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21 October. Bloody floody ride. 29 miles.

This was a ride of great extremes of weather – cold and miserable at the start, warm and sunny at the end and flooded roads to contend with at many points on the circuit from The Fox and Duck at Therfield. The photographs tell the tale, but floods are difficult to photograph when pedal high in water and so you’ll have to take my word that we did in fact traverse a few.

It was a go, no-go decision for Ken but, recovering from a bug, he decided wisely to do a shorter ride and meet us on the return leg. The remaining 12 Windmillers comprising Maurice (in his smart yellow rain hat), Alan, Charles, Rod (also in a yellow hat), Sandra, Deborah, Howard, Roger, Chris, Brian, Simon and Martin chose to believe the weather forecast and set off in the direction of Buntingford in two groups.

Just outside Therfield Group B met John Bagrie coming the other way who joined up for a while before choosing his own route (and most probably avoiding the floods). He was later spotted in Ardley and then reached Sandon before both Groups A and B.

Group A decided to try their luck with the café proprietor in Westmill and managed to be seated at an inside table, as it was still pretty miserable outside. Group B pressed on to Church Farm at Ardley, passing through some autumnal Hertfordshire scenery as the sun began to emerge.

Chris and Rod in Wood End outside the fascinating late 16th century timber framed Chapel Farmhouse with a Congregational chapel bolted on to the end, erected in 1820. The two buildings were merged into one property in the 1970s. Full details of the history here: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1101421

The return leg took us through more water-logged roads as far as Sandon where Group B spotted Group A just leaving after stopping to chat with John who was sunning himself on a seat overlooking the famous duck pond.

There was one final flood to pass through between Sandon and Therfield, one that deterred Ken from heading towards us and who instead headed down to Royston for an excellent coffee at Macdonald’s. Just as well because Deborah reported water soaking her shoes, which must have explained the squelching sounds coming from the other end of the table at lunch.

Back at The Fox and Duck, we sat at ‘our’ table and enjoyed a good lunch.

Speaking of style, there is none more stylish than Charles, this time sporting a Harlequin jersey and matching socks – clearly determined to win the 2021 Sartorial Prize at the forthcoming Christmas lunch.

Thanks go to Maurice for changing the route to avoid a section on the A505 and to Andrew, who was nursing a bad back and couldn’t join us, for organising us. Thanks also to Charles for some of the photos.

And this is where we went:

Martin

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