26 April. The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck. 24-28 miles depending on who got lost.

Beatrix Potter would have been proud of Sandra’s ducklings as they gathered at The Fox and Duck in Therfield on a blustery late spring day, in the absence of any risk from the wily foxes, Maurice, Andrew and Keith, who were seeking other game whilst drinking red wine with their pasties and clotted cream scones in distant Cornwall. Not only had Sandra arranged a ride in the shape of Mrs Puddle-Duck herself but she also arranged for real life ducklings to appear at just the right time as we cycled through Sandon.

And so it was that 8 Windmillers set off on a ride ranging from 24 – 28 miles, depending on who got lost. This was no ride of well behaved ducklings.

Mrs Puddle-Duck’s route through Hertfordshire lanes. Do you like her bonnet?

Mrs Puddle-Duck was followed initially by her little offspring including Johns B, T and M, Rod, Vernon, Chris and Martin. The lanes were unfamiliar to some and so it was easy for Vernon, powering ahead of the raft into a head wind, not to hear the U-turn squawk from Chris at a remote junction near Cromer. John M went searching for him, others went on ahead and some just waited patiently which proved to be the best tactic as the lost little duckling appeared having clocked up a few extra miles. Those who went on ahead were naughty and failed to wait at John B’s suggested junction and so found their way to Baldock a shorter way than planned, and then chose a different coffee shop too. When Mrs Puddle-Duck found out she threatened to scold them soundly but, as she’s such a nice Mummy duck, she let them off with a warning.

Mrs Puddle-Duck with only a few of her ducklings in Baldock

Rod, Chris and JohnT, the naughty little ducklings, eventually arrived and we all set off back to Therfield via John B’s favourite off-road route via a stony track either side of a bridge over the A505, resulting in wheel spin and pushing of bikes for some plus attempts at riding through shoulder height crush stiles without stopping. Only Rod managed to do this easily and was duly awarded the stylish stile prize:

Rod cruising through the last stile at speed

This proved to be a ride along the back of Mrs Puddle-Duck, past George Orwell’s cottage in Wallington, until we reached Sandon and witnessed some real life ducklings swimming with Mum on the village pond, probably not more than a few days old:

Sweet little Sandon ducklings
Another Sandon based duckling, this time in a hurry

Then it was back to a nice welcome and an excellent lunch at The Fox and Duck for most except Rod who peeled off in the direction of home in Royston and John M who did likewise. It was good to be joined by Brian who was well on the mend and hoping to be out again next week.

Thanks to Mrs Puddle-Duck for organising a great ride but she is just too nice. Naughty ducklings take note!
















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