It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.
The Lord of the Rings is one of the great works of twentieth century travel literature and, cycling and camping over the Sussex Weald, I could very well be in Hobbiton.
Sunday was a mizzling day, so I was happy to fall in with the Yes Tribe tourers that I mentioned in last week’s update. They were riding to Brighton; I was riding to Brighton, so I switched off my phone and followed the tyre spray of fellowship.
Lockdown has opened up unexpected narratives for all of us and I’m still re-sourcing my conversational voice with company. At one point, over a menu in a Lebanese restaurant, it was gently pointed out that I was shouting.
In Fishbourne, I met a construction contractor who’s lost tens of thousands of pounds, with minimal support from the government, and has been forced to lay off his workers while trying to plant 76 lamp posts in 48 hours.
But I’ve also stayed with a fabulous Hastings-based performer/marine biologist who’s found a growing audience of kiddies and adults to introduce to sea creatures. In this video, I have a chat with the one and only David Annette-borough:
I’ve met adventurers, artists, office workers and people of all persuasions shrugging their shoulders and, by and large, following the one-way system of life.
While in Brighton, I stayed with fellow Thighs of Steel alumnus Rob Wills, a natural storyteller in multiple artforms: graphical and musical as well as conversational. He kindly gave me permission to record one of his songs for you.
So, without further ado, hit play on the audio up top and enjoy The Hobbit Song. Oh, and I’ve bought a bugle so you can also enjoy my bugling. If you’re subscribed to my Youtube channel then you can listen there too (sadly without my bugling at the beginning…)
You can get your dirty little mitts on Rob’s beautiful animal, astrolabe and poetry inspired art in the form of absurdly affordable giclée prints, greetings cards and story books on Folksy.
By the time you get this email, I hope to be well on the road to Dungeness. But it sort of depends how tonight goes. Guided by a spirit badger, we’re giving a friend a ceremonial woodland burial for his eleventy-first birthday. Bilbo would have been proud.
Finally: another huge thank you to everyone who has made the last week such a friendly place. Especially to Yes Tribe Michelle, Rob Wills and Annette Coppin for heartful hospitality in Brighton and Hastings.
David Charles wrote this newsletter. He publishes another newsletter about reading called Books Make Books. David is co-writer of BBC Radio Wales sitcom Foiled, and writes for The Bike Project, Center for International Forestry Research and Thighs of Steel. Reply to this email, or delve into the archive on davidcharles.info. Thank you for reading!
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