Bike and Kites

Last September we managed to get a Ridgeback MX24 bike off of Ebay for our son. We were originally looking for the smaller MX20, but a MX24 became available, so we took the chance that it wouldn’t be too big. It was a bit close last year, but at it’s lowest settings was rideable. This meant we all had Ridgeback bikes; my daughter had the Ridgeback Melody that we had got early in the summer.

A couple of weekends ago when the weather was good we got the bikes out for the first time this year. We checked the kids bikes to see if we needed to adjust the handlebars and seats for height. Although we didn’t need to adjust our son’s bike, he was a lot more comfortable on it. Our daughter’s bike need both the saddle and handlebars raising about 1.5 inches, wow she’d grown. We knew that we would need at some point to get the next size up, the Ridgeback Harmony, and had been watching Ebay since last summer. Anyway, a couple of days ago, there was a Ridgeback Harmony available, but it was in Swindon, which would be quite a trek to collect. However, the more we thought about it, the more we realised it wouldn’t be too bad, we could make a day out of it, get a pub lunch etc. I contacted the seller and a weekend collection was no problem.

So this morning we put the roof bars and one bike carrier on the car and headed off cross country to a small village north of Swindon. On the way, near Thame, we saw some large birds soaring over the fields to the sides of the road. As we got closer we could see that they were Red Kites. I knew they had been re-introduced in the area, but it was the first time I had seen any. In the mid 16th Century, an Act of Parliament for the Preservation of Grain was passed, which classed kites as a vermin species that threatened food production. By the end of the 19th Century red kites were extinct in England and Scotland. In 1989, the Nature Conservancy Council and the RSPB launched a project to reintroduce the red kite back into England and Scotland. The first successful breeding in the Chilterns took place in 1992, and since then numbers have steadily increased to approximately 400/500 breeding pairs.

We started looking for somewhere to eat at about 12:30 and eventually turned off of the A40, towards Carterton, looking for a local pub where we could eat. Unfortunately, the road must be one of the few that dosen’t have any pubs on it. Eventually we saw a sign for Lechlade, which was somewhere we need to travel through to get the bike, so we headed for it. After a while of driving, we turned left on a T-junction, and just as we were turning, I noticed a sign for a quiz night at a pub and then saw the pub just up the other road. We turned round and parked in the large carpark at the back of  ‘The Five Alls’ pub in Filkins.

We had a friendly reception when we entered the pub and they were able to seat us even though they had a lot of bookings. The kids both wanted fish and chips, which were offered in children’s portions. Jo had lamb and I had Roast Oxfordshire beef and Yorkshire pudding. The kids portions were good sized, they couldn’t have eaten any more. My beef was beautiful, they were thick slices, but so tender – some of the best beef I’ve ever tasted.

I had noticed the bread and butter pudding on the menu when we ordered our main courses, so we had dessert as well. I had the bread and butter pudding, it was delicious. Jo and our daughter had the Apple crumble and butterscotch icecream. Our son had the Belgium chocolate icecream. If we were in the area, we’d stop and eat there again. Throughly recommended.

We found the address for the bike after overshooting in both directions and collected the bike. Our daughter had a quick ride on it when we were there and got on well with it, so it looks as if we won’t have to adjust it any lower. The seller suggested that we could put it in the boot; he also has a V70 and it fitted in his, so we did that to save the extra drag on the way home.

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