A Thursday farewell to the ducks in Richmond Park

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The ducks must have known. Next week I will be out of town, and the following I'll be starting a freelance contract, so today marked my last Thursday afternoon trek to Richmond Park for awhile. No sooner had I parked my bike up for a wee rest, than these two Mandarin ducks waddled over to say hello — or was that goodbye? — and then amused themselves by pecking at the ground around my feet for the next 15 minutes.

When I got back on the bike and completed my route, I couldn't believe how quiet the park was. I saw only a handful of other cyclists and only one dog walker (normally I see dozens).

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When I got to the cafe near Roehampton Gate there was not one single person sitting outside. The only time I have seen it like this was in winter, when it was bucketing down and everyone was inside huddled over hot lunches or cups of coffee.

I popped in to buy myself a drink (and a slice of carrot cake — shhh, don't tell anyone) and there was just one chap in the corner having a cuppa.

"It's very quiet in here today," I said to the woman behind the counter.

"Oh yes," she said. "But you have missed the lunch-time rush!"

Well, maybe she had a point, it was 2.15pm. But even so, on such a lovely day, I wondered where everyone had gone? Maybe they've all got themselves jobs, too?

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Total distance: 15.73miles (25.30km) | Ride time: 1hr, 22min and 53sec | Average speed: 11.3mph | Top speed: 21.6mph

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