5 July 2018: Stung in Suffolk

Pausing for a breather in Kedington

Yet another sunny Thursday morning saw nine Windmillers gathering in the car park of The Black Bull Inn, Balsham. There was Andrew, Yorkie Brian, Sandra, Ken, Roger, Tom, Chris, Brummie Brian and Keith who, following a YouTube crash course in bicycle mechanics, was back on his favourite machine, now fitted with shiny new parts.

We were off on one of Maurice’s routes, 30 miles or so, taking in West Wratting, Withersfield, Great Wratting, Kedington, Baythorne End, Steeple Bumpstead, Castle Camps and Bartlow.

Red Lion at Great Wratting
Spot the whale jawbones

It was in Great Wratting that we pulled into the Red Lion, an interesting old place with a pair of ancient whale jawbones standing guard by the front door. Inside it was cool and dark with a fine collection of brass and copper ware hung from the ceiling. “Cappuccino?” asked Andrew hopefully. “We’ve got coffee – or there’s beer” replied the landlady flatly. Thinking 10.30 am a little early for a pint, we settled for coffee all round. Served in the garden with a generous supply of biscuits, the coffee was good and – at £1 each –  supremely good value. We like The Red Lion; seemingly open all hours, it qualifies as a John Bagrie “proper pub”. We shall return for lunch at a later date.

Roger at rest

Continuing on into Suffolk and enjoying the peaceful lanes around Boyton End, there was a yelp from Andrew, followed by some robust language. Pulling up sharpish, he declared he had been stung on the face by a wasp. It’s one of those summer cycling hazards; at least he didn’t swallow the thing.

Look what the blighter did to me!

The rest of the route was uneventful. Approaching Balsham we were delighted to be joined by Maurice who had cycled out to meet us. Back in the pub we were further delighted to be joined by Ric who had cycled up from Harston, his shoulder now well and truly on the mend.

Windmillers at The Black Bull, Balsham

It had been another fine outing. Thanks, Andrew, for organising things, seeing us safely around the course and facing down that pesky Mr Wasp.

30 miles – or thereabouts – clockwise from Balsham


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