There being more than 6 on the long ride on Sunday we effectively split into two groups, and four of us (Bob, Sam, Paul and Russell) met at The Cross at 8 for an Unofficial Long Ride ride to West Meon, where we might meet the Proper Long Ride.
So we started off with a glorious ride along the A259, pretty empty at 8.00 o a Sunday and the wind completely with us for pretty much the last time that day. We had the vague idea that we would stop briefly for victuals at Rowlands before going on to Petersfield, thence to Steep and down to the Meons from there. We actually didn’t do any of those things except Rowlands, where we stopped for far longer than we intended as the cafe was open (even though we got there before 9), and things like sausage baps avec fried egg were very tempting. Everywhere has got very organised about contact details so once we’d prised Sam’s name, rank and number out of him the service went smoothly. Unlike my back wheel when we went to go as it had sprung out of alignment , but fiddling about with spanners etc sorted it after a while.
And then we sped off to Finchdean, eager to see the VR postbox there, which I had found was made by Smith and Hawkes of Birmingham, who were the earliest manufacturers of wall boxes, making them between 1858 and 1881, so that the box is earlier than the VR box round the corner at Dean Lane End, which was made by W.T.Allen of London, who had the contract from 1881. Once this excitement had passed we continued up to Ditcham. We saw what looked like a buzzard briefly but I mostly missed it due to a combination of being in the middle of a widdle, followed by a rush to dig my binoculars out of my saddle bag, by which time it had vanished, leaving unresolved the question of whether it was a VR buzzard or a more recent model. The discomfort inherent in such a messily suspended intellectual adventure was dissipated only by wooshing down the zig zag road and into the Geographical Anomaly represented by Goose Green and Quebec occurring half a mile from each other. This, of course, created a Space-Time Dislocation resulting in a hitherto unknown coffee stop suddenly materialising in Nyewood. That posed quite a Conundrum for me as I was still full of a sausage and egg bap from Rowlands Castle, but they were offering a Venison Bap, of which I felt obliged to partake as they were clearly only a manifestation of unstable quantum electrical fields, and I might never have the chance of sampling it again. But those unstable quantum fields definitely came up trumps as it was smashing, even on top of aforementioned Beehive Bap, so we can only hope that the multidimensional transience rampant in the Nyewood Area results in a similar abnormality being Beamed Down in the future.
There was discussion over coffee of Next Steps, which I couldn’t quite hear so did the usual deaf thing of nodding along, but I did hear mention of Liss, which made sense as we were on the way to Liss. So we went on through Rogate, but by the time I had struggled up the hill past Roget Common the others were waiting at the turning which is Not To Liss, which confused me. Apparently we were now going to Milland, but close as we were to the recent Space Time Dislocation I thought it could have been much worse. So we whizzed down through Borden and up to Milland with a brief stop at the Community Cafe which allowed time for Russell to reassure us that even with the vaccine we are all doomed anyway due to India. Cheered by this thought we went south down the Roman Road, waved to the Romans waiting at the Roman Station, and somehow (I’m a little bit vague about precisely how this happened) ended up at Cocking.
And thence back to Chi. Nearly 50 miles on my clock, and a lovely ride, even though we went Completely Awry.