Sunday, 3 April 2016

St. Leonard's Church and the Tatsfield Bus Stop...

Saturday was a wonderful day, but we didn't venture very far, and despite the fact that it was only yesterday – today being Sunday – for a minute I found myself trying to remember the reason for such a short ride. Well, I've remembered it. I was due to make a long drive to a place called Perch Hill near Burwash in East Sussex (long in the sense that I was knackered). Perch Hill is the name of a house, not a place. Perch Hill is in Brightling, which is a short drive from Burwash. If you like 'life style' stuff (like soaps and candles and books) and gardening – I wouldn't say I was a keen gardener, but Perch Hill is a nice place to go if you want some ideas, not that I want any ideas. It's very boring, but having agreed to go, I needed to be back off the ride early so we rode to St Leonard's Church, just Andy and I. Phil aborted, but then realised that his reason for aborting was next week, not this week.

Our bikes at St. Leonard's Church, Chelsham. Pix by Andy Smith.
So Andy and I rode to the church, entered the churchyard, found a bench and then ate biscuits and drank tea. After taking a few photographs we rode home, parting company at Warlingham Green and vowing to ride to Westerham in Kent for breakfast at the Tudor Rose café today (Sunday). The rest of my Saturday was characterised by feeling tired. I should never have driven to Burwash and beyond as I was knackered. A lot of things had conspired against me – cycling followed by a long drive, a stressful week at work. It was bad. Falling asleep at the wheel kind of bad and dangerous too. On the drive out I stopped at a McCafé for a cup of strong tea, which seemed to do the trick; but then on the way home it happened again. I could barely keep my eyes open, until, for some reason, we reached Tunbridge Wells, but either way, I was more awake from then onwards.

When I reached home, the weariness continued and I was glad to get to bed, having realised that Jonathan Ross wasn't going to be very entertaining – he's been superseded by Graham Norton, in my opinion, who seems to attract all the best guests and the best banter. Ross, in my opinion, should be put out to pasture.

By Sunday morning I'd forgotten all about our plan to go to the Tudor Rose for breakfast. I woke up at 0600hrs and listened to the news, none of which I can remember. Then I got up, dressed and went downstairs for Shredded Wheat, tea and toast. I made the tea for the ride, as usual, and it wasn't until Andy later reminded me about the caff that I remembered, but by then it was too late and besides, I really wasn't up to Westerham. We decided upon the Tatsfield Bus Stop and headed off, but while I had brought the tea, Andy hadn't packed the biscuits. It didn't matter. When we reached our destination we engaged in more chat and our usual game involving flicking tea bags off the back of a teaspoon – I managed to fling mine the furthest, well, the first one at any rate. The second fell short. Andy put in a similarly unimpressive performance.

Earlier, as we approached the bus stop, a thick fog had descended over Botley Hill. It had been raining overnight too so everything was damp and there were many roadside puddles. And yes, I got a wet arse too. The Lycra monkeys were out in force, some alone, murmuring psychotically to themselves about their pension plans, while others rode in large groups, occasionally shouting "Gravel!" or "Car!" at the slightest sign of either. I suggested to Andy that if a Lycra monkey spotted an auctioneer on the road ahead, he'd probably shout "gavel!"

We chatted about bicycles and how expensive they were getting and how even our bikes were far too good for what we do. It was a tired conversation that we'd had many times before and we both agreed that despite the fact that our bikes were too good for what we do, we liked them and wouldn't consider replacing them – not yet at any rate. My bike still needs a service, it still needs a front brake and it still needs a gear service.

Tea finished we mounted our bikes and headed for home. The thick fog had lifted as we reached Botley Hill so we sailed down the 269 bidding 'good morning' to passing monkeys. At Warlingham Green we parted company, vowing to meet up again next weekend AND to visit the Tudor Rose café for breakfast. "Send me a text to remind me," I said.

I reached home at just gone 0930hrs, but fortunately there were no plans to go driving anywhere, apart from John Lewis at Home on the Purley Way. I love that shop, but I can't afford to buy anything, which gets a little frustrating. I sat on sofas I couldn't afford, messed around on desk chairs with wheels, like a little kid, and rummaged around the 'gifts for men' area – torches, telescopes, multi-purpose tools and stainless steel and enamel mugs, sadly with the words "I'd rather be in my garden" written on the side. I'd rather be on my bike – or in my garden in the sunshine, drinking a cool beer, but the weather ain't hot enough yet.

Andy's Kona Blast. Pix by Andy Smith.
For lunch a cheese salad sandwich – one of my specialities – was followed by a walk around the block (roughly 45 minutes) and then I drove over to mum's alone in the late afternoon listening to the Stone Roses on the outward journey and REM on the way back. I need more music in my life.

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