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21 November. Geoff’s Ridgewell ride. 30 miles.

Starting from The White Horse Inn in Ridgewell on the A1017, between Haverhill and Castle Hedingham, this was a canny figure of eight ride devised by Geoff which took in some delightful new lanes whilst also incorporating some familiar ones. Assembling at 9.00am to have coffee and place lunch orders, eleven Windmillers set off soon afterwards led by Geoff and followed by Andrew, Rod, Ken, Roger, Lawrence, Deborah, Graham, Tom, Howard and Martin. Unfortunately, Charles had suffered a puncture on his car en route but he caught up with us later.

This is where we went, in a clockwise direction:

Ridgewell ride

Before setting off, there was some concern about the health of both Andrew and Roger as both appeared to be trying to access the defibrillator on the pub’s outside wall:

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Luckily, it was a false alarm – just too much coffee

The roads were wet and muddy in places, but not too bad, and the day was reasonably warm compared to recent weeks which made for a very pleasant ride through typically quiet Essex lanes. There was only one point where a decision had to be made as to whether to use a bridge over a ford or go for it, the majority deciding to take the safe route whilst others took the plunge.

Lawrence and Graham decide to take the plunge.

After 16 miles – perfect timing – we pulled into the Blue Egg café outside Great Bardfield, which must surely represent the best run caff in East Anglia. They not only serve wonderful coffee and cakes, at good prices, but also cope with sudden onslaughts of customers with great ease and efficiency. (This Editor is not on commission.)

Putting on weight with Blue Egg delicacies.

Ready for the off once again, with Charles now on board too.

Heading through Great Bardfield we had to stop, of course, for a photo call outside Gibraltar Windmill which has been converted into a residence:

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Gibraltar Mill is a three-storey tower mill with a boat-shaped cap. The mill has four double Patent sails carried on a cast-iron windshaft and is winded by an eight-bladed fantail. The tower is 3 feet 6 inches (1.07 m) to 4 feet (1.22 m) thick at base level. It is 32 feet (9.75 m) high, 20 feet (6.10 m) diameter at base level and 13 feet (3.96 m) diameter at curb level. The mill is 44 feet (13.41 m) high overall. The windshaft carries a wooden Brake Wheel with 90 iron teeth, cast in six segments. The Wallower was an iron mortice gear, with 44 wooden cogs. It was carried on a cast-iron Upright Shaft. The Great Spur Wheel had 88 cogs, and drove two pairs of millstones via Stone Nuts with 18 cogs each.[Now you know!]
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A rainbow of Windmillers outside Gibraltar Mill, Great Bardfield

Skirting Finchingfield and its fine windmill we continued northwards to Howe Street and then back to Ridgewell via Stambourne Green and Birdbrook to a warm welcome and excellent fare at The White Horse, where it was great to be joined by Ric who had cycled over from Harston and Brian who had come by car, making it 14 for lunch.

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Windmillers enjoying a fine lunch in The White Horse Inn

Thanks were given over lunch to Geoff who organised a superb ride and led us around the lanes using the latest handlebar mounted technology.

Needless to say, Graham had cycled to Ridgewell from Ickleton and refused the offer of a lift back, clocking up around 70 miles for the day and adding to his total of several thousand miles this year. Well done, Graham!

Martin

 

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18 November. Great Chishill windmill in all its glory. 9 miles.

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A lonely looking Rod in front of Great Chishill windmill

There were just two Windmillers, Rod and Martin, who embarked on this cold but glorious Autumn ride from The Blind Fiddler in Anstey at 2.00pm, to ensure we got back in time before darkness set in. But once we got going we soon warmed up, not only through the effort of pedalling but also when we stopped at Maurice’s house for a cuppa. Thanks Maurice and Linda!

The aim was to explore a hamlet near Chrishall, known as both Building End and Builden End, but with the sun low in the sky and Great Chishill windmill looking spectacular we had to pay our respects, which Rod very kindly offered to do. This must be a first to have a solitary Windmiller posing in front of a windmill.

