Sunday, 31 March 2013

Easter Sunday – to the Tatsfield Churchyard (16 miles)

Looking out on to a frosty lawn is deceptive: the immediate thought is of the cold, but stepping outside and noting the clear blue skies and the sunshine warms things up a little. In fact, it was good cycling weather, the sort of conditions that make you think you can cycle forever and, for some reason, I thought about riding to Broadstairs. I vowed to myself that if ever the occasion arose when I had a day to myself, I'd set out alone or with Andy to reach the place where Bleak House is located and where the novel by Bruce Robinson, The Peculiar Memoirs of Thomas Penman, is set.

For now, though, my chief aim was to reach Warlingham Green – and later than usual. Lying in bed at 6am, I heard a strange ringing sound. After a while I realised that it was my mobile phone. Normally, it's on 'silent' but I'd switched it a few days ago and changed the 'message alert' tone, hence the strange ringing. It was Andy hoping that I'd remembered to put my clocks forward. Oops. I called him and arranged to meet just as soon as I'd consumed a cup of tea.

The lake at the top of Slines Oak Road, Sunday 31 March 2013.
Photo by Andy Smith
We headed off for the Tatsfield Churchyard, meaning that, in total this weekend, we'd riden 58 miles and there was still Easter Monday to go. There was frost on the ground at Warlingham Green as we set off, but the weather was good. En route we stopped off at a small frozen lake where Andy took the shot on the right.

The churchyard was shrouded in frost and was not only rather picturesque but also incredibly peaceful. Not a sound except for the chirping of birds in the trees and then human intervention in the shape of people connected with the church; first a young girl, then a slightly older couple and then the vicar, all of whom had things to do in the church hall, a flint building where, in the afternoon, tea and cakes are served to anybody who's passing by. A couple of years ago I remember enjoying the delights of the place myself, but right now, I had my own tea (and a cereal bar) to enjoy.

We spent roughly 30 minutes standing in the churchyard drinking tea and munching those cereal bars before heading for home. Andy branched off halfway along the 269 and I carried on towards Sanderstead, the skies still blue and the sun still shining. In weather such as this, the key is to keep moving to keep warm.

We were last at the Tatsfield Churchyard on 16 December 2012.

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