Broadhembury may just be the most ridiculously pretty Devon village in existence, something I am reminded about today as I turn right instead of left at the entrance to the village. Taking a detour past the Drewe Arms and making a mental note to visit it once things have reopened and feel vaguely safe, I pause and photograph the church. A lady leaving flowers by a graveside apologises if she is in the picture and we have a pleasant chat about the village. She tells me she was baptised in the church and attended the primary school that nestles behind me. I tell her I normally turn right and head towards Kentisbeare but today I’m going right, up into the Blackdowns. “Up the famous Stafford Hill!” she exclaims, and I laugh, saying I have ridden up it just once before, a decade ago. She asks if I will be able to reach the top without getting off and I say that I certainly hope so! Later, as the gradient reads 21% before the Garmin gives up the ghost under the dense tree canopy and defaults to 0%, I wonder if my hopes may yet be dashed. Thankfully they aren’t and later I read the data and find that I may be ten years older than the last time I struggled up the hill, but I’m also nearly a minute faster. Clouds and silver linings and all that.