An iffy start to the day nevertheless brought six riders to the pier at the newly designated time of 9.30am, namely; Mike E, Jonothan, Richard Ln, John G, Bill V and Mike M. Grey and overcast with a definite threat of precipitation the group set off towards Sandwich with a leisurely ride in mind as today was the day we would all meet up for a Christmas Lunch at the Black Pig, Staple, at 12 noon. So plenty of time in hand. With an unexpected bit of wind assistance we crossed the Ancient Highway in rapid time and arrived at the quayside embarrassingly early. The planned coffee stop in Sandwich woud have to be a long one. "Wait - did I hear another suggestion?" "Why don't we go Stonelees, we've got easily enough time" was mooted by a couple of our riders and received well by the others, although I did have some reservations as to whether it would lead to uncomfortable timing.
Of course, inevitable in some ways, the journey to Stonelees was marred a tad when the heavens opened and we got liberally soaked. However a warm drink in the not-so-warm clubhouse did much to revive our dampened spirits and somehow we managed to dry out before remounting our steeds. By now the rain had stopped and so we began to put in some energetic pedalling heading back to Sandwich and then out on the Woodnesborough Road. This route did mean a bit of a climb as we passed through the village and on up to the top of Beacon Hill, but then came the over-too-soon pleasure of the descent before turning right ahead of Mushroom Farm onto the Staple Road.
All seemed to be going so well until, with just a half mile to go, the heavens opened yet again and we were once more given a drenching. But in a few minutes we were going through the heavy door of this attractive pub into the bar where we were soon joined by the rest of the Tuesday Tour membership, at least those that were able to attend. An excellent lunch was then enjoyed by all, three courses, Christmas crackers, coffee and mince pies - a very festive event. Many thanks to Mike E for organising the lunch!
The return journey was fairly hard work after such an ample feast but at least it was dry. Over 25 miles for me. (JG)