Monday, 5 January 2015

The first ride of 2015 – slow way to the Tatsfield Bus Stop in thick fog

Andy on Beddlestead Lane
Ghostly tree on Beddlestead Lane

First, let's deal with Saturday 3 January. In a nutshell? Rained off. I awoke around 0600hrs to the sound of rain outside. In all honesty, it was a kind of blessing in disguise. I rose from bed, peered out the window and spotted a puddle on next door's conservatory roof being hammered by raindrops. It was raining! Time for a quick 'abort' text and then back to bed. I was fast asleep by the time Andy responded with a simple 'ok'. It rained for most of the day.

Sunday was a different story. No rain but there was fog. Serious fog. It was probably the foggiest it had ever been on one of our rides – 'since records began' (in this case late September 2009). Thick fog from the moment I stepped outside until the moment I returned just before 10am. Visibility? Probably about 25 yards, but at times it was almost magical. It was certainly dangerous enough to warrant a ride to the famous Tatsfield Bus Stop the slow way. The 269 would have been far too dangerous. We even rode back the slow way after our usual tea and biscuits. In fact it was on the return journey, as we rode along Beddlestead Lane, that I noted the magical quality of the weather. It was almost like being in the clouds and there was a watery sun in the sky.

Thick fog at the Tatsfield Bus Stop
A ghostly sun over Beddlestead Lane

The trees were ghost-like in their appearance, virtually concealed from view by the fog except for a ghostly outline as if sketched with a pencil on white paper. Everything looked different. It was hard to recognise sections of Beddlestead Lane and it was strange to see the normally familiar mobile phone towers sticking out of the fog like weird skyscrapers as we headed towards the bus stop. In fact, it was difficult to see the bus stop. Cars disappeared into the fog as we sat sipping tea, prompting our decision to ride back the slow way, which meant Hesiers Hill. Not pleasant at the best of times, but I had to walk up thanks to my gears letting me down: they wouldn't change down to the lower crank at the front. In all honesty I don't think I lost any time.

Once I re-mounted we wove our way around the country lanes towards Warlingham Sainsbury's and then back on to the 269 where, thanks to the suburban landscape – and street lights – it was a little safer than out in the sticks. The fog was a little less dense but not by much and after saying goodbye to Andy at Warlingham Green I headed towards Sanderstead and my last day off work before Monday, which would be my first day back in at least three weeks. We drove to Danehill and Trading Boundaries and then all that remained of the Christmas holidays was dinner followed by Sunday television.

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