Monday, 4 October 2010

To Hunger's End in Merstham...

Saturday October 2nd: Running late, by about five minutes, because I'd mislaid my keys, but I headed out towards to the top of Church Way and on to the B269 en route to Warlingham Green. Mist hung in the trees but the skies, while grey in places, let through the sun and I just knew there would be no rain. Not until later at any rate. The weather forecasters had been promising rain and later on in the day we got it, but for Andy and I it was a dry run.

We decided to go to Hunger's End, a place we'd neglected for some time. I called Jon and told him our plans but only via his voicemail. We never saw him.

Single from Merstham to Sanderstead, but I got off at Purley
Once again, I was feeling tired having been 'up north' the day before with the racehorse trainer Ginger McCain and his son Donald. No, I wasn't buying a racehorse, I was up there to write about Smithy, a racehorse owned by Heineken UK. Ginger and I sat in his living room watching Sky's coverage of the Ryder Cup. I say coverage of the Ryder Cup, it was mostly men mopping up rainwater and, of course, an eventual announcement that the tournament had ceased due to excessive rain.

The night before I'd stayed in the Cholmondeley Arms in Cholmondeley (pronounced Chumley) and then I was given a lift to the stables by the proprietor. I had travelled from home to Whitchurch by train and had been ripped off by Virgin Trains, having to pay a ridiculous £108 for a single ticket. Anyway, having met the horse, interviewed Ginger's brother Donald and drank a cup of tea, I made my way back to Whitchurch (what a run-down place) and a train to Crewe and then London. The return journey only cost me £60.

So I was tired (again) or at least thinking about a shorter cycle, but by the time I was on the B269, my energy reserves returned and, on reaching the green Andy and I decided to go for Hunger's End. It was 0752, getting late, but we headed off through Woldingham and down Gangers Hill but decided not to cross the A25 – which would have meant The Enterdent. Instead, we travelled along the A25, shaving off a good 20 to 30 minutes. We'd have been late had we taken our usual route, but equally, I was relieved that we were avoiding The Enterdent as I wasn't in the mood.

Hunger's End had changed. It had been given a lick of paint and the proprietor told me she was getting rid of the sofas and installing a deli. Nice idea, but I like sofas in caffs. We ordered tea and toast, we read The Sun and we spoke to the lively aunt of the proprietor who was over from Egham in Surrey as it was her 73rd birthday. The proprietor's aunt was a keen cyclist, which is probably why she was so sprightly. She's a member of the CTC, the UK's national cycling organisation (click here for more details).

After one cup of tea and a couple of slices of toast, we decided to have one more. We read The Sun, commented on the two page-three girls and that was it. Except that I was not feeling like cycling home up Markedge Lane towards Chipstead. I know, it's terrible and I did feel pangs of defeat in my decision to get the train. In fact, as the train made its way north towards it's ultimate destination, London Bridge, I resolved to get off at Purley and cycle home from there.

What was really annoying about Sunday October 3rd was our decision not to go cycling because of the expected rain. Admittedly, both Andy and I had a late night on Saturday, so going cycling wasn't really on the agenda, but when I looked out of the window at 7am, the weather was fine; it wasn't until much later that the rain started.

Early nights, then, are the order of the week and then, if there's no rain next week, we'll have a good cycle.

1 comment:

  1. pouring here mate- so my son and I did a bushwalk to send up bear gryles...