Monday, 3 October 2011

October 1st and 2nd

The phrase 'since records began' has been used by the weathermen whenever they discuss extreme weather. No doubt, this weekend's heat will bring the phrase out of the box again pretty soon. In short, it was hot and, to be fair to the weathermen, it had been forecasted during the week - we all knew it was coming our way.

As avid readers will know, our planned ride to Hunger's End would have been rather pleasant on Saturday, but I had things to do concerning motor transport and had to do without a ride on Saturday. Instead, I messed around at home as I had the place to myself. I mowed the lawn front and back, I cleaned the car and I had a cold beer and a ham sandwich in the garden - perfect!

The last time I experienced heat like this weekend, in October, was in 1981 while in Greece. Sunday was even hotter, they reckon 29 degrees, but it might have tipped 30. Fortunately, a ride was on the agenda and I left the house, laden with fruit cake, hot water and tea bags, to meet Andy for a ride. The plan was Westerham and we stuck to it.

I left the house in a tee-shirt and only experienced a mild coolness at the bottom of the hill as we crossed the Surrey/Kent border and headed for the bridge under the M25 - but even then it was mild.

Andy took this shot of Winston Churchill 
and my crash helmet
There's nothing better than Churchill's birthplace on a decent summer's day - although that word 'summer' should, perhaps, be changed to 'autumn' because there were, make no mistake, leaves on the ground and there are only three months to Christmas. But the weather was hot, even if there was enough dew on the benches surrounding the green, and on Winston's statue, to force us to stand and drink our tea.

Unknown to me when I packed the fruit cake, Andy had stuffed a bag of chocolate brioche pastries into his rucksack as well as the cereal bars, making the plinth of Churchill's statue a little crowded: flask, mugs, fruit cake, pastries and cereal bars. We left the latter for next week and I declined a second pastry on the assumption that having it would have made the exercise of cycling pointless.

It was October 2nd 2011, there was a farmer's market setting up in the town centre, but not on the green, a few people wandered about here and there and various motorcycles cruised noisily along the A25 en route to somewhere. Andy and I discussed owning motorcycles and realised that they would take up all of our time and cause friction at home. Going out for an early morning ride and being back home around 10am was fine, but owning a motorcycle would lead to excursions lasting the whole day and they would definitely not go down well at home. Furthermore, I have no desire for a motorcycle. The thought of wearing leathers and a heavy helmet on a hot day is one thing, the other is the risk of losing a limb or, worst still, my life. Not for me, I'm afraid, although I wouldn't mind owning a Harley - just to polish it.

While we agreed that Hunger's End would have to wait until next week, circumstances later in the day dictated that I must postpone my visit to Vampire Tints in Penge for yet another week - meaning that the week after next is now more likely, unless, of course, it's raining. Let's hope it remains dry.

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