Saturday, 22 August 2015

To Warlingham Green and then over to mum's...

I'd forgotten that Andy wasn't riding this morning and headed off around 0700hrs, having waved goodbye to Phil who was on his way to Devon for a week's holiday. It was a wonderful day, arguably one of the hottest this summer, with temperatures around 29 degrees Centrigrade.

Warlingham Green, Saturday 22nd August 2015, 0730hrs
As usual my first job was pumping up a deflated tyre – I have a slow puncture but have yet to fix it – then it was smooth-running all the way to the green where the trees sheltered me from the early morning sun as I awaited Andy's arrival, although, oddly, there was no sign of him. I had a distant feeling that he might not be riding so I sent him a text and sure enough, he wasn't going to be there – he was working and, as he rightly pointed out, he'd texted me earlier in the week. Somehow I'd just forgotten. I was getting confused with the week before when he had a dentist appointment on the Saturday, but would be riding Sunday. Hey Ho.

So I'd reached Warlingham Green and I had options: carry on to Botley Hill, the bus stop or the churchyard (where I could drink my tea) or ride to mum's and indulge myself with fruit cake and tea. There was another option: simply ride back home and accept that an eight-miler would suffice. But I chose the ride to mum's and decided to retrace my tracks back along the Limpsfield Road, taking a left turn at Hamsey Green heading down Tithepit Shaw Lane, past Warlingham School and on to the A22 towards Purley. It seemed like I was on the A22 for ages, but I wasn't bothered. There was a warm breeze and light traffic, but reaching the lights at the bottom of Downscourt Road felt good. All I had to do now was negotiate the rather tricky Purley Cross where the A23 and Foxley Lane and the A22 join up, but it wasn't a problem and soon I found myself riding the quiet, tree-lined Foxley Lane heading towards Woodmansterne, but branching off right near the lavender fields and riding towards Carshalton Beeches.

Tea and fruit cake round at mum's...
I sailed along, passing the Village Bakery and Carshalton Beeches railway station and then freewheeled down to the Windsor Castle pub where I hung a left and then a right into Shorts Road, under the railway bridge and then two left turns – on to Westmead Corner and then into Rossdale. Half an hour earlier I'd called mum to reserve a table at what I call the Grandma Claire Tea Rooms (mum's house) and soon I was sitting down, eating fruit cake (two slices) and enjoying a pleasant cup of tea.

Mum's having her fence done, but there are still two bits to be done and at present it's possible to see into next door's garden. It's not an issue and will be fixed very soon.

After two slices of cake it was tempting to ask for more, but I resisted. I also resisted a Kit Kat bar and a biscuit, but I did have a second cup of tea before heading home, riding up Alma Road, turning left on the Carshalton Road and then right up Cambridge Road, turning right at the top, riding a few yards of Carshalton Beeches high street before turning left and riding up hill towards the Village Bakery. I crossed into Crichton Road and then turned left on to Stanley Park Road. I cycled down to the mini roundabout at the bottom of Boundary Road and onwards to the top of Wallington High Street, past Sainsbury's and along the Stafford Road towards The Chase and that industrial estate that weaves its way round to the A23. I turned right and at the lights by the Hilton National hung a left.

The weather was wonderful, like a Texas spring, as I ambled past Rockingham's and the playing fields and then along Hayling Park Road to the A23 where I nipped into Jarvis Road, followed the Upper Selsdon Road towards Carlton Road and then hung a left into Essenden, a right on to West Hill and home. I was trying to work out the mileage – four miles to Warlingham Green then something like 10 miles from the green to mum's and an easy six miles from mum's to Sanderstead – 20 miles in total.

It was 10am when I opened the garage door and parked up the bike and a wonderful day of just lazing about in the back garden beckoned. We went shopping, I bought The Guardian and sat out back reading about all sorts of things: an interview with Jonathan Franzen (which I didn't particularly like, it was just, well, it was nothing to write home about). Then there was Tim Dowling. I like Tim Dowling's column and this week he was writing about his Greek holiday. Holidays are alien territory for me at present. Then there was Rita Ora's Q&A, all good stuff, not forgetting Nicholas Lyndhurst, who was born in Emsworth, Hampshire, discussing family life, and a travel feature about the Greek islands I remember visiting back in the early eighties.

It's gone 7pm (just) and Indiana Jones is on the television. Nobody is watching it. I can hear it, but that's about it. Indiana Jones and something to do with a Crystal Skull. You get the picture, you know the deal, and that's why nobody's watching it. Dinner beckons and then it's Sunday. I often feel as if I'm just sitting around waiting for Monday and another week of work, but there's a bottle of Rosé in the fridge and I've just enjoyed a bottle of London Pride so life ain't all bad. Looking forward to tomorrow's ride, I really am. Cycling is the best tonic there is these days and I sometimes wish I could just keep on riding, at least for a day or two. The weather's so good out there I'd like to camp in the back garden, but not in the huge tent I own, something smaller.

Somebody's switched the channels and now Would I Lie to You? is on. I can hear Rob Brydon's voice.
Hawker Hunter fighter

In the news: a Hawker Hunter vintage fighter jet crashed on the A27 near Shoreham in West Sussex killing a handful of people. The pilot, apparently, survived the crash but is in a serious condition in hospital. More bodies are expected, claim news reports. The plane had been performing at a nearby air show.

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