Day Six - Leeds to Mansfield - Singing in the Sun
So after two days of being home/ back to work, the team reconvened in East Leeds on Tuesday night. After our sad farewells to Nick and Heidi on Sunday, it was time to welcome Caley Rankin from the Parent Enquiry Team to join us for the cycling and Peter Hill our new Support Driver. We had a quiet night as everyone was tired, but the team were all looking forward to getting out on the open roads of Yorkshire and visiting three nurseries the next day.
We arrived at the First Direct Stourton nursery nice and early to get the bikes ready, and already there were a team of Nursery Managers from other nurseries ready to greet us which was fantastic! As ever, Gayle and her team were perfect hosts and spoilt us all with every form of refreshment you can think of. The children were really excited and loved the sports activity course which each of the cyclists joined in with. I have to own up to falling flat on my backside as I ran with preschooler Sam. Luckily no one was videoing it (I hope!) and Tom helped me up to finish our race.
I should mention that Stourton have raised nearly £600 for the Foundation which is an amazing effort too!
We left Stourton at 9.30am in bright sunshine and attacked a whole series of main roads to move from West Yorkshire to South Yorkshire. Lee entertained us all with a rendition of Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer" to recognise the fact "we're half way there"! In fact singing has become a big deal for the team and songs by The Levellers, U2, The Verve (and numerous people that James mentions that I have no idea who they are - a classic sign of being middle aged unfortunately) are boomed out on a daily basis as we ride along. It keeps us entertained anyway...
Now I have to report that we have had another fall - this time it was Caley into a bed of nettles - ouch! But I am pleased to report that he was absolutely fine other than some nettle stings on his arm. On the approach to Sheffield, Caley also suffered a puncture so not the best couple of hours for our new kid on the block.
As we came into Sheffield, the two Garmins that we are using to help our navigation decided to malfunction and switch off. As Lee and I desperately tried to reboot them, James took over the navigational responsibilities and somehow took us through the City centre, and whilst we had to work hard to avoid taxis, trams and the odd student, he remarkably took us to Teddies in double quick time. Big respect for Jim Bob!
We then had two wonderful nursery visits to Teddies and Millhouses, both in Sheffield. We again were well looked after with sandwiches, cake and smoothies. Both nurseries went to a lot of effort which was much appreciated. Our visit to Teddies was somewhat of a family affair as Cheryl's brother-in-law was there to show his support and I met up with four year old Tom who is my wife's nephew!
After conquering the steepest hill that we have faced so far in Sheffield, we left Yorkshire and moved into Derbyshire. The highlight of the ride to our hotel in Mansfield was the long, steep hill in Bolsover and the fabulous view of the castle.
So it's six days down, four to go. Tomorrow we venture southwards to Kettering. Here's hoping the sun stays with us for another couple of days.