26 November. Bumper charity distribution ride. 32 miles.

In the absence of a Christmas lunch this year, Maurice chose today to announce the distributions to be made to the charities that The Windmill Club supports. An amazing £4,737 has been raised so far this year, as at 26 November, with £,4,600 distributed to charities closely associated with some of our members. The photo above, taken during a coffee break at Burwash Manor, shows Maurice handing over cheques to Deborah, for The Samaritans, and to Charles for Pets as Therapy. A complete list was provided by Andrew in a WhatsApp post which is repeated here:

Windmill Club Charity donations 2020
Maurice and I would like to thank you all for your amazingly generous donations to various Windmill Club charities in 2020 – As of last Thursday 20 November we have received £4,600 in donations and with nearly 5 weeks until the year end, we’re confident our target of £5,000 will be beaten.
To keep you informed here is a list of the charities we are supporting
Marie Curie Cancer £500

Arthur Rank Hospice. £500
East Anglian children’s hospice. £1000
Eve appeal for cancer. £1000

Samaritans. £1000
Pets as therapy. £500
Addenbrookes charitable trust. £150

We supported Arthur Rank follow the death of our dear friend Vernon.
The Samaritans are supported due to the sterling work Deborah does on a voluntary basis, working throughout the night and after a couple of hours sleep she out on one of our Thursday rides -amazing !!
Pets as Therapy are supported due to the wonderful work Charles
undertakes, with weekly visits to Addenbrookes Hospital and two residential homes in Saffron Walden, unfortunately curtailed due to Covid. Well done Charles!!
We will keep you full posted of the final total and in the meantim
e a heartfelt thanks from Maurice and I for your contributions and support throughout 2020.

And with more rides still to come in 2020, there is every chance we might achieve our target of £5,000 for the year. In such a difficult year for fund raising by charities, Windmillers have dug deep into their pockets to raise this magnificent sum – over double the amount of £2,000 raised in 2019! Well done to all!

This ride was a repeat of last week’s ride in most respects, except the weather which was nicer on the whole but very cold, icy and slippery in places, as Charles found to his cost whilst rounding a corner in Haslingfield at the junction with Chapel Hill, but luckily escaped without injury. And there were thorns to contend with too, as Roger dicovered early on between Chrishall Grange and Ickleton Old Grange where several Windmillers stopped to lend a hand, Andrew supplying assistance and pliers in particular whilst others offered mainly sympathy. What a horrible task it is fitting a new tube on a cold frosty morning! Bad luck, Roger. Did Andrew mention Schwalbe Marathons by any chance?

It was a large gang of 17 Windmillers on this CAC ride, and it could have been more if Brian wasn’t still suffering from a bad back and if Victor had been able to make it. The forecast of freezing weather clearly doesn’t put off hardy Windmillers. Besides the aforementioned, the others were Lindsey, Ken, Howard, Graham, Geoff, Mike, Rod, Lawrence, Alan, Simon, Jenni and Martin, riding in ones and twos, and this is where we went:

Burwash Manor in Barton proved to be an excellent place, once again, to stop and warm up with good coffee, mince pies, scones and cakes. It’s well organised with lots of outside tables and clean toilets, so much to recommend it. Situated approximately half way around the ride, there was quite a large gathering of socially distanced Windmillers at one time.

Last week, Simon cruised around in wet weather but found the time to compose a poem about Hannibal, the Alliterative, Little Lecter of Littlebury who served a prison sentence for murdering the pigeons that had been eating his produce, but he didn’t care. (See last week’s blog!) This week, to be fair to the pigeons, he thought they should have their say and so here it is:

Being a kind pigeon isn’t easy they say
Up on this bare wire, amongst cold winds all day
No being a pigeon isn’t so easy as that
There’s hawks and starvation and that terrible cat

When you’re a pigeon and you get really old
You stand on a wire since your feet get quite cold
After flying around they can feel just like ice
Please turn on your kettle, because that feels quite nice

Mum taught me to stay until my feet were quite dried
Not too long though, since sadly my Dad, he got fried
At school for pigeons the teachers did not mention
Never told him, avoid ones labelled high tension

We know we’re a noisy, nuisance eating your grain 
But it’s dark and its winter, it even might rain
Now I can’t sleep, the next bird, loudly is snoring
We ate all your buds, because lock-down is boring

Little did we know that Simon is a professor of poetry as well as chemistry!

Another reason for celebrating was that it was Lawrence’s birthday but, sadly, there was no pub available for him to buy a round of drinks. Don’t worry, Lawrence, we’ll add you to the long list of non-celebrated birthdays this year particularly as pubs will need all the support they can get post-Covid.

Geoff was still shaking with cold when arriving back at Martin’s gate and was warmed up with a mug of coffee before continuing his journey home. Others enjoyed a beer, and many thanks to Graham for kindly topping up the beer supplies.

All in all a very special day and an eventful day all rolled into one. Thanks again to Maurice for being the inspiration behind The Windmill Club and Andrew for all the time he spends organising us.


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