I was reflecting yesterday that my route to and from the papershop these days is just a catalogue of (mild) peril – from the stretches of loose chippings on the road, to the buzzard, and even construction traffic at the Papershop Village end. So with the day dawning somewhat gorgeous this morning, it was time to take drastic measures: what is known as the suicide papershop route.* Originally known as the masochist’s papershop route, it involves a long stiff climb and an extra few miles over what is the back road to the back road, but on a nice day when you’re not in a particular hurry it’s actually a glorious ride. So with a freshly oiled chain on the bike and a rash pair of shorts on the rider (apologies to anyone in the International Space Station I may have dazzled) I set off.
Its entrance is marked by a giant budgie, for reasons nobody had ever been able to explain (actually I’m guessing from the angle of the tail it’s meant to be a wren, but where’s the humour in that?)
From there the road kicks upwards sharply towards one of our two remaining Henry Moores, the rest having been removed for their own safety after thieves stole one of them from the valley where they have been sited since the thirties, almost certainly to be melted down for scrap. I’m told this one is just a fibreglass replica (it didn’t sound like bronze when I tapped it, criminal masterminds take note). I believe it celebrates the human form in some way …
Art admired, and its scrap value duly assessed, the road winds ever upwards. Normally I do this route when there’s an east wind so it’s not in my face as I climb the hill, but even at 9 in the morning it was warm enough that the stiffish headwind today was more refreshing than anything else.
Then, the climb done, you get your reward: the road just meanders through open country, with larks and pipits and stonechats singing away, curious cattle watching you pass…
And on the way home? I took the direct route, where there was nothing more threatening in the sky than a few fluffy clouds. ASBO buzzard must have been taking the morning off too.
* the real suicide papershop route would be via Big A Road of course.