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This is a self steering windwill (in theory) using the circular sail on the back – none of that heaving on a bar which is necessary on the Bourn windmill

Having stripped off a layer due to the climb up to Barley and Great Chishill, we were soon descending to the turning to Building / Builden End, where we reckoned the dead end lane with some lovely old houses and cottages would become a smooth byway. Charles J had already indicated that this would be the case but it was a joy to behold – a smooth wide track that climbed gently and emerged on the road towards Lower Langley. A useful discovery.

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The  Building End / Langley Lower Green byway 

Then it was past the closed Bull and on towards Brent Pelham before returning to Anstey and receiving another warm welcome from the landlord and customers of The Blind Fiddler.

This is where we went:

Anstey Building End circuit 18 Nov 19

Thanks, Rod, for accompanying me! We had a good ride.

Martin

 

 

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11 November. Road closed? Not to Windmillers. 20 miles.

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Occasionally Windmillers come across closed roads that can easily be got around, usually on a path for pedestrians. This time it was different. There was no path but just heaps of spoil from a large trench being dug in the road between Langley Lower Green to Roast Green. After much squelching in sticky mud and traversing ditches the refuse-to-be-beaten Windmillers got through.

Earlier, the gang of five including Andrew, Rod, Simon, Nick and Martin had departed on a circuit from the Blind Fiddler in Anstey for a change, on a route devised by Martin. The Blind Fiddler’s opening hours were conducive to an afternoon ride in mid-November, being open all afternoon. This is where we went:

Anstey circuit 11 Nov 19

Unfortunately, Nick had fallen off his bike the day before and was still suffering a bit and so he peeled off in Nuthampsted at The Woodman. The remainder continued past Bridget Tarrington’s house, who we look forward to seeing at the Christmas lunch, and then to the spoil heap via Shaftenhoe End, Little Chishill and Langley Lower Green, passing en route the byway from Building End near Chrishall which we aim to try out one day.

Having hauled Rod’s heavy e-bike through the mud and scraped the mud off it, and our shoes, on we went through the now fading light but enjoying the sunset and reasonable road conditions despite the amount of rain that had fallen recently. A nice surprise was the lack of a ford on Violets Lane near Washall Green, enabling us to climb the concrete track to Furneux Pelham. From there it was a steady ride back to a warm welcome at The Blind Fiddler, and sustenance in front of a roaring fire.

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A fireplace timber acquired from another pub?

The story of the blind fiddler of Anstey.

Martin

 

 

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7 November. Cheers! Vernon’s birthday ride. 29 miles.

A good turnout of 11 Windmillers gathered at The Fox and Duck in Therfield on this cold and windy Autumn day to take part in a ride organised by Victor, and to celebrate Vernon’s birthday at the same time.  Some were expecting milder weather and luckily team leader Victor came with spare jackets and gloves which he doled out to Simon and Deborah to prevent them getting frostbite.

It wasn’t long, however, before Graham felt the cold too thanks to a puncture during the first half mile heading down to the A505, resulting in a painful tyre changing session, helped by Vernon.

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Vernon being a saint on his birthday helping Graham mend his puncture

Some had gone on ahead, to Macdonalds we thought,  some were sheltering from the wind behind a hedge but it wasn’t long before all met up having had to endure a short stretch of the A505 before turning right towards Litlington. Turning left towards Steeple Morden was when the full force of the wind was felt and so a stop at the memorial to the 355th Fighter Group of the American airforce to pay our respects to those who died came as a pleasant rest.

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Strange how hi-viz types tend to stick together like peas in a pod. From the left, Deborah, Simon, Roger, Howard, Martin, Victor, Vernon, and the assorted colours of Andrew, Sandra, Graham and Lawrence

The lanes were open and quiet as we worked our way steadily towards Ashwell, at one stage wondering just which way to go:

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The majority head off in one direction leaving a few others to think about it.

