I rode down West Hill, the cold breeze smacking my face. It was the only moment when I felt the cold. The rest of the journey was fairly flat, apart from riding up Hayling Park Road, but the Rockhopper Sport meant I could take the ascent in my stride. I passed the Purley Playing Fields, turned right on to the A23 and cut through the Grand Theft Auto industrial estate, emerged on to Stafford Road and headed towards Carshalton – and mum's house.
|Breakfast a mum's: boiled egg, orange, tea and a slice of bread and butter|
At mum's my breakfast awaited me: boiled egg, fingers, a slice of white bread (good quality bread), a mug of tea, make that two. Golden Shred marmalade – mum said it used to be dad's favourite – was offered, but I declined.
We chewed the fat. Next door's baby wasn't well during the week and had to go to hospital; mum always gives John and Marion across the road a bottle of red wine for Christmas; my sister has her Christmas tree up; there's a marriage in the family, taking place in Brixham on New Year's Eve; Ainsley Harriet (he's a 'celebrity chef') has a special way of cutting up an orange; mum's been taking regular doses of cider vinegar (1 tablespoon per day) since she was 19 years old – it's supposed to be really good for you, but I tried it once and it's really unpleasant. Mum likes the towels we bought for her birthday.
|Frost on mum's lawn. This shot taken through the kitchen window|
It was a good ride, albeit a solo one without the usual on-ride companionship provided by Andy and Phil.
Later I drove to Handcross in Sussex to see Dave and his new gaff in the country – 44 acres of woodland and a lake. Amazing. Now I'm home, Strictly's on the television, Judge Rinder's been voted off. Later I watched a fantastic programme on Channel Four, Alone in the Wild. A man tries to survive alone in the Yukon. Scary stuff and he manages 50 days, but in the end lost too much weight through not finding enough food. What a guy.