Wednesday 23rd July: All Saints Landbeach

Breakfast in Finedon — what a breakfast it was! The parishioner who hosted us had it all laid out before we even got up. As usual Jo was the first one ready, and I did feel sad as I got into a car to be driven to a station while Jo and Clive cycled off… but I made good use of my train journey to write a blog post on hospitality and vulnerability. Little did I know that the events of later in the day would drive the point home!

The plan was that I’d get to Cambridge, find myself some lunch, go back to our kind hostess there to retrieve my bicycle and meet Clive and Jo on the guided busway to cyclg into Landbeach with them. It seemed like a good plan, on the face of it; they could get in touch at Huntingdon and I could set out then, knowing there would be plenty of time.

It didn’t work out that way. I was packing my panniers when I got a message from Clive, so I gave him a ring; or maybe he rang me. He’d left his camera at Graffham Water, they’d come a few miles since then, and he needed to go back for it. Fair enough, there was still plenty of time… Jo agreed to stay with some of his bags so he could make his little detour faster, and I was on standby to go straight to Landbeach if necessary. I waited. I wrote half a blog post about leaving things behind. I waited some more. Clive found his camera (in his pocket…) and headed back. Eventually Jo started to worry about the time, so left Clive’s bags with someone else and started making her way to Landbeach, so that there would be at least two of us for the concert; not long after, I set out. Clive and Jo had my Sustrans maps so I used Cyclestreets to tell me how to get there. Unfortunately once the pink “you go this way” stripe is on the route it’s pretty hard to tell, on screen, whether it is a road, path, bridleway… it turned out that about 2 miles of it was indeed bridleway, with deep ruts and long grass; the direct route was not the fastest! But I made it in time, and worried about where Jo had got to. She wasn’t coming a huge distance and was by far the swiftest cyclist of us all, having been wise enough to pack lightly. I didn’t have much reception in the church, though, and in any case her battery had died. So I planned to re-arrange the running order a bit, playing the organ first, and if necessary doing more audience participation than usual and talking more to pad out the programme items I could do on my own.

Ten minutes before the start of the performance, breathless and sunburnt, Jo turned up. She’d had a flat on the way, and if someone hadn’t stopped to help her she would have been even later. Clive did eventually join us, part-way through Compline.

Again we needed to split up in order for our hosts to accommodate us. Clive and I lucked out and not only were fed supper and breakfast but also had all our laundry done and were given packed lunches. This really helped after a physically (for Clive, at least) and mentally exhausting day.

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