At Ashwell’s Rhubarb and Mustard coffee shop, some hardy types sat outside whilst others warmed up inside, which had the advantage of access to the beauty parlour. Roger was stopped just in time from heading up the stairs.

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Hardy Windmillers outside
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Softies inside
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Special items for Andrew usefully on sale

Then it was head down once again as we battled our way to Baldock, thinking of how wonderful the return leg would be, and so it proved to be. Heading up the hill out of Baldock towards Wallington was a dream with the wind behind and we were soon stopping outside George Orwell’s cottage honking away like the characters from Animal farm.

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Who’s who amongst the pigs in Wallington? Decide amongst yourselves:
  • Old Major (Vernon?)– An aged prize Middle White boar provides the inspiration that fuels the rebellion. He is an allegorical combination of Karl Marx, one of the creators of communism, and Vladimir Lenin, the communist leader of the Russian Revolution (claimed by Martin as he rides a Revolution bike) and the early Soviet nation, in that he draws up the principles of the revolution. His skull being put on revered public display recalls Lenin.
  • Napoleon – “A large, rather fierce-looking Berkshire boar, the only Berkshire on the farm, not much of a talker, but with a reputation for getting his own way”.[16] An allegory of Joseph Stalin,[15] Napoleon is the main villain of Animal Farm.
  • Snowball – Napoleon’s rival and original head of the farm after Jones’ overthrow. His life parallels that of Leon Trotsky,[15] but may also combine elements from Lenin.[17][c]
  • Squealer – A small, white, fat porker who serves as Napoleon’s second-in-command and minister of propaganda, holding a position similar to that of Vyacheslav Molotov.[15]
  • Minimus (definitely Lawrence) – A poetic pig who writes the second and third national anthems of Animal Farm after the singing of “Beasts of England” is banned. Rodden compares him to the poet Vladimir Mayakovsky.[18]
  • The piglets – Hinted to be the children of Napoleon and are the first generation of animals subjugated to his idea of animal inequality.
  • The young pigs – Four pigs who complain about Napoleon’s takeover of the farm but are quickly silenced and later executed, the first animals killed in Napoleon’s farm purge. Likely based on the Great Purge of Grigori ZinovievLev KamenevNikolai Bukharin, and Alexei Rykov.
  • Pinkeye – A minor pig who is mentioned only once; he is the pig that tastes Napoleon’s food to make sure it is not poisoned, in response to rumours about an assassination attempt on Napoleon

With thanks to Wikipedia.

Continuing on through Sandon and Kelshall it wasn’t long before all were back at The Fox and Duck and considerably warmer than when setting off, having enjoyed an excellent ride.

Vernon and Roger happy to be back in Therfield

It was great to be joined by no-sticks Maurice, looking very fit and dapper, and Ken. After a hearty rendering of Happy Birthday to Vernon we sat down to an excellent lunch, washed down with some fine ales and drinks all of which were paid for by Vernon.  Cheers Vernon!

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Where’s Vernon?
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Here he is getting all fired up
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Not much left on birthday boy’s plate
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This is where we went.

Thanks go to Victor for planning a great ride and of course to our hardworking dawg Andrew for organising us all. We look forward to seeing Maurice on his bike agian in the not too distant future.

Martin

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4 November. Watch out! Apache about. 16 miles.

Not this Apache:

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But this:

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Friendly wave from a fierce fighting machine

It was indeed a surprise to come across a low flying Apache helicopter circling around the same area between Elmdon and Strethall, sometimes just a few metres from the ground. We stopped to take a look and, spotting our hi-viz jackets, the pilot obligingly hovered close by and gave us a wave.  It appeared to be a low level training routine rather than a police-style drug bust.

Our gang of four Windmillers led by Andrew and followed by Simon, Charles and Martin had set off at 3.00pm on this colourful Autumn afternoon from The Bull at Lower Langley on a circuit via Little Chishill, Great Chishill, Elmdon, Catmere End, Littlebury Green, Duddenhoe End and back to The Bull.

