Quiet Lanes to The Hub
Today’s ride dawned fairly cold but bright. As ride leaders, both Ann R and I had had some riders drop out, so we combined our rides into one, with Paul S, Mike, Ann N, Julie G and Diane.
We pedalled out along the Flitch Way, and who did we see coming towards us wearing a very distinctive Saltire top, but my husband Jim. He’d noticed I’d forgotton my phone, and kindly brought it to me. As I laboured up the railway gradient, Paul and I were discussing our mutual art classes – we’ve both found our artistic endeavours stunted during lockdown, but he was quite inspired by being given a new leather-bound sketchbook, with paper that was quite appealing to draw on. My art focusses on the utilitarian and mundane, so the little I have done, is to draw workman’s gloves, hard hats and old boots.
Our group turned off the Flitch Way at Rayne and headed down to Felsted. Several group members have been keeping an eye on older family members. Diane was saying how impressed she was at the very detailed attention provided by a carer to her mother-in-law. Mike has been sorting out the estate of a senior family member, and had sagely advised his son that his multiple boxes of childhood Shoot magazines can be stored in Mike’s loft as long as he wants, but that ultimately his son will be the person who deals with them!
We turned down Mill Lane then laboured up the hill to North End. We crossed the B1008 to Onslow Green. Here I told the group, that when I led, I only chose roads that I liked riding, so it could be a bit repetitive, because I avoid riding on main roads. So when I need to cross the B1008, it is nearly always via Onslow Green, where there is a direct crossing. We headed down to Pleshey, then followed Route 50 to Howe Street, before arriving for tea break at The Hub at Warners. 15 miles – 10.4mph!!! Very fast for me!
Over tea, Ann N said she’s used the plum sauce recipe I’d sent her last year. I’d forgotten about it, but was delightful that she’d found it a perfect accompaniment to stir-fry veg. (I’d made mine with damsons, and Jim puts it on everything savoury). However, it turns out both Ann and I sometimes fail to get our jam to set, and I’ve discovered runny marmalade (I had 12lbs!) can be excellent when poured over orange and almond cake (made with semolina), bread and butter pudding, and incorporated into chocolate brownies. Yumm!
In order to avoid the main road again, we crossed the B1008 and took a bridleway to cross the River Chelmer. Ann R, as a frequent walker in the area, knew the area better than me, and observed that it forked, one direction was a footpath, the other a bridleway. This made me check the map once home – to the right is a footpath, but also marked as a track, so I think we are ok to traverse it. We came out opposite Frogs Hall Cottage then pedalled to Littley Green.
Julie was saying how she’s settled into living in Bocking, and has thoroughly explored the local footpaths with her dog, Nancy. She had a conversation with a local resident, standing in his front garden. He was so excited because he’d bought a new electric weed zapper. He was extolling the virtues of this new toy, and his wife was dismissively saying that Julie did not need all the details. However, Julie was just glad to be having a pleasant conversation, on a lovely day, with Nancy (who’d realised this was a long conversation and laid down on the ground to wait patiently until the walk resumed!). We pedalled home via Willows Green, Rayne and the Flitch Way.
What I think cannot be under-estimated about the Easy Riders is the value of light conversation and wholesome company. These insignificant, but beneficial interactions are what have been missing for lots of people during lockdown.
Ride on Easy Riders, Ride on!