St Austell

On Monday afternoon my bike and I climbed onto the 4.44 to St Austell, it stretched out in the "bike bay" whilst I nervously perched beside it on an uncomfortable seat that faced inwards giving me a crick in the neck as I tried to look out of the window. Luckily I'd just got a copy of Mike Sagar-Fenton's book on serpentine so was able to get stuck into the rise and fall of the London and Penzance Serpentine Company and its rival the Lizard Serpentine Company. I became so engrossed in Victorian fire surrounds and the industrial landscape of Poltesco that it wasn't until we slowed down for St Austell that I realized my bike was buried under four others, luckily I managed to untangle it before the doors slid shut and we pedalled off through the traffic to the hospice. The September sun came out and the neat lawns and familiar hospice colours reminded me what this adventure is really all about.My carefully prepared pipe lagging all fitted and I'd remembered the masking tape, orange label and the Cycle Centre's advice to leave the chain on the inner gears so I left the bike all ready for its journey to London.
I felt sad leaving it and thinking about my recent dream of arriving in London with no bike.

St Austell is another world, a suburban world dominated by spoil heaps but I enjoyed the walk back to the station.

I had three quarters of an hour before the train so walked down into the town to look at Holy Trinity church, annoyingly the church yard was padlocked. I considered climbing over the railings but didn't want to get arrested or impaled at this stage so had to settle for enjoying the magnificent 15 century tower from road. Some unsympathetic PCC has plonked a horrible illuminated cross on the top but nothing could spoil the devils, the mythical lions sticking their tongues out, kings, wonderful gargoyles and faces with more grinning teeth than a Cheshire cat.

Rushing back up the hill to the station I was sobered by the simplicity of the Quaker meeting house, a perfect contrast, (sorry no photo).

Already, I miss my bike and can't wait to see it in London.