The morning was mild, windy, overcast and threatening to get wet. I’d set off in the dry but when the rain arrived, it was hard and sudden, as if I’d ridden into a car wash by mistake. Thunderstorms and strong winds had been forecast. I stopped immediately and put on my jacket. Completing the ride-to-the-start I was just thinking, “no-one will be out in this weather” when I spotted Diana, Dave, John and Martin who had also failed the intelligence test and were sheltering in the doorway of the Civic Theatre. We waited for the squall to blow over, then set off for Perrywoods. The sun and rain alternated, causing me to take off/put on/take off my jacket and my new “rain legs” – mildly testing the patience of the others.
The weather turned fine and mild. The late start, delays and Diana’s puncture would have seen the group a long way behind schedule, however, the propulsive tailwind, shot us to elevenses only 15 minutes late. The savoury scones were superb; I had “stilton-and-walnut”. We met Beryl at Perrywoods, so six of us went on to a revised lunch stop at The Old Queens Head, Ford Street, a good choice as it turned out, providing light meals and baguettes as options. After lunch we battled the head-wind home, omitting a possible tea-stop at Coggeshall to save time as the sky blackened ahead. It was to no avail; we incurred a proper soaking on the final leg, before getting home to dry out with 58 autumnal miles logged in my almanac.