This Thursday the 18th March was a route through some of our favourite villages. There was a distinct feel that we are now nearing the end of the pandemic. Still adhering to the rules (in outline) we set off AC and DC from our chosen starting points, several people opting to ride as a two for a bit of company.
A brilliant turn-out considering how cold it was including: Andrew, Martin, Ken, Lawrence, Simon, Maurice, Charles, Roger, Rod, Geoff, Alan, Howard, Graham, Brian, Mike, Deborah and Jenni.
It’s been a year since lock-downs started. Once again, the Thriplow Daffodil Festival has been a casualty. Now I know what Wordsworth meant as, from under my own cloud, the daffodils started to raise my spirits.
Lock-down encourages indulging oneself in some way and I am sure some of these indulgencies could be destructive. Drugs, drink, gambling perhaps? No, I think I will save those for the fourth wave. Cake? Now you are talking. For the most part club members demonstrated their disciplined natures by cycling past; El Cafecito Long lane, Fowlmere, Royston, SG8 7TG and the Moringa tree 11A Church Street, Haslingfield CB23 1JE.
I found that one hard.
Hot Numbers Roastery at Wrights Mowers Dunsbridge Turnpike, Shepreth SG8 6RB. Too far out of the way. The Old Rectory at Wimpole Estate Arrington SG8 0BW. Too slow, I could be dead of hypoglycaemia before getting any cake.
I’m told, in fact I know, there are several other cafes preying on the weakness of weary cyclists. I thought we might set up a cake-Samaritans helpline, in case we have members who need further help. All in the strictest confidence of course.
The clockwise group were encountered almost exactly halfway round. I still can’t believe how well Martin’s plan for lock-down rides has worked, and kept the club going in difficult times.
We finished up having an impromptu cycling club get together at the top of the hill, on the new multipurpose trail which now goes around the grounds of Wimpole. The whole estate has had an amazing amount of work done on it during this last year. Martin and Penny had done useful reconnaissance the previous day so we were able to enjoy it.
Scientists have studied why people like to climb hills and admire the view. The practice is popular round the world and through the ages. Apparently, people find it makes them feel secure. You can see enemies coming from miles off and prepare a defence they say. I suppose they never thought that the person next to you might have some deadly disease. Still, mostly they haven’t, they just want your cake, so you may need to defend that.
The new trail includes a variety of habitats including lovely open views, the lake, ice-house and gentle curves cutting through woods. It’s been carefully planned and will be beautiful as it settles down through the summer.
Don’t think old logs, think habitat. Insects, food for birds. Also much less hard work. Just leave stuff alone. See Bertrand Russell essay ‘In praise of idleness’
At the start of Wimpole’s trail, we came across a barn of ‘old’ farm machinery ready for heritage demonstrations of yester-year’s farming technologies. Andrew denied that the machines were in fact old, declaring, “I used one of those at school. It’s a ‘tatty harvester’ just like the one at my school’s farming club”.
As the machine is pulled forwards the flail at the back rotates. Heavy wires penetrate the ground to a depth of several inches, gouge through the soil and flick the potatoes out into the light.
I’m told that this type of machine, when used by schoolboys, is very safe. That is, safe to assume that if a boy isn’t paying attention to the lesson, the machine will pick them up and flick them over the nearest hedge. I’ve done a little teaching and can certainly appreciate how much this machine would appeal to schoolmasters.
The video is here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_H1kJc-xXI you can start watching from 2 minutes if tractors aren’t your thing.
We have always been very pleased to have Andrew here with us in the club, but now we know that we are also very lucky.
Nice route. Thanks to Maurice, Andrew for organising, Lawrence for hosting, Graham for gpx skills and several club members for coffee shop recommendations. All together now; ‘are we there yet, I’m so bored’.