Nick, Mic, Ann, Wendy, Angela, Doris and Sikka set out from the Palace Pier on a cold, damp, misty morning, decked out in waterproofs.
The weather offered an excellent excuse however to stop for a hot drink and a long chat at Carats Café in Southwick. The sun still refusing to emerge but the temperature warmer we moved off once again into the mist, crossing the walkways over the harbour locks as sailing boats were emerging to gain the open sea.
We followed Sustrans Route 2 through the back-roads of Southwick into Shoreham and crossed the Adur river on the glass-walled bridge. Passing by Widewater Lagoon with its swans and egrets is always a delight – away from traffic and on smooth tarmac. Past the posh beach huts, static home parks and sailing club. Today there were small yachts sailing on the water below us.
Ann was feeling tired and had an aching shoulder so she and Mic left us in Lancing. It was then that Sikka and Doris were discovered to be missing and, assuming they were lagging behind, were waited for. Thank goodness for mobile phones – after all! A brief text revealed the missing pair, deep in conversation, had outstripped the rest and were waiting to have their lunch on Worthing Pier, puzzled as to what had happened to everybody else?
Happily reunited, with the weather still sombre but warmer, there was talk of a swim. However, the lure of food triumphed and we settled down for soup and ciabatta in the art deco café at the end of the pier, sitting beside the windows looking out on a grey expanse of water and a wide sky.
Once fed and the temperature chilly again all thought of swimming vanished and we made our leisurely way homeward. Sikka and Doris opted to take the train home from Shoreham and as I am writing this report I am unable to describe any adventures that later befell Nick, Angela and Wendy.
Thank you Nick for leading a lovely gentle ride, particularly suited to the day’s weather conditions.
Having said our farewells to Sikka and our potential new recruit Doris at Shoreham station, Angela C and I followed Nick through the streets of Shoreham in search of the small blue signs marking the NCN2. We stopped briefly at the lock for snacks then Angela went on ahead while Nick and I sat on the beach to eat more snacks and watched a woman fishing off the beach. The prospect of a swim was mentioned several times on the return cycle ride as the sun emerged through the cloud cover, but the idea was swiftly dismissed remembering Mick’s recent encounter with a jellyfish – that and the lure of the vegan ale festival at the Cowley Club.
We purchased 3 different pints for a tenner and forgot which was which as they got moved around for Nick’s Flickr photo shoot. No worries – we like to practice the art of discerning floral hop aroma from craft keg from golden pale ale.
Thanks Nick for organising today’s jaunt – very enjoyable, and lovely to see old friends and new.
As a footnote to Sunday’s Clarion Ride, Mick & I turned back at Lancing & lunched at the Italian Restaurant opposite the church in Shoreham. I made a regretably unadventurous menu choice, as did Mick , & will have to sample their baked avocado with brandy & mozzarella &/or chicken livers with italian bits[forgotten] another time.. Mick had his perennial lasagne. We were just buying tickets at Shoreham Station when Sikka & Doris came along & all caught same train, then missed them on exiting Brighton station. Hope Doris comes again. We found that she’s done the same Cuba trip that Mick, Fred & I had done.