Sunday, 10 July 2016

To Tatsfield Village...

It's been a great day. From the very beginning to the very end. I woke in the middle of the night – well, I can't have it all, can I? I don't really know why, but I had a fretful dream of some sort and I awoke suddenly, heart racing. It might have been the heat so I opened the window to let in some fresh air. The other day we'd spoken about how sleeping in the open air was so, I don't know, so fresh and so relaxing.

As avid readers of this blog will already know, I'm obsessed – if that's the right word – with the idea of sleeping under the stars. I'm intrigued about finding the right spot in the woods, pitching my tent and then chilling out, perhaps burning a few logs, as the sun goes down before hitting the sack and getting a good night's sleep full of fresh air and the sounds of nature going on around me. I like the waking up when the sun rises, the smell of the dew and that refreshed feeling.

Phil fixes his puncture just past Botley Hill.
Yesterday evening, glass of beer in hand, the weather perfect, I strolled to the top of the garden where there's a large patch of ground that would be a perfect place to pitch a small tent. I could have sat there until dusk, drinking that beer, possibly having another one, before climbing into the tent and settling down for the night.

I'm not sure what the compunction is, but I think I'm seeking some kind of comfort, I can't figure it out. Walking around the block earlier in the day – or it might have been last week, I'm not sure – I found myself looking a patches of ground where, had I been homeless, but in possession of a tent, I might have considered spending the night. People close to me think I'm crazy. Perhaps they're right. In fact, I think they are right. And let's be honest, the reality would be different from the fantasy. I think initially I'd be listening out for potential enemies, but eventually, having found a secluded part of a wood, I'd settle down, I'd get used to the way things are and soon it would become second nature. But who am I kidding? Swapping a warm bed in a nice house for a Millets tent and a field? What am I on? Faced with the choice of a tent or a house, I know I'd choose the latter. What I really need to do is slap myself around the face with a large trout and then jump in pool of cold water for good measure.

So today it was going to be just Andy and I, but Phil joined us. He wanted a leisurely ride as he, like me, had been suffering from some kind of bug – the same bug that had given me a cold and a sore throat – in July.

The weather was good, in a cloudy, overcast sort of way, and completely different to yesterday, which was a hot, balmy day full of sunshine. It was warm today and there was greenery everywhere, cascading like fountains by the roadside. There's been a lot of rain lately and it's made everything grow and overflow.

Andy and Phil en route to Tatsfield village...
Phil and I had a short wait at the green, but soon Andy arrived and we all agreed to head for Tatsfield village. It was a good ride, the roads were relatively clear, the air was wonderful and the only downer was Phil getting a puncture just past Botley Hill. It took around 20 minutes to fix, probably less, say 15 minutes, and soon we were riding along Clarks Lane towards Approach Road where we hung a left and headed into the village.

The conversation was varied and we only discussed 'Brexit' for about five minutes – it's had enough air time on this blog and elsewhere. Most of the conversation revolved around electric bikes – for me, a bit like putting an outboard motor on a rowing machine – and how electric bikes have been used to cheat in major cycle races. And there was a bit of chat about Formula One and I said something about the Wimbledon Men's Final, which I later watched (Murray won in straight sets).

We drank tea and we munched biscuits and soon it was time to head for home. While it was warm it was also very foggy and there were odd spits of rain occasionally, but we didn't get a soaking. Once back at the green we said goodbye to Andy. Phil and I continued along the Limpsfield Road towards Sanderstead and home.

It's been a great day. The weather improved so I found myself mowing the front lawn – I did the rear lawn yesterday. Later, I sat in the garden with a chilled can of Stella, enjoying the moment. Right now I'm watching the news: the Dallas and Baton Rouge shootings, problems in Sudan and Kashmir and, as I write this, it's the final of Euro 2016 between France and Portugal*. At the time of writing, Ronaldo has been taken off the pitch due to injury and the score is still nil-nil. There's been some kind of trouble as tear gas has been used, but all seems well.

Heading back along Approach Road to Clarks Lane
It's 2128hrs and there's a wonderful light outside, almost like the Northern Lights. It's still warm out too, so I stepped into the garden and yes, you guessed it, I felt it was the perfect night to spend under the stars. It's warm enough to sleep out there in a bed with a decent duvet, let alone in a tent, and I can't think of anything better to do, except that I'm not prepared or anything. It would be great, lying on my back looking up at the stars (assuming its a clear night – tonight's pretty clear) and just chilling out. I know I'd get the best night's sleep ever, that's for sure.

* Portugual won 1-0 in extra time.

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