Monday, 14 November 2011

Lest we forget...

Lest we forget, November 2011
Remembrance Sunday. Village greens around the UK were preparing for a service and Warlingham Green was no exception. As I returned from a ride to Westerham, a crowd had gathered, loudspeakers were wired up and there was a general buzz of expectancy about the place as I rode clockwise around the green, exiting at the 1 o'clock position and heading down the Limpsfield Road towards home.

As far as ceremonies go, it was a good day. Not a cloud in the sky and, more importantly, no fog – until later in the evening when I drove up towards Botley Hill and got caught. Very heavy fog. On Sunday morning, however, there was nothing but clear skies as I stood up on the pedals to climb Church Way.

We'd been planning a trip to Westerham but, as Andy said, we'd need to 'put a wiggle on' - that's an Andy phrase, it means 'get a move-on'. I was running about five minutes or so late, due to mislaying my mobile phone, so getting a wiggle on was a good idea.

Westerham is a great place to be when the sun shines, but being as it was early and there was no cover, the seats were wet so we stood by the statue of Winston Churchill. I took a short walk over to St. Mary's Church to see if there was any covered seating. There was, but it was the entranceway to the church and we didn't fancy being looked down upon by churchgoers as we sipped our tea. Besides, there was no rain, the sun was shining, who needed covered seating? Not us!

As we were about to leave, I noticed something: a flat tyre. We fixed it there and then before heading for home. Andy was in a hurry and we were late so he sped off, but I took the hill at my own pace. Andy must have really shifted as he was nowhere to be seen as I reached the Surrey Hills sign at the top of the hill - where there are long views of Clarks Lane.  When I reached Botley, God knows where Andy was, probably going up the hill from Wapses roundabout (on the other side of the A22).

I reached Sanderstead Church at 1030hrs and was back home by around 1040. The TV was on, Remembrance Sunday, the Cenotaph, and I caught David Cameron placing his wreath while perfecting his sincere and concerned face. He was probably thinking about how he could quicken the pace of his planned army redundancies – which affects injured servicemen. Remember: you step on a landmine and it's not just your limbs that go - it's your livelihood too.

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