Yesterday and today (Sunday) are roughly on a par weatherwise. It's pleasantly warm with a bit of sunshine here and there and blue skies later in the day. Saturday I was running late because I couldn't find any decent footwear. I had two sub-standard pairs of trainers, purchased from Sports Direct, one of which now sported holes in both heels. The other pair I threw out, so it was a case of 'do I wear my work shoes on the ride or is there an alternative?' Fortunately, I found my red leather Converse All-Stars at the back of the wardrobe – I rarely wear them – and set about the tiresome task of lacing them up. The end result was a text to Andy saying let's meet at 0745hrs.
|Tatsfield Churchyard, Sunday 16th September 2018. Pic by Andy Smith|
Before we headed home I inflated my tyres – for the first time in two years. The bike is almost two years old now and not only have I not blown up the tyres since I bought it, I haven't had a puncture either. Last week I noticed a bit of a wobble when I turned left and then right coming down Elmfield Way and into Southcote Road and Andy said they definitely needed pumping up. I gave both front and back around 50-60 blasts of the pump and the bike rode well on the return trip as a result. Andy parted company at the Ridge, although we had considered riding back down Beddlestead Lane and up Hesiers Hill. In many ways I regret not doing this, but it was easier to take the off-road path along the 269. I reached home around 0945hrs and made a mental note to clean the bike and buy some touch-up paint off Ebay.
|"Are they leather All-Stars, man?" Why, yes they are!!!|
My next stupid scenario involved pretending to be Russian in order to escape from a gang of nutters intent on stealing my bike. I put on a meercat accent and threatened my assailants with novichok. Oddly, it worked and I lived to ride another day. By now I had reached Hamsey high street, which, as always, looks a little bit run-down and soon I was on the home straight towards the green. Andy wasn't there, but soon he arrived and we headed off.
|Warlingham Green, Sunday 16th September|
"The usual," said Andy.
I explained how I had done some shopping and then went over to mum's for tea and cake – well, four slices in the end and yes, it's got to stop. Really, it's got to stop.
We decided upon the Tatsfield Churchyard – the fast way – and rode along the 269 towards Botley Hill, turning left at the roundabout and riding down Clarks Lane, past the Tatsfield bus stop on our left and then slowing, turning left and hauling ourselves and our bikes up the mossy wooden steps to the churchyard where there appear to be more graves every time we pay a visit.
As we drank our tea and dunked our BelVita biscuits (well, I did, I don't know about Andy) we discussed the lack of time and the lack of leisure in our lives. "It's money," I said. "If we had more money we could do stuff, but we don't." Andy remarked that he just exists and how the weekend is over too quickly and then it's back to work. By and large I feel the same way. A change in lifestyle is needed, but how? In Andy's case, perhaps he could become a wedding photographer and spend his days leisurely processing images on his lap top in between jobs. "You'd miss a few weekend rides," I said, but then the fantasy brought me in, as some kind of writer, sitting at home looking out on rolling hills and contemplating my next book. "We'd have to ride during the week," said Andy as I poured our second and last cup of tea. "But we'd be our own bosses so it wouldn't matter."
It was soon time to go. We wheeled the bikes out of the churchyard and headed for Clarks Lane. The ride is uphill all the way to Botley as we were joining the hill that starts back in Westerham. Andy said goodbye at the Ridge and I used the off-road path flanking the 269 – it's safer, but there's always a jogger with headphones who can't hear me coming so I have to slow down. Not today – or rather not until I'd almost completed the journey. There was a jogger coming towards me and she stopped to let me pass her, but further along there was a jogger ahead of me, she had headphones on and I figured I'd be behind her for ages so I rode on to the road, close to Slines Oak, and headed into Warlingham.
Sunday league footy has started so there are always loads of parked cars close to the playing fields on my left as I ride home. I always give parked cars plenty of room just in case some dozey old bag opens the door and sends me flying – so far I've been lucky. All was well and soon I passed through Hamsey High Street and then Sanderstead. The traffic had picked up a little bit as I crossed the Addington Road and sailed down Church Way towards home. It had been a good weekend of cycling and now there's next week to look forward to.