Eastwell and Melton

Wanted to do 40 or 50 yesterday. I’d done a bit more than 70 on Friday, and there was a fair old wind blowing from the north-east. I set off on the eastbound route toward Belvoir Castle.

Set off at 09:45. Cold for the first hour or so. The headwind was irritating, but otherwise not a significant impediment to progress. I decided to go as far as Eastwell and make another Fondo out of it. Arrived at Eastwell after 32 miles, and turned for home. By this time temperatures had improved considerably.

Strangely, on a route I’ve done possibly a couple of dozen times – this is my default Fondo route – I missed a turn on the way back, which I realised when I found myself approaching a village called Scalford. I did exactly the same thing in a car a few weeks ago. Anyway the road seemed fairly pleasant and I had plenty of time, so I kept on keepin’ on, thinking to do a bit of exploring. After a few miles I was starting to think of stopping and invoking Google Maps, but happily a sign announcing Melton Mowbray appeared in front of me.

Melton has been a frequent cycling destination over the years and I certainly know my way back from there, so I continued into the centre, where I cycled cautiously over the pedestrianised area to Costa Coffee.

I went in and ordered a bag of crisps, a Belgian bun and a coffee. Because I was sitting at a designated table (just outside), I wasn’t required to wear a face covering at the counter, although I had brought one.

When I’d finished I went back in to buy a bottle of Fanta, to replenish my bidon. It occurred to me later that because I was buying this “to go”, I should have put the mask on. But I didn’t.

I hadn’t done the route home from Melton since the 200-miler in June. I did wonder how I managed the tedious climb to Six Hills after 180 miles of pedalling. It was bad enough after 40-odd. I was waved past a pretty bad accident involving a large farm vehicle and a van, near Six Hills, by the Leicestershire Constabulary in attendance. I must say they were all really friendly, with a nod and a smile. When I was a kid, coppers were usually humourless, miserable bastards. Or maybe that’s just Hartlepool.

Came back through Diseworth and Coleorton, just for a change. I was too hot for the last hour.

Saw either a small rat or a large mouse scurrying across the road near Burton on the Wolds. Then another one an hour or so later, this time though it changed its mind half way across and retreated back into the hedge.

Got through 12 chapters of my audiobook. Good stuff. Reacher is a bit like Jack Bauer, there is basically no situation in which he’s being held captive or under guard in which he won’t end up slaughtering his captors in the most grimly efficient manner possible.

Back on 71.77 miles, a pleasing 243 already this month. But the weather looks unsettled for the next 10 days or so.


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