Thursday 16th February

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Sun setting over the garden centre, Ryde

I meet a couple of work colleagues at the bus stop just before the roundabout. The young guy, who’s always had nice energy and smiles a lot at work, asks me what I’m doing now then. ‘Well, I’m about to hitch home actually. I’ve been doing it for the last few days.’

Cue worried reaction from the lady. But I calm her nerves, explaining that I’ve hitched for 10 years, have traveled thousands of miles hitchhiking, and, really, I’m more than experienced enough to know what to do if the extremely unlikely event of someone dodgy stopping for be happens. She shares with the guy that I always get a lift before the bus comes, and she jokingly says she wants to hitch too instead of waiting for the bus! I tell her that, actually, one day last week the bus passed me but I got a lift right after it passed me (every other time I’ve been picked up before the bus has come).

Today is no different. It’s gorgeous weather, which helps a lot. The sunset is fantastic. And in the short time I was there with my new ‘BRADING please’ with my thumb out, pretty much all the drivers/passengers responded in some way to me. Most gave either waves or thumbs up (I must’ve got at least five thumbs up today), there was a guy who made quite a meaningful gesture that he seemed to think I would definitely understand but I didn’t, and there were several pointing either straight ahead or right or left (but there is no turning off this road until you get to Brading….!!). The atmosphere is generally lovely, and I’m in good spirits.

An elderly couple stop. I wait a moment whilst they work out opening the door for me, and I get in with their little dog. The lady is from New York City and still sounds like it even though she left 40 years ago. The guy barely spoke, but they were interested in what I’m doing, and the guy did actually say he knew Neutrik (where I work), that they used to do headphones. They live in Ryde, and were just going for a drive, they like just going for drives. They dropped me in the pub car park, and we wished each other farewells.

And I got out to a most lovely skyline, feeling really blessed to be on this very magical island.

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