Friday, 25 May 2012

Beer ride - The Crown at Alrewas

This week is a definite - the recent cry-off's due to the weather are confined to history - today is hot, glorious in fact, the afternoon has a silent infinity about it - the shimmering heat, the sweet cool grass in the waste of May... Nothing moves except the flickering butterflies, electric with sunlight, small scraps of turquoise and ivory, soft as flying flowers. I cycle from home to Netherseal to meet up with Gary and Paul from across the road. Gary is injured though - his knee is swollen and giving him some trouble. His physio thinks it may be a cartlidge problem, we'll be taking it easy tonight.

So we pedal to Burton on Trent with a serene and aimless innocence - no racing or rushing tonight, plenty of time to breath and just enjoy the heat and scenery. Seven of us meet up at the Abbey Arcade and we cycle from Burton via Branston and then on Tatenhill and Barton under Needwood. We stop for a moment to look through the window of Adrian Timmis's cycle shop in the village. Adrian rode for Great Britain in the Olympics of 1984 and also rode the Tour de France in 1987 (finished 70th), his shop is superb.  He has many modern cutting edge bicycles but also some nostalgic displays; his bike from the 1987 Tour, a collection of race programmes and winning jerseys etc. We gathered around the window like schoolboys outside a sweet shop, then Adrian appeared from inside, he was working late and invited us in to have a look around. In we went drooling over £7,000 time trial bikes and a particularly interesting box set of Tour de France cyclists - like toy soldiers.

We set off again, through the village and then joining a cycle path running alongside the busy A38. Soon we arrived at Alrewas (Oll-re-waz). It is a little after eight o’clock and the sun is vanishing rapidly, the golden light gradually fading. There's a historic charm to the village: many half-timbered, thatched cottages, a 12th century church, the Trent & Mersey canal (England's first) and also the National Memorial Arboretum.

The Crown - Alrewas
The Crown was busy tonight - the weather had attracted many visitors to enjoy the outside benches and tables. Also there was some sort of 'open mike' music night. People were turning up with guitars the whole time we were there. The pub is archetypal 'Olde - Worlde', lots of small, low rooms connected by a labyrinth of corridors. Open fireplaces, Old, blackened beams, an eating area, lots of hustle and bustle with people enjoying themselves. We queued at the bar listening to someone singing and strumming a guitar - he sounded just like Jim Reeves. There was draught Black Sheep, Pedigree, London Glory and Bass - we tried the Bass and Black Sheep which seemed okay. We had three pints to make sure, then it was off to the Alrewas Fryer for supper. Excellent chips, Gary supplemented his portion with a pickled egg and then we were heading for home. It's dark now but still very warm - no need for coats or even arm warmers. We head back via Edingale, Lullington, Grangewood and then Netherseal - then for me, a further 12 miles to Nailstone.

It was a great midweek ride - made all the better by the fine weather of course. I arrived home at 11.40pm - 57 miles covered.

Peter Rose leading the group

Tim and Barry the Bell


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