Word was it would be the last day of summer, so a lucky thirteen riders gathered at Berwick station on a pleasantly sunny, Sunday morning: Angela, Chris, Corinne, Fred, Ian (our leader), Jenny, Julian, Kate, Richard, Rob, Roger, Sikka and Terry. The weather remained kind all day, with just the occasional grey cloud to remind us how good the sun felt the rest of the time.
Our first target was the Chiddingly festival. We reached Chiddingly in well under an hour, only to find the main festival site in the last stages of being dismantled. A few tents and trestles were dotted around but not a single belly dancer was to be seen, and certainly no wild boar hot dogs.
So we resigned ourselves to an early lunch at the nearby Six Bells pub, wrongly named as it turned out since it did not open until the clock had struck noon. That said, the welcome was friendly, the beer was Harveys and the reasonably priced food was good. So we sat in the garden to be summoned individually by name over a tannoy when our meal was ready. 
The Six Bells – famous for its collection of vintage adverts
No sooner were we back on the bikes than it was time for the next stop. This was at the the Quadrangle in Allies Lane where Tessa was exhibiting her work in another bit of the festival that was still going strong. Annabel Cottage and neighbouring buildings were packed with a wide range of art work, including Tessa’s elegantly distinctive ceramics. We relaxed in the delightful garden with tea and cakes to prepare for the final stage of the ride.
This took us through some beautiful woodland and country lanes, back to Berwick station just in time to miss the 15:41 train. This turned out to be good news because otherwise we would never have found out that the nearby Berwick Inn was open. From the front it looked decidedly closed, but Kate ventured round the back and found it was buzzing with activity. The explanation for this strange state of affairs then became clear: the car park is at the back so that is where the customers arrive, unless they are train hopping cyclists of course.
So further refreshments were ordered and the hour long wait for the next train was happily filled with conversation on topics rather more intellectual than usual, such as whether dogs can think and whether it is possible to calculate the probability of winning a game of patience, assuming you play using real cards (rather than on-screen) and don’t cheat. For those who are interested, our conclusions were yes and no, in that order.
Time was when pretty well every Clarion ride was led by Ian. More recently other members have come forward to share the load, which is great news. But it was good to see Ian back in the saddle and leading a ride.
Thanks, Ian, for a delightful day out!
[More photos on Flickr]