|Pot of tea for one and a pain au raisin in West Central, Redhill|
Sunday morning and the weathermen were proved right: it was a mildly blowy and wet day, but the rain was almost invisible; the sort of rain that is only visible if I strain my eyes while looking at the trees – it didn't even reveal itself in the birdbath. But drizzle, as such rain is often called, is known to get worse and turn into full-blown rain. So I hesitated again.
Standing in the bathroom I stared at the shelf on which brightly-coloured toothbrushes, like alien flowers, stood to attention among the shampoos, conditioners and disposable razors. There was a bar of soap resting on the ledge of the sink and the shower curtain was drawn across exposing its colourful pattern to my tired eyes. Outside, through the frosted glass, I could see the green blur of the garden and I found myself thinking that I simply had to go out on the bike. The alternative was to have a day like yesterday of just sitting around the house not doing anything – other than reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged (I'm nearly on page 900!). So I metaphorically slapped myself around the face and resolved to take a ride.
I didn't want to ride to Botley or the Tatsfield Bus Stop, or even Westerham, so I decided to head for Redhill. The drizzle had stopped, the skies were grey but bright and, crucially, it wasn't cold. I rode the normal way, as if I was meeting Andy at the green, but halfway along the Limpsfield Road I turned right onto Wentworth Way, followed the road to Warlingham School and then headed down Tithepit Shaw Lane and into Whyteleafe. I crossed the railway track and headed up Whyteleafe Hill, turning right into Burntwood Lane and then left into Caterham, past the Esso garage and through Caterham-on-the-Hill along Town End and then High Street, which turned into Church Road. I realised that instead of turning right into Burntwood Lane I could have carried on along Whyteleafe Road, emerging on to Church Road shortly before the right turn into Stanstead Road where I was greeted by a leafy suburban street characterised by gated communities full of right wing people so scared of the proletariat they have to lock themselves and their families away from what they perceive as the cruel world – not far removed, perhaps, from the Michigan Militia and those awful people who store tinned food in hidden caves in preparation for the apocalypse.
|Rural roads between Redhill and Caterham|
I got there at 1055, having left the house at 0930hrs, and decided to find somewhere to chill and drink tea. I hadn't brought the flask so instead I headed for West Central, a 'not-for-profit coffee shop run by the church – although it cost roughly the same as other high street brands, such as Costa. I padlocked the bike outside and then ordered a pot of tea for one (£1.70) and a pain au raisin (£1.80) and sat at a table that allowed me to keep my bike in sight, not that any thieves would get far; it's a heavy bike and they'd have to carry it so I knew it was relatively safe.
|West Central in Redhill – quite pleasant|
While drizzly rain was present for most of the journey – and I was wet through – it was warm and, I must say, rather pleasant, although there was a heavy downpour around 2 o'clock, but, fortunately, I was back in the house by then.
The journey time to Redhill was one hour and 25 minutes at an even pace (and the same coming back) meaning that if I cycled to work of a morning I'd need to leave the house by 0715hrs at the very latest.
|Rural surroundings on the return journey from Redhill to Sanderstead|