Thursday, 12 April 2012

Wednesday Beer is back....

Oh yeeeessss!!!! - ladies and gentlemen, let's hear it for the welcome return of the wednesday night beer ride. The light nights are here, the weather is mild, we've all got a terrible thirst!

Actually this wednesday was the second beer ride - but Gary and I didn't make it last week - you might remember it was snowing!! Anyway, this week was looking good - I took the car to Gary's with my bike loaded on the new Thule bike carrier - just wanted to give it a test really - and there lay the first problem, the key that locks the rack onto the towbar is a duplicate - unfortunately it is of inferior quality and managed to get quite bent within the locking mechanism - Gary, utilising his engineering background, rescued the situation with a pair of pliers. So, at last, we were ready for the off. Paul, from across the road, joined us and we made our way up Hunts Lane towards Grangewood - It's been a while since I've ridden around here - didn't seem any easier. Quickly though we gathered speed and hurtled recklessly towards Coton in the Elms and Rosliston beyond. Then we noticed the sky up ahead. It was dark, like night, its wet greyness swirling and bleeding into the surrounding clear sky. 'Looks like rain' someone said. That turned out to be the understatement of the evening. Within a minute the rain began falling, gradually becoming more intense. Now it was cold too, my gloves were soaked, in fact everything was soaked - poor Paul from over the road - he was in shorts.

We got into Burton on Trent just in time to see the only other cyclist who'd bothered to turn up - leaving. We shouted to him and he turned round and joined us for shelter in the shopping arcade. We stood around chatting while watching the weather. After a while the rain stopped and we decided to take our chance - duly setting off towards the Black Horse at Coton. Then it got worse still. This time it was hail - not just a few sporadic bits - this was the real deal - we were shot-blasted for about 10 minutes - the roads were white, we were white... and blue - Pete spotted a rainbow to the left and as we moved uphill Gary announced that we were heading for the shallow end.  A piece of hail hit me in the eye with a ferocious sting. Paul from across the road decided he couldn't carry on - he was cold and soaked and opted for the road home. We waved him off as gradually the darkness gave way to a lighter, gentler scenario - it seemed unreal that there could be such a difference in so short a space. Now the roads were dry, as we approached the pub the sun was shining - no sign of bad, wet weather anywhere - except for the wet drips falling from us.

The Black Horse
The Black Horse is a typical local - situated in the pleasant village of Coton-in-the-Elms - famous around here for having a resident flock of ducks quaintly wandering about the place. The pub has been much chopped and changed over the years, it was closed for a while, then opened, then closed, opened, closed and now open again for the past five years or so - and doing well. Even in these hard times there is always a place for a village local, selling good beer at a fair price, with a warm welcome and a cheery smile. The pleasant sounds of laughter and people chatting greeted us as we stood at the serving hatch waiting for three pints of Joules' Bitter. Strange as it sounds we sat outside - the sun was shining, it was pleasant and we chatted for twenty minutes or so. Then I noticed Gary had started to shiver - not in the odd, occasional, one-off way, this was more the full blown shakes, like I imagine Keith Richard shakes in the morning. It was time to make a move - we need to be moving to keep warm, and it was getting dark. We pedalled on to Lullington, down to Grangewood and then to Netherseal. I was home by 9.30 - unheard of for a wednesday beer ride - and I needed a hot water bottle.

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