Saturday, 22 April 2017

To Woodmansterne Green with Jon (and then round to mum's)

One thing that has characterised the weather of late has been a cold breeze or rather a general coldness masked by blue skies and sunshine. Yesterday there was little in the way of sun, but it was fairly bright and, as Jon remarked as we made our way from Woodmansterne to mum's, a little on the cold side.
Felpham beach will soon be Jon's back garden
We had met earlier on Woodmansterne Green – now there's a place I hadn't been to for a long while – and spent an enjoyable time just chatting about various things, in particular Jon's impending move to Felpham, pronounced 'Fellfam', a small town on the south coast nestled between Bognor and Littlehampton, but much closer to the former. As avid readers of this blog will know, Felpham was where we spent our summer holidays in various houses on the beach. We loved those holidays and often spoke about how nice it would be to live there, close to the sea, and now Jon is living the dream; he's moving out of Epsom, where he currently resides and moving 60-odd miles to the south coast. I mentioned that he could develop a few decent rides, like Felpham to Arundel, and we spoke of other, longer journeys, like Felpham to Pulborough or Arundel or simply into the South Downs. Needless to say that Jon will be doing just that in a few weeks from now.

Woodmansterne Green is a great place and a fine destination for cycling. For yours truly it involves riding into Purley and following the leafy Foxley Lane towards the top of Wallington and beyond and turning left at the lavender fields close to the Oaks park. From there it's about 10 minutes and soon the green appears. It's dotted with big, mature trees and plenty of grass, there are tennis courts and surrounding fields, a decent village pub and a newsagent and there are plenty of places to sit down. The green was once a regular Boxing Day ride destination and there are many occasions, documented here on NoVisibleLycra, when Jon, Andy and yours truly would meet here to discuss this and that and sip tea and cereal bars (BelVita biscuits came later).

Mum, 86, and her two sons: me on the left, Bon on the right, in the garden
Today Jon and I discussed his new house close to the sea – I say 'close' and I mean close, there's a road in front of the house, then another house and then the sea; you can see it from the upstairs windows, he told me.

We spent a fair bit of time on the green before jumping on the bikes and heading for mum's. Jon's bike is in dire need of an oiling. It creaked its way towards a considerably lengthy piece of off-road track, which we both followed into Carshalton Beeches and then down Park Hill towards the Windsor Castle pub, passing on the way the Village Bakery where Jon and mum often enjoy lunch. At the lights there's a left turn and then, opposite the garage, a right turn, but with the traffic heavy we both dismounted and then jumped back on once safely across the Carshalton Road.

Mum knew we were coming and already had two mugs, with milk and teabags ready, on the counter top. We both opted for a slice of the wedding cake I mentioned a couple of posts back and then sat in the 'lounge' (as we always call it) chatting to mum about this and that, one of the topics of conversation being the amount of cars in the road and how the family in the house across the street have five cars to their name – one each for the mum and dad, one each for the two sons and one for the girlfriend of one of the sons, who also lives there. They can get three on the drive, which has been concreted over, and two are parked, along with many others, on the road itself. Back in 'our day', of course, had there been so many cars we would never have been able to play football like we used to as there would too big a risk of damaging parked cars. It's a shame in many ways that people allow cars to rule their lives.

Cake eaten, tea finished, we donned our helmets and bade farewell to mum. Instead of parting company at the bottom of the road, where traditionally Jon turns left and I turn right, we both turned right and retraced our route to Carshalton Beeches, going off-road again and parting at the crossroads by the lavender fields, which pretty soon will be in full bloom. Jon continued off-road and so did I but going in opposite directions. I rode along the Foxley Lane and through the back streets of Purley, which eventually became Sanderstead, my last exertion being the ascent of West Hill's south face. I reached home at 1033hrs, later than usual, but it was good to see Bon and, of course, mum.

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