Sunday, 17 April 2016

Round to mum's on Saturday and then to the Tatsfield Churchyard on the Sabbath...

It had been raining overnight. I knew this because of the puddle on next door's conservatory roof. The skies were grey and there was a general threat of more rain in the air, but while I could have simply gone back to bed, I didn't. I went downstairs, made some tea and then considered my options; there were really only two. I could slob about at home or ride to mum's. I chose the latter.

The playing fields at Purley early on Saturday morning
I followed the usual route, stopping by the playing fields to take a photograph of the bleak landscape before pushing on towards the A23 where I would turn right and then left and head into Wallington, then Carshalton Beeches and then mum's. There were spits of rain, but nothing more and I arrived at mum's dry and ready for breakfast, which was being prepared: boiled egg, an orange chopped into bits, two small slices of buttered bread and marmalade. I don't touch marmalade these days, or jam, or honey come to think of it – bad for the teeth, but everything else was eaten and I sat there chatting with mum about this and that.

Yours truly near the playing fields
Mum's been busy making cuttings for her hanging baskets.

"These dahlias are for you – when they're ready," she said, showing me a small plastic container no bigger than a yoghurt pot in which there were small green shoots breaking the surface.

As always, I asked after the others – the others being my brother and sister – and all was fine. In fact, I texted Jon to see if he fancied meeting round at mum's, but he had an optician's appointment. Criss, apparently, is enjoying her retirement. I find it odd to think that she's 'retired'. She had a part-time job in M&S, but now stays home doing what I don't know, but I'm sure a visit to the pub once or twice is never off the agenda.

"I did a bit of 'destroy it yourself' this week," said mum, referring to a draw in the kitchen that previously contained cutlery. "But it all went wrong so I sealed it up with 'no more nails'," she said, explaining how the draw no longer exists and that the cutlery has been found a new home.

Breakfast at mum's and very tasty it was too!
"I don't need so many draws anyway," she added with a note of resignation as I continued to sip my tea.

We moved into the living room where I thumbed through Wednesday's Daily Mail – a truly awful newspaper. The garden, I noticed, was looking good.

"I don't like it when people see me mowing the lawn," said mum. A strange remark if ever there was one, and not something I'd heard her say before.

"Why?" asked I, mildly surprised at the comment, but it turned out to be nothing more than self-consciousness. Odd really when you consider that to see mum mowing the lawn the neighbour next-door would have to be looking down from his back bedroom. Something told me he's got better things to do.

The view through mum's kitchen window
Soon it was time to head home. The weather outside still looked a little dodgy and I kind of resigned myself to getting a soaking somewhere between Sutton and Sanderstead. Somehow I managed to escape it. While dull and overcast, I rode all the way home – following my outward route – without more than a drop of rain. It did rain within minutes of me returning, but that's fine as I was warm and dry and looking forward to lunch time.

Mum and yours truly on Saturday
I cycled around 12 miles, which is better than a prod in the eye with a sharp stick.

Sunday's ride – to the Tatsfield Churchyard!
I knew the weather was going to be better than Saturday so when Radio Four's 0600hrs news sprang to life – news of an earthquake in Ecuador – I was kind of ready to roll. Except that I must have drifted back to sleep again, because I didn't hear anymore news, just the theme music to Star Wars. I'm assuming that this was something to do with Something Understood, although I can't for the life of me remember what this week's subject was all about.

At 0609hrs I jumped out of bed and, sure enough, it was a much more pleasant day than yesterday. Alright, there was a light dusting of frost on the ground, but there were blue skies and sunshine too and I knew that Andy would be at the Green waiting for me later on.

Yours truly at the Tatsfield Churchyard
Downstairs I made some breakfast: two Weetabix with blueberries and sliced bananas plus a cup of tea and then I sat down in front of the lap top and wrote stuff for the blog. While I was expecting to see Phil outside at 0700hrs, I received an abort text instead. He said it was too cold and while I would beg to differ – blue skies and sunshine outside said otherwise – there was a frost on the ground and Andy later told me that coming down Whyteleafe Hill he was a bit chilly around the ears.

We decided to put our heads down and head for the churchyard where we munched chocolate BelVita biscuits and sipped tea. I was sporting a new cup! A metal cup with a clip on the handle, which meant I could clip it to the outside of my rucksack, giving other cyclists the impression that I was some kind of hobo cycling around the country and always ready to accept a cup of tea if offered. It's amazing how little things please little minds, but perhaps that's not the case. Perhaps I just love having new 'stuff' even it's just a cup.

For the journey back, I attached my new cup to the outside of my rucksack just to make other riders envious of it and me, but I don't think anybody was impressed. Having a metal cup, of course, means that if I drop it – a few weeks ago I dropped a china cup and smashed it into pieces – it won't break.

We chatted about dieting and then headed back home, discussing tax avoidance and evasion as we descended the steps from the churchyard to the road.

Andy sets up his own blog...
Andy, incidentally, has set up his own blog, focused primarily around his photography. For more details, click here.

The ride home was pleasant enough. We rode towards Botley Hill, headed north along the 269 and parted company at Warlingham Green. Andy won't be riding over the next half a dozen or so Saturdays, which means I'll have to motivate myself.

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