The final part of this tale takes place at The Grove, Montenegro; where we had fun things to do like remove plaster, uproot brambles and find somewhere to live. As well as some not so fun things to do, like smashing concrete, roasting a lamb over open flames and day-tripping to Podgorica for snacks and supplies.
Remember, if you’d like to help Zoe, Chris and the Quilliam boys out, in exchange for food and accommodation, then you can find them on HelpEx or contact The Grove via Facebook.
I recently had the opportunity to join a road trip from Newcastle to Montenegro, via London, Calais, Bruges, Brussels, Rothenberg, Bled and Dubrovnik, traversing 9 countries in the process.
Basically, a friend of mine, Beth, works at Quilliam Brothers’ Tea House in Newcastle, and the Brothers’ new project is a hostel in Montenegro. They have bought a disused olive mill – currently a shell of a building, albeit a beautiful shell – and intend to turn it into an eco hostel. There is a lot of work that needs doing and the first job was driving a minibus, loaded with supplies, to the town of Stari Bar where the hostel is located. (Incidentally, there’s plenty more work to be done over the next year. If you’re interested in working on a HelpEx basis, contact the guys via their Facebook Page).
I recently came across a paper by author Sue Rule, which takes a sober look at the kind of Capitalism we’re experiencing nowadays and where it’s going wrong. In my personal life I’ve often criticised our consumerist culture for taking a market economy and turning it into a market society, where everything is for sale but the only thing of any value is money itself. I’ve never posted anything here because I’m not as adept at economic theory as I am with philosophy.
This article, which I’ve published in full below, strikes me as a very common sense approach, pulling apart the threads of what actually has value and arguing that we need to maintain the balance across all channels. For an overview of this thinking, written by Sue herself, please see ‘What is balanced power?’ after the jump. But then I’d urge you to come back and read the full article here as I feel it’s a message that would benefit from being disseminated and discussed.
In my about me page, I state quite confidently that life is pointless.
Now, this is a personal blog so I’m allowed to state my personal opinions and I’m allowed to be as confident about them as I like. However, I must remind you, before continuing, that an opinion is all it is: I’m discussing things that no-one can prove or disprove, therefore we can only ever discourse on the level of opinions and beliefs – so don’t get your knickers in a knot!
When it comes down to it, everyone has an opinion about why we’re here, what the meaning and purpose of life is. Some people hold onto their opinions so steadfastly that they morph into beliefs and even the person – who must now live according to those beliefs – will tell you they can’t change what they believe; they just do.
Perhaps all of us are looking for answers to the same questions but, given that there are none, we’re left to look at the myriad of different stories attempting to answer those questions and choose the one that resonates best within us – or create a new one.
And there’s nothing wrong with that!
This here is the story that resonates best with me.
I think, if you’ve read this ride report, then you already know my answer to that question. The team at Bike Magazine have done a stellar job creating the route. There were parts of it that even justify it’s appearance in a supplement entitled ‘Epic Routes’.
Unfortunately for you guys in the South-East, the route doesn’t really do much more than dip a toe in and even that part isn’t exactly awe-inspiring. To add insult to injury, there’s a lot of road resurfacing going on this summer, so you can’t even properly enjoy these roads, even if you know them well!
As I mentioned in the blog posts; touring, fully loaded, on roads you don’t know, is not the best way to enjoy these roads. Ideally, I’d spend a week learning each leg, based in a B&B so I don’t have to carry much stuff, and then string them all together in one almighty blast!
Whether the weather would hold up for the entirety of a venture like that is a different question entirely!
After a long wait, Mesh arrives with my spare key-fob. He works two jobs and has been working since 9am. He’s shattered and I really appreciate what he’s done. The Ape doesn’t though! After disarming the immobilizer, I discover the Futura has a flat battery and won’t start! No-one in the Police Station has jump leads, so I am actually going to have to call recovery now!
Recovery say they’ll be at least an hour, so more waiting for me. Mesh sticks around for a while but has to leave to get home and sleep – he has work again tomorrow.
After spending 12hrs stranded in Dunfermline, the recovery van arrives and brings the Futura back to life. The sun is starting to come up and I’m exhausted but I need to put some miles on the bike, to make sure the battery is okay and get the hell out of Dodge if I want to find somewhere to set up camp and get some shut eye…
I’m woken by the sound of someone urging their dog to stay away from the weirdo in the hammock (see, I told you it would happen). The birds have been chirping away for hours but I’m used to them now. The sun is pretty high in the sky, I check my phone and discover it’s already after 10am!
The problem with blogging on the road is that, when I camp in a spot with a good 3G connection, I stay up late updating the blog, then I end up sleeping late and I miss the best time of the day for making pictures; pre-sunrise.
It’s too late now though, this is my last day on the road and, in any case, it’s more important to be well rested before a long drive. For some reason, I’m not expecting much from this final leg of the ride. I guess because, down South the best roads were in the West, and the roads in the North West have been amazing, so I doubt that the North East will be able to top it.