Box Hill National Trust cafe review - well the pasty at least.

Dropped the children off at school, had a mooch about town, then went home to do some bits and pieces. Front door open, builder Dave just gave me that look. The one that says "you are joking with me, right?" meaning he's about to tear something big down. In this instance the hallway ceiling.

Best get my bike out then.

Now I did a four hour ride on Sunday, and a three hour one Tuesday. I've done some miles. So really didn't want to go out, but what do you do? Can't sit in a cafe all day, so dragged my trusty Pace out again and some random kit - I had to be out sharpish.

So, forced out of home at 09:30, can't really go back until 5pm. Where do I go? Initially thought a big ride over to Leith Hill or even Guildford, but I still had to be back at 3pm to collect my children. I know! I'll go out and do all of those little trails that I know don't go anywhere, that I've never ridden because they don't go anywhere, and see what they are like to ride. So that's what I did, all over Headley Heath and Box Hill. Now I'm knackered. Why? Because of the choppy nature of the ride, lots of stopping. And starting. And going back. Four hours of reconfirming exploration. And you know what? I didn't find any decent trails worth riding, not one. You try doing such an exploratory ride with your mates. You'd soon not have any.

The thing is, I'm probably above average fitness for my age. By now, almost 50, I should have grand-children, be pottering about in the garden or take up golf. But I'm not, I'm a mountain biker. Yesterday though I really felt it. It was a hard ride and I did ponder on why the sitting in a café option seemed so bad. There weren't any other mountain bikers out, and at my lunch stop the cyclists that were out and about were very much like me; slightly sad displaced people. And that gave me the kick up the arse I needed. There's nothing sad about being out and about in the countryside on a bike. I was only moody because I'd been thrown out of home. And why was I thrown out? Because I'd commissioned work on the property and have employed the best builder we could find. I like people who make decisions and who are decisive; I encourage that in my children, so why should I mope about when somebody else takes charge? From then on I was a happy bunny. Well as happy as anyone can be having just consumed a liquid pasty from the Box Hill café - honestly, you could have eaten the contents with a straw.

So from then on my little exploratory ride that seemed pointless now seemed much, much better. True the trails themselves didn't improve, but I started to look at them as alternative routes for different reasons. Need to avoid some Hawthorn hedge cutting? Dog walkers ahead? Duke of Edinburgh lot around? Well here you go, this way Sir. And this new mentality worked. Indeed I worked out one muddy way actually avoids two steep gulley's' that usually have horse riders ambling around.

My advice if you do have the builders or relatives stopping over, is to have your bike and kit always ready to go. Take a positive view of being evicted and just get on with it. You'll have a much better experience and be a nicer person. Just don't bother with the Box Hill pasty.