A Rum Doodle of a pub ride.

Everyone should go on at least one pub ride. Of this i’m certain. Apart from the obvious pleasure to be had by cycling along pot-holed roads, half of the time in the dim of twilight, and of course the hoppiness of the beer, there is the bon hommie, aka Ian, the repartee and wit of the accompanying wheelers and the general depth of conversation covering general knowledge, up to date politics, sport and man jokes. The details of such are, however, usually never recorded. Last Thursdays ride to the Red Lion at Mawnan Smith was short in distance but not in the other attributes that make this mid week ride so appealing. Having been moved from Wednesday to Thursday evening on the miscalculation that it might attract more of the previous days OGILers, I felt duty bound to attend. Although I had run in the morning the shortness of the route to Mawnan and the anticipation of a beer or two was persuading enough. I set out a little earlier than the designated 6pm, and from home rather than HQ, and made my steady way down to Maenporth and up the other side. I had barely time to acquire my drink before the others turned up. Chris remarked that they had seen me streaking up Maenporth hill but couldn’t be arsed to catch me up. Amanda, Theresa, Robin, Ian, Chris and myself commandeered two tables in the car park and the entertainment began. Robin, in his Robinesque way had previously circulated an agenda for the conversation; The Tour, Boris pmq with Starmer, The St piran hill climb hill climb and, of course, The Donald. Finally I mentioned that I had been given a copy of John Bolton’s book “The Room where it happened” and Robin took this in to AOB by telling us of a little book he was reading “The Ascent of Rum Doodle”. Though only a small book he was having problems in finishing it as the merriment it caused him drew only stern looks from Gill, so he was reduced to reading first at only paragraph at a time, then one sentence and finally one word at a time so as to reduce the urge to laugh and maintain domestic bliss. I returned home to order a copy from Abebooks and it was waiting on the door mat when I returned from the OGIL ride today. Though first published in 1956 it is described in a forward by Bill Bryson as “the funniest book you have never heard of”. However, even this edition had been published 20 years ago and I was eager to find out whether the humour had stood the test of time. It is a small book, not many more than 153 pages long and after various climbing expeditions myself this year I have, let us say, some knowledge of mountaineering terminology and phrases such as “base camp”, “summit” and “aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrr”, I set off to discover more. Having been raised on National Dried formula and The Goons I throughly enjoyed it and recommend the trials of Blinder, Wish, Jungle, Shute (the photographer) and pong (the Cook) to you all like minded folk. This weeks pub ride is to the Royal Oak at Perranwell so come along and enjoy the experience before we go back into lockdown. You never know what you might learn.

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