Getting ready for the off, Stripey Socks Charles, Andrew and Simon

Looking towards Great Chishill windmill

The second stop was a sad sight, the once glorious Pheasant in Great Chishill, and the first base of The Windmill Club, had shut up shop and is apparently looking for a buyer. Here’s Andrew paying his last respects:

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and this is the sad message outside:

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Bring back Ollie and Simon!

In Elmdon we admired the church in the autumn light and then said farewell to Charles who was feeling a little under the weather (get well soon Charles!).

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3.45pm in Elmdon

The remaining three set off towards Ickleton but stopped almost immediately to admire the work of a flint wall craftsman rebuilding the church wall. His name was Shane Cahill. ‘Do you know a Sarah Cahill?’, asked Martin. ‘Yes’, Shane said, ‘I’m married to a Sarah, who are you?’ It turned out that his Sarah was the same Sarah who worked for Martin several years ago, the second Monday running that he has come across a relation of an ex-employee whilst on a Windmill ride. They live in Chrishall and so if you need a flint wall rebuilding you know who to contact. Will there be a hat trick on the 11th Martin wondered?

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Admiring the flint work of Shane Cahill in Elmdon

With the light already beginning to fade, we had to speed downhill towards Ickleton and turn right towards Catmere End only to come across the circling Apache, which needed inspecting at close hand whilst it also inspected us, luckily with no guns blazing. Here are some more pics of the evil looking machine:

 

On we whizzed with our own lights blazing, Apache style, Andrew achieving a creditable 34 mph downhill from Littlebury Green towards Duddenhoe End, and on to Langley Upper Green before finally arriving back at The Bull 10 minutes before opening time. But feeling sorry for the three dogs panting outside on the doorstep landlady Sarah let us in before 5.00pm so that our thirsts could be quenched.

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Darkening clouds over Elmdon
Bull circuit 4 Nov 19
Our route

Thanks to Andrew for planning the route and organising us. The 16 miles felt more like 20+.

Martin

 

 

 

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28 October. Recruiting a spooky new member. 20 miles.

Six Windmillers set off from The Bull at Lower Langley at 3.00pm – Andrew, Sandra (who rode from home and back again in the dark), Keith, Tim, Nick and Martin. Sadly, Nick had to peel off quite early on due to his shoes slipping badly on his pedals but we hope to see him again soon with the problem fixed, having received various recommendations from the remainder of the gang. This is where we went:

Bull circuit 28 Oct 19

Being half term week, the lanes were blissfully empty of big Volvos and Range Rovers charging along full of children returning home from school. DPD and DHL vans were elsewhere too which enabled us to amble along, albeit averaging over 12mph, and have a natter about Andrew’s recent cruise, Tim’s successful racing season and other topics.

It was in Duddenhoe End that Andrew spotted what looked initially like a potential new member, smartly dressed by the roadside with a hi-viz jacket holding a black container but there was no bike. Stopping to take a closer look he got the fright of his life when the figure turned out to be a spooky dummy offering sweets for Halloween trick or treaters. On closer inspection there seemed to be an even greater resemblance to Andrew himself as this picture shows!

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Andrew chatting up the latest Windmill Club member in Duddenhoe End
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Tim, Sandra and Keith also welcoming the new member

Back at The Bull, where a fascinating Pennine Dark and Light beer was on offer, we enjoyed chatting to the landlady Sarah, who turns out to be the sister of one of Martin’s best ever employees. Small world!

Thanks go to Andrew for organising the circuit and getting us round in daylight. For the next few weeks, good lights and hi viz wear will be mandatory.

Martin

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17 October. Pay attention! 28 miles.

What do Francis Crick, Mary Archer, the Guided Busway and Rupert Brooke have in common? Answer: They were all part of Simon’s fascinating educational tour of South Cambridgeshire on this fine autumn day which encompassed science, engineering, poetry and the Archers – an everyday story of Granchester folk.

