Friday, October 23, 2009

The last days before winter


View Autumn Holiday - Thursday 22 Oct in a larger map
View Autumn Holiday 23 Oct 09 in a larger map

A quick cycle break in Constable country.

After torrential rain on Wednesday, everything was dripping on Thursday morning; and my first fording was immediately after turning out of the hotel drive. The route to Nayland was on single track roads, deep cut, so not terribly pleasant, but the leg to the west was open, and by this time the sun had burned off the early haze. I avoided the bridlepath return, diverting through Wormingford, and then took the main road to Stoke-by. The next leg started off again narrow and steep -- not pleasant cycling; and the land south of the main road towards the A12 is drear and desolate, so it was pleasant to come to Dedham, a pretty little village, for lunchtime.

The footpath to Flatford Mill was surprisingly free of any sign of the previous downpour, and the walk was nice, in the warm sunshine -- T-shirt conditions. Ate packed lunch on the riverbank, then returned to find my bike swarning with ladybirds.

Long loop to the north into more open country away from the river valleys, crossing the ford at Kersey dry-shod -- then just after Boxford getting one foot wet when suddenly encountering another. And so back, in the rapidly cooling evening sun -- at the hotel just after 5pm.

Friday, a shorter tour of the same sort of area -- sometimes avoiding narrow lanes where the vans and landrover+trailer traffic meant I had to squeeze to the sides, especially on the Stokt to Higham stretch. Despite the delivery van stuck behind me, the Green Lane north from Higham was the most pleasant such -- mainly because it was not cut 4+ feet into the terrain, and there were no high hedges blotting out the light.

Hot roast lamb with mint sauce baguette at the Cock Inn in Polstead, then the final stretch, reversing some of the previous day's, and, forewarned, getting dry across the ford this time. Again, a glorious day, again with none of the threatened showers -- just gorgeous late late Indian Summer weather; a third time lucky for this year's cycling holidays.

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