September 5, 2011, by Andrew Burden
The VC’s blog: JoGLE Day 10: Sutton Bonington to Bourton-on-the-Water
The second dire day for Scottish football on this trip; a late penalty for the Czech Republic means Scotland miss out yet again on a major tournament.
Last night we ate at The Plough in Normanton and were joined by several spouses (Susan, Duncan and Nick). Although Chris J’s choice of dessert was puzzling (everyone else ordered ‘Chocolate Explosion’, Apple and Rhubarb Crumble and so on, he opted for ‘Spicy Crab Cakes’) it was an excellent way to end a memorable day.
We stayed in comfortable accommodation in Thrumpton Hall at our Sutton Bonington Campus and the Chef came in specially to prepare an excellent breakfast. Then it was back on the road.
Chris R and Alan were out first, then David W, followed by Karen, Kate, Chris J, Neville and Steve. I was a bit behind, sorting a few things out and Andy and Nick waited. We set off in miserable conditions, steady drizzle, poor visibility and wind chill, with the prospect of 88 miles ahead of us. Compared to last Sunday however, it was sub-tropical.
We made rapid progress. Just north of Atherstone, we spotted a vaguely familiar bike by the roadside. As we got closer we could see a yellow shirt in the bushes. It was Alan, answering the call of nature. Further ahead we could see Chris R. They had a 30 minute start and we had caught them up! What was going on? Were we riding on the limit? Were the Flying Squad finally slowing down?
Breakfast beckoned so we did not hang around to find out. We went in to Atherstone to ‘The Old Bakery’ and enjoyed excellent bacon and egg sandwiches.
From Atherstone we weaved through the rolling hills of Warwickshire (which feel more than just rolling on a bike) towards Stratford-Upon-Avon. En route we passed through Meridan. I have never registered the significance of its name and was delighted to find that our journey was taking us through the central point in England. Moreover, we were unaware of the town’s association with cycling, and struck by the fine memorial cyclists who had lost their lives in World War Two. As an unplanned visit it was all the more special.
Much as I like Stratford, we decided not to compete with the Sunday day-trippers and eat before we got there. We turned in to Snitterfield and found the Snitterfield Arms. As we approached, from the opposite direction came Alan. He was lost. We persuaded him to make an exception to his routine and stop for lunch.
The ride through Warwickshire was attractive, hills, woodlands and some lovely villages. Beyond Stratford we got into Cotswold country. I know this part of the world quite well, having lived in Brackley and Evenley for nine years. But it was still a joy to ride through some of England’s most picturesque landscapes, in bright sunny conditions, with impossibly perfect villages like Lower Slaughter.
Our last stop of the day was Chipping Camden, an exquisite Cotswold town, where we chose ‘The Badgers’ Hall’ teashop. One of the waitresses, Jane, found a parking spot for our bikes in the courtyard, among the potted geraniums. When she found out what we were doing, she also produced cushions to rest our backsides and made a generous contribution to our cause.
It is a lovely teashop, in an idyllic setting and it gave us a real lift for the rest of our leg.
The final stretch had some steep, climbs with gorgeous vistas. It was a fine end to a wonderful day’s cycling.
Everyone else arrived in good shape with no major mishaps. No punctures today and only one mechanical failure which required Kate to change bikes. No major embarrassments (unless you count Chris J being overtaken by a penny-farthing as one).
88 more miles on the clock, making a total of 750. An amazing number, almost the official distance from John O’Groats to Lands End!
September 4th 2011
Great stuff, once again! Was thinking about you all yesterday morning when we saw the miserable weather, but relieved that it brighten-up later! Sounds like a beautiful journey – at least once the rain stopped! Keep going and happy cycling – it really is getting close to the home strait!
Team Lifecycle – are you absolutely positive this is not a culinary tour of the UK?? Recent publication of the new Good Food Guide is making me suspicious! Congratulations all on reaching this point and don’t forget Shakespeare was a cyclist “I’ll provide you a chain and I’ll do what I can to get you a pair of horns” – Merry Wives of Windsor Act V scene 1!
Feel a bit of a fraud sitting next to you as I write this! You are all looking fantastic considering the ups and downs (quite literally) of today. As I drove down into Bath in the pouring rain my heart went out to you all. Daren’t say I am exhausted after the drive down as I’not looking nearly as fit and healthy as the rest of you. Susan X
To David and all on Nottingham Team “Life-cycle”….. I just thought I’d wish you well or the rest of your journey and to let you know that if you decide to make a return as part of the “culinary” tour, some more BadgersHall scones would be yours for your saddle-bags. We glad you enjoyed our Cotswold hospitality in Chipping Campden. With all that mileage and physical exertion you will surely burn off the calories in no time! Best wishes from someone with fond memories of her Nottingham student days and thanks for visiting BadgersHall…….Jane
I’m with Chris J re the crab, great choice. The Plough – so many years ago but such fond memories. Anyway, enough of all that, you are all amazing, what spirit. Keep devouring the carbs. Fx
Great stuff again from the Life Cycle team. Cash donations continuing to come in here in Ningbo, particularly as folk become aware of the importance of the work of organisations like the Sue Ryder Research Centre. Good luck for Days 12, 13 and 14. Julie
To be honest I am with Chris. Many a time I’ve wanted a starter but everyone else wants to save themselves for puddings, so having the starter at the end makes perfect sense to me!
Talking of penny farthings, interesting fact for today : The first end-to-enders were H Blackwell and CA Harmon of the Canonbury Bicycle Club who travelled from Cornwall to Caithness in July 1880. Their ride, on ordinaries (the correct term for “penny-farthings”), took 13 days.
You are on the home straight now……