After last week's soaking in Stelling Minnis, a core Ragstones team (Peter S, Judith, Mary, Peter C, Tim, John's E and G, and Martin B assembled at Bedrock. John G had already experienced gale force gusts on the way over, and gratuitous soakings from oncoming high speed white van puddle ploughers.
Down Lympne Hill (who in their right mind would cycle up it in such fast flowing torrents?) and onto the bright, breezy expanse of Romney Marsh. A 60mph breeze in fact (well it felt like it!) Heads down, low gear, legs at maximum power, 5mph.
Word soon reached the peloton (thanks to a friendly driver) that Tim had a problem. John E gallantly offered to return to the stricken rider. Next time we saw them was in New Romney's best cafe, scoffing cakes. Somewhere out on that lonely wasteland lies a discarded mis-shapen mudguard.
Meanwhile before all that, the rest of the group took shelter in the porch of Ivychurch Church. While Judith was despatched to obtain the key of the Church door, John G opened it by turning the door handle.
Like many of its sister places of worship around England, this Church has removed its pews. Controversial, but generally felt to be a 'good thing' if it meant the building could be used for other community activities. It was agreed that HE would approve.
Embarrassing moment for one Ragstone who realised he was no longer able to recite the Lord's Prayer without frequent prompts.
Before setting off for New Romney and cakes, Martin B called for back up to take him home. Since this was his first ride for ten years, and on a totally unsuitable bicycle, this cop-out was treated sympathetically. Peter S had a much better excuse. Helping Rosemary with the lunch.
After one last battle against the strongest headwinds in recent memory, the New Romney coffee and cake stop was much needed.
A capricious, howling, tale wind sped us back and occasionally sideways, across the now rain-soaked lanes to Bonnington, and on to Bedrock.
A blazing fire and remedial glasses of various coloured liquid refreshment awaited us.
Four non-riders joined us. Denise C, Dydiane G, Val and Alan Paterson. Rosemary had spent the morning preparing a delicious lunch; preceded by a warm and comforting Dydiane home made soup.
The coq au vin and beef were followed by a dessert selection that would merit 5 stars from the most curmudgeonly Michelin inspector.
Next week another wet ride is anticipated so Mary has decided to sell her watch and buy a mudguard. Unless she finds the one Tim left on the Marsh!