Saturday, 25 July 2015

To the Tatsfield bus stop

It had rained heavily overnight and there were still a few drops landing in the birdbath at 0600hrs when I peered out to see what was happening with the weather. I'd been off work all week and the weather had been fairly good, bar yesterday when it rained all day.

This morning, as I sipped from my mug of tea, the trees swayed in the breeze, the bushes rustled and the sky was grey – an abort seemed likely, but there were no text messages from Andy so I figured that he, like me, was feeling optimistic. In addition to my cup of tea I had cut off a length from a baguette that had been standing to attention behind the bread bin.

A brief period of messing around on the computer followed and then, after making up a flask of hot water, putting four Twining's English Breakfast teabags in my heavy duty Integrated Mill Systems blue mug and pouring just enough fresh milk for Andy and I to enjoy two cups of tea at our destination, I headed out to the garage to blow up the front tyre, which was suffering from a very slow puncture. After a week the tyre was almost completely flat, but 50 pumps later it was as hard as rock and I was ready for the ride.

Roadside puddles provided evidence – not that any was needed – of last night's downpour, although I later observed, as we rode south on the 269, that the puddles had all but evaporated and were nowhere near as big as I've seen them on past rides. As I made my way towards Warlingham Green the weather improved considerably and blue skies appeared behind rapidly diminishing grey clouds.

Once we were underway, en route to the Tatsfield bus stop – our chosen destination – I was glad that we hadn't aborted the ride.

There were a few Lycra monkeys here and there, but no sign of Dawes Galaxy. I told Andy that I'd bought a hardback copy of Ewan McGregor's and Charley Boorman's Long Way Down. What a great book, even if I've only reached page 39. Phil has the DVD and I'm rather hoping he'll let me borrow it.

At the bus stop we made tea and enjoyed Andy's chocolate BelVita biscuits while watching somebody riding a Royal Enfield motorcycle back and forth along Tatsfield's Approach Road. "Not my style," said Andy – he's a sports bike fanatic (a kind of motorised Lycra monkey). He used to be a courier but admitted today that his motorcyling days were over. As for me, well, I had my mid-life crisis back in my mid-30s (when I yearned for a Harley Davidson Sportster but never had the money to buy one, although, in all honesty, motorcycling is not for me and I strongly believe that had I bought one, I'd either be dead by now or seriously injured, so it's just as well that I had no money. I still don't have any money.

April 2008, pre-blog pic near Botley Hill
While at the bus stop we chatted about pre-blog days and how we both wished we'd thought about the blog earlier as a lot of the early pre-blog rides were the pioneering ones. But there's no point crying over spilt milk. This afternoon I went into the photographic archive on a remote hard drive in search of pre-blog images and then remembered that in pre-blog days why would we have bothered taking photographs? Well, we did take the odd shot, but the only ones I can find that are 100% pre-blog images are those of Andy and I in the snow back in April 2008 – and they've been published here before. Still, as we didn't take a shot this morning, I'm going to bore you all with an image of yours truly, close to Botley Hill, in the snow, back in April 2008 (see pic left).

By 0830hrs we were ready for the return ride. Andy rode with me to Warlingham Green where we said our goodbyes and vowed to be back on the green at 0730hrs tomorrow, although I've been reliably informed that the weather is going to be bad. My iphone says cloud and rain – and so does the mother-in-law, but we'll see; I'm forever optimistic.

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