The "last day" of the long run of summery weather found us at Rose Farm with two rides in prospect. Dave H had arrived with two friends and was going to be riding with Jim. My ride to Swettenham was an easy sell to Petar, Dave R, Steve and George. As it happened, both the rides went out towards the Whitegate Way and then across the canal and railway into Davenham albeit by slightly different routes. Dave M was out for a local ride round, so accompanied us to Cotebrook. The ride out was unremarkable except that the roads were largely deserted and we were speedy. Arriving at the Swettenham Arms just after 12:00, we were sitting in the sun discussing literary historical writing styles and munching our somewhat expensive repast. However there was a wide range of good ales.
We were soon setting out again at 13:00 and took the rideable bridle path through the Davenport Estate in the lovely river Dane valley. The lonely long lanes through Brereton soon found us on the outskirts of Middlewich. There is no pretty way round this town, so after a lot of housing estate, we exit on the Nantwich road bound for Winsford. Ditto here, to enable us to out onto the Wettenhall Road. It was still early, so I proposed a deviation to Tilley’s, which was seconded and approved. Towards the end of Long Lane, the leading trio turn right and as I can see Steve and Petar not too far behind, I assume they have seen us turn. The trio dawdles along the lane then waits at the Tollemarche Arms for the duo to appear but appear they do not. As they know where we all going, we set off bound for Bunbury. Guess who is sitting down at Tilley's then - the dynamic duo plus Dave H plus two friends but minus Jim. Jim had taken a fall but was OK, though he had gone home. The circular return would have been via Tarporley for a 54 mile circuit. However as George had his car at Duddon, Steve was going to Kelsall, and Dave R to Waverton, the four of us set off via Beeston and Burton bound for our respective homes. As I arrive home with 80 miles under the tyres, I can't remember when I needed to wash the bike over recent weeks - no doubt this is about to change!
PS: It was really an unexpected pleasure to see Mike Morley at Rose Farm café this morning. It was good to catch up on events. He was looking very well and upbeat. He hasn't been out on his bike yet but doesn’t rule it out. Hopefully we shall see him for coffee again when we are meeting not too far from Delamere.