According to my radio, this was the first day of meteological winter. It certainly was wintry, just the same as the last few days had been, cold dry and often sunny. Dave H and I were sitting in Cleopatra’s in Holt, preparing to join a ride with the fast boys, when Dave P arrived with Liz, making a welcome return on the tandem. After not much consideration Dave H & I chickened out of a longer ride and decided to join the tandem for an outing to The Greyhound at Street Dinas, just north of St Martins.
We travelled out southwards along the western side of the Dee, and sped into Bangor on Dee, bumping into John M on the bridge; he had dropped out from the brisk group still suffering for his recent bug. Our attempts to persuade him to join us failed and we continued on through Overton. Dropping into the steep valley of Shell Brook, we took a minor road to avoid the steep hill, and climbed up more gently, through some ice, to pass the church in Dudleston, where Dave H & I remembered encountering a funeral earlier in the year. I wonder how much our memory of routes depends on who we were with and what happened.
The Greyhound was just around the corner, and we appreciated their large fire and friendly welcome. Unfortunately the food wasn’t quite up to scratch in this usually excellent pub. Over lunch the conversation extended over many serious topics from youth training and employment to recent political events across the world.
On our return route we encountered the only difficulties of the day, a sticky mud which jammed itself under my mudguard, operating as a very effective brake. After two stops to clear this, I tried to ignore it, maybe helped by some of the mud shaking free as we passed over the corrugations of Rookery Lane south of Worthenbury – is this the worst surfaced lane in our area?
As we headed back, Dave and Liz suggested we stop for coffee at Lewis’s of Farndon. For those, like me who hadn’t visited before, this is the rather smart, new coffee shop you pass on the right as you head down towards the bridge. It was a good choice, cosy and well-priced with some tasty looking cakes. As we sipped our drinks we reflected on an excellent winter’s ride: 33 miles of decent riding in good conditions.