Thursday morning saw Andrew and his band roll into Stapleford Granary to give an impromptu performance for Lindsey and her staff at the Ace Foundation. Having played just a few notes, however, Andrew was asked to leave the £68,000 Steinway alone and move over to the adjacent, less valuable instrument. Undimmed, he played some thundering chords, cheered on – or rather woofed at – by his biggest fan, Hector.
Having persuaded her spouse to leave the piano, Lindsey gave us a fascinating tour of the recently restored granary building with its impressive exhibition and performance space. They intend to open a coffee shop soon – so it will no doubt feature as a stopover on some future Windmill Club outing.
We did a little cycling too, though it turned out to be a very short ride for Keith. Starting from Andrew’s house, we had gone barely a mile when he pulled up with a mechanical problem, some spokes having detached themselves from the wheel rim. Even for Tom that proved too big a roadside repair job – so Keith was obliged to make the short walk back to Wendens Ambo, collect his car and go home.
That left Ken, Sandra, Roger, Brian, Tom and Andrew to continue on through Saffron Walden, Hadstock and Linton to Abington. Leaving the road at this point, Brian led the way over the A11 on a footbridge and thence on a cross country route via Babraham to Stapleford; a picturesque off road section of some 3 miles.
Following our tour of the Granary and back on the bikes once more, we made the short hop on to Great Shelford where we pulled in at Brian’s house for coffee and cake in the garden. Then it was onwards to Whittlesford, Duxford, Hinxton, Ickleton – where Ken peeled off to tend his bees – and Strethall, before the pleasantly cooling descent back down to Wendens Ambo.
Dismounting at The Bell Inn we found Keith consoling himself with a beer while considering whether to replace his ailing bicycle. We were soon joined by Ken – who was somewhat miffed at being stung by his beloved bees – and John who had done his own off road thing.
We enjoyed an excellent lunch while Roger and John regaled us with true crime stories from the Pelhams; by all accounts a pretty rum part of Hertfordshire.