Aussie Rules

It’s a fine thing for me to find that every time I go with BER into the English countryside I find so many lovely vistas and new things to see. It is particularly enjoyable when the weather is good, and today it was, with a little wind and cloud and some sun-very pleasant! Not so pleasing is it for a person hailing from Australia, when it is freezingly frosty, rainy or muddy! All that to come I guess!

This week it was a ride of 25 miles (approx), through the Braintree surrounds to Stisted (which grows some of the best parsley around-thanks Anne!), on to Greenstead Green (no-no tea/coffee stop here today, even after that nasty, taxing uphill climb) and then on to Halstead, where we stopped for a cuppa.

The café stop is a vital element of our rides and is looked forward to eagerly from the outset. Not just our hardy Braintree crew, but riders the world over, are united in their desire to find good coffee shops (or pubs!). Just look at Sydney, where, particularly on Saturday mornings, brightly outfitted cyclists will be found with their bikes tethered close by, in cafes everywhere.

Our café today was a new one on the Easyrider’s list at that. Our worthy leaders are always on the lookout for new and pleasing watering-holes. We squashed our way in, fortunately arriving in two not quite overlapping groupings, to find a café which is keen to be known for their good coffee. Today I had tea, but those with coffee seemed quite satisfied. And the food? The bacon sarnie according to one of our local experts on this fine foodstuff, was rated at a 9/10. Not bad then!

Editor - Mick was dancing in preparation for the barn dance, I think....

On we cycled via the lovely Gosfield, with its lake, Hall and lush surrounds, then back through to Braintree. Some yob-like behaviour was encountered by our riders on the way home, being displayed by a couple of (young) car/van drivers and this just reinforced the messages of our biking leaders that caution and keeping a keen eye out are important factors in every one of our outings.

One of my joys in exploring and learning about the English countryside is encountering the wide-ranging ‘choice’ of place names. Belcher’s Wood, Letche’s Farm, we sped/struggled past today, but Ugley, Happy Bottom, Leg O’ Mutton, Steeple Bumpstead and so many more, never cease to amuse.

I am a lover of the OS Maps and am happily highlighting all of the roads and tracks on my Braintree area map that I’ve cycled and walked. It is looking nicely messy now that I have explored so much of it. And I’ll continue to colour it as we continue our Wednesday outings!

Editor - Thanks Margot for the write up and as a coffee drinker I can confirm it was very nice. There is one addition I would add and it relates to sparkles....if Cathy offers you anything sparkling then just double check where it came from.

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