15 June 2017: Straight to Stowmarket

Exactly why the Windmillers were doing the hokey cokey outside Andrew’s front door escapes me; maybe we were showing we had the legs for the 44 miles on hot roads that lay ahead.

Not the Tiller Girls

We had gathered at Andrew’s house in Wendens Ambo: Ken having pedalled from Ickleton and Brian from Shelford, plus Maurice, Rod, Sandra, Vernon and, of course, Andrew himself.

Maurice had planned a route – via Steeple Bumpstead, Long Melford and Lavenham – to Stowmarket. We set off heading for Saffron Walden and were soon on our way into deepest Suffolk. Stopping in Clare for refreshment we discovered a new – and very good – café in the disused railway station. They do homemade cakes and very good coffee in the delightfully restored Victorian building; it’s a little gem of a place and definitely worth supporting. We shall return.

Clare Station: you’ll wait a long time for a train

Refreshed and back on the bikes once more we headed for our next stop, lunch at Lavenham where, an hour or so later we pulled into the garden of The Swan, hot, hungry and thirsty. Most of us devoured platefuls of sandwiches and swilled pints of Adnams, while Maurice – with his more refined palate – sampled the panéed cod cheeks, which looked like a few fishy morsels served with a teaspoon of rice. Lean pickings indeed, though Ken thoughtfully shared a sandwich with him.

Lunching at Lavenham

Then it was back in the saddle for the final leg to Stowmarket and the train home. As ever, our bikes proved a challenge for the guard who made us re-distribute ourselves and our machines in a way more to his liking. We finally settled down for the ride to Cambridge where, tumbling out on to the platform in the middle of rush hour, we felt glad our commuting days were behind us.

Vernon: looking good after 44 miles and waiting for the train home
Screenshot 2017-06-17 at 16.56.11
From Andrew’s house in Wendens Ambo all the way to Stowmarket

Thanks, Maurice, for planning things – and Andrew for organising things. We are looking forward to the next one!


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