Slipping silently from shire to shire

Nothing went wrong today. Even the damp start was bearable, perhaps because the day was warm, if rather muggy. The roads were heavy though, and my legs ache now with the effort they put in. We saw sandstone cottages, and churches with tall steeples, and fields enclosed in dry stone walls.

We saw no county boundary signs though, ‘slipping silently from shire to shire’ as, I have it in good authority,  FJ Urry used to say in Cycling between the wars. Northamptonshire, Bedfordshire and Huntingdonshire today I think; from Earls Barton to St Neots via Sharnbrook and Thurleigh. Confusingly, a tree lined track marked Three Shires Way, which we had a quick leg stretch/wee stop on, seems to link Cambridgeshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire.
The trees are just about to turn, and a prematurely red virginia creeper reminded me of the Angel Hotel, and Autumn in Bury St Edmunds.
A layby somewhere near Yarls Wood Immigration Centre had a couple of large notices for ‘litter louts’, which seemed to be effective as the area was rubbish-free.
The Camping and Caravanning Club site at St Neots is on the Ouse, and we accessed it via a cycle path, of which there are many here. The site is surprisingly busy, although not full, with relieved grandparents perhaps, making the most of the kids going back to school, before it gets too cold and dark for camping.
Raisin and I walked into town along Ouse Way, a great expanse of meadow and parkland by the river that must all be floodplain.
Google Maps was taking us to Fisher’s Ironmongers, where I hoped to buy meths for my stove. When I couldn’t see the shop, a local lady told me it had closed two months ago. However, a cheapo household goods shop nearby sold me some, and I was so happy at the prospect of having coffee at breakfast time and hot food for tea that I bought some cakes in Greggs to celebrate. It would have been better to have bought vegetables but I didn’t have that option. After a bath, broccoli is what I most crave. We passed a couple of farm shops on the ride today that sold fresh veg, but at the time I didn’t think I’d be able to cook it, because of the meths situation.
I am too tired to report further. The rain kept me awake most of the night; it really is loud on taught canvas 8 inches from one’s head. I bet Chris Froome doesn’t have difficulty sleeping on rest days. Tomorrow should see us in Cambridgeshire. Not far now.

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