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10 February. Five star ride. 31 miles.

Unable to fill up with Five Star at Baythorn End, despite Andrew trying to squeeze the last drop from the pipe, this group didn’t give up. They tried yet again in Kedington but neither pump would oblige and so there was nothing for it but to keep pedalling into the wind on the return leg to West Wratting.

Ric and Victor tried their hardest but Five Star had run out here too

Setting out earlier after meeting at 9.00am for coffee at The Chestnut Tree in West Wratting and placing the all important lunch order, 15 Windmillers rode forth on an anticlockwise circuit of lanes in three Counties – Cambs., Essex and Suffolk – and what glorious lanes they were too. Maurice led the way for group A with Rod, Alan, Howard and Ken in tow, followed by Andrew leading Group B with Victor, Ric, Roger and Martin, and finally Brian leading Group C with Deborah, Graham, Geoff and Charles – five star riders in each group.

‘Now, what would you like to order for lunch, Sir? Sorry, haggis is off.’

This is where we went:

‘Hey! Wait for me.’

The weather was kind on the whole, a bit overcast but blue skies at times and, most importantly, dry. Not bad for early February. The coffee stop was at Baythorn End where we were greeted warmly, as usual, and served good coffee and cakes by the efficient staff – always worth the risk of being run over by a large lorry on the short stretch of the A1017 which is needed to get there.

The return leg took us around the north of Haverhill, thank the Lord, taking in the pretty village of Kedington with its rather ungainly looking church of St Peter and St Paul, but inside it houses a magnificent array of treasures:

The ungainly looking church of St Peter and St Paul in Kedington is one of the historical treasures of East Anglia, virtually untouched by the Victorians and stuffed full of fantastic monuments to the Barnardistons who were Lords of the Manor from 13th century until 1745.
There are many family box pews, the most elaborate being the manorial pew of the Barnardistons dating back to around 1610. This is why it is known as the Westminster Abbey of Suffolk. Must pop in the next time we’re passing.

Charles’s rear facing camera was busy clicking away and so it’s always best to be polite and keep a smile on one’s face whilst following him – clearly designed primarily to snap any offending motorist. We should all have one!

Back at The Chestnut Tree, big helpings of everything from Maurice’s favourite grilled salmon to ham, double egg and chips (with a field mushroom, but not sure where those come from this time of year), washed down with excellent ales, created a degree of contentment hard to equal anywhere.

Thanks again to Maurice and Andrew for organising another ride from The Chestnut Tree, to Charles for some of the photos and, of course, to everyone who took part.

Martin

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