Early Riders

My father worked hard six days a week so you would think he took advantage of “Sunday the day of rest”, not so. There were times in late spring and early summer when he arose very early, made a flask of tea, and accompanied by my mother and myself set off on an early morning cycle ride. His favourite route was via Teynham Lane and Lynsted Lane through a slumbering Lynsted village turning left at Erriot Wood towards Sharsted. On entering the Avenue the rooks in the tree tops were busy at their nests, a disturbed wood pigeon left in a flurry of fluttering wings and in the undergrowth the occasional call of a pheasant.

Here we rested awhile on the bank at the road’s edge and enjoyed a cup of tea from the flask. Resuming our journey down the valley by a lone cottage where a wisp of smoke spiralled skywards revealing breakfast was underway, a dog tied to a kennel near the cottage announced our passing.

The new waterwork’s building was as yet to be erected, so accompanied by the early morning bird song we passed woods and meadows, rabbits scampered in the meadows near the wood’s edge their white scuts signalling to their young.

At Syndale Bottom we crossed the A2 and joined the lower road to Teynham; over the railway at Stone Crossing and passed the old farmhouse at Lower Newlands where, after the second World War , my wife and I spent three very happy years.

Barrow Green was stirring into life as we arrived back, preparing for another car, plane and noise free relaxing idyllic Sunday. So to our house in the Crescent for an enjoyable breakfast.

I will be eternally grateful to my father for sharing the early morning peace of the countryside, a peace long gone from this area, never to return.

On leaving the wooded area the many wild rabbits kept the grass area immaculate like a well manicured lawn. As we passed Sharsted Court there was no sign of life. We turned right at the Avenues and it was downhill to Newnham Bottom. No motorway bridge to pass under in those days!!

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