Yesterday, because the weather was so nice, Lewis and I decided to cycle to a sweet little nearby village called Dedham and spend the afternoon there. I really love cycling and I’m very lucky to have a really nice bike, so I was great to get out and away for a bit.
A couple of years ago I had a bit of a thing for vintage bikes, I really wanted an old-fashioned bike with a basket, and a ladylike frame just like the ones that people cycle around in Cambridge. My Dad and I scoured eBay for weeks looking for the perfect old-fashioned, second-hand bike that we could buy and do up. After losing out in a fair few bidding wars we came across my bike, which we managed to purchase for a pretty cheap price, although it did need alot of work. When we picked it up it was pretty rusty, with a burgundy frame and in desperate need of some new tires. We took it to my Granddad, who’s pretty handy at this type of thing, and he spent a few weeks sanding it down, spray painting it this Royal Blue colour and replaced the tires and the saddle. He even bought me a navy blue ribbon to weave around the basket. I was so happy and overwhelmed to see what a great job he’d done and I still love to ride my vintage bike [I’m pretty sure it’s older than me]. As I’ve been away at Uni and the weather hasn’t been great, it was the perfect time to dust the old girl off. [I’m forever debating whether to take my bike to Uni, but there is a lot of hills in Exeter, and being such an old bike it only has three gears.]
We left my house at about 1 o clock and had a really lovely bike ride in the sunshine, cycling down all the little country lanes, checking out all the beautiful scenery, and passing all the massive houses and barn conversions on our way.
It takes between about half and hour and 45 minutes to get to Dedham by bike. By the time we got there Lewis was starving. We rode down the final hill into the middle of the village,locked up our bikes and walked down this little road in search of lunch. There are a number of good places to eat in Dedham: the Essex Rose is a lovely little tea room, selling cream teas, homemade cakes and handmade sweets; although I’ve never been The Sun Inn apparently has been visited by Prince Charles; but mine and Lewis’ favourite place, and one of the poshest in Dedham, is The Boathouse.
This lovely restaurant and boathouse, sits right on the edge of the river bank. Lewis generously treated us both to a very reasonably priced 3 course meal and we sat outside in the sunshine by the river, and ate and chatted happily, watching people going up and down in the hired rowing boats. For lunch we both had Chicken + Chorizo Toastadas for our starter with Sweet Chilli Dip and a Rocket Salad, for main we both had Award-Winning Pork Sausages with Herb Mash and Sweet Red Cabbage, then for dessert I had the Apple Strudel and Lewis had the Chocolate and Coffee Mousse. It was all absolutely delicious and a really lovely Easter treat!
After lunch, we were planning to get a little rowing boat for ourselves, but by the time we’d finished it was getting pretty shady over the river and we didn’t want to get cold, so we decided to go and sit on the grass on the other side of the bank, with my picnic blanket, in the sunshine for a little while. It was really nice to just sit and relax, chatting and soaking up the sun whilst watching all of the people in their rowing boats. There is little that is funnier than people watching, and we had a great time watching all of these dads and boyfriends trying their best to row and steer these little rowing boats without hitting anything. Much to our amusement, just infront of us in the river there was a duck and her ducklings taking a swim. This proved a major obstacle for the majority of male rowers who didn’t seem sure whether to slow down or try and go around them, trying to avoid hitting them with either the boat or the oars. In the gentlemen’s defence, [unfortunately it was mainly gentlemen rowing and the one lady we did see looked rather peculiar] however, it is a pretty tough task to take a rowing boat out at Dedham. You can either row around for an hour or two, up and down the river or [if you’re a bit of a pro] you can take a boat down the river about a mile to Flatford, stop there for a piece of cake and then row back. Whatever you do, getting the boat back on time is the biggest struggle and there’s a pretty hefty fine if you don’t make it. So me and Lewis decided to avoid all the hassle and lie around on the river band instead.
Overall, it was a really nice relaxed day, just sitting in the sunshine. I’ve been going to Dedham since I was a child – walking to Flatford, going out in the rowing boats, buying sugar mice from The Essex Rose -and so it’s lovely to visit every once in a while for a lovely calm day. It’s also nice to get a bit of time with Lewis, where we don’t have anywhere to be and we can just enjoy each others company.
I hope you enjoyed this post, do you have any favourite spots near you that you love to visit?