Having studied my maps and discovered Lord Chatham's Ride, I've been champing at the bit for some time, fired up with the thought of experiencing what looks like a great ride through the woods. So, while I've had a couple of false starts over the past few weeks, yesterday (Saturday) I took the plunge after a pretty piss poor week, managing to miss my target of a respectable 70 miles by around three miles. I even considered going out and doing one lap of the Norfolk Nobbler just to knock me across the line, but then I thought no, what's the point? Just accept you've not been as fortunate this week when compared to last and crack on. The chances are that next week's rides will be good as the bank holiday Monday gives me the chance to get out there on a day when I would normally be going to work. In other words, I reckon I'll make the 80-mile marker at the end of the coming week, who knows?
|Will I find Lord Chatham's Ride?|
|This ain't Lord Chatham's Ride...|
|...nor is this|
|Escaping the woods!|
|Tea and cake at Sheree's Tearoom made things a lot better|
Instead of retracing my steps along the private road that led to the Park Wood Golf Club, I followed road signs on a parallel road to Tatsfield and found myself on a hilly up and down country lane that plonked me bang in the centre of the village, which was bustling with cyclists and villagers. Andy and I are normally in the village early in the morning, back in the day, sitting inside the wooden bus shelter munching biscuits and drinking tea from a flask. Sheree's Tearoom is normally closed, but now, at around noon, it was busy with cyclists some of whom sat on the wooden tables on the green while others sat outside the tearoom, their bikes parked in front of it. It all seemed very agreeable so I stopped for tea and lemon cake and sat at a wooden table overlooking the lake. I phoned home to let them know where I was and then, after eating the cake and drinking the tea I rode out of Tatsfield following the usual route towards Botley Hill, but turned left on to The Ridge and followed the road into Woldingham, not looking forward to the steep but manageable hill at the far end of Slines Oak Road. I was home around 1300hrs.
|One of many sinister roadside figures|
|Why was the road closed? Flytippers, that's why. But bikes not affected.|
The Washpond Weeble is far better than doing the Norfolk Nobbler, which is restricted to suburban streets, but that extra 2.5 miles often makes me think (certainly if it's late in the day) that perhaps I'll just do five miles or, better still, nothing whatsover; instead I'll take a drive to Oxted and have a Millionaire's Shortbread in Caffe Nero or Costa. There's nothing worse than feeling tired and weary because it lurches towards despairing, feeling pointless and trapped and worthless and when I feel like that the last thing I want to do is jump on the bike. Ironically, however, jumping on the bike and riding for roughly one hour cures me so it's worth pushing myself when feeling down and getting out there.
|Dunton Green? No, I'll go home...|
It's now Tuesday evening and I'm contemplating riding to work tomorrow. I don't know why I'm thinking about it because it ain't going to happen. I've yet to kick myself into gear on cycling to work and soon the clocks will go back, the nights will draw in and the time available to go cycling will be limited, which is very depressing. Winter will be winging it's way and soon there will be cheap tinsel Christmas trees in shop windows and people will be counting the shopping days until Christmas and all the greedy bastards will be ordering huge turkeys from the supermarket and stockpiling Paxo and then toilet rolls when it becomes obvious that Boris Johnson's gamble with the public's health was just that, a gamble. We'll all be in lockdown again and our mop-topped nutter of a Prime Minister will be stuttering out his excuses to a gullible public who will quite happily vote the nutter into office for another five years, whenever the next General Election is due. It's a long way off, but that makes it all even more depressing.
|A view of Tatsfield pond while munching lemon cake and drinking tea|