Sunday, 10 August 2014

Long way to the bus stop, rain stops play Sunday, but Andy braves Hurricane Bertha for Ride London (and I buy an old fashioned telephone)

It's been a great weekend, put it that way. I was expecting Hurricane Bertha to hit early Friday and ruin the entire weekend, but no, there was rain Friday night – a lot of rain – but on Saturday morning the sun was shining and it didn't stop shining all day. While there was a strong chance of an 'abort' text to Phil (Andy was taking a rest) by the time the alarm went off at 0600hrs I'd been out of bed for a good 20 minutes and was ready for a ride.

A chirpy Phil was outside at 0630hrs and despite a bit of faffing about on my part, we were soon on our way. The plan was the slow way to the Tatsfield bus stop, giving us the space to chat, and when we reached the bus stop, Phil brought out the Mr Kipling cakes – Bakewells and a Battenburg. Now, I've got to start watching this. I've managed to lose a fair bit of weight lately, but over recent weeks I've succumbed to the odd bit of cake and a few biscuits. It's generally alright on the ride as we burn it off, but either way, it's got to stop.

Mr Kipling does make exceedingly good cakes...
Having said that the cakes were good. Phil and I were in a great frame of mind. Phil had a broad grin on his face for most of the ride (apart from when he was eating cake) and I was feeling pretty chipper too. But then we chatted about religion and life after death – always a bit of a downer, but there you have it. Where do we stand? Well, it's hard to say. I'm a believer in Pascal's Wager, which basically stipulates that you might as well believe in God and the after life and that way, if it's all true you won't be turned away at the Pearly Gates. For me (and I guess most people) the big fear of death surrounds the notion of being able to experience non-existence, but then, as I said to Phil, I can't remember what I was up to in, say, 1914, and I'm guessing that's what being dead is like. Who knows? Not me, that's for sure. I live by the phrase 'I am me and this is now' because in my book it's all about the here and now, nothing else. We're all like Gromit in The Wrong Trousers, throwing track down in front of the locomotive as we progress through life.

Andy's time on Ride London 2014
So we rode home the fast way and later in the day met Andy who was coming over to pick up Phil's cycle rack for the Ride London event on Sunday. This was going to be some achievement in my opinion. A 100-mile cycle ride over some tough hills and the weather – as it turned out – was abominable: driving rain, wind, hailstones (an 'abort' text in the making if ever there was one) but Andy was having none of it. He was up a some ridiculous hour and I have to admit, his progress was always somewhere on my mind as I went about whatever it was I was doing on Sunday morning. I went to the Bluewater shopping centre where I bought a retro telephone from John Lewis. Yes, I'm now the proud owner of a black Bakelite telephone with a traditional English ring tone from days gone by. Whenever it rings I'm reminded of those great old black and white movies. You know the sort of thing: Richard Wattis, Will Hay, The Titfield Thunderbolt, James Robertson Justice, good old 'Inspector here!' movies.

[The phone rings.]

"Inspector here!"

[Pregnant pause.]

"What? Right away, sir!"

Cue old-fashioned black police cars with bells embedded in their radiator grills.

Ever since I plugged it into the wall I've been whistling the theme from The Dambusters and thinking about Barnes Wallace and the bouncing bomb. Brilliant!

But let's get back to Andy's mammoth jaunt. The weather was terrible but he finished well within time and, taking into account the ride home from the finish line (at The Mall) to his house in Caterham, he rode, in total 112 miles in seven hours and 34 minutes – in appalling weather. Respect is due, especially when you consider that there was no cake waiting for him at the other end, just the finish line and the prospect of a 12-15 mile home. A top man!
"Inspector here! What? Right away sir!" My new telephone.

The odd thing about the weather was that it improved around lunch time. In fact, the sun shone from thereon and while it's looking a bit dull out there now (at 2030hrs) it's been a fairly good day.

We'll all be back in the saddle next weekend and I'm hoping we'll be heading for Westerham, although I'm going to pass on the cake... but until then, I've got a new telephone to play with; it's definitely a 'telephone', not a 'phone'. It's also heavy, like a 'telephone' should be and I love it. Yes, I know, I'm very sad. Very, very sad, but it's great and I also feel good because I got a bargain. You can buy this phone for £49.95 today from John Lewis, but I got mine for just £15! Now that's a bargain! I'll shut up now. Mind you, Made in Chelsea New York is on so I'll probably remain in the conservatory. Now, who can I call? Mind you, I wish somebody would call me as the ring tone is the best. Seriously.

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