Sunday, 19 June 2016

To the Tatsfield Churchyard...

While Saturday's weather was dull and overcast – and very depressing – Sunday was the complete opposite.

During the summer months I tend to wake up early as the sun pierces through the curtains and I find myself ready to rock around 0500hrs. This is both good and bad news. Good because if I get up around that time I have a long period 'downstairs' doing things like writing this blog, drinking tea and munching on toast; bad because sometimes it's good to get the extra hour's sleep.

In all honesty (as I'm writing this on Monday morning at 0654hrs, having eaten breakfast of strawberries, raspberries and blackberries with natural yoghurt, Shredded Wheat with hot milk and a mug of tea) I can't remember what I decided to do yesterday morning. In fact, I do remember. I woke up around 0600hrs, caught the news in a semi-conscious state and then the beginning of Something Understood (I've said it before and I'll say it again, they, Radio Four, should do another programme entitled Something Misunderstood). In other words, it was a 'normal' routine. I jumped out of bed around 0610hrs, made my way gingerly downstairs – don't forget we have no carpet on the stairs and there are exposed Gripperods – and made some tea, toast, Shredded Wheat and fruit, just like this morning in fact. Or similar.

Deer on Beddlestead Lane, Sunday morning...

On Saturday morning I had woken up to find two abort texts from Andy and Phil. Andy said he was knackered; Phil was off to buy wedding rings in London. I opted to ride over to mum's through Purley and Wallington, leaving at the normal time and later enjoying tea and fruit cake while chatting about the normal stuff we chat about. I also fixed two lamps (mum had put 3-amp fuses in the plugs when she needed 13-amp – not that I'm Mr Handy, it was just commonsense). I left around 1015hrs with a bottle of chilled London Pride.

So it was Sunday and I left the house roughly on time, pumped up my rear tyre – it wasn't flat, but I felt it could do with a bit more air – and headed up Ellenbridge, across Southcote and then up Elmfield Way before turning left on Morley and right on to Church Way.

I reached the green at just gone 0730hrs and Andy was waiting. We decided to head for the Churchyard. It was, after all, 'churchyard weather' (dry and sunny). As we reached the Warlingham 'mini roundabout', close to Knight's Garden Centre, I suggested we rode the 'slow way' so we did a quick circuit of the aforementioned roundabout and then rode towards the Bull and round to the right, riding kind of parallel to the 269 and avoiding the fast cars. The quieter 'slow way' is characterised by narrow country lanes hemmed in by hedges at this time of year. It means we can talk and worry less about traffic.

There is, of course, the punishing Beddlestead Lane, a slow and winding incline towards Clark's Lane that always seems to take ages and, invariably, is populated by Lycra Monkeys as it was today – not many Lycra Monkeys, but a few. To the right of the lane is a huge cornfield that shone in the sun. There was a lonely deer and its offspring making their way towards the road, although I doubt they would have crossed it. Not that it was busy. Andy dismounted and took the shot (above) accompanying this post and then we soldiered on, past the 'totem pole' – a dead tree – and the mobile phone mast and on to Clark's Lane where we turned left, rode past the Tatsfield Bus Stop (still in a state of disrepair) and on towards the churchyard where we sat on our bench, drank tea and munched on chocolate BelVita biscuits. The weather was perfect and we both admitted we could have sat there for much longer than we did, chatting, as we were, about photography and bikes and stuff. Andy would like to take it up photography professionally, but is only too aware how the advent of digital cameras has led most companies that used to need photographers to rely upon their own staff members 'taking a few shots'.

The ride back along Clark's Lane was pleasant enough and soon we reached the 269 and rode towards Warlingham where we parted company.

The sunny weather continued throughout the day and so did my hay fever. By the time Top Gear graced our television screen I was so blocked up I was forced to see if I could find some Olbas oil. I only tried the local Co-op and returned empty-handed and had to make do with a tissue. Horrible. And so was Top Gear, it's just not the same without Clarkson, May and Hammond. I feel as if they're all pretending to have fun rather than genuinely enjoying what they're doing. As for Eddie Jordan...

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