The Vineyard Run

12th August 2007

This was a new one, and quite canny really - August, the height of the holiday season, let’s do the shortest run of the year! Rob Warr recce’d it (twice he said) at 50 miles, but on the day the roads magically shrank to only 45 miles, must have been all the rain.

We met at Warr’s Chelsea in bright sunshine, gleaming machinery lined up ready for the rigours of the day and the journey to come. Happy conversations were reliving the delights of the SoFER Rally the previous weekend, and looking forwards to more trips to come. Breakfast croissants were fresh, the coffee hot. Ride book signed, petrol tanks filled, the briefing was listened to assiduously. Was it coincidence than Rob stressed several times the importance of adhering to the drop-off system, or recent experience?

Fortunately we did not need to resort to the pre-planned strategy for dealing with horses as we didn’t meet any (stop and wait for the horse to decide what to do; place absolutely no faith whatsoever in the ability of the rider).

The ride was broken up immediately by hostile traffic lights, testing the mettle of the early drop-offs, but all bore up manfully (personfully?) and we rumbled off down to the Chessington turn-off. The ride then proceeded along increasingly narrow roads, some with cunningly placed gravel to ensure concentration levels stayed high. The final section before arriving at the vineyard was some lovely country lanes which everyone seemed to enjoy, including the passers-by.

Denbigh’s vineyard was safely achieved before 12 noon, by which time the sky was becoming distinctly threatening. While some stopped for lunch and the vineyard tour, others made rapid purchases and got away in a futile attempt to beat the weather. The rain started as I left and quickly became very heavy, no waterproofs, oh well.

Rob had recommended the rosť from his recce so it was into the fridge with two bottles when I got in whilst leaving soggy leather tastefully draped round the kitchen. However by late afternoon the sun had dried up the wet stuff and we and the neighbours were enjoying the now chilled rosé in the sunshine.

Michael Howers - C&F Road Captain

Chelsea & Fulham H.O.G.