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Saltergate, 27 April, 2013

May 20, 2013

Late pen Saltergate

Belsize Squat”,

Four Skinny Indie Kids


After a very comfortable night (marred slightly for Nick by the fact that in my unconscious state I mistake him for a female companion and start stroking his leg) we emerge from the caravan wrongly assuming that everything’s going to be ok again.

SaltergateThings continue in a cheery vein over what is probably the best breakfast we’ve ever had at a B and B (thanks again Roger!) We chat with the Evertonians, and a couple who – without anyone making them! – have read this blog.

After bidding goodbye and profusely thanking Roger for his generosity, we leave town, and I notice that the rattling has stopped.  Unfortunately, I also notice that the bit of my bike that threads through the stem of the handlebars has gone.  Suspecting that this might be quite important, we stop off at a bike shop in Matlock, where I’m informed that this is “potentially catastrophic.”  He doesn’t have any spare parts, and we deduce that it must have come out last night when I turned the bike upside down to put the chain back on.

There follows a glum and fruitless hour scouring the streets of Matlock Bath in the rain for the missing part, before resigning ourselves to having to cut short the tour in the name of avoiding death.   So there’s no trip to Mansfield today, although we decide to go as far as Chesterfield (the bike man says it’s probably ok to ride, as long as I don’t hit a pot-hole at speed).

On the ascent from Matlock, we ride straight into a vicious hailstorm, and are pelted with stones the size of golfballs both up and down hill.  Spindrift stinging our remaining eye, we officially declare it National Shite Weekend.

Still, we make it to Chesterfield and bag a destination.  Saltergate is no longer the home of Chesterfield FC, and is in the process of being turned into a housing estate, but that means nothing to the Wripple Vetivers, so we pose for a quick snap, before the lady from Barratt Homes emerges from the Portakabin and tells us to get off the grass. “It’s only been laid three days ago you know….”.  She definitely knows where things are at B and Q.

Then more gloom.   Stopping off in a pub to shelter from the conditions – hail has turned into torrential rain – Nick realises that his jacket zip is broken and that he’s lost his house-keys  (later I realise I’ve picked them up accidentally, but not until after a period of acute panic followed by renewed despondency).

Clown BikeStill, we somehow make it to Sheffield, and to the Thornsett Guest House, where we encounter a new level of B and B-related eccentricity.  The landlady invites us to leave our bikes in her lounge, and over a cup of tea, tells us that “He” is mining for diamonds in Sierra Leone, leaving her alone to deal with difficult guests.   Apparently, it’s  a lucrative business, and one that any self-respecting, able-bodied man should be in: “I don’t know why you don’t go there”, she says to us,  as if we’re idle layabouts, who mis-spend their time cycling around England when there are diamonds to be gathered in Sierra Leone.    She also says she doesn’t mind telling us that she doesn’t like female guests, and recounts with relish the time she turned away a woman who arrived an hour and a half later than she said she would.

Vagueness clouds the details of our booking, but we end up in a twin room, before heading for an evening out with old friend Gary, who has a good laugh at everything we’ve been through, especially the state of my “clown bike”

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