Sunday, 19 February 2017

To Tatsfield Village...

You can't beat birdsong in the morning, especially if there's a woodpecker on percussion. It's one of the pleasures of being up and out of the house early, the sounds of birds singing, the lonely pigeon cooing on a silhouetted roof top, a rogue seagull, perhaps, as you wind your way around the empty streets, past the drawn curtains of everybody else who are simply not as mad as you are; they're in bed, listening to the radio or sleeping, but either way they have chosen a lazy start to their day. You, on the other hand, are 'out there' in more senses than one, hitting the tarmac, listening to the sound of fat tyres whirring on gravel.

It was my second day of such craziness. Three weeks out of the saddle and I was feeling it. Andy was the same. It just goes to prove that if you let up on the exercise your body soon falls back into a state of weariness and after a while you'll lose momentum completely, you won't be going anywhere, you'll just be drinking tea in your dressing gown, looking out on the long, uncut grass in the garden and dreading the day, which is never far off, when the lawnmower has to be dragged from the garage kicking and screaming and that awful word 'gardening' becomes part of the lexicon again.

Always start the day with a healthy breakfast...
But not today! The climb out towards the Limpsfield Road was not easy as I was a little out of condition, but it was achievable and soon I found myself bombing through the deserted, one-sided high street of Sanderstead, past the lonely recreation ground, Waitrose and Majestic Wine and on towards Hamsey. I reached the green before Andy. The clock said it was 0720hrs, which meant it had taken me just 10 minutes to get there. No way! I checked the iPhone and it was 0733hrs, just the same as yesterday. It's a 23-minute journey if I step on it.

Where to go? It had to be Tatsfield Village, the slow way, although I found Beddlestead Lane a little tiresome and was glad to pass the mobile phone tower and slip gently on to Clarks Lane. We free-wheeled into the village and came to a gentle stop at the bus stop where the flask of hot water, the teabags and the biscuits came out and we sat there, chewing the fat about this and that. Donald Trump, Brexit, the capitalist system, the fact that nothing is really as expensive as we're led to believe it is and that, ultimately, we're all being ripped off, our politicians aren't listening to us and that's why there's Brexit and Trump. We moaned about Blair's arrogant and misguided notion of campaigning to stay in the EU and then, suitably exorcised of all that had been bothering us – including the fact that Clarkson's The Grand Tour was basically a continuation of Top Gear – we headed out of town, in the wrong gear – well, that was my excuse.

The ride back was smooth. We rolled north along the 269 towards Warlingham Green where we vowed to be back on the green next Saturday. Godstone was suggested as a possible destination. There's a farm shop near Godstone, on the A25, that sells decent cake and a decent cup of tea. On that note we parted and I sailed down the Limpsfield Road towards Sanderstead and home.

It had been a good ride and equally good weather, similar to yesterday, but without the fog. The temperature has been mild, but apparently more severe weather – in the shape of heavy wind – is coming our way, that's if you believe what you read in the newspapers, not that I'm suggesting it's fake news!

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