22 August, 2007

Lousy weather & great company

We enjoyed our first camping weekend in Willingham so much that we re-booked before we left the camp site to return for the weekend just gone. We set off on Friday with high hopes of repeating the thoroughly pleasant experience of three weeks before. Leaving at 4pm we again rode via Coton, Madingley, Dry Drayton, Oakington, Longstanton and Willingham to Roseberry Tourist Park 1.5 miles out on the Earith Road, arriving at around 6.30pm having covered 16.7 miles in 1:35:42. The weather was cloudy and quite breezy all the way. Our welcome was again very friendly and we quickly pitched the bug and our stand-alone porch. Dinner was grilled lamb kofta patties (which Lisa cooked at home that morning) and basmati rice with shitake mushrooms, peas & mangetous (left over from Thursday night's dinner). We listened to the evening's Prom on the radio during and after dinner. Retreated to the bug and played some dice cricket, Steve finally got Lisa all out for 361 and reached 48 for 1 after 10 overs. And so to bed.

On Saturday we slept late. There had been quite a lot of rain during the night but it was not too wet when we surfaced around nine. I journalled for a while then made coffee in blustery winds under grey skies. Lisa prepared grits for breakfast (on the Trangia) which we ate with eggs fried on the Coleman. Around noon we rode into Willingham to get some food and the Guardian. As the weather was unsettled, we rode straight back to the shelter of the bug and clocked up just 3.15 miles in 18:57. After a lunch of cheese and ham sandwiches, we spent a rainy and windy afternoon in the bug reading the paper. Lisa made us some popcorn at some point. At dinner time we braved the elements to cook some stir-fried beef and vegetables and some basmati rice with mushrooms and spring onions. In spite of the cooking conditions, both huddled under the stand-alone porch at our respective stoves, the food came out well and we enjoyed a very tasty dinner. As night fell and the rain continued, we returned to the bug and listened to some music (Jacques Loussier's Play Bach) while Lisa read her book (Bill Buford's "Heat") and I journaled. When the iPod's battery ran out we set the alarm for 8.00am, turned out the lights and settled down for the night with the rain drumming on the tent.

It was not raining when we awoke but cool and very cloudy and it started to rain again while Lisa was on her weekly Sunday morning call to France. We partook of coffee and then ham & cheese sandwiches for breakfast. Eventually the rain eased of and we set to to break camp and head home after a thoroughly dull weekend. We left the camp site around 3.30pm and retraced our route out from Roseberry Tourist Park, via Willingham, Longstanton, Oakington, Dry Drayton, Madingley and Coton back to Cambridge. We were home by 5.30pm having covered 17.59 miles in 1:44:52 (an average speed of exactly 10.0 mph). Our cycling total for the trip was 37.41 miles ridden in 3:39:31.

We had Monday off work and dried out the bug and porch before stowing them away with the rest of the camping gear. Then we set to and prepared to receive two guests for dinner. This is Lisa's last week in her present job and Monday evening was our chance to say farewell to April, a veterinary student from Korea who's been working in Lisa's lab over the summer.

She came over in the early evening with our great friend (and frequent kitchen guest) Mei Hua and we made pizzas together using Lisa's home-made dough and tomato sauce. We prepared three different toppings: the one shown here featured three types of cheese and fresh basil from the garden, the other two pizzas were topped with goats cheese and red onion and pepperoni with anchovy. Before the pizzas we served a mozzarella and tomato salad and a selection of antipasti. The assembled company made short work of the food on offer and the conversation flowed in full flood well into the night.

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