I ran on pavements along the dark highway to Potten End and found myself at the Martin’s Pond, a posh little gastro pub on the Village Green. Grabbing a beer and trying to be inoffensive I studied my map but soon realised I wasn’t sure how to proceed. “How do I get to Water’s End from here?”
“Where are you parked?” the helpful couple both asked.
“No, I’m not driving?”
“Oh, then you can’t get there.”
“No, it’s fine. I got here from Hemel, so to there doesn’t look any farther than going back.”
“What? Are you cycling? Madness!” Calling back to the bartender he said, “bring this man my high visibility jacket, he can drop it off sometime later.” His partner offered, “oh, just let me drive you. It’s not far.”
“No really, I’m fine, as long as there is a pavement.”
“You’ll be killed. Don’t try it, lad.”
“Trust me, I’ve run over 10,000 miles in this country, much in the dark. I know what I’m doing.” I know they didn’t believe me but the number is actually closer to 12,000 miles.
This went on for 5 minutes and I finally promised that I would just go straight back to Hemel the way I came out, although they weren’t happy about that, either. “It’s too dark, you’ll never make it.”
Finishing my beer, I crossed the Green and headed down Water’s End Road. How bad could it be?