And no not the band....Our second weekend away trip was upon us, with the ride leaders and a few hardy souls arriving Friday afternoon so they could check out their routes and the rest of the riders arriving later that evening for the meal at The Ship in Blaxhall.
After an interesting meal with with no fish and chips, but chicken and pork steaks as alternatives and a couple of Nelson's Revenge we all retired to our rooms, tents or caravans for the night ready for the 40/48 mile ride tomorrow....
An early start, we set off in bright sunshine (Mick, Gifford, Jim, Jim, Julie, Margo, Gwen, Ian, Alan, Dick, Bill, Gifford, Diane and Adrian) to Framligham, via Campsey Ash, around Wickham Market, Charsfield, Hoo, Letheringham, Easton and finally Framlingham.
After following Route 1 for numerous miles on the way to Framlingham, Ian decided that enough was enough and disappeared to seek out a number 2 as it was between 11.00 and 12.00. Fortunately Mick wasn't there to take photographic evidence. A subtle reminder of actions on Lands end John o Croats last year.
The weather was good for this leg, although rain was forecast. the coffee stop at Framlingham was a delightful coffee shop which sold cakes for the larger appetite (bigger mouth). 18.8 miles down.
Refreshed we set off towards Dunwich along some of the roads we cycled along back in July. From Framlingham we headed towards Bruisyard, Peasenhall, Darsham, Westleton and finally Dunwich. The weather had decided to turn and as we just arrived it literally poured down. Ian sums it up beautifully...
At least the rain gave time for Margo to eat her fish and chips, after what was a decent breakfast....where does she put it all?
Unlike in July none of the group went skinny dipping - Compo oh how we missed the sight of flesh!
A further 17.3 miles completed, 36.1 miles in total.
Last leg was back to Blaxhall in time for tea at the Golden Key in Snape. Home via Eastbridge, Leiston, Coldfair Green, Knodishall, Friston, Snape and finally Blaxhall. Whilst we thought we had missed the worse of the rain, the weather had decided differently. It poured down pretty much all the way home, only relenting when we were about a mile away.
Oh well, it was a lovely ride through some amazing countryside and and well done to all who covered the 51 miles completed in total.
On arrival at base we all wanted to dry out our clothing and shoes ready for the ride on Sunday - what a shame the heating was only working in Gifford/Jim's chalet....the landlord was very accommodating and took away wet stuff and it was dry in the morning.
Pre dinner Margo also ran some wine tasting lessons - apparently it was a nice Spanish white
The evening meal at the Golden Key was gorgeous...Adnams Fish and Chips was excellent - thoroughly recommend the pub if you are ever near Snape.
Looks like the invisible man also had a pint of Ghostship with only his glasses left!
After returning to base, we all arrange to meet for breakfast and cover a few miles early as the forecast was grim for 11am onwards. Breakfast was interesting.....took a while to arrive but was good when it did. Diane's took 65 mins to arrive and only 1 min to disappear...
At just before 10am we set off with Gifford leading the way...the weather was looking grim especially the way we were heading. We rode south towards Butley and then west through Melton. The agricultural vehicles where out in force with some big tractors on the road. The weather also decided to pour and we sheltered for a while - whilst sheltering we had a very bad case of 'helmet hair'.
From Melton we headed towards Boulge, Debach, Otley and finally to Brandeston our coffee stop at the lovely Queen pub. Lovely coffee, see through teapots and a very welcome Victoria sponge. 23 miles completed and whilst damp we weren't soak.
We set off back to Blaxhall and within 2 mins of cycling the heavens opened and we all dived for cover under the trees. After 15 mins it eased and we set off again towards Kettlesburgh, Parham and finally Blaxhall. To say it rained would be an understatement and we all arrived back wet, wet wet....again however the sun cam out as we hit Blaxhall and so we were able to load the bikes in the sun. 10 miles completed making 33 for the day and 84 miles for the weekend.
A thoroughly enjoyable weekend of cycling, great company and wonderful food and beer. Thanks to everyone who organised rides, meals and accommodation and to everyone else for their company.