With Halloween but a few days away, it is perhaps appropriate that I give my account of how I was rescued from the graveyard by these handsome fellows.
It's long story but stick with it.
Phil had organised an outing for the Rangers and the plan was to do some minor signing work on the Mickleover Greenway followed by a ride out to a new (and secret) "Greasy Spoon". En route we were to meet at Don Amott's café at Hilton for a coffee.
I had not said that I was going, due to another commitment, but later found that I could go, and decided to intercept the party at Don Amott's and photograph their looks of surprise/pleasure/horror (delete as appropriate) to see me there.
I sat there facing the entrance with camera at the ready and eventually Nick Potter arrived on his own saying that the others had gone off towards Hatton. So I decided to attempt to catch them up but did not know which eatery they were heading for. With two possibilities in mind I set off at my best speed (moderate).
In such a situation you cannot afford to have any delays but of course, more haste less speed.
I stopped momentarily to ask people if they had seen four cyclists. "Yes" they said "... went by ten minutes ago."
Spurred on by this helpful information, I re-doubled my effort, which soon resulted in overheating and having to stop to remove my jacket, and then (calamity) my chain came off.
Reaching the main road in Hatton and heading for the Salt Box café, I could see in the distance a cyclist wearing a yellow jacket and yellow helmet. "Peter Ford" I thought. Not easy to catch Peter in full flight but as I closed up I realised that it was not Peter after all.
Not even a cyclist, but only a guy flat footedly riding a dog of a bike with a rusty basket on the handlebars.
There is a world of difference between a cyclist and a bloke who can ride a bike.
On then to the Salt Box Cafe but no bikes parked outside, so on to the Nose Bag Café at Foston but the same result although I did use their washroom to clean up my grimy hands.
"Perhaps they've gone on to Tutbury" thought I so turned round and rode back through Hatton, crossing the River Dove. Lots of nice cafes there but no sign of the lads, so eventually I decided to give up and make my way back to Hilton.
Route 549 passes through Marston-on-Dove with it's lovely old church and where we attended the funeral of our next-door-neighbour a few months ago. No rush now so a chance to visit the grave.
Then, surprise, surprise, four yellow coated cyclists hove in sight along the lane, my heroes, replete from a full English Breakfast in Hatton. No, not in some swanky hotel, but in builders yard by the visiting burger van. No wonder that I could not find them - I had been looking in all the wrong places.
Well, well, what do you know. Surprise on both sides. After the inevitable jokes about finding me in a graveyard, we all rode back in formation to Don Amott's where I caught up with a superb jacket potato and salad (highly recommended) and we all shared a pot (or two) of tea for five.
So eventually a great day out in spite of the (ie my) arrangements being a bit of a dog's breakfast.