Day 16: Last day in England

I set off from Colchester fairly early in the morning. I was quite fortunate to find a secluded park tooked away near the river that runs adjacent to the town. It was a comfortable but very damp night, with low lying mist present once again that morning. I cooked up sausages and beans again after a warm tea and decided to make most of an easy day and do some filming.

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For those that do camp, putting down a soggy tent is not fun, and makes it takes far longer to do aswell. After waking at 7:30Am I left just after 9AM, so quite a long start.

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I was soon on my way on the last 17 or so miles towards Harwich. The road was fairly flat with few hills to keep me from falling asleep. The countryside was fairly pristeen with fields lined with wild hedgegroves often fruiting with blackberries and rosehips. I took a good opportunity with break to take a few photos and videos along the way.

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There were a few older roads that I could follow alongside the A12, which was far more plesant than I thought it would have been. The sun was shining and the sky was blue. It was thrilling to have an easy day for once in england – a good consolation for the terrible weather it carelessly dished out over the past two weeks.

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I wasted a good amount of time recording some video using the tripod in many akward positions – some more sucessful that others. Back the A12 I was around 8 miles to Harwich and shortly after in the distance I saw someone walking down from a white land rover. I didn’t think much initially, but who gets out of their car and walks down the side of the road? The woman came up to me, and fanatically said “Brilliant Job. Unbelievable. Getting something tonight with this”. Momentarrily I asked if she wanted a photo, but said that’s fine. I look at the red note that she gave me. It was £50.

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That’s the first time I’ve been one, so I was both shocked and thrilled at the great generosity of an individual without asking questins. Perhaps a rickshaw speaks for itself. Tediously difficult and only the brave and mad will attempt it.

I arrived up in Harwich and met a Canadian couple cycling on a recumberant tandem with a trailer – very unusual and was cycling around Europe. It was my first cycle tourers that I had met on the trip so it was a great pleasure to talk to them. They had travelled in Eastern Europe last November and said that the weather was cold, and they had to finish at 3, but I hope that I will get down to Turkey by then. Another woman was waiting there, who lived in the Middle East and provided I got there would help share some contacts who can help me sort out paperwork.

Later in the small town of Dovecourt next to Harwich, I went to a coffee shop to frantically sort out an affair with a solar panel that had stopped working. I was interrupted from the window by a woman who pointed at the rickshaw and looked at me and nodded. I assumed she wanted a ride. Later she came in and asked if she could take her old mother on it too as it would make her extremly happy.

After closing hour, I went to find them and they were there outside. I took them around Harwich and thought it was an unbelievable and it truly made their day!. They were friendly characters and the old woman kept calling me ‘Chicken’ and emphasised with colourful language that probably made her the most enthusiastic person I have met so far. She made me two cups of coffee and a quick lunch to thank me for making one of her dreams come true. A young lad took it for a ride around the block with passengers and came back shattered – “gave my ticker a good go”, he said. I think from that he showed great admiration for what I was doing and it was interesting to hear abit about Harwich and what it’s like to live there.

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As you can imagine, martime towns are on the decline and having ask, finding work is difficult – to work at the local port there is a ten year waiting list. My final ride took them to the nearby shop for a drink and some cigarettes but it made her day. It came to six o’clock and I said my farewells since it would be dark in an hour.

I went up hill and found a fish and chip shop someone recommended earlier. It was owned by an Asian family, their father couldn’t speak english, but his eyes lit up as his daughter translated what I was doing and smiled when our eyes met. They took a few pictures and wished me well on my trip – I just wished they could have made the portion size larger…

I set up camp near the International Port ready for an early start. Inside the tent, I watched an episode of Jungle Gold and sent some emails to Warmshowers hosts to arrange some places to stay when I get to Holland. It’s like camping but with some luxury for once and if I wanted I can sit on the rickshaw! I just wish it had a fold out table and bed then it would be perfect.

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A few items that went missing or broke that day. Luckily that should be taken care of and a new solar panel will be shipped to a good friend Michael who lives in Dusseldorf, Germany. In short it had been one of the best days of the trip except for the breakages. Meeting straight on the enthusiasm for what I was doing in Harwich, I soon realised that there is a good chance that a rickshaw around the world may just work, but also be fun!