Saturday 16 February 2019
What a dirty trick! Friday was beautiful, sunny and warm, as I drove around my projected tour. Today was quite nice too: got a bit dark in the middle, but it brightened up.
On Saturday morning however, it was a different story — dark, dreary and soggy. I drove through some drizzle too as I made my way to Charlie’s in my mud-coloured Transit. Was in a gloomy mood by the time I set foot on his drive, but unable to run away (as it was my ride after all). We set off, just the two of us (Mickey Bigknickers having got up at something like 3am to go off to Cardiff — Probably for a proper drenching) and made it to the rendezvous early (by minutes just), only to find several enthusiastic members of S C Cycling Club (Stalbridge Crumblies) already present – Ed (who’d come especially to begin his training for a pb attempt at this year’s Coast To Coast), Lorraine Ron (Torchy – The Battery Boy) and Keith. Roger and Jill, Ben and Mary arrived a little later: ten of us. An exceptional turn-out for one of my rides!
Sensible people around us were cosily stuck into great big, beautiful, huge, delicious looking breakfasts and enjoying the site and heat of a glorious log fire in the stove —-I expect they would sensibly go home afterwards and emulate the actions of a python whilst the blood-flow deserted their extremities and attempted nobly to digest that perfect-looking meal. We meanwhile gazed on enviously and sucked our drops of tea and coffee and bits of cake: thought how much we DIDN’T want to go bicycling — That fire could have become a friend for life for me!
Lorraine and Keith left us at the start, whilst we went back along past Dykes, left up the hill and out towards Stourton Caundle, then right up Goathill. There were carpets of mud and blackthorn clippings all over the road, but, miraculously, nobody got a single “puncha” during the entire ride. Down to Milbourne Port crossroads and off to Charleton Horethorne, where a general stripping of layers occurred and Ed obviously lost his temper enough to hurl his phone on the road. Didn’t work though, he couldn’t break it! —Should have given it to us, we’d have sorted it! Left fork at the café, over plenty of mud (nobody off) and down that long descent to Blackford and then South Cadbury and on towards Rosie’s, where Jill and Roger left us. On to Sparkford. Met Steve Way (getting his money’s-worth out of his new club shirt) and his group, travelling in the opposite direction.
After that I took everyone one round the back of Sparkford Services (fell off, much to a passing motorist’s amusement. Hope he drove into a wall soon afterwards!) Through Queen Camel and past West Camel, Bridgehampton and left past Yeovilton Naval Station and then left again through Yeovilton village. I thought this bit was really pretty and probably none of the folk from Dorset would know it. I was wrong, of course —– “oh, we know this road!” Pooof!
At this point it became evident that I had over-egged the ride, for this time of year, and Montacute was be shelved, in favour of Hamish’s, directly. Ben took over navigation and led us right through the middle of Yeovil town to get back en route at North Coker; and after that, past the end of Sutton Bingham Reservoir and Goose Thingy farm to Hamish’s for a mid afternoon lunch. Big lunch for Ben, as he had finished his ride and was going back into Yeovil and home. Everyone else ate more sparingly except Charlie, who was seduced by “A Cherry Danish” which did look delicious. Ron ate Charlie’s soup, so he had to have “a substitute”, which turned out to be toooo hot to eat quickly and involved drowning gurt lumps of breaded chicken in it (Yeurk!). trouble was it was so hot that he began to feel guilty about holding us up —Consequently his voluptuous pastry was handed out to the drooling masses: poor chap.
Journey back! —- Mary wanted to get back in a hurry and everyone was bothered by the thought of having to night ride, so “quickest route”! —- which happened to coincide with mine — through Yetminster, past Leigh and on towards Bishops Caundle, which I was dreading because the legs had gone, Ed’s as well — we were doing sneaky walks up the worst hills: Bishops Caundle might have necessitated an “ambulance made for two” or even a man with a top hot and black-coated retinue. So Mary, Charlie and Ron took us, kindly, round the south of Stalbridge and in the easy way.
I couldn’t have been happier to see Charlie’s driveway and my battered old Transit.
Just an observation — From the smell that greeted me when I opened the van this morning, to get the bike out, that hill shouldn’t have been named after a goat; no, another creature!
Thankyou one and all! — Micky Drippin