Sunday, 28 August 2016

The signs of summer's passing...

Monday 29 August: Riding back from Westerham yesterday morning and Andy and I noticed the corn rolled up like huge, rustic old drums, slightly surreal in a sense, but also a sign that summer is preparing to leave the building – for some, me included, a depressing thought, as our bikes pick up speed, metaphorically speaking, and roll downhill towards Christmas and that Jona Lewie song.

Our bikes in the cornfield just outside of Westerham in Kent
We pulled off the road and Andy took the shot accompanying this post before we re-mounted and headed up the hill, me on my new Specialized Crosstrail Sport Disc. Earlier we'd taken around 25 minutes to get from Warlingham Green to the green in the centre of Westerham and had stuffed our faces, as usual, with BelVitas, washed down with a couple of mugs of tea.

We discussed many subjects, including casual racism, and watched as market stall holders erected their stalls in preparation for a summertime festival featuring live music, a fairground, chainsaw sculpture, Celidh dancing (featuring women with muffin top midriffs) and, of course, food.

Westerham early morning is an interesting place at the weekends as there's always something going on, somebody doing something in preparation for a fayre of some description: stands are erected, vans arrive, people congregate and then we leave and invariably we don't come back for the festivities.

It's been a long weekend. I took Friday off and today's Bank Holiday Monday. I didn't ride anywhere on Friday, but on Saturday I took the Crosstrail on its first urban ride to mum's where breakfast was laid on (boiled egg, fingers, bread, an orange and, of course, a cup of tea). Sunday (yesterday) was the Westerham ride with Andy (Phil's away and I'm feeding his fish) and today the plan is a bit retro as I'm planning a ride to Woodmansterne Green to meet Jon and then possibly we'll ride to mum's for tea and, who knows, another breakfast.

The Specialized Crosstrail on Woodmansterne Green...
Outside there is nothing but stillness, not even a breeze. Nothing moves. Yesterday leaving Westerham Andy and I both thought we'd get rained on as it was very dark, but nothing happened, things brightened up a bit and the temperatures remained warm. Today, it looks like similar weather and while rain, in the form of scattered showers, has been promised all weekend, I've yet to see anything or wish I'd transferred the mudguard Andy bought me from the Scrap to the Crosstrail, although I will be doing that sometime soon.

The urban ride to mum's on Saturday was wonderful. I followed the usual route, up Hayling Park Road, down past the vast expanses of Purley Playing Fields, across the A23 and through the industrial estate. With the Crosstrail, things are much faster, including the corners and I think I shaved a good 10 minutes off the journey. Mum let me bring the bike into the hallway (it's new and I'm being protective, like a mum with a new baby). I didn't fancy leaving it unpadlocked on the front drive, not that where mum lives is in any way dodgy.

Mum was in fine form as usual as she rustled up my breakfast. I sat in the 'new room' – it's been the 'new' room for well over 30 years, as I've probably said before – and I sent Jon a text, hoping he'd turn up on his Cannondale, but he had a wedding and couldn't make it. Mum gave me a bottle of beer and I've still got it in the fridge, mainly because I had two bottles last Sunday at a garden party near East Grinstead. I try to keep my alcohol intake low these days and I feel much better for it.
On the way to mum's...
Right now I've just finished some Weetabix with sliced bananas, a slice of toast and a mug of tea and now I'm wondering when I should text Jon to say I'm on my way. I'm thinking we should meet on Woodmansterne Green, like in the old days, and then head down to mum's. It's almost 0700hrs as I write this (0656hrs to be precise) and I'm engaged in idle chit chat about this and that, mainly the rubbish nature of Waddon swimming baths. Yesterday we went for a swim and it was freezing cold. Normally I get straight in, but not on this occasion. I had to edge myself into the water, like I did once in Cannes in October. There was no temperature gauge, but I'm guessing the water was well under the required 29 degrees, unless, of course, it's got something to do with the last time I had a swim – in Ischia. But no, it was cold, very cold, and not pleasant, although once in I did manage 10 lengths in the slow lane, which we eventually got to ourselves.

So far, so good on the bike front. The Crosstrail is performing well and I might investigate a more comfortable saddle, not to mention bicycle maintenance lessons. I'm also planning on taking it back to Evans for a six-week check-up, which is free.

Breakfast at mum's...
Today, the plan is to take it easy, possibly go out for lunch somewhere, but generally chill out rather than drive aimlessly around the countryside in search of tea and cake. Outside it's very still, but brighter than earlier. I'm hoping there won't be any rain before I hit the road and I'm hoping to see Jon either on the green at Woodmansterne or round at mum's. Knowing us, we'll end up at mum's.

As it turned out, I reached Woodmansterne Green and waited around for Jon before calling mum to see if he might be there. When I got through I heard his voice and he later told me, after I'd cycled over to mum's, that his phone was out of power and he hadn't picked up my messages. I enjoyed a mug of tea and some Crunchy Nut Cornflakes before heading home via the smallholdings, turning left on to the Croydon Road and riding through Purley along Foxley Lane, straight across into Pampisford Road and then through the side streets towards Sanderstead and home. Coming up the southern end of West Hill was far easier on the Crosstrail than it ever was on the Scrap.

Before bidding each other farewell, Jon and I said we might meet on Woodmansterne Green next week, but we'll see how things go.

No comments:

Post a Comment