Sunday, 12 July 2015

To the Tatsfield bus stop... for a sausage sandwich!

It was going to be Westerham, but we all had commitments. It was, however, a special day. Phil was christening his 'new' Kona Smoke. I'm not sure how much I've said in past posts, but in a nutshell, Phil's old bike – formerly his father's Raleigh – was getting a little too old. Phil has been considering a new bike for some time, but he wasn't in any hurry.

I had a brainwave. Why doesn't he buy Dave's old Kona Smoke? Here was a perfectly decent, hardly ever used bike that was slowly rotting away in a garage in Caterham in Surrey. The last time it was on the road was in pre-blog times (pre-2009) when Dave joined Andy and I on a ride to Westerham. Sadly, there is no photographic evidence.

Saturday 11 July
Let's face it, Dave isn't really the sporty type. So I sent him a text. "Ever thought about selling your bike?" He came back with a "Why not?" I'd already asked Phil whether he'd be interested in buying Dave's bike and he said he'd happily take a look at it. A few weeks passed and then we drove over to Dave's to check out the Smoke. Phil liked it, but admitted that he needed to raise the handlebars.

A deal was done, Phil rode it back from Caterham and this weekend was the first time Phil was riding the bike with Andy and I. We rode to the Tatsfield bus stop where Phil unveiled his famous sausage sandwiches and Andy produced some chocolate chip BelVita biscuits. I served the tea and we sat around chatting in the early morning sunshine.

Phil with his Kona Smoke (left) and Andy at the bus stop
Dawes Galaxy turned up, looking unnaturally sweaty. He stopped to chew the fat and, as Phil has already observed, he didn't get off of his bike but simply stood there in front of the bus stop straddling the frame of his immaculate-looking machine. He'd already riden to the Tatsfield churchyard to see if we were there, but we told him how our family commitments prevented us from going any further than the bus stop.

We might have made the churchyard had Phil's Kona Smoke not fallen victim to a front wheel puncture only yards from our start point. We stopped on a pleasant green joining Morley Road, Arkwright Road, Church Way and Ewhurst Avenue and I called Andy to say we were delayed. But it didn't take long to get back on the road again and soon we were riding along the 269 heading south towards Botley Hill and then veering east and riding around half a mile to the bus stop.

After chewing the fat with Dawes Galaxy, who this week mentioned his diabetic brother with only two toes who lived in Cornwall, we all bade farewell to one another and rode home. Andy branched off at the Ridge while Phil and I rode back towards Sanderstead. We parted at the top of Church Way and we won't be seeing Phil for a while as he's off on his summer holidays.

I'll need to motivate myself for next weekend as Andy and Phil won't be present next Saturday.

Sunday 12th July
It was raining this morning so I didn't go out, but in all honesty it wasn't so much raining but spitting. Had I been a little more dedicated to the cause perhaps I'd have gone out early and returned before the heavens opened, but I didn't; I lolled around making plans – or thinking about – a drive to the south coast. The weather was poor; it was dribbling with rain, it was cold, breezy and overcast and there's nothing bleaker than a seaside resort in bad weather – misty, deserted Pagham beach was suitably uninspiring and an equally deserted and miserable promenade at Felpham left me feeling down and meant that a walk was out of the question. After a cup of tea in the Lobster Pot, we drove home.

The Wimbledon men's final was still on when we returned and now it's dark outside, Joanna Lumley is on the Trans-Siberia Express and I'm in the conservatory writing this post, but not for long. It's just turned 10pm and it's time to call it a day.

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