picnic tables.
Many riders came and went as it’s a popular place for motorcycles. At one point we struck up a conversation with a guy named Ron and his friend Harry. Ron was a very excited man exclaiming over everything around him. He walked me over to a viewpoint telling me about the area. Somehow in a matter of minutes our conversation went into a full explanation of the trip Dave and I were on complete with mentioning our engagement.
Ron stopped in his tracks, then yelled across the parking lot over to his friend.
“HARRY!” Ron motioned for me to follow him. “These kids got engaged on Kilimanjaro! Harry!”
Harry was talking to Dave.
“Harry!” Ron was still yelling even though Harry was right beside us now. “This young man proposed to this young woman in Africa! On Kilimanjaro! And they’re travelling around the world! What an adventure!”
Ron’s enthusiasm was contagious. Dave and I were already smiling hard at being called ‘young’ but then busted into full out laughter when Ron enlisted a complete stranger, who’d just rolled up and had barely swung his leg off the seat of his bike, to take our photo. The guy took one but Ron kept insisting he take another and another. The guy finally gave Ron his camera back and walked off shaking his head.
Ron and Harry were heading in our direction, which was to continue up and over the hill, dropping down into some little towns and villages on the other side and loop back to Penrith. They suggested we join them for the afternoon, so we did.
The next stop was another café, where Harry bought us all cappuccinos and where Ron inadvertently insulted the café owner by bringing food from a fish and chips take-out to eat at the café. In Ron’s defense, we were sitting outside on the sidewalk but the owner came out, looked at Ron’s lap where he was trying to hide the take-out bag, called Ron cheeky then told him to eat somewhere else. Ron went over and sat on his bike to eat alone.
I got the feeling Ron accidentally insulted people on a regular basis but he had a heart of gold. In fact, while were sitting at the cafe, Ron disappeared for a bit. When he came back he gave me a box. Inside was a beautiful hematite bracelet.
I love hematite and was sincerely touched and surprised all at once!
Dave didn’t get a present but he did get to ride both Ron and Harry’s bikes around the block, which to him, was better than a bracelet for some reason.
From the last cafe we simply just rode to another one. Here, there was a cool old castle and a dairy farm selling ice cream, which Ron treated us to.
We won’t forget our afternoon with Ron and Harry!
Our time in England concluded with a welcoming stay at Jenny’s husband, Martin, parents’ house, a night with Adrian and Laura, friends I knew from Vancouver now living in Leeds, some backroad riding to admire more stone work, and a stop in London as Dave had never been there. It was a gorgeous day, which made this city especially fun for people-watching and activity.
We have to thank the universe for the great weather we had during most of our three weeks in the U.K—I know this is unheard of!
Next post—The Alps!
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