The day began for me with Parcel Force arriving with my tandem wheel while I was
taking a crap contemplating my navel, so I failed to hear the doorbell. Janet emerged from our marital bed in order to open the door in her negligée but by this time the parcel force man had slung the parcel over the fence into the back garden. I retrieved it, opened it and was just admiring its beauty when another one of nature’s wonders in the form of Fatbloke appeared at the front door. After admiring his beauty for a nanosecond or so, we set off for the station only for me to realise that I was wearing the wrong glasses so I swifty returned home to find the right pair. We still had plenty of time for the 8.28 train.
After an uneventful journey we arrived in Stowmarket to see some cyclists in the car park. Some of these I had seen before so I was pretty sure we were with the right group. We hung around a bit in the rain and also the not-so-rain while Nutkin drove in from her drey (wherever that may be) and soon we were off. Very soon I was left well behind again as we had some gentle climbing to do in the face of a not very gentle headwind. After 6 miles or so I took a right turn, which I knew to be correct having studied the map and route sheet in some detail before we set off, thereby finding myself at the front as everyone else had gone straight on before realising their mistake. This gave me time to don my waterproof and have another look at the map.
We sheltered under a lime tree in Thorpe Morieux, where Regulator played with the stocks, the heavens opened briefly and then closed again, and the consensus was that we should do less cycling and more indulging, so the route was amended so that we reached the lunch stop after about 17 miles’ cycling rather than the originally-intended 34. I did not notice any dissenting voices to this state of affairs. We arrived in Lavenham where suddenly our number was swelled as TimC and Veronica appeared as if from nowhere. It was not long before we arrived at the Six Bells in Preston St. Mary.
There was a fine selection of real ale on offer, so I went for The Augustinian, a Nethergate brew which hitherto had escaped my attention, while we examined the food menu. There were some quite exotic dishes available so, feeling a bit lionish, I decided to plump for Wilderbeeste, although it wasn’t spelled like that in the pub. It arrived on a large block of stone which had been pre-heated, and in effect it cooked before my very eyes so I was spared the sheer drudgery of stealthily stalking the said creature with the rest of my pride before bringing it down with a spectacular rugby tackle and asphyxiating it with my jaws. I enjoyed it in spite of the inevitable air miles which must presumably have gone into its preparation, unless the Suffolk savannah has large herds of the aforementioned antelope roaming free.
Once replete we meandered around for a few more miles until we reached Stowmarket station once again, where a decision had to be made. FB and I were booked on the 7.29 train so it was entirely necessary for us to find somewhere to drink beer to fill up the time. The so-called “Superpub” around the corner from the station turned out to be probably the worst pub any of us had ever been in, with no beer, a large and mesmerising television churning out the latest garbage from the hit parade and no other customers apart from a band of ACFers who were all too polite to tell the barman where to shove his fizzy rubbish. After a while the other ACFers who did not have to catch a specific train all disappeared which was the cue for FB and me to find a pub which did sell beer. We came across the Oak so we had a couple in there and it was time for us to catch our train back to Prittlewell.