That's it. The party is over. I've reached journey's end.
On Friday I cycled along Guernsey's one and only cycle path and boarded the ferry to Poole. As the Condor was running with one engine down we had a lovely, slow and remarkably calm crossing in glorious sunshine. Even I didn't manage to get seasick!
I was met on Bournemouth seafront by my good friend Jon, who treated me to a couple of pints and a slap up meal and even managed to acquire a sunflower to decorate Norma on her homeward leg.
The following day, my last full day of cycling, I was soon reminded of just how hilly the Dorset and Devon coastlines are and half way up Abbotsbury Hill I started to regret buying the two litres of Duty Free whisky in glass bottles, which were weighing me down somewhat.
England was looking at her glorious best with every village bedecked with bunting and gardens and lawns looking lush and green after the delightful summer weather we've been having. Somehow I managed to avoid all the rain showers on Saturday, but was battling into a strong headwind all day.
After some long climbs and getting lost in the narrow country lanes I finally crossed into Devon late that afternoon. Discovered that Axminster suffers from a paucity of B&Bs so ended up spending my last night of the trip camping in the rain just 15 miles from home. The lovely lady who owns the site gave me a huge discount when she heard my tale.
On Sunday 5th August (coincidentally the 14th anniversary of the passing of my dear friend Norma, after whom my bike is named) I awoke to the sound of rain drumming on the tent, but managed to pack up between showers and concluded my global culinary experience with an Olympic breakfast at the nearby Little Chef (it was actually quite good!).
Two hours later I cruised into the village of Churchinford to be greeted by no less than 10 friends from the village who had braved the rain (and hangovers!) to come and accompany me on the last few miles of my journey. Thanks lads, it was much appreciated.
So at 2pm a flock of dayglo, but bedraggled cyclicts pedalled into the car park of the Culm Valley Inn and my journey was at an end. I was greeted with cameras galore, wine, beer and bubbly, so don't remember much of the rest of the afternoon. It was all a bit of a blur, but somehow I managed to save the tears for later when noone was looking!
So, that's it. Job done and time to say goodbye. I have hundreds of people to thank, but it would make for pretty boring reading, so I will just say a huge THANK YOU to my family, who have been so supportive right from the start and an equally large THANK YOU to all of you who have been following my blog. Your support and encouragement has meant the world to me.
I intend to write a book about my adventures as the blog has only really skimmed the surface of all I have seen and done, so I will do my best to let you all know if I ever manage to get it published.
As a final word I just want to say - I'm noone special. I'm just a Big Bird on a Bike and I hope that if nothing else, my adventures might at some point inspire you to dust off that old jalopy in the shed and take it for a spin around the block.
Look forward to seeing many of you out there on the black stuff some time soon.
Keep it rubber side down :-)