The weather had been extremely hot the week before Easter, so we all had everything crossed hoping for a repeat of Easter 2011, when the sun shone and the skies were blue. We were not going to be so lucky; the weather forecast was cold, windy and slightly damp.
Friday was dry but there was a chill wind blowing when we set off to join the others at Peterborough. Ian was leading a posse from up North along a scenic route to arrive at the hotel about 3.30. We had seen Joe and Izzy in the distance so tried calling them on the CB but Joe had not switched it on!!
When Roy and I arrived there was Ian busy cleaning his new 2012 bike, Jim and Jill on their new white 1800, Rob and Coleen on their new 1800 red bike, Dennis and Christine on their new 2012 white and finally Alan and Ann on their new white 1800, who says there is recession? And there are now so many white bikes in the group
After settling into our rooms, some of the energetic ones went for a swim and a sauna while the others relaxed in their rooms or in the bar.
Meeting for pre dinner drinks it was lovely to see Terry and Josie again. Terry has been quite poorly over the winter but now he was looking really well and very trim. Netty and Mick, Dave and Meg, Alan and Gill, Paul and Angela Richard and Christine, John and Alison were already down in the bar with tummies rumbling awaiting dinner. Poor Christine Crosley was feeling poorly so Dennis took some dinner up to their room for her.
The food in the hotel was excellent and after dinner I ran a simple quiz on moviesongs which brought most couples to their knees and their iphones however Paul and Angela were the winners with no cheating!
After dinner Roy and Richard were stuck in front of the TV watching the golf, while the rest of us chatted.
Netty set a bad example for the ladies by removing the bike cover for Mick before breakfast!! That is certainly a man’s job not the ladies.
After a hearty breakfast, with blue clear skies we lined up ready for the days ride.
Almost straight away Alan and Roy were off route; too busy chatting on the CB to listen to the Sat Nav. After a circuit of Peterborough we managed to catch the rest up. We now followed the sweeping fen roads, passed ditches full of swirling muddy water and bracing ourselves against the stiff winds blowing straight in from Russia. The land was very flat so we were very surprised when we passed through a village and saw an advert for the Mountain Rescue Team! it must be for people who get stuck on speed humps.
Our coffee stop for the morning was in the beautiful city of Ely. Unfortunately the roads were closed due to a French market taking place, so we all became split up and parked in various car parks around the town. We explored the town and market which was brilliant, selling delicious French food. Most of us had gone to the cathedral for coffee and Alan and Ann took the opportunity to climb to the top of the spire for views across the fens.
At the designated time to leave, Joe was panicking, he had lost Izzy! He was told by the men to “leave without her”, but the fear in his eyes, told us that this was NOT an option, so he went off in search for her. We all tried to keep together, but with heavy market traffic and a road closure, we became split up. Roy came to the front of a small group, John and Alison, Rob and Coleen and promptly led them into and around a rough car park, much to the delight of Rob, who was tail end Charlie. (More about that later) Roy’s excuse was he was trying to find a route around the road closure.
We all made our way in splinter groups through the Norfolk countryside to our lunch stop with the Queen at Sandringham. Here we caught up with the main group and lined up in the coach park, which as usual caused quite a stir with the visiting public. Joe had managed to find Izzy and had taken the direct route to Sandringham so they were already there.
Time to eat again, and have a look round. Most could be found after lunch in the gift shop buying pressies for the grandchildren, which gives our ages away.
Dave and Meg decided to stay on and look around Sandringham House, so once more we mounted up and wound our way out of the car park and off the estate. The wind was getting stronger and the chill was beginning to enter the ole bones, so we decided to by pass the afternoon tea stop and head back to the hotel, for a swim and a hot sauna.
Back at the hotel we were all awe struck by a sight which had never been witnessed before “DENNIS CROSLEY CLEANING HIS BIKE”. He was actually using a bucket and borrowed sponge, plus water!!!! Okay everyone lay down in a darkened room!
Time for dinner and again a simple quiz, this time won by Alan and Ann, who cheated of course, after a nail biting tie with Jim. Once more into the bar with Roy and Richard glued to the golf. The ladies started to discuss the calendar for next year “Bikers in the Buff”; we need “calendar girl” style pictures of the men with their bikes to be sent through to Izzy. So come on men start posing!!
Denise, the Easter Bunny, visited everyone at breakfast and distributed Easter eggs (there is a lot of room on a wing). With a slightly later start of 9.30 we set off in overcast windy weather to Foxton Locks, The route Ian had planned took us through beautiful chocolate box villages, full of soft sandstone cottages with thatched roofs and small streams criss crossing the centres. The roads were quiet but in places very muddy so concentration was needed.
Foxton Locks were fascinating with narrow boats navigating their way up and down the steep incline of 10 locks. I was quite the “expert” because the locks had been on a recent addition of Flog It. We even offered to help by opening lock gates and winding handles. There was a lovely surprise, Deano and Clare arrived with their children Emily and Harry. For those who do not know Deano he had a lovely yellow wing which had to be sold when the little ones appeared on the scene. They were all looking well and busy with their website Kid Shooz, which sells fabulous shoes for children, Grandparents please note. The children loved the bikes and sat on ours for some pictures.
After a good look round, Alison and John, said their goodbyes as they needed to get home to the dogs, one is due to have pups very soon, we headed off for Belton House, Alan was leading as Ian’s sat nav and CB on his new 2012 bike was playing up, Alan was taking us into some darkening and threatening clouds so we needed shelter pretty quickly. Belton House was packed with kids all doing the Easter egg hunt. The car park was full and the security guard, most unhelpful, but somehow we managed to get the bikes on stable ground and after getting everyone in for free we went in search of warmth and food. Dave, Meg Alan and Ann decided to have a look around the house, so we left them there at departure time. Dave and Meg were also going home after visiting the house so goodbyes were made.
Alan upset the security man by going over the cattle grid off the car park and then waiting for the rest to line up, the poor man ( not Alan) was really worried we were going to block the road, but as the rain had begun to fall there was no way we would be hanging about. Soon we were all on the road through some lovely twisty roads keeping a head of the rain. Again Ian’s sat nav was playing up and we became split up. So Rob took the lead of the second group with Roy tail man, there was lots of banter when Rob took us the long way round instead of the short route, Roy really got his own back ! Soon we were saying goodbye over the CB to Paul and Angela who also had to head home.
We arrived safely back to the hotel and once again the folding buckets came out and the bikes were washed down, even Dennis’s!! SWOON
After another excellent meal, Joe and Izzy won the quiz. Denise gave out the prizes which ranged from chocolates to an oil filter. Most of the men glued themselves to the TV to watch the golf, even the ones who do not understand the game. I asked the bar man to wake Roy up at the end on the golf and send him up to bed, he always falls asleep watching golf.
All too soon it was time to say goodbye and make for home before the rain set in. Thank you to Ian and Denise for once again organising a lovely weekend, with great company and weather which was not too bad considering the forecasts.
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