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Lost in Kent (actually in Sussex)
A small group met at the Brickwall Hotel for the opening tour of the season. Brian and Marion Tompkins rode to the hotel on the first day and got soaked but we enjoyed three days riding without getting wet, though we could frequently see rain falling from clouds in the distance.
Our first ride was to Miss Molletts High class Tearoom in Appledore for a coffee and then on to Tenterden for lunch. Many of us took our lunch in the cafe of the Kent and East Sussex Railway. Dick and Sue Somers had a busy day guiding their 'Frogeye' Sprite through some quite narrow lanes. By lunchtime a rattle from beneath the bonnet was becoming too much to ignore and it looked as though their weekend might be spoiled. On their return to Sedlescombe they paid a visit to the local garage - just across from the hotel. The proprietor soon had the problem fixed and the Sprite was good for the rest of the weekend.
cond excursion ran north towards Rotherfield and we took coffee at Forgewood Barn - a cafe we also used last October. From there we ran up to Hadlow College, with a short break to view the lovely stained glass in All Saints church at Tudeley. The glass was designed in the 1960s by the French artist Marc Chagall.
He provided glass for every window in this small church and the quality of the intense blue, in particular, was really lovely. At the College we enjoyed a sandwich or a soup before returning via Matfield, Horsmonden, Goudhurst and Cranbrook. A cruel trick was played on Dick and Sue Somers on the return journey. My wife, Alison had bought a length of bubble wrap in the garden centre at Hadlow and asked if Dick and Sue would kindly stow it in the boot of the car. When we reached Cranbrook the car had arrived ahead of us and was parked in the High Street but Dick and Sue had gone shopping. Alison, needing to return home, removed the bubble wrap in their absence and rode off. On their return to the hotel, Dick and Sue were dumbfounded to find the bubble wrap was missing. The others in the party - all of whom knew that Alison had taken it - said nothing ! (Actually they said lots but nothing to alleviate their anxiety at the loss !) Sue even visited the little post office in Sedlescombe in the hope of being able to buy more. Fortunately the post office had none. It all made for excellent banter at the dinner table.
The final day's ride took us west towards Polegate and Beachy Head. We had a refreshment break at East Dean and saw the Long Man of Wilmington - a chalk figure on the hillside. We returned to the hotel mid-afternoon and made our way home.
I thank all those who came and made it such an enjoyable weekend. The hotel is a little old-fashioned but very comfortable and the staff are very attentive. It is an excellent base for what we want to do. The food is very good and you will never go hungry - the breakfast is particularly 'comprehensive.' We shall visit again in early October - why not join us for an autumnal treat ?
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for full details of the October visit.
I ended £10 up against Hugh Mackenzie in our little card game and shall look forward to taking him on again in the Cotswolds. We play a game called 101 each time we meet on a tour. Hugh is coming on a number of tours this year so I hope to clean up (famous last words !)
Hugh & Chantal Mackenzie - Triumph