…. in the heart of the Ribble Valley, scene of one of my earlier dates with disaster…..an evening cycle ride with much screaming, stomping and walking up hills…..but yesterday in glorious autumn sunshine we revisited some of the scenes of torture and found them gentler, more forgiving and ultimately more enjoyable.
It was a last minute spontaneous decision to continue the Sunday cycle, all week the forecast had been such that the building of an ark would have been an appropriate activity, this coupled with family visits, bonfires and some work related stress meant that the usual military like planning was out of the window. But sometimes the unexpected gives the most pleasure, and the whole afternoon was one of unexpected treats culminating in a splendid afternoon tea at the wonderfully extended Bashall Barn. Here we revisited the traditional war cry of ‘we’ve earned it’ and tucked in reasoning that we needed fuel for the return hills and there would not be time to eat before setting off for an evening bonfire party.
The Barn is a treasure trove of good food, magnificent ice cream, sensational gifts and as long as you know the difference between and heifer and a bullock you will find your way to some splendid toilet facilities. Its position also provides a magnificent view of the Ribble Valley, and Pendle Hill which yesterday was basking serenely in the afternoon sunshine. Our visit there rounded off a two hour cycle ride taking in some of England’s most amazing countryside. As we pedaled we met a variety of characters, cheerful walkers weilding their walking poles like Fred Astaire with a cane , lycra warriors powering past, head down and eyes fixed forward and cycling families where the children pedalled faster than the adults. We were accompanied for a long stretch by a spritly pedalling pensioner straight from Last of the Summer Wine who regaled me with his life story until we lost him at a complicated crossroad. Without exception everyone was smiling, reflecting the glories of the autumn day and even the cars seemed less inclined to push us into the ditches or maybe we’re just more confident, we can now even do our hand signals without wobbling all over the road, though mastering drinking (from a water bottle!) and riding is still an elusive skill.
A speedy turn around at the end of the ride and we were off again to a fellow Cycletta survivor’s evening bonfire and firework party where the food included our winning John Bury Trust Beef and Marmite sausages which went down a storm. A firework display to rival Sydney at New Year provided a fitting end to a Super Sunday incorporating all the elements of our recent cycling and charity fund raising adventures… sunshine, scones, sausages, and above all great friendship and fun now with a new addition….. fireworks.