Sunday, 20 December 2015

Burton Manor at Burton

Final Sunday ride before Christmas, and an excellent turn out for Hazel of 14; in the sunshine and remnants of the Christmas market.

Ray captured some moments before the group set off, tinsel on bikes etc.

I met the group on route 56 (had to drop daughter off at work first) so was heading to the Hosta Cafe but met them by the gate (had to man-handle all the gates alongside the railway on my own!)

The lanes were full of puddles (on account of recent rain) but we had a fine bright day as we headed through Capenhurst.

The distinctive steeple of Capenhurst church

The penfold a little further along the road

Panoramic shot in the cafe after a few attempts - but don't look too closely!!!
We even met a wandering Two Mills rider (Sylvia) who was not on her bike due to a shoulder injury - she had been left whilst they had done their ride and was going to meet the group back at Eureka for lunch.  We invited her to join us for a coffee.

Packing up and setting off again, we continued to cross the Welsh Road, and towards (but not along) the 'missing link'.

We had to cross the Chester High Road one more time, with the aid of pedestrian crossing, and it was all downhill to Burton.

Parking up at the cafe
The cafe was on it's last day open before a few months shut (due to lack of custom in the winter months).  So a bit of a limited menu, although plenty for us.
novel helmet rack - I think...!

Santa's little secret

And then it is time to leave, back across Burton Marshes, enjoying views across the Dee estuary and our own shadows.

shadows across on the boardwalk

Final furlong back to Chester

When the few of us that were left got back to the Town Hall square, there were three options open to us - go home, go to Stewart's house with the offer of free beer, or the Carol service in the Cathedral.  I joined Hazel and Tommy for the latter (Stu went to the party and Bob went home)

A fantastic end to a Christmassy ride!

Sunday, 6 December 2015

Christmas at The Yew Tree (#2)

Alex posted on facebook last night for sunshine at 10:00, and to stay nice all day.

17 of us met in the wet

At the strike of 10, the rain started, gently at first, just as I was getting my camera out.  Undeterred, we posed after the last rider arrived, and we set off in two groups, Bob leading the second one a short distance behind.  The rain persisted; we were heading for O'Kells, and despite a very brief mistake on my part we arrived in good spirits, and very very wet!

We found a Sarah and a Jane [not in pic] here

We parked the bikes under cover (we guessed no-one would be sitting outside today!) and descended on the cafe for our morning refreshments - despite only having travelled 5 miles!

After coffee, we set off again under still gloomy skies and still raining - pausing briefly by a trolley so overladen with bits of mistletoe that there was quite a lot on the floor.  Some of us rescued a few sprigs before wending our way up towards Utkinton from Duddon, through Tarporley and out towards Tilstone Fearnall; managing a few little climbs to work up an appetite for our Christmas fayre.

Martin, who had given up at O'kells, had arrived and was waiting in our area; Richard also made a surprise arrival (I knew, as he was booked in); and soon 18 of us were sat around two tables, chatting, pulling crackers and being generally convivial!

The food was lovely, plenty of meat (but I had to ask for extra veg), the fire was toasty without being too hot.  

Stu discovers the delights of mistletoe....

...and Omry does not want to be left out!

As we came behind Peckforton, I kept an eye out for our very own Elephant and Castle, which I had not seen for along time.  I stopped the group, and noted a chap in the garden.  Despite a large thick hedge, I managed a conversation with him about the history of this magnificent garden ornament.

Originally sculpted by John Watson in 1859, who was involved in the building of Peckforton Castle, it stood in his garden, in a cottage which no longer exists.  It is carved from a single piece of sandstone, and is utterley majestic!

The group were treated to me bending over talking through the hedge to an unseen voice!

Still, the day was progressing, and it was surely time for afternoon tea and cake by now, so we made our way to Walk Mill, as is traditional, for coffee, tea and cake!