Monday, 12 November 2012

Day 17 “The Early Bird gets the Gold Post Box Photos”

Sunday 11th November – Day 17                      Daily Mileage 503 – Total  6505

I’m pleased to say I remembered to turn off my phone alarm before sitting on the loo this time! So no dramas on the home front this time round. Riding off the drive at bang on 1.00am I set off for “The Smoke” to collect photos of the last 7 Gold Post Boxes down south.

“M62 – Closed at junction 29 to 30”  Great! that's just bloody great, not happy with enforcing a 50 mph average speed limit for mile upon bloody mile, they decide to close the chuffing motorway! As you can imagine I was none too pleased as I’d planned to head down the trusty A1 but fate dictated it was going to be an M1 night tonight and so it was.

Having filled up earlier in the day at ASDA for £1.31 a litre I nearly had a fit at Newport Pagnel services when I saw £1.48 a litre 17p more per litre! “Who dreams these prices up?” The only real reason I’d  stopped was  I needed the loo. The temperature was not being as kind to me as I’d hoped. Setting off out the garage Mr T said it was 16 degrees C., my toes told me a totally different story. By the time I turned off the M62 onto the M1 the temperature was sat at a steady toe numbing 6 degrees C. Sadly it dropped even further to 3 degrees and so by the time I reached Leicester it was time for a hot coffee and a defrost.

That’s why two services later I was legging it into the petrol station loo! As I was there I thought I’d just fill up so I didn't have any messing around in London city centre as it’s not my favourite place to be, especially at 4.00am in the morning. I wish I’d not bothered when I saw the price of petrol.

Still with a full tank and an empty wallet I headed on down the M1 into “The Smoke” which was surprisingly busy for the early hours of “Remembrance Sunday”. That was the reason for the early start. Wardle village “Remembrance Parade” takes place at 3.00pm and we always attend as a family walking through the village together with almost  every other resident. There was no way on earth I was going to miss the parade it was as simple as that.

Stratford Central London -  Finding the first gold Post Box turned out to be interesting as it is on a public footpath (nothing different there then) which is behind a one-way bus lane (interesting) behind three lots of barriers from the main road. So what’s a man on a Super Tenere to do? You got it, up, around, over, through bollards, park up, photo taken. Polite growl at passer buy looking strangely at me and away! Past a crowded bus stop at 3.55am in the morning. Who would live in a city? Not me that’s for sure.

Stratford Post Office London Olympic Village

Wallington – With Gold Post Box number one done and dusted it was off to collect the David Wier Trio in Wallington some just 18 miles away but an amazing 50 minutes ride. Best thing about getting there was I rode over London Bridge again. This time it was all lit up and looked fantastic. I was gutted when the couple of pictures I thought I’d taken were not on my camera when I pulled over ten minutes later to check! I was damned if I was going back mind, because London was already starting to wake up, well the taxis where for sure.

Now the “Trio” of Gold Post Boxes are all within 400 meters of each other so it was a quick, stop, dismount, take photo, re-mount, ride on repeat. I was done and dusted in all of 10 minutes. 4 Gold Post Boxes done 3 more to go down here that is.

Mollinson Drive/Spitfire Road Wallington
David Weir - Woodcote Road - Gold medal Athletics:  Wheelchair Marathon T54

Mollinson Square Co-op Wallington
David Weir - Gold medal Athletics:  Wheelchair 1500 Meters T54

Forest Drive / The Newlands Wallington
David Weir - Gold medal Athletics:  Wheelchair 800 Meters T54

Egham Hill – My next destination was The Royal Holloway London University. Heading out of London the easiest way I know straight to the M25 Circular I arrived at the university at 7.00am with not a soul around so I took a peek. What an amazing place to go to university. The building its self looks out of this world. 

The Royal Holloway

Annoyingly I could not see the Gold Post Box for love nor money even after riding around the entire building and having a look inside at the wonderful courtyard. Luckily fate supplied me with a delivery man arriving who pointed me around the building to the small  forecourt of the campus shop.
No messing I did my usual of finding a way through the ballards and parking up to take one of my favourite photos of the Gold Post Box with the university as a very nice backdrop.

