One hot and sunny Bank Holiday Sunday, Julia, Rob, Amanda, Jason and baby Hannah decided to go on a bicycle ride. Each group left their houses bright and early, carrying a picnic full of good things, and drove to the meeting point in Tonbridge. Julia and Rob got lost along the way, as they often did. “You’ve missed the turning!” cried Julia, examining the unfolded map, “Well you’re not reading the map properly” said Rob after they passed the same flower-seller on the roadside for the third time. Eventually they got onto the right road and made it just in time to see Jason unpacking the car. “Hello Jason!” they cried, “Hello Julia, hello Rob!” Jason waved. Off they went to find Amanda and baby Hannah who was very excited about the bicycle ride. She had her own special seat on the back of Jason’s bike and a pretty pink helmet for her head.
They set off on Cycle Route 12, Tonbridge to Penshurst Place; a grand 13th century house and estate which they were going to explore. It was a jolly good cycle; they passed through fields and woods, past pretty houses and even a lake where they saw a family of swans.
They had cycled for about 3 miles when they came to a very steep hill. “Peddle harder” the boys shouted to the girls as they shot off in front. “It’s too steep” the girls cried, huffing and puffing, their faces going redder and redder. “It’s no good” said Julia “I’m going to have to get off and walk”. “Me too” said Amanda as the two boys and baby Hannah laughed at the top of the hill. When the girls made it to the top they all looked out at the view. “Look!” cried Rob “I can see Penshurst Place from here” as he pointed to a picturesque mansion in the distance. “We’re nearly there now” said Amanda, “let’s get back on our bicycles”. They cycled on, passing lots of other cyclist along the way “This is a jolly popular route” said Jason. “I’m hungry” said Julia.
They reached Penshurst Place at about midday, rather hot and tired but pleased with themselves for having cycled 5 miles. They paid the nice man their entrance fee and then found a nice picnic bench near the playground where baby Hannah played for a while. It was such a fine day that they decided to eat their picnics on the grass so Jason and Rob laid the blankets out while Julia and Amanda unpacked the picnics. They had roast chicken rolls, home made scotch eggs, cherry tomatoes, olives, carrot sticks, crisps, grapes, apples and lashings and lashings of home made lemonade.
They were very sleepy after their picnic so they lay out on the blankets and closed their eyes with the midday sun beating down. “This is the life” said Julia. Amanda fell asleep but baby Hannah was far too excited to sleep. “I want to see the house” she said. So after a little rest Rob bought everyone an ice cream and then they all headed off to see the house and grounds. They passed an enclosure where a big woolly sheep was walking down to a water trough. It was a very hot day and the sheep enjoyed the cool water very much.
They walked on and came to the house. “Gosh, isn’t it big?” said Julia. It was very big indeed and surrounded by beautiful gardens which they all walked through. There was a pond with fishes in it, roses climbing over the walls, neatly cut hedges and an old disused swimming pool with a spurting fountain. “It’s so hot I could strip off and jump into that pool right now” said Rob. “I don’t think that’s a good idea” said Amanda doubtfully. “The water’s awfully murkey”.
They spent several hours at Penshurst Place. Baby Hannah had a little nap and then they all had tea before setting off again for the cycle back to the cars. On the way back they had another steep hill to climb but this time they were more prepared. They cycled quickly to pick up speed and they turned to the lower gears on their bicycles. Jason with Baby Hannah and Amanda made it to the top. Julia nearly made it but got puffed out and needed a push from Rob. “Gosh, this cycling is hard work” said Julia.
On they cycled, passing some more baby birds, and then some cows. People were walking past them and they seemed friendly enough so Julia and Amanda stopped to take some photographs. One of the cows had an itch and scratched his head with his back foot which made everyone laugh. “Doesn’t he look funny?” said Julia as she pointed her camera. But then the cow looked at Julia and Amanda in a way that made Amanda stop laughing and cry fearfully “Oh Julia!”. Julia and Amanda were quite scared for a moment so the boys distracted the cow with some grass while the girls quietly walked round the cow back to safety on the other side of the gate. “Gosh, that was a close shave” said Amanda. “I thought you were done for then” said Rob. “Cycling in the country is jolly good fun” said baby Hannah, giggling, as they headed off into the late afternoon.