Race Across The World

Mr Grigg and I have been hooked on Race Across The World, an eight-part reality adventure series on BBC 2, pitting pairs of competitors against each other in an incredible journey across Central and South America.

From Mexico City to Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world, the contestants could choose their own routes and transport between checkpoints – but no flights or smartphones were allowed.

They each had the same budget – the equivalent of the air fare from the start point to the end – and were able to work along the way to supplement their money.

I haven’t seen the first series, in which participants travelled from Greenwich to Singapore, but we’ll certainly be watching it on catch-up after becoming completely addicted to this show.

As well as stunning scenery, the show presented us with some very interesting family pairs – for example, mother and son, siblings, husband and wife, uncle and nephew.

I won’t give out any spoilers, because the final episode was aired last night, with a reunion programme next week, but I would thoroughly recommend it. I was in tears at the end.

We started watching Race Across The World before lockdown. It really shaped our Sunday nights now that none of us can go anywhere. It’s an emotional, humbling series where the kindness of strangers and the beauty of our planet really shines through.

I’m feeling a little bereft now it’s over – the lockdown can do that sort of thing when there is little else going on in your life – so I decided to go on my own route march with the dogs for an hour-and-a-half before breakfast.

Today is going to be one of the few dry days this week so it made sense to get out there while I still can. We’re due a whole load of rain, which will be good for the land at least.

It’s a lovely time of year here in the English countryside, with ferns unfurling, the candelabra of horse chestnut swaying and shimmering beech leaves that lovely lime green colour. The bluebells are putting on a terrific show as if they know their very presence cheers us. White harebells hide in banks behind cow parsley and campions.

It is the time – and most of us have the time – to appreciate the tiny details in the world around us. The small joys that are so surprising.

I found these incredible spiders’ eggs in a cobweb on a dog poo bin. I’ve never seen anything like it before. They were so shiny you could be forgiven for thinking you’d struck gold.

But in our travels, just like the Race Across The World contestants, in these days of coronavirus we need to be careful. Many of us may be in lockdown but the guardians of the countryside – our farmers – are still very much hard at work.

That’s about it.

Love Maddie x

By Maddie Grigg

Maddie Grigg is the pen name of former local newspaper editor Margery Hookings. Expect reflections on rural life, community, landscape, underdogs, heritage and folklore. And fun.

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