Sunday, 8 September 2013

A good weekend's cycling – 44 miles in total and a big breakfast in Westerham

Soldier and Scarecrow festival in Westerham.
Photo: Andy Smith.
At 6am on Saturday morning I looked out and noticed spits of rain landing in the birdbath. It might be an 'abort' situation, but I didn't want it to be. Looking at the skies, they seemed fine; there were some heavy rain clouds moving east and some clear blue skies and cotton wool clouds coming in from the west, so it was looking promising too.

By 7am, there was a general brightness. The blue skies and the cotton wool clouds were in the majority and the only real sign that rain lurked was the wetness of the roads and the large puddles – not good if you're bike has no mudguards as there's nothing worse than a wet arse, as both Andy and I discovered. Yes, even Mr Mudguards himself managed to get a wet arse, courtesy of rain-soaked roads.

Actually, a brief note on the weather: up until Friday of last week, the hot and amazing summer of 2013 had been trundling along quite nicely. Thursday last week, however, was the last day of summer in my opinion. After Thursday came the rain and with it drop of 10 degrees in temperature. On Friday it rained most of the day and since then, well, it's been nice, but changeable. The autumn is here, my friends. One month to go before cutting back the garden and forgetting about mowing the lawn until March 2014. And then, of course, Christmas will beckon.

We rode to Westerham on what turned out to be a fantastic day for riding, but there was always the threat of rain. When we reached the green at Westerham, we couldn't use any of the benches because they were wet, so instead we stood around Churchill's statue to drink tea and munch cereal bars. At one stage there was a sudden downpour of rain, but it lasted all of five minutes and then the blue skies returned.
Tudor Tearoom's Lycra-clad scarecrow
Westerham is having a 'soldiers and scarecrows' festival this weekend – BBQ, beer tent, tea, battle re-enactments – and as a consequence local businesses have themed scarecrows sitting or standing outside their shopfronts: scarecrow cyclists, scarecrow policemen (see last week's post and Andy's pic) you name it, there's a scarecrow for it.  The green itself has a huge scarecrow, reminiscent of the Wicker Man and the whole thing brings a kind of quirkiness to Westerham, which is nice and, of course, very English.

Having missed a week, the ride out of Westerham was a bit of a struggle, but we made it and said our goodbyes half way along the 269. Minutes after our farewell, the heavens opened and the rain fell. I took shelter in a wood, but in the end I decided to go for it and headed into Warlingham. I was about 200 yards short of Slines Oak Road, so not a million miles away, but once back on the saddle, I only had to pedal another 100 yards before the rain stopped and the blue skies dominated the landscape once again. Unfortunately, I was soaked through.

Taking cover from the rain in the woods on Saturday morning
Sunday was a perfect day for riding. The roads were relatively dry, but I had a problem. One of the pads on my Spongy Wonder saddle had lost its adhesive and literally fell off. I had to cycle to Warlingham Green with one pad on and one pad off, but I dived into a newsagent's and bought a tube of SuperGlue to stick the pad back on. It worked and off we went to Westerham and, as planned yesterday, breakfast in the Tudor Tearooms. And what a breakfast! We arrived in Westerham at 0755hrs and had a short wait for the café's staff to open up shop and put out the wrought iron tables and chairs. We decided to sit outside, which was very, very civilised as the weather was so nice.

Problems with the Spongy Wonder on Sunday morning
I ordered scrambled egg on toast with mushrooms and baked beans while Andy enjoyed a bacon sandwich. We both ordered a large white pot of tea and, let's face it, after an 11-mile ride the whole lot was most welcomed. Sadly, we had to get up and cycle home, but, having eaten such a huge breakfast, there was that longing to simply stay put and do nothing. But doing nothing was not an option so off we went, slightly heavier.

About to enjoy an English breakfast at the Tudor Tearooms
For some reason the ride towards the hill was pleasant enough, much more pleasant than yesterday and I put this down to an excellent breakfast in the Tudor Tearooms and yesterday's ride. The rain held off all the way home. I said goodbye to Andy halfway along the 269 as usual and then headed home myself.
Sausage sarnie and scrambled egg on toast with beans
and mushrooms – just what the doctor ordered!

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