Sunday, 4 December 2016

Over to mum's for breakfast...

It was another perfect day: Blue skies, sun shining, but cold. There was frost on the paths and on the windscreens of cars, even late in the morning. But I felt fine and more than dressed for the occasion.

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
Near Wallington I was overtaken by a man on an old 1998 Kona, but it still looked good, all Kona bicycles look good. "It's my winter bike," said the man, when I caught up with him and we both powered our way towards Sutton. He told me how he'd been cycling for 40 years and then, having said goodbye, he was gone, turning right while I continued straight ahead. Later I caught a brief glimpse of him as a he crossed the road that I was slowly advancing along. He clearly knew of a short cut.

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
The ride home was fine. I retraced the route of my outward journey. There was still frost on car windscreens, the sky was still blue and the sun continued to shine. As I passed the Purley Playing Fields Sunday League football was in full swing. I rode down Hayling Park Road, crossed the A23, followed Jarvis Road towards the Upper Selsdon Road and headed south towards home.

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.

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