A bike ride was insisted upon for Friday, not by me I hasten to add, but I went along with it, it didn’t quite go to plan though.
It started just fine, we cycled towards the coast through pine woods on narrow roads and then emerged into the Quinta da Lago real estate, skirting the Paul McGinley Golf Academy and stopped for a slurp of water on what was going to be a very hot day, and thats where it all fell to pieces.
You see, Richard just doesn’t have the golf etiquette thing whereas I, as a well respected and in demand golfer – shut up – have, and so when a party of old duffers turned up on the tee where we were relaxing and slurping our water, I of course fell into silence and waited for them to complete their shots, whereas Richard, golf virgin, just shouted a hale and hearty “Come on then…” and set off up the path.
By the time the old duffers had finished on the tee I’d lost Richard from view and from the brow of the next hill could not see him at all, not to worry thought I, I’ll just follow the path around the golf course and he’s bound to be somewhere in front.
No worries, I just cycled on, it was a hot day, you’re cycling on a sandy path underneath pine trees along some of the most beautiful golf fairways in the world, what more could you ask for ?
A map, any smidgen of a clue where you are, even the merest scrap of knowledge of where you’ve come from and how to get back, those would be good things to have with you.
I finally stopped when the sandy path ran out on a hill above the golf course and it was obvious that you weren’t intended to go any further than this, not unless you were paying the £2500 golf club fees anyway, still, it was still a nice day, the two houses just a few yards to my rear were collectively worth more than the GDP of a small African country, it was all very pleasant and frankly I couldn’t give a toss whether or not I was lost, whether or not I had lost any sense of direction or whether or not I didn’t have a clue what the address was where we were staying, it would all be fine – this trip had seen me “switched off” as soon as we arrived at Leeds Bradford Airport, something that never happened when I used to own a business – let that be a warning to you budding entrepreneurs out there, you only really switch off when you get rid of the business.
“Shall we turn back ?” I asked myself, “Go on then” I replied to myself, so I did and with the help of a passing golfer I was directed over a golf fairway to another path which is surely where Richard had gone, being that it was the proper path and all that jazz.
It went through a nature reserve towards the coast, am I giving the impression that this was a very pleasant place to cycle, because it was, it was probably the nicest place that I have ever cycled actually and so I cycled on, without a map or caring where I was cycling to and eventually I came out at a stretch of marshland 500 metres or so wide with sand dunes on the other side, and the sea – now I’m sure that Richard had mentioned that we would end up at the sea, so this was a good thing, I’d found the sea, all on my own.
Better still there was only one way to get across the salt marsh to the sea, you had to use a wooden footbridge and having narrowed it down to just the one footbridge it would be a fair bet that this was the one where Richard would be waiting, well he wasn’t on this side so I walked across i to the other side – and he wasn’t there either.
“You’ve really buggered this up” said the voice in my head, “It’ll be reet” replied the other voice in my head and sure enough it was for when I walked back across the bridge there he was, he’d rung me several times on my mobile but when we checked he’d rung my work mobile and as I explained, that was switched off and laying in a drawer back in England, when I got home I played my voicemails, they started with “Where are you, I thought you were following me” and then got more frantic with “If you get this message I’m waiting near the salt marsh bird observation tower” (I’d passed it) and finally, “Well I assume you’ve died now so I’m going to ring the police”.
We had a late lunch on the way back, a chicken, cheese and banana Panini, yes I know, Richard looked on in horror too but as I explained, banana is a herb and not a fruit and frankly it tastes bloody lovely with meat, something that I learned many years ago in Barbados, try it with your sunday lunch, just go easy on the gravy and have a banana with it instead.
I am not mad.