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22 April. Hunting for swift halves on a Bank Holiday Monday. 19 miles.

And a swift half it was too as seven Windmillers piled gleefully into The Woodman in Nuthampstead on this warm Bank Holiday evening having noticed that it was open, which was unusual for a Monday. The even better news was that it might open on Mondays in future too. And more good news came from Simon who said that he had persuaded his family of stoats to leave the Stoatel in his attic, but leaving behind the rotting carcasses of consumed rabbits and not paying their bill.

This made up for a somewhat sombre start to the ride as Andrew, Lindsey, Ken, Ann (on her sporty e-bike), Sandra, Simon and Martin gathered outside The Bull in Lower Langley at 5.00pm looking forward to a pleasant ride around the lanes followed by refreshment back at The Bull. But, alas, it was not to be. A sign outside said the pub had shut at 4.00pm and would re-open at 8.00pm which would have meant a 30 mile ride and that was not the plan.

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Lindsey and Sandra in the pink outside The Bull. Sandra was sporting some sprained fingers, having had a fight with an Alpaca, but this hadn’t stopped her cycling from home to the start and back again. 

The revised plan, once we got to The Woodman, was to have a swift half there followed by more swift halves in other pubs passed en route that we are not usually tempted to enter. It was a Bank Holiday after all, but all good plans go astray. This is where we went hunting:

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Just before the 8 mile mark The Blind Fiddler came into view in Anstey and there were people sitting outside! Ah ha, thought those at the back of the ride but those at the front had already whizzed past and so the opportunity was lost. At the 10 mile mark in Great Hormead The Three Tuns also had people sitting outside enjoying the evening sun. This time thirsts were more apparent all round and so up the path we went only to be accosted by the landlord saying he was closing but that there was another pub ‘about a mile away’. However, our route did not pass another pub and so we proceeded to Furneux Pelham and stopped to admire the church and surrounding houses.

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Sandra and Andrew studying the inscriptions on Furneux Pelham church and the house opposite, both of which refer to ‘Time flies – mind your business’. We also stopped to look for the site of the Commonwealth Grave but could not find it.

Then it was a left turn down a familar bone shattering concrete track towards Starlings Green and the outskirts of Clavering before heading back to The Bull at Langley Lower Green. With only a solitary swift half consumed and with many pubs seemingly closed or sold out after the record breaking temperatures over the Easter weekend, Andrew phoned around and discovered that The Pheasant in Great Chishill was open. So he, Lindsey, Ken, Ann and Sandra headed off there, Sandra having peeled off earlier to take a more direct route.

Thanks to Andrew for planning the route and enabling us to shed a few Easter Egg calories.

Martin

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