Monday, 25 April 2011

Easter Weekend at Tatsfield Churchyard

Our bikes at the entrance to the churchyard. Andy's photos, by the way.

The churchyard at Tatsfield is becoming a bit of a habit, in a nice way. There's something about the place that makes it an ideal destination. For a start it's a greater distance than the Tatsfield bus stop or the village centre. It's also very pleasant and not in any way morbid, although it does tend to remind us of our mortality.

Surrounded by gravestones, we sit and eat our cereal bars and drink our tea; all around us there is complete silence, unlike any other destination. In the village centre there are people buying newspapers. At the bus stop we watch other cyclists and motorists who pass by, glancing at us briefly.

The churchyard is peaceful and its inhabitants rest in peace. Only the sound of the birds tweeting can be heard and there is nothing but green fields and hedgerows in our line of vision. Once or twice, somebody appears. Yesterday a woman tending the grave of her former partner. The day before there was a man mowing the lawns surrounding the headstones, but that was it.

Andy's bike by our bench in the sun.
The result of such serenity? We've been heading out there all weekend, cycling down Clarks Lane and veering off the main road and up some shaded steps to our favourite spot.

There were plans to visit Longford Lake and attempt the infamous Footpath to Dunton Green, but pressures at home for yours truly – along the lines of there are not enough hours in the day and it being the last day of the Easter holidays – meant that we headed out for the churchyard instead.

My bike resting on the wall of the church hall.
The weather has been amazing here in the UK. According to the weather people on the television recently, it's been as hot as Alice Springs (take note, Simon). I reckon that thechurchyard would be fairly unpleasant in bad weather. Not only would it resemble a scene from a spooky movie, but it would also mean that Andy and I would get a soaking – there's no cover. However, in the fine weather it's probably the most enjoyable destination we know that's nearby.

All of which prompts the question: what is the best destination we visit? Well, it's all a matter of opinion as they all have their benefits. I'd say, in terms of the most attractive venue, that Longford Lake probably takes the prize: the huge lake, the pub, the green (we're going there next Saturday lunch time with Andy's mate Richard). Then there's the bus stops both in and outside of Tatsfield. On a cold and wet day, I guess they would take priority over anywhere else, as they are the only places that offer cover and protection from the rain. Mind you, I was forgetting Hunger's End where not only is there cover and protection from the elements, but a decent caff and I don't have to bring my rucksack. In other words, it's swings and roundabouts.

My bike still has faulty brakes and gears and yes, I'm still out of work, which is a real pisser. Other than that, things are relatively fine. The weather here in the UK has been amazing over the last week or so. Good weather makes cycling even more fun than normal as it means we don't have to wear our winter clothes. This weekend, Andy even managed to wear his shorts. I dressed in my normal garb – that rust-coloured jacket – but dispensed with the jumper and gloves.

It was a good weekend for cycling and there's another long bank holiday next weekend, courtesy of the Royal Wedding (Prince William and Kate Middleton next Friday) although I'll be doing my level best not to watch any of it. For Andy, two bank holidays in a row have meant eleven days off. He took three days off this coming week – Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday – and gets to be off work for eleven whole days. Me? I'm off work permanently so holidays are meaningless at present.

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