Starting from Martin’s house in Ickleton after coffee and biscuits and a quick wizz around his field maze on their bikes, thirteen Windmillers comprising Simon, Sandra, Keith (celebrating his birthday), Brian, Roger, Ric, Lawrence, Graham, Nigel, Geoff, Charles, Neil and Martin set off in the direction of Duxford stopping briefly at the Ickleton Lion for any last minute arrivals.

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All lined up for an amazeing ride, birthday boy Keith on the right.

Navigating the maze

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…and the winner of a bottle of Spitfire for being first over the finish line was Geoff

 

…hotly pursued by Sandra, Keith, Brian, Lawrence, Simon and Graham

This is what Simon had planned for our enjoyment:

Bike ride 17 Oct 19

After crossing the A505 at Duxford, when Simon somehow achieved a Jesus-like parting of the traffic allowing all to cross simultaneously, we waited for Graham to catch up before taking the bike path from Whittlesford to Sawston and continuing along the newly upgraded bike path to Stapleford and Shelford, passing Tom’s house as we did so. Then the science bit started, with a ride along the now famous DNA bike path towards Addenbrooke’s Hospital:

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The DNA bike path from Great Shelford to Addenbrooke’s is decorated with 10,257 colourful stripes which represent the four nucleotides of the BRCA2 gene.

At the end of the bike path we stopped to admire the complex of buildings and roads on the Addenbrooke’s site and to hear Simon talk about Francis Crick and Jim Watson who discovered DNA in 1953, with the considerable assistance of one of their researchers, Rosalind Franklin, who was not credited to the same extent and who, some might argue, should also have been in line for a Nobel prize.

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Gathering outside the Anne McLaren building on Francis Crick Avenue to hear about the discovery of DNA – just a question of smashing a cell to bits and extracting the DNA, according to Prof. Simon. Just opposite is Dame Mary Archer Way. In Jeffrey Archer’s libel case in 1987 the judge famously described Mary Archer as being a vision of elegance, fragrance and radiance.

Next stop was the busway and bike path alongside to Trumpington, stopping to hear from Simon about its development and issues since construction, including a bus careering across the bike path and ploughing into a bank a couple of years ago, just a week before the Windmill Club passed the same spot………. Opinions are divided as to whether this represents progress in transportation.

 

The Cambridge busway at Trumpington

Granchester was the next stop, reached by a delightful path behind the Park and Ride car park, across a huge new country park and diving into thick woods leading to Byron’s Pool before passing the Archers’ Old Vicarage and entering the famous Orchard Tea Garden. Famous not only for Rupert Brooke and his poetry, quoted by Simon during coffee (the first verse of The Soldier is on the plan above) but also frequented by dozens of other famous people including Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, Bertrand Russell, Francis Crick, D H Lawrence, A A Milne, H G Wells, Ted Hughes, Henry James, King George VI, Prince Edward and now a group of illustrious Windmillers too!

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Soaking up the sun and Rupert Brooke’s poetry at the Orchard Tea Garden in Granchester

Ken joined us during coffee and so we were fourteen as we started on the homeward leg via some off road tracks leading over the M11 towards Barton and then on to Haslingfield, Harston and Newton before taking another off road stretch to Whittlesford along what turned out to be a smooth track whilst some decided to take the direct route back to the Ickleton Lion.

True to the Windmill tradition, having owned up to having a birthday Keith very kindly bought a round of drinks and received a hearty rendering of Happy Birthday to You in return. Over lunch we thought of Maurice and his knee operation taking place that day and wished him well. Charles impressed us with his method of paying his bill – no cash, no credit card, just his smart watch and phone. Windmillers are always ahead of the game.

Thanks were given to Simon for planning and executing such a great ride and we are all looking forward to the others that are taking place during the absence of Maurice and Andrew – no pressure on the organisers!

