19 August. Plum crazy ride. 19 miles.

A duck walks into a bar and asks, “Got any plums?” The bartender, confused, tells the duck that no, his bar doesn’t serve plums. The duck thanks him and leaves. The next day, the duck returns and says, “Got any plums?” Again, the bartender tells him that, no, the bar does not serve plums, has never served plums, and, furthermore, will never serve plums. The duck, a little ruffled, thanks him and leaves. The next day, the duck returns, but before he can say anything, the bartender begins to yell: “Listen, duck! This is a bar! We do not serve plums! If you ever ask for plums again, I will nail your stupid duck beak to the bar!” The duck is silent for a moment, and then asks, “Got any nails?” Confused, the bartender says no. “Good!” says the duck. “Got any plums?”

Ok, ugh! Now if that duck had been cycling through Starling’s Green on this sunny summer’s evening in the company of Andrew, Nick, Tim and Martin, he would have been delighted to come across a plum tree on the side of the road laden with ripe plums. Tim and Martin had missed it and waited ages for Andrew and Nick to appear but they had been gorging themselves on said plums and filling their saddle bags to take home to make pies, jams or tarts. Windmillers are used to seeing roadkill and the odd onion or carrot but this is the first time we had come across such a feast of plums, which tasted like Victorias but were slightly smaller.

Not wishing to miss out, the next day Martin happened to be passing by car what he thought was the same spot but there was no sign of the tree. A call to Andrew and a chat with some local ladies soon established that he was in the wrong place but having found the tree he and Penny quickly filled their bags with plums and here is the result:

Tarte aux Starling’s Green. Delicious!

It had been an eventful ride long before discovering the plum tree. The first stop after starting from The Bull at Lower Langley was just outside Meesden to check out the nuclear bunker hidden deep in some undergrowth which we had viewed from a distance before but not close up. It is rumoured that the interior still contains some original furniture but no one volunteered to climb down the ladder to take a look. Instead we clambered upwards to what might have been a lookout post to admire the view.

The front door into the nuclear bunker
Nick, Tim and Andrew admiring the view. Tim was celebrating having had some good results racing his car at Silverstone recently. 

Andrew’s route then took us to Great Hormead where another stop was made to examine a memorial to an American airman whose fighter plane crashed soon after take off from Duxford in 1944:

Nick alongside the memorial to Flying Officer Archie Daniels in Great Hormead

This leisurely ride resulted in another familiar stop outside St. Mary’s Church in Furneux Pelham which recently had all its lead roof removed by thieves, causing over £225,000 worth of damage. The church’s motto is Time Flies – Mind Your Business, supposedly a reference to harvests having to stop work at 6.00pm to allow gleaners onto the land to pick up what they could from spilt corn.

Outside St. Mary’s Church, Furneux Pelham
Having locked up the church, this man’s Jack Russell is looking suspiciously at Nick but in fact was very friendly

Then it was on to Starling’s Green for plum picking by Andrew and Nick before we regrouped near Ford End and continued back to The Bull via Langley Upper Green, where there were some fine beers on tap.

This is where we went:

Plum crazy ride 19 August 2019


Thanks go to Andrew for planning the route and organising us. It was indeed a plum crazy ride.





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