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Fake Bookham

As jazz afficionados and inveterate random perusers of Wikipedia will know, "Fake Books" are not simply those which have upset Donald Trump, but useful compendia for the practicing musician. Fake Bookhams, on the other hand, have yet to achieve recognition for their utility, so herewith my humble attempt to rectify this omission.

[Blimey, you think, what's he on about now?!]

Well, Amanda had this theory that as the Bookham 10k is no more and I'd never seen the whole route, we should do one of our run/cycle expeditions along it. I gather that she had previously mentioned this to Nicky who was of the opinion that it would be impossible to cycle, but Amanda is not one to let such things stop me.

So the plan was formed. Denbies were having a craft fair which might be interesting to check out, and we had run out of truffle cheese (gasp! how could this happen?!) which we could buy at the Denbies farm shop. So to Denbies we would go: climb the hill to meet the Bookham route, follow that round and return via a retail opportunity or two.

And we haven't had a real race report for a little while, so a fake one will have to do!

Here she comes. Our entry is at St Barnabas' Church, near-as-dammit the 5k point, but Amanda's got up the hill from Denbies much faster than me, so it's quite a while before I can get ahead of her to take a picture; this is more like 6k. Part of the problem is that the Denbies visitor train isn't running, so the main gates on the private road are closed and the pedestrian gates don't open quite as wide as my bike!

Well into the Polesden Lacey estate now, and lots of thick mud. It's quite fun 'riding' down muddy slopes, but I put 'riding' in quotes because it's really more of a controlled skid much of the time. Going up is another matter. Even when the path isn't all that steep, it's too easy to find your back wheel just spinning in the mud and not moving you forward at all. That said, there are only a few occasions when I really do have to admit defeat. I think Nicky's been a bit pessimistic in her assessment: things like kissing gates and stiles are a lot more difficult and we don't have any of those.

Here, for example, is where I'm still managing but about to hit an unrideable slope. Mind, a few years back it was barely even walkable and I'm pretty sure that year I'd've struggled even to push the bike up the worst bit. As you can deduce, it's been slippery enough uphill that Amanda has been able to get ahead of me again.

But what's this? Has Moses parted the Bookham Sea?!

Considering the conditions elsewhere this comes as something of a surprise. Not quite as much of a surprise as it would have done if we hadn't already met runners in the other direction looking almost dry, but we were still expecting something a bit more than a mere damp patch.

In the real race, this would be the final stretch, but of course it's about our halfway point. A little breather on tarmac before it's back to the muddy trails.

The descent through the woods to the bottom of Bagden Hill is one of Amanda's biggest challenges, as it's steep and slippery with lots of rocks to fall on. I rather enjoy it on the bike, but it's not for the nervous :-)

White sheep in brown sheep's clothing! We're rather taken by them, although they're far too busy eating to pay us any attention or smile for the camera.

Did I mention it was a bit muddy in places? I think I've still got a gear mechanism in there somewhere!

Fake Bookham completed, we're back at the top of Denbies.

After surviving the rigours of the trail, it's somehow inevitable that the Curse of Denbies will strike on the smooth bit and I get a puncture on the final descent! And then, real disaster! The farm shop has run out of truffle cheese!!!

So to the craft fair, but the ground floor has nothing to grab us and we almost don't bother with the upstairs stalls, but what the hell, we're here now...

And this is Viktoria Denyer, who makes really nice beaded jewellery that isn't just the same as everyone else's, unlike all too many craft stalls! We are quite taken by several of her pieces and have to buy a couple.

Amanda wearing one of them. Very reasonably priced too, so do check out her Facebook page: (and no, I'm not getting paid to plug it!).

I guess the day's turned out not all fake after all.

There should be a real race to report on before too long, so I will bid you farewell for now.

Love to all,


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