Yesterday, Easter Sunday, we gathered with members of the family to say our goodbyes at a specially-arranged leaving party, pieced together by my wonderful mother-in-law and her partner, and hosted by Matt’s Aunt&Uncle in their gorgeous garden.
We were truly overwhelmed by the kindness and support of everyone who came along to wish us well and had the most incredible afternoon. There were a few little surprises thrown in for us- including the most amazing cake, designed by ABC Cakes in Shotton (for those of you who know the show- makers of cakes for the popular ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding’ series!) showing the two of us cycling through the high trees of the Canadian Rockies with our trailer in tow! A brilliant effort- and the cyclists actually look scarily like us…
The cake was presented to us with a truly heart-warming speech from Matt’s mum, offering us everyone’s best wishes and telling us how proud the whole family was of the huge adventure we were about to undertake. I’ll admit I welled up a bit!!- a really lovely moment, thank you so, so much.
We also had a brilliant map drawn of our basic route and following the presentation of our cake, we were asked to talk the family through our plans- and then opened ourselves to a few questions! And sorry to disappoint Liz but… my hair straighteners will be staying home without me. EEK.
Matt’s uncle Pete also gave us an amazing ‘survival kit’ for our journey- including the likes of flourescent bike reflectors (“so you’ll always be seen”) paracetamol (“the gel saddles were slightly out of our budget- so you might need these instead!”) baby wipes (“For those times when you just have to go!”) polos (“When you need to talk yourself out of a sticky situation..”) and many more. I laughed till I cried- thanks Pete and Ange!! What a presentation!
An afternoon of food, drinks, talks and laughter with incredible weather gave us the perfect send-off and the turn out was brilliant. We couldn’t do this without the support and encouragement of our friends and family so the support truly means so much to us. So from the bottom of my heart, the biggest thank you to Mary and Roy, who not only arranged the party along with all the food and our incredible cake, but who have supported and encouraged us every step of the way. Thank you to the entire Johnson ‘clan’ who came along for the amazing afternoon to offer their good wishes and encouragement, and to Will and Kerry for being so good as to host the party for us!
Thank you also to those who sadly couldn’t make it to the party, but who have helped and supported us throughout the planning process and who I know will continue to help us as we go- my parents, to whom we said our goodbyes last weekend, and in particular my Dad for sharing his cycling expertise, helping with equipment purchases and putting me in touch with valuble contacts along the route. My brother and sister, and Matt’s sister Lucy, who is currently in Ireland and couldn’t make it along for the day! Matt’s brother Richard and his lovely wife Jamie, with whom we will be staying upon our safe (touch wood!) arrival in San Francisco, and our many friends and colleagues who offer their awed support- thank you.
I feel incredibly lucky to be surrounded by such amazing people- and very very lucky to know that one day I’ll be part of the Johnson clan!
And so to finish, here we all are- sunning ourselves in Northern Wales on Easter Sunday.