A short wander round the Daventry area with Roobell, Tonto, Pickers and BigDummySteve.
Left Leighton Buzzard in bright sunshine which obviously wasn't right. Luckily the train driver decided not to stop at Long Buckby for reasons known only to himself, so by the time I'd bailed out at Rugby and come back again the weather had sorted itself out and started p1ssing with rain and continued to do so for the rest of the day. My compliments to the other gents for hanging around for 40 minutes.
It's Roo and Tonto's local manor so the rest of us were grateful for their local knowledge and off we went, with Roo having replaced a few dodgy bits of route with slightly more sensible alternatives. Most off-road tracks were very wet and gloopy but passable. Unfortunately almost as soon as we set off my machine felt like riding through treacle - surely it couldn't be THAT gloopy. I almost felt like stopping immediately and bivvying in an adjacent barn full of classic cars - must be some cachet to sleeping under (if not in) a Bentley surely?
Roobell cunningly diverted us to Daventry Leisure Lakes who very kindly effected an emergency repair, consisting of replacing various destroyed pawls and bearings in the rear Hope hub, which has done well to last 12 years to be fair. This was also a welcome excuse to drink coffee and eat cake. Brilliant job LL, so I'd like to record my grateful thanks to Leisure Lakes here. That's DAVENTRY LEISURE LAKES. GET ALL YOUR BIKE STUFF AND REPAIRS THERE.
. Thanks chaps. Also interesting to see purchased e-bikes regularly proceeding out of the shop while we sat there - I don't think ONE non-e-bike left during the same period of time.
The delays (ok MY delays) meant it was almost dark and Roobell made the sensible decision to stop at the canal pub in Braunston for a restorative tincture. Pickers has this impressively uncanny ability whereby within literally two seconds
of sitting down on a pub sofa he manages to look like he's been there for years
. It was incredibly difficult to prise ourselves out into the downpour but off we went still trying to follow the original route.
After Shuckburgh I'm afraid I mutinied and demanded another comfy chair. Contrary to my expectations the other lads instantly agreed - "good idea". Strange that. Roobell provided us with another corking licensed establishment run by a nice chap with a giant moustache who possibly out-eccentric'd even us. It was only 5.30pm but we settled for the duration.
At one point we recruited a wooden spoon as a new member. To be honest it was making more sense than the rest of us.
Food came and went, although there was a "sticky" moment when we weren't sure if Tonto had actually ordered Spotted Dick or STP. Luckily the SD arrived as expected, along with STP's for BDS, Pickers and myself. A close shave.
Unsurprisingly I suppose we were the last inmates at closing time, and of course we had nowhere to kip. We'd been laying the groundwork gradually and finally I said to mein host, "I reckon you're about to say 'haven't you lot got homes to go to' in time-honoured landlord fashion. To which we would reply 'er no. Any good ideas?''". We were all getting on so well, and he was so over-refreshed that he offered his bar floor! This felt a bit of an imposition to me (& indeed a bit too easy) so I proposed the marquees outside instead - I guess on reflection the other chaps might have remonstrated with me given a minute to digest what I was saying, oops!
Anyway, out we went and set up, with a marquee each. Still p1ssing with rain but a cosy(?) but chilly night was had.
Off and away in the morning and we got to see the floods and waterlogged fields. Really, I don't know why I don't just post the same blasted 'flood' photo EVERY month this year because that's pretty much what's happened.
Roobell toddled off home nearby, Steve ambled off to Banbury down the canal, and Tonto, Pickers and myself split off to home / Long Buckby / Rugby. I wasn't trusting Long Buckby again!
Great to meet Roobell and Tonto - thanks for chaperoning us. I'm very impressed with my new Marmot rain jacket, and also the Dexshell socks - will get some more of those methinks. Even the ludicrous down balaclava was well worth it.
Roll on December and Shropshire!
11/11, 11/12, 46/46
"There comes a time in your life Ponsonby, when you think: 'My God, I'm two-thirds of the way to the grave and what have I done?" - RIP
"It is in the petty details, not in the great results, that the interest of existence lies" - JKJ