|Soldier and Scarecrow festival in Westerham.|
Photo: Andy Smith.
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|
|Problems with the Spongy Wonder on Sunday morning|
|About to enjoy an English breakfast at the Tudor Tearooms|
|Sausage sarnie and scrambled egg on toast with beans|
and mushrooms – just what the doctor ordered!