Travelling in the Time of Coronavirus-Quarantined week 2

Adventure, England, photography, Poetry, travel, United Kingdom

The Mighty Breva remain under the cover, apart from the occaisional shopping trip.

Week 2 of quarantine and its a time of discoveries and little pleasures.

It’s a time self contemplation.

A discovery:

A beautiful beer with a quirky connection.

To quote: This premium strength beer from Rother Valley Brewing Company commemorates the notorious gang of smugglers know as The Blues, who defied the Revenue through out Kent and Sussex for over 50years until their capture and transportation to Australia.

My great grandfather was a rustler not a smuggler and was transported to Australia during the Irish famine.

It’s seems an appropriate drink to have with a healthy home cooked meal

The little pleasures:

The small hardy plants of the salt marsh slowly bursting into life and the days ever so slowly grow longer and warmer.

A bit of self discovery:

Quarantine is a little bit like the kestral hovering, seemingly suspended in space and time. But there is a focus and a purpose.

Travelling in the Time of Coronavirus-Quarantined in England

Adventure, England, Europe, Personal, photography, travel, United Kingdom

Sitting in the warm sun on the deck of my Sister’s caravan in SE England

Listening to the Rolling Stones

It’s England

Exile on Main Street the album

The song Soul Survivor

Seemed right for the end of the first of week of a three week lockdown in the UK.



Its not quite the weather I was prepared for in Morroco

But I was able to buy a micfo fleece jacket before the major  shops shut


There was also the warm clothes I’d bought for Londons late winter.


Coming back from Spain I had planned to isolate for a couple of weeks to be prudent.


The UK govt decided I should join the population and make it three.


My sister had stocked the caravan with food for my arrival.


I should emphasise I had no Covid-19 symptoms when I returned from Spain and a week on still dont so all is good


The UK social distancing allow one session of exercise a day.


Im so lucky to have the Rye and the Rye Nature Reserve on my door step.


The walks through the marsh and the Shingle beach are restorative to ones soul

But being early spring in the SE of Britain

It’s not always warm and sunny

Especially when a nor’easter blows down from the Arctic

Like for most of us Social Distancing and Isolation is challenging.

Even for a piecemeal adventurer who has travelled a bit solo.

So to the 3 F’s, Family, Friends and Followers.

Thanks for keeping in touch in these strange times.

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus-the last ferry from Santander

Adventure, England, Personal, photography, Spain, travel

It was the last passenger ferry from Spain to the UK steaming into Santander

A small group of motorbikes

And lines of cars and campervans waiting for the exodus.

Like a mini Dunkirk escaping an invisable enemy

It was a different crossing to the previous I have had

No promenading the decks as all passengers were confined to their cabins

Running on the spot to exercise on the 24 hour crossing

Back in England

A walk along the beach in Rye Harbour

Through the marsh to gather my thoughts.

Tonight the UK has gone into lockdown.

Things change quickly in a pandemic.

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus-the Spanish lockdown

Adventure, Motorbikes, photography, Spain, travel

I arrived in Jerez de la Frontera the day the Moroccan Govt closed the border with Spain

That was the end of the Morocco trip

I had booked into the alburgue in Jerez. I extended my booking a couple of days so I could think of the next move

In Jerez some sherry tasting a must

No tasting for this adventurer

I guess it was a sign of what was to come.

So I had to console myself with some garlic prawns and red wine

The was hardly any activity in the Square. Some locals and a few tourists, from the USA and UK by the accent

The cafe owners strangely subdued. Maybe they new something was about to happen

Maybe the lost income from the covid19 pandemic was weighing heavily on them

That Saturday night the lockdown was proclaimed for 15 days

Everything to shut except food stores, pharmacies and petrol station.

Stay indoors

The streets of Jerez totally deserted on Sunday mid day

Initally I had thought Id sit out the lockdown in Jerez.

Sunday all seemed OK. A long term rate could be negotiated. Fix it up Monday morning

It was warm in Jerez, the alburgue was modern big grounds to exercise in and a pool. Perfect place to sit out the lockdown

Monday morning all had changed. Tuesday I had to be out.

Thinks change quickly during a pandemic!

Sunday France had declared a lockdown so travelling back through France was off the cards

Frantic work on the phone.

Booked a ferry spot from Santander to Portsmouth the next Saturday.

All the hotels were shut. Where to stay.

Thank you to the good hearted souls who have given me shelter via airbnb

It was a cold ride from Jerez to Valladolid where Im currently staying locked down

It had snowed the night before on the skifields south of Salamanca. But the sun was out

I pulled into a parking bay. Pulled out my little burner and made a coffee and had a snack of cheese, olives and manderine

And though Spain is beautiful even in the time of a lockdown

At 10pm at night in Jerez, in Valladolid and across Spain. People clap and cheer in appreciation of the health workers.

Cause they are on the front line of the pandemic

The Spanish are beautiful people

Travelling in the time of Coronavirus

Adventure, art, England, history, London, Motorbikes, Personal, photography, Poetry, travel
Lone tourist with mask on Lambath Bridge

London was surprisingly quiet as I wended my way to the Tate

Few tourists about

A lone fellow with a face mask taking pics of Parliament House

Even Borough Market had lost its hustle and bustle

It was an easy saunter past Lambath Palace

Past the war museum

Past typical London Street Art

And the Houses of Parliament to the Tate

And an Aubrey Beardsley exhibition

But that was a couple of days ago

And as the WHO declares a Coronavirus pandemic

I’m on the ferry from Portsmouth to Bilboa

Australia’s Summer of Discontent

Adventure, Australia, history, Motorbikes, photography, Poetry, travel

When I arrived back home in Australia in October 2019 the bushfires had already started.

