Sunday, 11 September 2011

Carshalton and the Tatsfield Bus Stop...

Yesterday it was a suburban cycle through the mean streets of Croydon, Wallington and Carshalton. Went over to see mum. It was a good 12-miler, but largely suburban streets. Last night I stayed over at mum's and awoke in the early morning and listened to the rain and wind outside. I must have nodded off because I came to around 0550hrs and could still hear the rain - or at least I thought I could. I fully expected an abort text from Andy but hadn't received one. I sent him one, saying something like, 'looking unlikely' and got a reply stating it wasn't raining over Caterham way. Then I looked out. What a beautiful day! Sure, it had been raining, the ground was wet and there were puddles, but the skies were clearing, a watery sun occasionally appeared behind smoky, fast-moving clouds and it was definitely time to hit the road.

Dog Shit Alley joins Shorts Road with West Street in Carshalton.
Start the day with a fairy cake, that's my motto. I had two of them and a large mug of tea before saying goodbye to mum and driving home to pick up the bike. We aimed for somewhere with cover and the Tatsfield Bus Stop seemed like a good idea.

September 11th, that fateful day back in 2001. I was in Tamworth, visiting a chef called Matthew Shropshall and so was my photographer, Rob Wilkinson. A strange day, but there you have it.

Today, the weather was fine, but it wasn't long before I had a wet arse (thanks to the puddles) and was beginning to reconsider, as I do at this time of year, whether to fit some mudguards. Knowing me, I probably won't, I'll just put up with it, but we'll see – I don't like having a wet arse.

Today really marked a change in the weather. For the past six months, despite what people say, the weather's been brilliant. It's nice outside now – sunshine everywhere – but the last six months have been fantastic. If you don't believe me, just check back through the pages of this blog, look at the blue skies in the photographs and you'll see what I mean. I can't stand people who moan and wonder what happened to the summer, as if we haven't had one, we have!!!
A different angle on an old bus stop? New
routes are definitely needed. 

But as I cycled with Andy towards Botley Hill, I noticed a difference in the weather. It was cooler for a start, it had been raining over night, there were big puddles everywhere, my arse was wet, I was considering mudguards, something had definitely changed.

During the summer months, an overcast day is depressing in the extreme, but the only bad day I recall this summer was when we did the Black Horse Ride in June. Outside of that, it's been great. In the summer, clouds are a bummer, but in the wintery months – or the lead-up to them – a cloudy day is welcomed as it brings to mind tea and cake in front of the fire. Well, we're not quite there yet, but, as I say, a change is out there and the risk of getting a soaking has increased. Soon, the gloves will go on – I thought about them this morning too.

At the Tatsfield Bus Stop we discussed cars and mileage, Peuguots versus BMW, big cars versus small, old cars versus new and we talked about discovering new routes because when I reached for the camera to take the traditional photograph for the weekly post – this post – we realised that we had exhausted every shot the Bus Stop could offer us. We need a new route – or a new destination – and I'll have to put my thinking cap on.

Jon suggested yesterday that we head out for Hunger's End next week and I suggested that Redhill hasn't been done for a while and there's a caff there open on Sunday. And what about Boxhill? A bit far, perhaps. Andy can't make next Saturday, but he's going on Sunday so possibly Redhill and then Hunger's End the following weekend. Who knows?

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