Liverpool to La Salette - Day 2

Day 2 required me to ride across or around London to get to Dartford, Kent. I plumped for through London, but forgot to sort out beforehand how and where I would be crossing the Thames! Aaahhh... mistake. Ended up wasting about an hour before eventually heading back west towards Tower Bridge (see photo).

The final stretch to Dartford and my friends, John + Kathie Wilkinson, was made more difficult by a strong headwind and some heavy showers. The weather was doing its best to delay me.

Good to see John + Kathie again. I first met them in 1993 when taking a group of 6th Formers from St. Francis Xavier's College, Liverpool (where I still work) to Caldey Abbey on Caldey Island (off Tenby, S. Wales). John + Kathie were also there on retreat having recently retired. We have kept in contact ever since.

John cooked me a lovely meal and we chatted for hours. Kathie was unfortunately sick in bed but in good spirits when I went up to see her.

Another unexpected blessing (well, 4 really) during the preparation of this cycle came with the fact that once I'd chosen the shrine of Notre Dame de la Salette in the south-eastern French Alps as my destination (I wanted to mark the 150th anniversary of the apparitions in Lourdes but had already ridden to Lourdes twice), I belatedly realised that there were four friends or couples' houses I could stop off at conveniently spread along the route to La Salette: one in England (Dartford) and 3 in France (from my 5 years of study there). And all were going to be around when I passed through.

This was a help in motivating me to keep pushing hard even when the headwind was strongest. I was looking forward to getting to my evening destinations and spending time with old friends. A source of great blessing for me.

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