It was one of those mornings when you hope Andrew will phone to say, “Let’s call the whole thing off”. Alas, the call never came, which meant Sandra, John, Martin and Brian felt obliged to turn up and join the foolhardy Scot in the Fleur De Lys car park. The forecast was heavy rain.
Andrew himself was somewhat under the weather, croaky voiced, but convinced the Essex air would be a tonic. You’ll catch pneumonia, we thought.
We headed out through the steady drizzle to Henham and thence on to Thaxted and Great Bardfield, where we pulled up at Cole’s tea room on the High Street. The place had only been open a few weeks and they made us very welcome, turning a blind eye to our mud spattered attire. The coffee was very good.
Revived, we set off on the return leg. By the time we reached Lindsell the drizzle had turned to steady rain and before long it was coming down like stair rods. We still had 10 miles to go; visibility was poor, some roads were under water, and our waterproofs were proving to be anything but water proof.
“I know a pub here”, said Martin as we approached Great Easton in a downpour. Sure enough, there was The Swan straight ahead. Dismounting, Martin tried all the doors, maniacally. Let us in! Ten past twelve and it was shut. We exchanged glum looks and soldiered on.
Arriving eventually at The Fleur, we abandoned the bikes, peeled off our useless waterproofs and gathered around the fire, shivering and gently steaming.
Chris and Ken, having sensibly decided to give today’s outing a miss, were enjoying a beer at our usual fireside table. We were all tucking into a hearty lunch when, mid mouthful, Martin suddenly became agitated, experiencing a burning sensation in his withers. The spare batteries he was carrying in his pockets, now damp, were short circuiting and he found himself wearing electrically heated trousers!
The All Weather Windmillers had clocked up 31 miles and, heading home for a hot bath, we had to agree we had rather enjoyed the challenge.
Thanks, Andrew, for organising things; John too, whose local knowledge kept us clear of the busier roads.