A day or so after I got back I was off to Ipswich for a long weekend staying with Te Puke & Palmy friends – Louis & Emma. They have been in the UK for a little over a year & seem to be quite enjoying living in Ipswich. It was great to catch up - & quite like I remember flatting: generally eating, watching sport & a bit of mountain biking. Louis & I loaded the two bikes (it's good to know bikes can fit in Micras with the seats down) & set off north-east for Thetford forest. My first singletrack in the UK this visit. I see now why Suffolk is known for being flat – we didn't exactly have a lot of climbing to do. There were four different trails, apparently of varying difficulty, & we did the two “hardest” ones. It was great to be out riding in the forest & there were plenty of people out & about (but not too many on the tracks). We managed to occupy ourselves for three hours & Louis did heroically when the seat on his borrowed bike worked the bolt loose & kept tilting up at the front. There were some nice little bits of flowing singletrack, but these were few & far between & generally the trails seemed poorly designed. I got quite excited when I saw these signs -– warning of almost certain death, but in the end it was less challenging than the Diamondback/Dipper in the Redwoods & one small part of it was quite fun. Nonetheless, it was great being out & I more than happy to go out for some doubletrack around some woods closer to Ipswich on Sunday afternoon.
The two weeks since then have been spent organising things, brief bike rides (
Two weekends ago was a big family get together for Trish's (the second cousin I'm staying with) birthday. It was great to catch up with quite a few people – most of whom I had met last year. I have since seen photos of our trip in 1987 to the UK that I have not seen before – the infamous Renault 11 makes an appearance & I was a lot cuter.
Saturday last, Trish & I took a pleasant little day trip to Canterbury (a certain line from The [real] Office keeps coming to mind). After lunch, we took a look around the Cathedral (didn't see Blackadder around or Baldrick trying to sell dubious relics). In some respects it was another great big cathedral (more of which I'm sure I will see) – but I was surprised at how it kept on going, it was a lot larger than I expected on first sight. Afterwards we took a stroll along the river in part, & then around a lot of the old walls of the city. It was warm close day & there were plenty of people out enjoying the weather & I was surprised at how many teenagers & students were around.