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Red kites, Darker Nights

Like Bob Geldof in the Boomtown Rats (and Brenda Spencer), much of the club ‘don’t like Mondays’. Still going for a cycle ‘livens it up’ without hurting anyone, so off we went again. Many members made it out; Alan, Lawrence, Maurice, Martin and Suzanne, Deborah and Jenni, Andrew, Simon, Charles and Andrew with Lindsey having to drop out of this one.

The route with my home and back added
Suzanne at the 398 bomber memorial in Nutampstead. November’s reef laid to commemorate our forbearers having overcome greater challenges in the past

Andrew setting a fine example of social distancing. Good to see.

People set off from different points with Andrew having assigned a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction for each person beforehand. All very well if you can remember how to reverse your way-points on the fly. Still we set off meeting sporadically as usual with the occasional conversations from opposite sides of the road. This is most social we are allowed to be at the current time.

The highlight of the ride was the spotting of so many red kites. Suzanne and Martin saw 5, Deb and Jenni saw 10. Taking my editorial duties very seriously, I thought it wise to check the verisimilitude of these sightings of course. The RSPB site says ‘There are probably around 1,800 breeding pairs in Britain, about half in Wales, with the rest in England and Scotland. In England the reintroduced birds can be found in the Buckinghamshire Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Yorkshire, Gateshead and Grizedale Forest in Cumbria.’ So seeing so many was very lucky, perhaps due to a local-spot, maybe.

One the other hand, there are a number of common birds of prey in UK; Harrier, Goshawk, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk. One of particular interest is the Common Buzzard.

The buzzard, is common, has a fan tail and highly variable colour, from light to very dark. The kite has a forked tail. The two can be confused even by twitchers http://www.yorkshireredkites.net/general/is-it-a-red-kite-or-is-it-a-buzzard.

I shall be looking more carefully next time. Maybe we should have a prize for the first good photo?

Just outside Clavering on the way to Langley Upper Green we have a fine example of hedges cut according to two British traditions. The smooth and understated, following a time honoured style, for which the UK is famous. This tradition is best embodied by the Royalty and our splendid city parks perhaps. And on the other side, innovation and individuality, this is also the British way; the Beatles, Punk, Henry Moore and Banksy. In Switzerland the right hand hedge would elicit a letter from the council, asking for it to be tided up. I speak from grim experience. I was fined for mowing the grass on Sunday and sternly warned by a local government official, not to flush my apartment toilet after 10 pm.

Style and tradition. A hedge cut the way as we have come to expect it.
Innovation and self expression applied to hedge cutting

Dark nights, cold and solo cycling, this leaves time for ones mind to wander. What would I like for Christmas, I thought? I don’t know. After thumbing through the back-catalogue of my memory, it came to me.

Keeping things trim and proper in the garden

What I would like most is well trimmed bush as modelled by my niece, pictured here last summer. Yes that would make me very happy. There’s a lot that needs doing in the garden. That’s that problem solved then.

Soon after I took the hedge photos, Alan passed me and we made our way round to Chishill together. It was good to have company and the road from Chisill back to Elmdon is mostly downhill, so as the light faded, I was soon home. Another Monday ride done.

Another fine route by Maurice. Made to happen by the steady organisation of Andrew. It was good to see all those who took part.

Simon

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