Jour Trois: The Girl Friday goes Royal - France on a roll -- depending on charm - CycleBlaze

June 13, 2011

Jour Trois: The Girl Friday goes Royal

Wow, what a fun day!

I bagged the idea of going to London. It would have been fun and there was a place that sells maps that would have been handy in France, but in the end I really wanted to ride, and I'm glad I did.

It started out overcast but dry and I made my way towards the town of Stains, where I bought fuel for my camp stove, and then on to Windsor Castle, part of which was a bike route along the Thames River-WOO HOOO!

I met and talked to one of the Lock Keepers who saw my bike and said, "Is that a bike Friday!?" Of course that spurred a conversation. He is retired and works there over the summer and we chatted about locks.

Closer to Windsor I passes a postal carrier, doing her mail route on, that's right, a bike! COOL! I stopped her and chatted for a minute and when I told her I was going to the castle she said, "It's Royal Ascot Day you know." Of course I hadn't a clue what Royal Ascot day is but apparently all the Brits know. "It's a two day event that culminates in the queen riding from the castle in a carriage that goes to Ascot," which has something to do with horse racing from what I could tell. "In fact William and Kate might be there but I don't know for sure." Wow, I was to be witness to a royal happening.

There seemed to be events for the public and two other events that required an invitation and would involve the royal family (or at least the queen). One event required a blue invitation and the other was green. An older lady was standing near the entrance of "green" and I asked what it was all about. "It's an invitation only ceremony," she said. Then she kind of looked at me, and then the Bike Friday, and said, "Do you want an invitation?" She had two and who ever she was meeting couldn't make it.

It was REALLY tempting! Me, part of a royal thing! But, in the end I had to decline. For one thing I had no idea what to do with my bike, which could not be brought in. The idea of mixing with men in 3-piece suits and woman in hats and tea dresses, while I was in grubby cycling clothes would have only been a small matter, at least to me. But the biggest thing is that this "thing" would last at least 4-hours and the lady said, "once you go in you can't leave until it's over." Apparently it was like the royal version of the "Hotel California."

In the end it was probably for the best. On my way out I heard the green crowd inside singing "God Save The Queen." The only words I know to that tune are "My Country 'tis Of Thee" and I doubt that would have gone over well with that crowd.

Still, I had fun watching all the other stuff. I spent most of the time talking to an Irishman who, like me, watched the goings on with a mixture of amusement and interest.

After all the fun I had lunch in the town of Windsor and then rode home, starting with a ride down "The Long Walk" in front of the castle, which was strictly forbidden for bikes. But, I figured if they caught me I would just play dumb about being there. I'm an American after all and what do we know?

By then it also sunny and a very nice! All and all a fun day!

Tomorrow I head to the coast!

Gotta say, I had some trouble riding on the wrong, I mean, left side of the road. It wasn't riding on the left that was the problem but trying to anticipate where cars were coming from on roundabouts and side streets was a little disorienting. These kind of intersections help a lot but they were few and far between.
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A lock on the Thames River
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This woman is a mail carrier, who delivers the mail on a bike!
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Windsor Castle
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When the queen is in residence there they hoist this flag
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There were lots of fancy people there, though to tell you the truth, I thought the guys looked a little like the Monopoly guy, the board game Monopoly that is.
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Here comes the band. Fancy duds if you ask me.
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Though this guy didn't seem impressed with any of it
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This would be your assault weapon brigade
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...and there goes the end of the parade into the castle
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The castle again, on my out, on the road I wasn't supposed to be on
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...The Girl Friday wasn't afraid to be on forbidden roads.
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Here is a thin little boat on the Thames. The owner was there and told me she can sail it all the way to the north sea via the river and canal system. Notice the solar panel.
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The Lock Keeper I chatted with
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By the way... This is the little village of the Bed and Breakfast I'm staying in
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...and the church of that village. Someone said it is over 500 years old.
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...and this is the memorial to those killed in the world war I. Notice all the names that are the same.
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Today's ride: 43 km (27 miles)
Total: 43 km (27 miles)

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