Tuesday 23rd was a dank, grey day. The four of us setting off from Shurguard, were covered by fine water droplets from the mist by the time we arrived at Warlingham Green, where we were joined by Julia. It was school half term, hence Julia being out for the Tuesday ride. That afternoon she was heading up to Cambridge with husband Tom. The purpose of their visit being to see their son who is studying medicine at the university, and to combine this with a few days cycling in the area. For this reason Julia did not want to be too late back from our bike ride, nor did Sandra, who also had an afternoon engagement. For these reasons, plus it being a chilly damp day, we headed direct to the tea stop at the Horne Golf Academy. There was another reason for rushing to get there. It was another October birthday and this time it was Meike’s turn to buy the teas!
Here we pose for the birthday group photo. You will note a new face. Well not quite new because he came out with us on last week’s Tuesday ride. Let me introduce Philip from Forest Hill. Philip is the proud owner of a Cannondale CAD 8 and has joined us with the intention of getting fit and ready for the Scope, 100 mile round London, charity bike ride. The CAD 8 is fitted with the now standard compact chain set with gear ratios that we touring cyclists would suggest are not best suited for the steep gradients of the Surrey hills. Naturally the topic of gear ratios featured at the tea table!
Before moving on, perhaps a few words about Horne Golf Academy, or rather, what preceeded it. In 1944 it provided an area of flat farm land which was used as a temporary airfield to support the D-Day landings at Normandy. For a brief, 6 week period, Spitfires flown by members of the Polish, Canadian and Indian Air Forces flew numerous missions protecting the sea and land forces as they crossed the English Channel, stormed the beaches and fought their way inland.
This now quiet strip of land, disturbed only by the Ping of golf balls, is commemorated by a small plaque by the grass verge along Bones Lane. You will see a new Poppy wreathe laid at this spot, next month on Remembrance Day.
Glorious sunshine returned for the last of October’s Tuesday Rides. We stopped to admire the view and catch our breathe after the climb to the top of Farthing Downs. This brief stop was fortunate for Ewa, who faffing about as she put it, missed the 10 o’clock lift off from Tesco but caught us up in time for this pretty picture!
Making the most of the sunshine I led them on such a circuitous route that I even got lost myself! But nobody noticed as we made an unintended circuit of Redhill Aerodrome. It did however provide an opportunity to test Ewa’s memory. Could she remember where, 10 or more years ago, I had helped her to mend a puncture on a cold, winter’s Sunday Ride?
No she could not. But I did remember my moment of chivalry. So just for Ewa, Picketts Farm, Picketts Lane, near Salfords, this marks the spot!
Back on track again I made it safely to our tea stop at Horley’s Waitrose, where John and Meike were patiently awaiting our slightly delayed arrival. But I thought my timing was perfect, it being one minute before noon when we started to lock up our bikes.
On our way home, just one last photo to remember this sunny day when the lovely ladies out numbered the ageing gents.
Sorry about the blur, old age shakes I’m afraid!
So next week it is November. Let us hope the sunny days continue and we can meet again at Shurguard, 10 o’clock, so no faffing about!