At the weekend we went to our usual PYO farm and picked red and white currants and strawberries. Not the best crop, the red currants were already very heavily picked (pigeons I'm told) so we didn't get as many as planned, and though the strawberries were large and plentiful they weren't that tasty.
As in previous years I mashed up the red and white currants (about 50:50 this year) and filtered the juice out. That takes more than 24 hours so I left it all trickling though in the fridge over night.
This evening after dinner I filtered the juice again (it was a bit cloudy) and got 1.3 kg of juice. To that I added 1.3 kg of fair trade sugar and the juice of a frozen and defrosted lemon. Put the lot in a jam pan and bring up to the boil, skimming off any scum that forms on the top. Once it's boiling, it should take about 5 minutes to reach the setting point. This year it made 5x370 g jars, a better yield than last year but still not as good as the best years.
Interestingly, this year we have had a cold winter and an early and very warm spring and the fruit came to full ripeness about 1 month earlier than in previous years.
Final day in Paris. A second rest day and no bikes again. Today we went looking for things we didn't find yesterday, such as the IGN shop hiding behind BHV.
My hands are still feeling very strange - that's going to take longer to fix than I first thought!
Tomorrow we take the Eurostar back to London.
Official rest day, which is very good as I woke up with no sensation in my left had and pins and needles in my right one... No bikes today, so we went shopping on foot today.
We went to the Go sport Velo shop and Franscoop to have a look at bikes, which is much easier than riding them intercity!
To Paris! We started on time, full of food, pain-killers and hope. Today is as long and steep as day 1, so we had to be sensible after day 2 hadn't gone so well.
Most of the way was on smaller empty roads in Normandy, we had lots of fast down hills and a few slower up hills. I got stung twice by bees/wasps through the air vents in my cycle helmet!
As we got closer into Paris, the roads changed to busy in-town traffic or town parks. We had a brief down pour but as we got closer to our goal the sun shine came out!
More or less on time we arrived at the Eiffel Tower - we had done it. We hacked through Paris traffic to another in-laws house for tea! Over all a rolling distance of 328.16 km (door to door), an average speed of 17.4 km/h (better on day 1 and today), max speed of 56.9 km/h on a 2 km 7% downhill and a total rolling time of 18:48:59.
Today was a planned rest day with the in-laws. Lots of sleep, lots of food and lots of pain-killers.
We had a sensible breakfast at the B&B and set off for the ferry terminal in Newhaven. After a very long time waiting in the cool morning air we were off for France.
The crossing was uneventful and we arrived on time in the port of Dieppe. We cleared customs and went down the D1 for the start for the "Avenue Vert".
Once we joined the Avenue Vert our problems started. We had head winds almost all the time, it was clear that we hadn't fully recovered from yesterday and I had horrible back pain most of the afternoon. Even though it's a dead flat cycle route, requiring no navigation effort at all, we were travelling slower than yesterday.
After about 40 km we called out in-laws in Normandy for a rescue. Not a good day.
We set off early in the morning for Waterloo station. The train was busy but not full and we had no problems with the bike reservations - SWT can be a pain in the arse.
We started the actual bike ride around 10am as we threaded through the not so busy streets of London. People may have once said they were paved in gold, I'd say they were paved in rubble! It was very slow going and it wasn't until we were long free of the core of London that we were able to pick up any speed. Going over the North and South Downs via our route wasn't too bad and we made it to our B&B in Seaford in good time.
We had a light dinner and plan to turn in early for a good night's sleep. All things considered a good day, nice sun shine and plenty of Soreen to keep us going.