Saturday, 6 February 2010

Saturday February 6: to the caff at Merstham

Man with a razor likes a shave outside the caff, just one of the many attractions of Merstham near Redhill in Surrey.

It was supposed to be Boxhill today and there was nothing to stop us: the weather was fine, a little nippy but just about right and, well, we didn't go. I think it's just that we all know it's going to take up most of the morning and that we all have other things to do. I for one have a lot of boring jobs around the house: getting rid of the downstairs cloakroom door, which currently rests against the wall. But it's not that simple – nothing ever is; the door is too big to fit in the car so it's got to be sawn in two before being taken to the dump and boy do I hate the dump! It's full of unwashed, slightly overweight women in grey tracksuit bottoms and Ugg boots throwing away bits of Formica. Horrible.

Anyway, where was I? Merstham. It's seven miles from Woodmansterne Green and it provided us with a decent 'halfway house' sort of ride: we couldn't be arsed with Boxhill and as for Redhill, well, it's just a dreary old place. At least Merstham has a kind of village atmosphere – a pub, a caff (two caffs if you include the Quality Café down near the railway station), and let's not forget the man with a radio who was standing outside Hunger's End (our chosen caff) in the High Street shaving his face with an electric razor while listening to the radio.

We reached Merstham at around 0850hrs, ten minutes before Hunger's End was due to open. It's a great caff, one of those places with uncharacteristic furniture, in this case a couple of sofas mixed in with the pine tables and chairs. I'd been there before because a couple of doors down is an amazing music shop where I've sat and messed around with the bass guitars, but that's another story.

Hunger's End serves typical caff fayre and Jon settled for a full English breakfast. Andy and I had sausage sandwiches and we all had mugs of tea. We sat there, right on the A23 (which doubles as Merstham's High Street) and watched the Lycra-clad cyclists race by; where they were going was anybody's guess, but let's not talk about them, this is, after all, NoVisibleLycra and we ride heavy inappropriate mountain bikes and eat sausages, we don't care about 'precious grams'.

So we sat there and chewed the fat, talking about nothing in particular while watching the strange guy shave, something he kept up for the entire time we were there – talk about a close shave. Soon it was time to cycle home again. It was a good 30-miler and a great destination for a Saturday. I think we were all glad to be in a caff and not standing around on Woodmansterne Green drinking tea from my Thermos.

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