Travel StoriesThe Heath Tea Rooms
A Pleasant Day Out
Ride Date 22 May 2021
By Ren Withnell
I do sleep, between the pee breaks and cramp in my shoulder and the farting, belching, snoring campers. As per usual I'm first up at 0600 so I partake of my ablutions then mooch around waiting for company. I'm joined in the cute little Tea Room in dribs and drabs as various faces stir from slumber, some seem to be a tad rough around the edges.
Get up you lazy reprobates!
Breakfast is provided by our hosts, a simple, tasty and effective English breakfast is devoured alongside many cups of tea. It's 1100 before everyone is fed, watered, washed and compos mentis. Lazy sods.
Today - we ride! Yay! And I mean yay because the weather seems to be with us presently. The skies are hazy, the air is tepid and the breeze light, perfect riding conditions.
We are to follow our hosts to their "field", north-east of Hereford. Much as with the Tea Rooms the setup here remains a mystery to me. Why do they have a field some 30 odd miles away? Why not closer? What's it for and why would we want to go to a random field anyhow. This has been explained but I must have missed the point somewhere.
Not to worry. I am growing as a person both physically outwards and mentally too. Where once I needed a reason and to know, now I'm getting comfortable with going with the flow. It's a ride. It's a fine day. This is not my circus nor my monkeys so just follow the group and enjoy the day. I still have much to learn master, but I feel I am learning.
We start with a number of miles on narrow gravel-centred back roads. Some of the riders on larger bikes are struggling but here I'm in my element. The pace of our hosts' 4 by 4 is impressive without being dangerous so I'm happy to keep pace. Out on the main roads we keep to the limits while making haste and I say to myself "yes Ren, today is a good day to ride".
The countryside is classic green and pleasant English countryside. Lush, thick, stout hedgerows, clumps of gnarled trees not quite in full leaf but almost, rolling hills, a broad patchwork fields both agrarian and grazing and whiffs of the first crop of rape seed mix with cow poop. Houses are never far away ranging from luxurious executive bolt-holes through well used farms on to cottages in need of paint.
Oh to be in England, in the summertime, with my bike.
The field is, well, more than just a field. There's a couple of wooden buildings in various states, a handful of various vehicles also in various states, neat rows of trees with concrete rings as artwork and a paddock with sheep, horses and geese. There's mention of animal rescue which explains the animals but the vehicles? Projects I suspect. Eclectic is the word that comes to mind.
Mown lawn and manicured bushes...
grazing critters meandering...
and various buildings and worn out vehicles.
We spend an hour in the sun, wandering about and exploring. Our hosts carry out a handful of animal husbandry chores then we go our separate ways. They're off back to the Tea Rooms while our group venture to Weobley some 4 miles away.
Again with the clichés. Weobley (Weeblee, Wobblee, Wee-obble-ee?) is a quaint sleepy English village complete with timber framed buildings, faux timber framed buildings, a church, a village green and an antiquated petrol station. We find a pub where we sit outside and in line with Covid rules we are served our drinks.
As English as rain, without the rain.
Once again this feels both natural and wrong. People walk by donning and removing masks in an omnipresent reminder of current events yet sitting in the sun sipping cold cola and chatting nonsense with friends seems perfectly normal. I do believe I will be able to slip back into reality easily enough given time.
Just doing normal things in unusual times.
The return leg sees us split up somewhat. Quite out of character I've somehow found myself leading the fast boys so I open the taps on the 500. I rapidly remember I am without skills or bravery and soon return to a "hasty but sensible and legal" pace. I thoroughly enjoy the return leg as, save for the odd car and tractor, we have much of these roads to ourselves. Upon return to the Tea Rooms the lads acknowledge my pace but I know they'd have been going much faster without me.
Tea this evening is steak! Cor, steak. With all this real food I do have a concern that my body may go into shock in the presence of nutrients and vitamins while lacking additives and processed chemicals. I bravely chow down.
In this pleasant evening we sit outside among the tents. There's talk of Covid mixed with excitement at the possibility of more such trips. There's shenanigans and teasing. As the sun starts to set we take a short stroll up the country lane. Nothing too energetic mind, just enough to pretend we've done some exercise.
What more could I ask for?
Without clouds the evening becomes quite chilly. We slowly head to our respective tents one by one and I find my sleeping bag much colder tonight. I put on my thermals and roll my jacket up to make my pillow. I wonder how many times I'll need a pee tonight?
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Wet 'n Wild And Oddly Familiar
A much antici......pated weekend away sees everything in order for Ren except for one small matter. The weather.
A Pleasant Day Out
In a turnip for the broth Ren somehow finds himself having a nice day in good weather. Something's not right, am I on the wrong blog here?
Then End Of A Good Beginning
It's time to go home and Ren is reflecting on the weekend. Will there be another anytime soon? Well, that depends on the news more than the willingness of the participants.
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Travel StoriesThe Heath Tea Rooms