We have been lucky, weather-wise, with our Sustrans Fridays this year – even during the bitter spring, our monthly workdays avoided the worst of the wind and snow – and the last two, in June and July, both dawned warm and sunny; perfect conditions for our planned signing of the re-route round Barton.
After having made a start in June, and now helped by the welcome addition of Mick and Marg, we convened at the Kingfisher Cafe in Fradley, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the completion of the task.
Preliminaries over – as ever, we looked on and listened in admiration as Bob talked us through his immaculate spreadsheets detailing tasks completed and outstanding – we got down to discussing the important business of the day; finding a free evening to meet up at Jean’s for a midsummer social evening.
One of the great assets of the Lichfield Volunteer Rangers is the range of talents and expertise everyone brings to the table and, as we left the cafe, Pete was on hand to advise Jill how best to look after her new Pashley, while Marg demonstrated how to ride it with her characteristic style and aplomb.
On the way to Barton we were able to take advantage of one of the benefits of the recent re-route round Alrewas, by stocking up with homemade preserves from the garden shop in Post Office Lane.
Arriving in Barton and, sustained by some refreshingly cool orange juice, Bob quickly got down to work and, putting his years of BT experience to good use, scaled Jean’s indispensable ladder to sort both old and new signs at The Green/Short Lane junction.
Moving round to Church Lane, even the luscious foliage of the churchyard was no match for Mick as he effortlessly sawed through a forest of holly branches to ensure the new signs would be fully visible from all angles.
By now it was early afternoon and, with the temperature hovering around 30 degrees, Marg organised the take-away sandwiches and we adjourned to Jill’s garden for some well-deserved recuperation and refreshments.
And, as the first Friday in July traditionally heralds the climax of the Wimbledon fortnight, what better way to celebrate a productive and enjoyable day, than with a cool, refreshing glass of Pimm’s?
NB: talking of Wimbledon, all those angst-ridden tea times-with-Murray, hiding behind the sofa as matches hang on a knife edge well into the evening, are now well and truly forgiven after your marvellous performance on Sunday, Andy. Well done from everyone in the group, you are a true champion.