Monday, 9 September 2013

Red arrows....

As it gets close to last orders in the garden we spent a few hours fettling around; tidying, pruning, generally making good. There's still some life around and the threatened worsening of weather never happened here. Instead we were treated to gentle sunshine and a blue sky daubed with grey and white clouds. I embarked on a ride of 35 miles to make the most of the good conditions - it was a placid affair; mild-paced with no definite agenda - just the sense of being out and getting somewhere and then back again. The rise up to Market Bosworth left me breathless as usual and from there I was happy to amble along at a sedentary pace - looking across empty fields and verges with various shrunken flower heads and withered stalks, a testimony to the winding down of summer.

Insects were numerous though - on a speedy descent I was hit full in the eye by something which left me weaving along the road like a drunken sailor on a storm-tossed ship. In the end I had to stop and give myself a minute to clear the debris. Not long afterwards the same thing happened again - not quite so debilitating as the first time but annoying nonetheless - glasses, eye protection of some sort would have been useful today. There are people gathering wild fruits from the hedgerows; blackberries are abundant and I notice a woman with a bright blue plastic trug full of apples. For a while I imagine she will be baking a delicious apple and blackberry tart when she gets home. I recall that we did the same a year or so ago - there still might be one or two apple and blackberry crumbles hidden in the depths of the freezer. I pause in a gateway for a few minutes to survey the scene. There's an old tree trunk laid out almost like a bench for weary walkers (or cyclists) to perch on and I glimpse a grey heron gliding past across the middle of the field. There is the remains of a crow next to the trunk, its glossy black plumage still with an oily shine. It's quiet; still and calm. I ride around lanes that just over 500 years ago were the scene of the Battle of Bosworth - the King was killed somewhere close to where I am right now - recent research has shone new light on the exact location of the battle - and I know that I'm in the zone.

As I make the gradual turn and start heading towards home I pass a group of cyclists, a club run and a sizeable peloton - I wonder how far they've been. It's late afternoon and I imagine that they've been out all day; possibly a 100 miles or more. Then there is a deafening overhead roar - instinctively I look upwards scanning the sky - it is the Red Arrows display team - I stop to watch as the planes circle widely and jettison a plume of red, blue and white smoke - they are flying low and I remember that it is the Shackerstone Show weekend - a regular fixture that always includes a Red Arrows display. For the next 10 minutes or so - I have a grandstand view as they twist and turn through their repertoire. It's exciting stuff and makes me smile as I continue my journey homewards reflecting on a ride that has offered such a variety of visual stimulants.

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