Three met at Nonsuch Mansion for the short-but-sweet ride to East Molesey: Bill Kent, Mick Curtis and myself leading. The ride was to be short as everyone had things to do in the afternoon and yours truly is leading an away-day ride on the Sussex coast tomorrow (Sunday).
The skies were threatening and cloudy, but the temperature was promisingly warming up as the minutes passed with the last three days of torrential rain adding lots of evaporation mist to the scenery.
I was pleasantly surprised and a little choked by the lovely new memorial bench that has appeared at our meeting spot by Nonsuch Mansion. A lovely design and very appropriate.
After admiring the craftwork and design of the bench we headed out in the usual westerly direction through Ewell to pick up the path along the Hogsmill River. Today we followed it all the way to Kingston.
The town was quieter than usual, possibly due to the passing of Her Majesty, who knows! After crossing the Thames we entered Hampton Court Park and saw hardly a soul about in the dreary gloom of this overcast day. The wind was becalmed, so still that I noticed water droplets were hanging from the tips of the oak tree leaves as we passed. Much to my surprise the ground had softened and mud was being picked up on the bike, a welcome sign that the ground has been absorbing the torrents of rain rather than it running off to waste.
After leaving the park we joined the Thames Towpath a couple of miles east of Hampton Court Place and the bridge. We ended up at this point in ‘slow and careful’ mode as we’d come out right in the middle of a huge sponsored run event. I don’t know where the runners started, but it was a serious one as we passed a milepost by the Palace stating, ‘15 miles.’ We then crossed Hampton Court Bridge and pondered as we passed the peculiar looking triangular, anti-tank defences that have appeared each side of the bridge in the shared pedestrian / cycle path.
We reached the cricket club cafe around 10.45hrs and engaged in the usual beverages and food whilst sitting outside looking for the faintest glimmer of sunshine. Alas the sun wasn’t to be seen, but the various topics of conversation brightened the day as bacon sandwiches were devoured.
The route back was a variation on our outbound journey as everyone needed to get back fairly sharpish. Bill left us and headed across Bushey Park for home and Mick and I retraced our steps using the full length of towpath between Hampton Court and Kingston. This once again involved engaging, ‘slow and careful’ mode. It’s amazing how many runners look at their feet whilst running, an odd thing that!
The return went without a hitch and the clouds broke and cleared about half an hour before the end of the ride, typical, just typical!
28 miles for me.