Well done to the several members who clocked up considerably more than 28 miles on this ride due to riding to and from their homes, namely Sandra, Ric, Brian, Neil and Geoff.

Martin

P.S.  Maurice’s operation went very well and he is now back home on crutches and climbing stairs.

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10 October. Scones and clotted cream. 36 miles.

We could just as easily have been in Cornwall tucking into vast numbers of scones with butter, jam and great dollops of clotted cream (on top of course, Cornish style). But it was actually the coffee stop at Maurice and Lynn’s house where Lynn laid on the great feast for us all to enjoy. But where was two scones Keith we all asked? He would have been in his element.

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From the left: John B, Ric, Brian, Roger, Geoff, Andrew, Victor, Maurice and Martin. Sitting on the deck: Sandra, Simon and Maurice and Lynn’s labrador looking happy having scoffed some spilt jam and cream.

Before arriving, the 11 Windmillers had set off once again from The Golden Fleece at Braughing having placed their orders for lunch. The route took us through yet more of Maurice’s quiet Hertfordshire lanes which provide ample opportunities for chatting along the way. This is where we went, clockwise, except for the return leg which was via Barley and Nuthampstead:

Braughing ride 10 Oct 19

At Maurice’s, it was great to see (and hear) the progress he has made over the past 2 years renovating and converting his Douglas Dragonfly motor cycle to become Honda powered, complete with disc brakes and an electric start – a far cry from the original but making it very road worthy and safe. He has already completed over 200 trouble free miles with not even an oil leak. Well done Maurice! We are all looking forward to seeing what your next project might be, which will no doubt be starting soon after his impending knee operation.

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Ton up kid Martin astride Maurice’s Honda powered Douglas

During the feast of scones, Lynn’s large collection of medals for great feats of athletics were spotted in the loo and brought outside for all to admire, much to the embarrassment of Lynn. Maurice tells the story of how in the early days of the Windmill Club, five members including himself, Lynn, John Tarrington, Rod Kennedy and one other, cycled 100km during the night in London to raise money for Save the Children. They started from Crystal Palace at 11.00pm and went round the Isle of Dogs and across London to Alexandra Palace via a number of bridges including Tower Bridge and London Bridge, finishing at 5.00am. Lynn’s medals include one for taking part in this event.

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Lynn and her collection of medals. Well done Lynn!

Sure enough, the return leg to Braughing got us back to The Golden Fleece bang on time for an excellent lunch, thanks to Maurice’s impeccable planning and no incidents en route, despite having to ride along a lane of freshly cut hawthorn hedge at one stage.

During lunch Victor very kindly offered a spare cycling jersey which was the wrong size for him. Simon firstly had a go at getting his head through the opening, without success, whilst also declaring his chest size as being too big (well, he was a rugby player in his youth). Geoff then had a go and declared it a perfect fit and so we expect to see him sporting it on a future ride when, no doubt, we will mistake him for Victor.

Will it fit? Simon struggles to take possession of the spare jersey and gives up.

Voila! It fits Geoff like a dream.

This ride was possibly the last that Maurice would be able to take part in for a while due to his knee operation on 17th October (since confirmed due to bad weather on Monday 14th October). We therefore drank his health, wished him well and we look forward to seeing him again soon at a lunch. Knowing Maurice, it won’t be long before that new knee is pushing pedals again.

Thanks to Maurice for planning the ride, to Lynn for the coffee and scones and Andrew for organising us all.

Martin

 

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2 September. Exploring new lanes. 23 miles.

Starting from The Tally Ho in Barkway, this ride took in both familiar and unfamiliar lanes. Maurice led the way followed by Andrew, Simon, Nick and Martin. Andrew was recovering from a major tooth operation a couple of days before and so got full marks for turning out. Spot the unfamiliar bit if you can:

Tally Ho! circuit 2 Sept 19

It was familiar territory as far as the 10 mile mark, where we sadly lost Nick who took a right at the bottom of the hill coming down from Elmdon instead of a left to follow the others but by the time we discovered this it was a bit too late. Moral of the story, wait at junctions after fast descents preceded by hills. Sorry, Nick!

