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Apr May


As seems normal this dreary Spring, Sunday dawned with a thick damp mist. Nevertheless fourteen of us with eight bikes met up at Goodies on the A140 for breakfast. The mist had lifted by our departure time and turned to low cloud, which stayed with us for much of the remaining day. So, at 10.30 we set off. Two Gold Wings, a CTX,  a 1200 VFR, a Crosstourer, a Fireblade and two others (my Suzuki and Mark' s Yamaha) made up a mixed bunch of bikes.


First stop was at Sudbury which involved a brief ride down the A140 and A143 before branching off to Stowmarket on one of my favourite riding roads, the B1113. Sudbury was heaving, I really must stop expecting Sundays to be quiet, but we all managed to find a parking space and headed off for a coffee and, in at least one case, an iced bun. Michael from Cambridge had joined us for breakfast and left us here for a run back home. The rest of the route was  down the mainly A roads and went through the pretty villages of Essex, before we arrived at Maldon about 1:00pm.


Maldon is on the River Blackwater and home to a number of Thames barges. Promenade Park was again full of activity, but bike parking is free and we were all soon parked up and ready to explore. A walk down the riverside took us to a number of snack bars and the barges. For a while, the sun tried to get out and then decided it was too tired, but with the usual banter and photograph taking, together of course with some lunch, time went quickly and it was soon 4:00pm and time to think about the trip home. Rain clouds were gathering to the south and a few drops fell on the visor as we left. I failed miserably as a leader on the return as, by the time we left Maldon, I'd lost everybody. I blame the American motorhome which got between us as we left the car park. A swift run up the A12 and A134 to Thetford, followed by a blatt up the A11 saw us home by 6:15pm just as the rain started. We did 216 miles, and as it was our first run since the Bentwaters trip in October, our bodies told this was more than enough!


Thanks to all who turned up.


Thirty of us from Stepping Stones and the Branch met at the Hollywood Bowl in Riverside, Norwich and were soon organised by Viv into four teams. Once we had settled on the four lanes she had booked, the competition began, this year the prize was a certificate for the highest score for both organisations. The goal of 300 was the aim but with the lane which I was playing, I don't think that the total score added up to that! However the aim of the night was an enjoyable social occasion and we certainly gained top marks for that. The usual friendly banter and "Hard Luck" (snigger, snigger) was heard all over our four lanes, however, some of us did manage to get a strike badge or two, so we were not that bad. Once the game was over and scores totalled, the certificates were presented, Chris winning for Stepping Stones and Rob S for HOC. From there we walked the short distance to the Riverbank Chinese Buffet and took our places for some superb food. It was very nice to have a good mix on the two tables and to enjoy the second part of the social evening with friends old and new. An hour or so later, sadly our evening drew to a close as parents, taxis, and lifts arrived to take the students home. Yet another excellent event and thanks to Viv, as always for her organisation, I'm sure we will do it all over again, next year.