Stage 9 Milton Keynes - Ealing. Another cold day. We left early after a very comfortable night, thank you, Kristine and Jimmy. However, leaving Milton Keynes proved something of a challenge. The cycle routes were splendid but the directions labyrinthine. Eventually we found ourselves on the towpath of the Grand Union Canal. The plan was to follow the towpath to London. Sadly this did not happen. Though it started well, the path soon deteriorated to a muddy narrow track that defeated us. So we had to rethink. Naturally, the Garmin was not happy but with a combination of Google maps on the smart phone and keywords recorded on card( well, we are librarians) we managed to chart a course, that if not running true at least kept us going in ft he right direction. Every so often we found ourselves back with the Union Canal, cycling past canal boats, some smartly turned out one imagines for hire, others very liver de in sporting bicycles, tin pails, wooden logs and gardens (with garden gnomes!); clearly a home. Towns were no longer easy to navigate, surrounded by major roads teaming with traffic. But green hedges full of scented blossom were never too far away. Badgers for half a mile said one notice. Sadly we didn't see any. Despite the delays A it too 3 hours to properly leave Milton Keynes behind we reached Ealing not too far off our hoped- for arrival time. La Naranja and Mrs Armitage are being looked over and looked after;we are enjoying family hospitality. Tomorrow a really long day. Then France.