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A toothless Dawg approaching the hill towards Duddenhoe End

The remaining four continued towards Arkesden but Andrew promptly took charge as we rounded a sharp bend and took us down a gravel track through delightful woods, emerging once again onto the Arkesden road. This can be seen above between the 10 and 15 mile marks. Definitely a track to do again on a dry day, perhaps with some clippers to cut through the odd bramble branch.

After Arkesden Andrew again took us off our familiar route up a lane to take a look at his brother in law’s new weekend pad which he had just taken possession of, a somewhat large barn conversion set in 2 acres with an easy walk down to The Axe and Compasses. What more could one ask of a country retreat?

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Drinking the health of Andrew’s brother in law Adam’s new weekend abode, in an imaginary style.

Then it was on to Clavering and Meesden passing Nick’s house on the way and hoping to see him back at The Tally Ho but it was not to be. The sunflower field opposite his house looked in fine fettle, clearly taking advantage of climate warming.

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7.15pm at The Tally Ho. The evenings are beginning to draw in.

Thanks to Maurice and Andrew for leading the way.

Martin

 

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29 August. Nigel’s birthday bash. Record turnout? 30+ miles.

A large contingent of Windmillers gathered at Andrew’s house in Wendens Ambo on this fine late summer’s day with just a hint of autumnal nip in the air. And it wasn’t because we knew in advance that it was Nigel’s birthday and that he would be buying the drinks. So, led by Andrew and followed by Maurice (enjoying not being responsible for map reading for a change), Keith, Brian, Ric, Roger, Simon T, Geoff, Deborah, Lawrence, Nigel, Charles and Howard, the group set off in the direction of Hill Bastardo up to Littlebury Green and were met by Ken and Martin who had cycled up from Ickleton, making 15 in all. Is this a Windmill record? Brian and Ric, however, rode from their homes in Shelford and Harston and so clocked up 40+ miles.

This is where we went, clockwise:

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Other than crossing the busy A505 at Duxford, the roads were pleasantly quiet and so there was plenty of time early on to take in big views towards Saffron Walden and Ickleton and admire the neat harvested fields. We had to cross the same railway line three times, which could potentially have meant waiting up to 20 minutes given the new barriers in Ickleton and Sawston but, luckily, we were only held up once. Andrew’s route took us via the bridge over the A11 at Little Abington, where an archaeological dig was being carried out prior to some road changes, and then on to Linton via an off road track from Hildersham. Hoping to see the Jura Comtois horses in action again (having seen them on a previous ride), and the lady in charge, we were disappointed that there was no sign of either.

En route from Whittlesford to Sawston,  photos taken by Brian in his usual horizontal pose

The Linton Kitchen is a favourite coffee stop and once again they produced excellent coffee and cakes for hungry Windmillers, whilst imprisoning a few behind bars:

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Lawrence, Nigel, Keith and Howard happily imprisoned in The Linton Kitchen whilst Maurice looks on

The return leg involved a pleasant climb up through Hadstock and then a fast run down to Little Walden and on to Saffron Walden before enjoying an excellent lunch back at The Bell Inn in Wendens Ambo where we celebrated Nigel’s birthday with a fine rendering of Happy Birthday to You – a Windmill choir in the making, perhaps, but needing some training from choirmeister Lawrence before performing in public. Sadly, Charles could not stay for lunch but bid us farewell with his usual ‘Goodbye, you bastards!’.

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Lunch in the garden of The Bell Inn, birthday boy Nigel on the right with mouthful of pizza

A lunchtime bonus, particularly for those of us not having to drive, was to sample the barrels remaining from a beer festival held the previous weekend. And what fine beers they were too!

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Brian, Keith and Martin happily sampling

Thanks go to Andrew for planning and leading the way, Nigel for buying a large round of birthday drinks and Brian for the pics.

