All started reasonably well this morning. Some of us turned up at Canterbury West, some of us went to Tesco in Ashford. Mary pedalled around looking for us.
An unscheduled refreshment stop at Mary's house was taken, after which the squadron of ten set out down Denstroude Hill (?) through some glorious countryside, bursting with colourful and fragrant spring blossom.
The prospect of another magnificent lunch at the Three Mariners meant that there was little enthusiasm for putting in a few extra miles to pad out the ride till one o'clock.
At twelve fifteen we bounded up the steps and into the bar, where Robert was looking wise and reading a newspaper.
Valerie joined us, which was nice for two reasons. Firstly, she is nice; secondly she exercises gentle and subtle control over Alan.
After a meal which all agreed was superb - Judith wants to come here every week! - things began to come unstuck.
Alan accepted a lift home from Valerie. Surely this could not have been the reason he invited her to lunch.
Mary went home. Not sure why; maybe to get tea ready for us
The rest of us drifted back into Faversham, where Peter and Denise peeled off somewhere.
Now we were six. Peter S never gets lost. Until today. A cycle path soon turned into a footpath, and we found ourselves struggling through fields and carrying bikes over six foot high gates. Lady luck thankfully arrived in the form of a dog walker, just as we were hauling the last bike over the gate (slight exaggeration), and directed us back to the cycle path. All went well for several miles, until we missed the turning to Monks Hill Farm.
John G and Roger then found themselves separated from the others; so John pressed on up a hill which thought led to Blean and Mary's tea. Roger (unwisely) followed.
At the top of the rather long hill, John and Roger discussed strategy. John thought (wrongly as it turned out) that we were on the road leading to Blean. So when Roger thought he'd better head off to Canterbury, John sent him in completely the wrong direction; towards Margate in fact.
As soon as he realised his mistake, John sped off in pursuit of Roger; this time down a very long and very steep hill into the aptly named village of Dunkirk. After a nerve wracking couple of miles John and Roger were reunited, and concluded that there was no alternative to cycling back up that hill, this time towards Canterbury.
However, we had not bargained for the fact that our route into Canterbury was the A2! Fortunately there is a footpath which we were able to use part of the way, but as we got closer to Canterbury, the Highways Agency had decided that, for whatever reason, cyclists must take their chances with hurtling juggernauts and other sundry petrolheads.
Knowing that Roger was keen to get home, John (who by now badly needed a comfort break), after a little prayer, waved his companion goodbye.
After ten more minutes of sheer hell, John arrived at Canterbury West, and with a huge sigh of relief, boarded the HS train to Ashford.
How did the rest of you get on I wonder?
Answer: we were fine - welcomed by Mary who was waiting with cups of tea.