Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hambledon Sting Operation

With half the country under water after terrible weather most of the week the TCA managed to find an elusive gap in the clouds for once. Al was last to arrive and found the others waiting in John’s new camper van. The usual round of 'cuppas' precipitated an issue that John had obviously been bottling up; complaining at the standard of Jon’s tea in previous weeks (for the record let it be known that John likes his tea strong with a splash of [skimmed] milk). With debates, M&S teacakes and cups of tea over at last the trio kitted up and left at around 19:00 for the usual Hambledon circuit.

John fettling his bike in the lea of the new van

We climbed Cams Hill out of the village, picking up speed as we hit the road at the top. With Al taking the lead we peeled off after a mile or so to join the bridal path near Broom Farm and were confronted by a wall of green rather than the usually well-defined track. Al and John pressed forward as Jon brought up the rear, yelping as he trashed through the nettles and brambles.

The track became clearer as we reached the woods and followed the track up the hill towards the first descent to Long Lane. The overcast conditions were perfect for cycling but the rain had made parts of the track quite treacherous. Nevertheless we reached the White Lion without incident and settled down for our usual pints of Palmers 200, John preferring the White Lion’s own bitter.

Relaxing after our usual pint in the White Lion, Soberton

After our beer we hit the disused railway track as Jon set off like a rocket and Al held onto his slipstream. John missed this trick and, with Jon having obviously taken some sort of illegal go-faster medication, was left in his wake somewhat. However, Al (who had by now been shaken off) and John had the last laugh as Jon shot past the infamous railway embankment exit despite Al shouting after him. Al and John had only to wait on the bridge above for a few minutes before Jon had made his way back and we were soon pressing on to the Forest of Bere.

Up and over as usual and, following a brief encounter with a rather startled horse rider half-way down the sandy hill, we had joined the road towards the Traveller's Rest and our second beer of the evening. The long summer nights make it almost obligatory that we patronise the outdoor bar at the Travellers although the serving hatch tonight was closed due to the inclement weather. John pulled the short straw, walking round to fetch the drinks.

Service with a smile from John

Jon and Al laughed at John’s expense when they realised he had been backed into a corner by the local ‘character’. Al recalled an evening when he and Billy-Bob had to endure endless tales of big-game hunting in Rhodesia from the same gentleman some years ago. Having extracted himself form the conversation quite deftly John delivered the beers and a quiet summer drink was enjoyed.

Even tired bikes need a rest

With no need for lights, and chatting amiably while riding three abreast at a leisurely pace, the ride back to Hambledon was reminiscent of bygone days of the TCA when this route was the norm most weeks for Billy-Bob and Al. A wistful moment for Al but his mind was soon focused on the thought of chilli con carne warming on the stove at home. We picked up speed on the way home and whistled past a lesser cyclist at a demoralising pace.

Dinner-time entertainment has a proud tradition within the TCA. Tonight Al had a treat for the others – a DVD of The Incredible Petrified World – donated by TCA(NZ) some months before. This lasted all of 10 minutes before it was deemed ‘unwatchable’ by John and Jon. Reviews of this movie tend to concur: "...features nothing petrified save the movie itself, ...which is incredible only in the sense that it defies belief that even the most gullible of investors could have been convinced to bankroll its production". So, this being the last day of SKY subscription at Hamela Cottage, Jon trawled the seedy underbelly of the satellite channels for something suitable. All were therefore ‘entertained’ by The Class of Nuke ‘Em High over dinner, Tee and Al even staying up to watch the end after the others had departed. Reviews of this film only offer marginally better encouragement: "Sadly, this is another one of those movies where the title is more amusing than anything else on offer." I am pleased to report that the TCA’s legendary questionable taste in after-dinner movie is safe and sound! As we went to our beds we could still feel the stinging sensation of the nettles, evocative of previous TCA summer rides .

Route Map (click to enlarge):

(Posted by: Al)

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At 12:43 am, June 30, 2007, Blogger Maalie said...

Please could I borrow the video of the Incredible Petrified World? Sounds just my cup of tea.

At 6:42 am, June 30, 2007, Blogger simon said...

hey I like the look of the camper! whats it got? in terms of conversion?

At 11:11 am, June 30, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

Simon, the camper is not likely to have a degree of 'conversion' likely to impress the likes of you!

Maalie, you understand that there are no U-boats in it?

At 1:50 pm, June 30, 2007, Blogger Maalie said...

But it looks to have a bathysphere and a giant squid in it! That will do!

At 1:56 pm, June 30, 2007, Blogger Maalie said...

> scenes of people wandering around in caves and swimming to and from the wreck of the diving bell

What's wrong with that? Sounds ok to me.

At 2:20 pm, June 30, 2007, Blogger lorenzothellama said...

What's wrong with skimmed milk?

At 10:40 am, July 01, 2007, Blogger simon said...

Does it have cupboards? stove? bedding? water storage etc? thats what i mean!

I really like campers !

At 8:50 am, July 02, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

Ahhh, a classic ride with all the essential ingrediants! Stingy nettles, pint of palmers, mad bloke at the Travellers and not forgetting a Classic Filum! fantastic.

Simon : I am a bit of a camper van fan too! always wanted one, especially a split screen vW. Not many about these days sadly.

At 10:10 am, July 02, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

For all you regular readers a retrospective has been added - scroll down to June 17th, or click here:

A Little Bit of What you Fancy Doesn't do you any Good at all...

Keep up the good work Simon!


At 11:01 am, July 02, 2007, Blogger lorenzothellama said...

What'ya mean, fishing? We were going far too fast for fishing. Gales, don't you know.
Ipod, never. Far too complicated. I've only just learned how to switch the gps on and fiddle around with it. Still waiting to be taught how to put way marks in.

At 8:42 am, July 04, 2007, Blogger TCA said...

The easiest way to put a waymark in on your Garmin is to press and hold the "ENTER" button when you are standing in the place you want waymarking.

Alternatively got to the "MENU" page, select "MARK" and you can edit the details there.

Hope that helps.

Fishing... Gales... iPod...? Are you sure you're on the right comments page?


At 4:44 pm, July 05, 2007, Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Just replying to your comment on my Atlantic story. I could now go fishing from in the back garden.

At 11:43 am, July 07, 2007, Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Hope you have taken the appropriate video to Maalie.


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