Royal Holloway  Egham Hill Egham
Sophie Christiansen - Gold medal Equestrian: Dressage Individual Freestyle Test Grade Ia

Now this is where a couple of Gold Post Box Hunters will be getting really exited as the next three Gold Post Boxes are in the main “Totally Invisible”. They do not appear on the Royal Mail Gold Post Box Finder site, nor are they on Wikipedia. “So how come I know where they are?” I here you ask!
I asked Royal Mail Press Office, for a copy of the master list of all 110 Gold Post Boxes “Simples”. Zoe emailed me the list Thursday and the rest is here to read. (Many thanks’ Zoe you’re a star).

Uxbridge – Now returning to Uxbridge for Natasha Bakers “Second” Gold Post Box was a little frustrating as I’d only been down this way a couple of weeks ago. Pulling up at the side of the Gold Post Box and having a local chap explain “the box just appeared like this a couple of days earlier” I was delighted to know I’d be the first to publicise its existence. He was even kind enough to take my photo with the Gold Post Box which sits straight across the road from St Lawrence Church on Church Road, Cowley. (Mystery Gold Post Box number 1)

Church Road Uxbridge
Natasha Baker - Gold medal Equestrian: Individual Freestyle Test - Grade II

Fulmer -  Now Fulmer just appeared on the Royal Mail List as just that so I had to ask Zoe who it had been painted for and it turned out to be Sophie Christiansen. Why I have no idea as Sophie already has 3 painted in the surrounding area but I’m not here to question why just to visit, photograph & fly.
Fulmer is just 6 miles from Church Road but took me straight past Pinewood Studio’s which I could not just ride past without taking a photo so it was a quick ride around the round about to get a photo.

Pinewood Studio's

The Gold Post Box sits in the garden of the Black Horse Public House and so I was again really happy that is was so early in the day because I could get Mr T right up close and personal to the Gold Post Box without upsetting anyone. Especially the tenants of the Black Horse who I’d just like to thank for not being around, Thank You.(Mystery Gold Post Box number 2)

Windmill Road Fulmer
Sophie Christiansen - Gold medal Equestrian: Dressage Individual Freestyle Test Grade Ia

Wilmslow - So with all 7 Gold Post Boxes photographed there was just a small matter of a 179 mile ride back up to Wilmslow South of Manchester. The M40 took me straight up past Oxford then it was through Birmingham on the M6 all the way up to Stoke where my Garmin 660 decided to take me on a wonderful country route which was a great way to finish what had been a couple of hours of motorway tedium.
Arriving at the Tesco Extra at 2 minutes to 11.00am I parked in front the Gold Post Box, dismounted, removed gloves and helmet and had 2 minutes Silence there and then “bang on” 11.00am of the 11 day of the 11th month.

“They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We Will Remember Them”

“We Will Remember Them”

As I was getting my thoughts together a young chap spotted the Gold Post box and I was happy to tell him that it had been painted to honour Craig MacLean & Victoria Pendleton both of whom have Gold Post Boxes painted Craig in Grantown-on-Spey where he was born and Victoria’s is in Stotford.
As they both now live in Wilmslow a local resident complained to the Royal Mail and local council and so the post box was painted Gold in their honour. (Mystery Gold Post Box number 3)

Alderley Road Wilmslow 
Craig MacLean - Gold medal Cycling Track: Men's Individual B Sprint
Victoria Pendleton - Gold medal Women's Keirin

Day Seventeen - 8 Gold Post Boxes

With my days challenge complete I headed home to take part in Wardle Village Remembrance Parade, with Jeannie, Lilie Rose, Ben and the residents of our very patriotic village Wardle.

Now all that is left for me to visit is the Isle of Man (where I’m heading tonight and yes you guessed it, at midnight) and Piccadilly Square, Manchester on Sunday the 25th of November with my great mates the Manc Rider’s to celebrate the end of my "Gold Post Box Challenge Ride" in style.

So until then I’ll bid you all farewell until the IOM Gold Post Box is “In the Bag!”

Seventy of 108 
Gold Post Boxes Visited

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