Tuesday 22 October 2013

FNRttC - Whitstable

I found myself at the back of the net.  You might think this is a footballing term, but not when you know that the net of 'tail end charlies' and 'allupper' doesn't let anybody through.  I was loving our exit out of London, taking a few photos on the way.  When we passed the Shard I realised that I had never taken a photo of that building.  So I made a deliberate stop.   It made me nervous, because the thought of being caught faffing and holding up the ride is one thing, but to do this whilst barely across the Thames is another!  I was already putting away my camera, but still, the net was closing in on me.  Susie's call of 'we'll wait for you', didn't make me feel any better.  It's as good as a telling off.

The Shard - tallest building in the European Union
I had ambitions of doing a bit of way marking, however not once did I find myself in a position to offer my services.   I've lost a bit of condition but this ride was fast!  It was great.  The peloton was often spread out which allows for long stretches of chasing, which I quite like.

We were in Gravesend in no time.  The forecourt of The Call Boy pub is where we normally stop and gather.  I've always liked that stop even though it feels so dead in the night.   When I first spotted the blue star on the pub swing board, back in 2011, I liked the place even more.

Taken in 2011

This time! This time, it didn't feel dead in the night.  There was a lively gathering of people interested in what we were doing.  I saw that the pub was open for business, and then immediately looked up to the swing board.  It wasn't The Call Boy anymore, but ...

Photo by Trickedem - http://cyclingmagic.blogspot.com

... Angels.  Angels, the gayest place in town.

Now back to The Call Boy.  His uniform gives away that this is to do with theatre.  A call boy calls the stars to the stage, saying something like 'You're on in 5 minutes.'  This pub is where there used to be the Grand Theatre of Gravesend.  Have a look at an old photo on this site.

All settled back to usual paces after the magnificent halfway stop in Strood.  I was pleased to be able to take off some layers, it was a very warm evening.   It was my first experience at the English Martyrs Church Hall.  There was a 'volunteer' to rider ratio of about 1:10, which allowed for welcoming and efficient proceedings!  Thank you!

Abundance at the church hall
We took a slightly different route through Faversham, and went along the Market.

Faversham Market
The purpose of the fast pace was to do with beating the rain to the coast.  And it worked.  We were soon able to enjoy breakfast by the seaside.


I had a little wonder after spotting this guy below.  He'd collected some lugworms which are used as fishing bait.  The handful he'd gathered were worth £15.

It was an excellent ride with great company.  I had lovely chats with known and new riders.  Some conversations are unique, and it's great when it happens.

I had arranged to have lunch with my girlfriend at the Sportsman, and that didn't disappoint either.  Stuart had asked: 'You having oysters today?'  We had the tasting menu, which included oysters, oysters like I've never had before, so good.  The cream cheese ice cream dessert was so delicious it almost made me cry.  

Oysters at the Sportsman
Thanks to Simon for organising, and everybody on the ride who made it memorable.  Special thanks to the Strood Eight!

Photos are here: MyPhotos


Anonymous said...

Wat een interessant en boeiend verslag.

Een prachtig en boeiend verslag.
Als je het gelezen hebt is het precies als een mooie film dat je gezien hebt en er nog kunt van nagenieten.
Super foto's met oog voor détails.
Proficiat! Meim en Peip xxx xx

Kris said...

een zalig nachtritje hé...! :)
geslaagde foto's die de sfeer en omgeving perfect weergeven.Well done! x