We were speeding through the countryside north of London, on our way to Nottingham. I was trying to upload the latest episode of The Cycling Podcast, and was getting frustrated.
‘What’s the matter?’ asked Richard.
‘I can’t upload the episode. There’s no 4G, no 3G, nothing. Have you got a signal?’
‘No, nothing at all.’
I peered out of the window as we whizzed by the houses. ‘I mean, where the hell are we? How do these people watch Netflix?’
We passed through a station in a blur. It looked familiar.
‘Oh. It’s Harpenden.’ This is the train station closest to my house.
Richard laughed at this and then texted a couple of people to tell them about it. Now that absolutely everything I do and say is potential blogging material I felt this was spoilering my own blog.
We’re back on the road for the second half of The Cycling Podcast’s Grand Tour of (Parts of) Britain to support our new book, A Journey Through the Cycling Year. Daniel had flown in from Berlin for four stages of the tour, which involves some long train transfers.
It was quite a thrill to see the title of our show (or close enough) displayed outside the Nottingham Arts Theatre and although it was a slightly different event to the one we did in Salford with François and Orla last week, I thought it went well. There was another very impressive queue of people who wanted to have their books signed and it was nice to put a few faces to names and see someone I’d first met when standing out on the cobblestones near the Carrefour de l’Arbre at Paris-Roubaix a few years ago.
The only bad moment was when, during the obligatory football reference, I called Nottingham Forest Notts Forest, which is a definite no-no for the people of Nottingham. I may well have gone the whole hog and said that Brian Clough wasn’t much of a football manager. It’s one of those things I know but keep getting wrong – a bit like when in the podcast I repeatedly referred to the DCMS as the Department for Culture, Media and Sport when I know the D stands for Digital. It’s just one of those blind spots.
After the show, we went for the most expensive curry I’ve ever eaten. Richard booked the restaurant and when we arrived I thought there must have been some sort of mistake on the menu. The starters were the sort of price I’d expect to pay for a main course in London. My chicken jalfrezi was eye-watering, and not just because it was spicy. It was tasty but £18.95 for a curry seemed to me to be very steep.
If you’re reading this blog for the cycling stuff, I’ve written three parts of a series about Team Sky. I did chortle when someone on the internet described it as ‘Eight Years Covering For Team Sky.’ Parts four and more will have to wait a few days because I’m travelling from Nottingham to London and then up to Yorkshire for the final three stages of the book tour.
If you’re reading this for the hedgehog updates, you may be interested to know I’ve ordered one of these for our garden.