The amazing temperate rainforests of Northern NSW and Qld were already on fire

Rainforests don’t burn we thought but things have change

Beautiful ancient forests dating back to Gondwanaland were on fire

It was heart braking

The long summer of bushfires cast a pall over the country

Dead wildlife, rare forests burning, towns and cities choking on the the thick smoke

My long Bike trip in Europe had left me sore, depleted and nursing some nasty Shoulder Tendinitis

So my mood was low and the acrid smoke that clung to the skies of Eastern Australia only darkened my feelings

Dark like the smokey sky and the burning bush

Dark and disturbing

On a ride to Omeo in Victoria just after Christmas , I was spooked by closeness of the fires the smoke so thick

The town cut off from electricity

An eerie smokey foreboding of the horror fires that were to be unleashed on New Years eve in the east Gippsland forests.

Spooked a bit by the smoke ad proximity of the fires I left

Leaving I had a fall off the bike on some leaf litter while pulling off the road

Dislocated thumb ouch, nothing todo but pull it back in and ride the 400+ km home.

So the New Year was seen in with a cast on my hand and Australia Burning

Indeed a summer of discontent

This summer say the sale of Futura

I did the last slip, scrub and paint

And as I write, she with her new owner is approaching her new home in Whyalla South Australia

As the final blow there is now Coronavirus

Emerging and spreading

Quiet leaving Melbourne Airport

Planes only half full

A friend has told me that I’m stubborn and wont change my plans for anyone or anything

Maybe right

As here I sit in London

I’ve collected the Mighty Breva

And on Wednesday I head to Portsmouth to start the journey south to Morocco on the ferry to Bilboa

The summer of discontent, though, is a weight on my enthusiasm

And as I have been reminded though I’m 35 between the ears im actually in a 62 year old body.

But in the world of the traveller a summer of discontent doesn’t lead to winter.

Its spring here

The daffodils are in bloom in Perivale Park

And life’s adventure must go on

A Bush Christmas

Adventure, Australia, history, Personal, photography, Victoria

A Bush Christmas is synonymous with Australia

But now much of our bush, Australia’s Bush is on fire

Not all

but too much

too much rare and precious flora, rare and giant trees and flowers

Much of Australia’s unique fauna, quolls, koala, snakes, goannas

to name a few

burnt alive in the fires

So its a sad Bush Christmas for those of us that love nature

her bounty and her beauty

The fires are not so large and intense in Victoria so I’ve taken some walks in the bush

The Ada Tree (above) is special, over 300 years old and a towering 75 metres high.

One of the last remaining giants of the forest

A Giant Mountain Ash found only in the southern parts of Australia

So few of these great trees remain

And in the damp gullies ancient Beech Trees remnants of Gondwana land and dominated the forests in wetter times.

The forest has its special sights sounds and smell.

See the tree ferns, hear the whip birds call

The birds have no voice in Parliament, no capital, but a beauty in their song

What a sad place it will be if we kill that song.

Happy Christmas and reflect and enjoy the wonderful things nature have given us

This Christmas think about how we can give nature a present

The last leg, back to England

Adventure, England, Europe, France, Personal, photography, United Kingdom

The music on the steel drums weren’t for me.

T’was apple harvest fair in Cranbrook, Kent.

As I rode past on the last leg of my long – just over 17,000 km from London to the Danube Delta and return.

By the time I reached the Fortified Farm Retreat in Deux-Sevres the weather had started to turn cool and damp

Rain and strong winds on the French coast made Calais and the Tunnel the best option for a Chanel Crossing.

Running north past the magnificent cathedrals

Im particular the Notre Dame in Amiens

To the Eurotunnel train and rendezvous with other riders returning from their summer winter tour

Back in London it wasn’t just the weather that was changing

So was the political climate and the response to climate change

Extinction Rebellion Trafalgar Square Occupation

Even the lawyers rebelled for the climate

I have avoided politically related statements in my blog but as I write large tracks of beautiful rare temperate rain forests in New South Wales, Australia are being destroyed in unprecedented bush fires. This is climate change and it can no longer be ignored.

Nimes to the Dordogne and beautiful gorge country.

Adventure, Europe, France, photography

The Pont du Gard sits near the southern end of a series of beautiful gorges that run over 400km north into the DordogneThrough the Causses et Cevennes and the pretty village of FloracRoads winding through the beautiful Gorge de la Vis and the Cirque de Navecelles.To Millau and the Viaduc de Millau, the tallest bridge in the world, that spans the Tarn Gorge with its steep precipitous cliffs.From Millau the roads continue through windy paths till reaching Cadouin in the Dordogne with its beautiful 12th century Abbey where a room can be found

And chamber music in the Abbey Church.

A taste of the Savoia, Annecy and Aix les Bains.

Adventure, Europe, France, photography, travel

The old town in Annecy built around little canals that flow into the lake is a treat

The lakes are the feature of both Annecy and Aix les Bains.

In Aix-les-Bains the steep cliffs around Lac du Bourget provide a riding and viewing pleasure

Especially when you find a little Cafe perched on the cliff edge

To enjoy a beautiful Savoia pinot noir and chucaterie selection.

I was lucky enough to be able to join in solidarity with French Climate Activists and march is support of the world’s beautiful natural places. The planet is worth making a stand for!