Ride Report – Henstridge to Mere

Sunday 10 November 2019

———- but cold! Definitely a day for coffee and whiskey as you get in the front door. And, as it was a short ride, I got home before the central heating had switched on. Ooooff!
Saturday’s ride, as you probably all know, was a washout (cars floating down the road!). I drove my van through a steady downpour to Haynes Motor Museum hoping that nobody would turn up, but was dismayed to see Arthur Civil turning into the carpark in front of me. Then Ben turned up, plus Rocket Ron and Charlie — I couldn’t believe that they’d even set out, let alone wanted a 50/60 mile round trip to Fivehead to add to their already 25 miles-ish to and from Stalbridge. Anyway common sense (I think) prevailed and we postponed — I offered to drive all of them home in the van, but all refused: manly stuff!
So, to today —- Grey, gloomy, soggy start. Headlights on as I drove to the golf club. Ben was there, then Charlie, Jill and Roger and finally Mary. All partook of courage-building fluids and carbo-hydrates and then steeled ourselves for a cobbled-together local ride  — Golf Club  > Wincanton > Gillingham > Golf Club (or Home). We’d barely started, about 20ft, when Jill sang out “puncture”. Roger started repair, Jill and I hung about to look “useful!” Charlie and Mary slunk back into the warmth of the clubroom —- and then sat watching us, with sardonic expressions on their faces.
As if on queue though, the minute we mounted up and set off the temperature dropped to about 8 degrees Kelvin, but the sun came bursting out. Beautiful and in a china blue sky, with not a cloud!
Set off, right, out of the Golf Club road and through the little industrial estate, down to the Shaftesbury road and more or less straight across to the muddy lane that cuts off the corner to Templecombe. Out onto the Wincanton road for a short distance and then right again and through the lanes to Wincanton. No issues, no events, except Charlie needed a comfort stop and, when it came to it, so did I. Jill and Roger left the assembly before we reached Wincanton, whilst we pressed on to that great metropolis (City of dreaming spires and kebad houses). Out onto  the Wincanton/Mere road, turning right, and up through Bourton, past the old airfield, away to the left: and that derelict house and Pub, wasn’t it, that stands on the junction of that road. It’s so pleasing to see it being repaired instead of bulldozed.
And on and on til we got to the Brush Factory where Mary left us. Said she “had a chicken bad” and needed to get home to nurse it!
Brush Factory was bursting and we were told “no room”, but Ben spotted a table in the window, with armchairs (I expect the staff thought they’d be softer, for old men’s troubles, etc); in the sun too.
Lunch – Charlie opted for a plate of assorted dead sea-creatures, Ben became rash and adventurous and had ham, egg and chips and I chose the soup — which was sweet and had the consistency and colour of what the bikes tend to be covered in when passing a farmyard on days like these. Ben and I got stuck into MPs, Government and integrity and Charlie became catatonic, cos of the sunshine, he claimed. Anyway it was all fun and quite animated.
Afterwards Charlie led Ben and I back through the lanes, south of Gillingham, to Stalbridge —- Ben peeled of to ride back to Yeovil (why?) Charlie off to his home and me back to the van.
It was a treat of a ride, especially considering the Saturday-weather we’ve had for weeks now. And I did, I believe, a masterly job of leading, with my knowledge of the area and wise remarks — As in “ where are we now?”
Thankyou all for company and, more particularly, for bringing that weather with you

Micky Drippin (Mike Anyan)

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