Friday, March 23, 2007

Between

4) Night Journey

Summer holidays! He left Staines at 4 o’clock on a sunny afternoon. Cycled northwards.

High Wycombe… Aylesbury…( people were doing the evening shopping) Buckingham (the shops were closed, people strolled to and fro) Night shades and rain. Welcome gleam of an inn window in an unknown village! When he came out again, the night was truly upon him. Towcaster and the main road. A lorry pulled up and the driver offered him a lift. So they plunged through the night, his cold left arm holding the cycle on the running board.

Through Daventry. Almost within sight of Wolfhampcote… He left the lorry at Coventry – about midnight, or later. The most unpleasant part of the journey followed. Cold, silent, desolate, lonely. Strange roads. Deserted towns. Patches of icy fog, as though it were winter. He was exhausted. At Leicester he had a cup of tea and a bar of chocolate. Energy and life returned!

He cycled through Leicester with a crowd of cyclists going to the sea side. Past the British United office. Ex-no.1123 gave it a glance as he passed… The eastern sky was dull red. A boy and girl on a tandem greeted him “Good morning!”

In Mountsorrel, the quarry village, he heard the scream of an alarm clock.
Nottingham lay at the travellers’ feet at last! One hundred and twenty miles and the night, were behind him.

He came home in the fresh dawning. Six o’clock. (Those first hours at home! How glorious!)

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