The vicarage tea party……..
It’s a hot Tuesday. A bunch of cyclists, from a wide radius of the East Midlands, wend their way to the tiny village of Naseby, made famous by the Civil War battle of 1645, when King Charles I was captured by the Parliamentarians.Now this piece is not about battles….other than the battle to get there. My favoured route had been closed by bridge repairs over a railway line…..apparently they are going to electrify the line and some of the bridges need to be raised to allow head room for the cabling. Alternative?
To avoid busy, nasty roads, I choose an alternative route going through Grafton Underwood, Geddington (of the famous Eleanor Cross), Desborough and Kelmarsh………
adding about 5 miles to my journey to have tea and cake with this crowd…..If you look carefully, you will see that just about everyone can boast several decades of experience turning those pedals. Many were riding their bikes ‘in anger’ back in the 1940s and 1950s, competing in, and winning, races and time trials. Some have cycled the world, camping in remote spots and climbing some of the world’s highest mountains.
Some will look on me as a mere ‘youth’, a young whipper-snapper barely out of nappies, and regale me with stories of past cycling adventures and dare-devilry that sometimes defy belief. Stories of 12 and 24 hour non-stop races; of ultra Audax events stretching out to 1200 kms of continuous riding; of normal training schedules doing 500 miles per week (and that’s while holding down a 9-5 job).
A 70 mile round trip, to have a cup of tea with these characters, is time and energy well spent. Especially when the tea party is in the garden of the Old Vicarage and, for £3.50, you can eat and drink as much as you like.