A hardy group consisting of Katrina, Gordon, Richard and Alan turned up to meet Paul at the start of his ride in what could be called at best rather damp conditions but probably more accurately as exceptionally wet. The original plan had been had been to cycle out to Salisbury for coffee and then on to Fritham for lunch. The thought of doing 53 miles in weather that was forecast to get worse before it got better appealed to no-one and most of us were hoping for a Plan B.

The dire conditions made it quite difficult to see and we struggled to remember where the cavernous potholes were as the surface water hid them; Katrina made a very wise decision to pull out. The four then pressed on to meet up with Simon and Alice on the outskirts of Romsey and we carried on to the car park at Poppy’s cafe where we had a discussion as to what to do. The majority were not keen on doing the original plan and Alan was all for going in in the cafe, having a decent breakfast and then heading back home.

A collective decision was made to head up the Test Valley through Mottisfont, Bossington and Houghton to the cafe at Houghton Lodge. Richard had the bad luck to get a puncture near Peartree Hill but was gracious enough to tell the rest of us to carry on to the cafe.

We were too early for service at the cafe but they seemed happy enough for us to huddle around the woodburner and attempt to dry out gloves, etc. Once properly open, we enjoyed the essential refreshments with tea, coffee and cakes for some and bacon rolls for others.

As the heat built up on the woodburner, the gloves started to steam and we thought it was time to head back out. Fortunately, the rain had stopped by this time but there was no mention of carrying on with the ride. Instead, we retraced our route back to the outskirts of Romsey and even enjoyed some sun in the latter stages.

Despite the poor weather, we all remained in good spirits and importantly stayed safe.