Martin

 

 

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19 August. Plum crazy ride. 19 miles.

A duck walks into a bar and asks, “Got any plums?” The bartender, confused, tells the duck that no, his bar doesn’t serve plums. The duck thanks him and leaves. The next day, the duck returns and says, “Got any plums?” Again, the bartender tells him that, no, the bar does not serve plums, has never served plums, and, furthermore, will never serve plums. The duck, a little ruffled, thanks him and leaves. The next day, the duck returns, but before he can say anything, the bartender begins to yell: “Listen, duck! This is a bar! We do not serve plums! If you ever ask for plums again, I will nail your stupid duck beak to the bar!” The duck is silent for a moment, and then asks, “Got any nails?” Confused, the bartender says no. “Good!” says the duck. “Got any plums?”

Ok, ugh! Now if that duck had been cycling through Starling’s Green on this sunny summer’s evening in the company of Andrew, Nick, Tim and Martin, he would have been delighted to come across a plum tree on the side of the road laden with ripe plums. Tim and Martin had missed it and waited ages for Andrew and Nick to appear but they had been gorging themselves on said plums and filling their saddle bags to take home to make pies, jams or tarts. Windmillers are used to seeing roadkill and the odd onion or carrot but this is the first time we had come across such a feast of plums, which tasted like Victorias but were slightly smaller.

Not wishing to miss out, the next day Martin happened to be passing by car what he thought was the same spot but there was no sign of the tree. A call to Andrew and a chat with some local ladies soon established that he was in the wrong place but having found the tree he and Penny quickly filled their bags with plums and here is the result:

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Tarte aux Starling’s Green. Delicious!

It had been an eventful ride long before discovering the plum tree. The first stop after starting from The Bull at Lower Langley was just outside Meesden to check out the nuclear bunker hidden deep in some undergrowth which we had viewed from a distance before but not close up. It is rumoured that the interior still contains some original furniture but no one volunteered to climb down the ladder to take a look. Instead we clambered upwards to what might have been a lookout post to admire the view.

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The front door into the nuclear bunker
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Nick, Tim and Andrew admiring the view. Tim was celebrating having had some good results racing his car at Silverstone recently. 

Andrew’s route then took us to Great Hormead where another stop was made to examine a memorial to an American airman whose fighter plane crashed soon after take off from Duxford in 1944:

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Nick alongside the memorial to Flying Officer Archie Daniels in Great Hormead

This leisurely ride resulted in another familiar stop outside St. Mary’s Church in Furneux Pelham which recently had all its lead roof removed by thieves, causing over £225,000 worth of damage. The church’s motto is Time Flies – Mind Your Business, supposedly a reference to harvests having to stop work at 6.00pm to allow gleaners onto the land to pick up what they could from spilt corn.

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Outside St. Mary’s Church, Furneux Pelham
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Having locked up the church, this man’s Jack Russell is looking suspiciously at Nick but in fact was very friendly

Then it was on to Starling’s Green for plum picking by Andrew and Nick before we regrouped near Ford End and continued back to The Bull via Langley Upper Green, where there were some fine beers on tap.

This is where we went:

Plum crazy ride 19 August 2019

 

Thanks go to Andrew for planning the route and organising us. It was indeed a plum crazy ride.

Martin

 

 

 

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12 August. Feeling Bullish. 20 miles.

Meeting at The Bull, Lower Langley, at 5.00pm, Maurice, Andrew, Sandra, Simon, Charles and Martin set off on a southerly circuit taking in Clavering, Arkesden, Rickling, Manuden and the Pelhams. Sandra had already ridden 22 miles and so her total for the afternoon must have been nearer 50, whilst Charles rode from and back to Chrishall clocking up over 30 miles, dressed smartly in his long doggie socks which provide clear identification.

Charles also wore a rather fancy helmet with Bluetooth, a microphone and rear flashing lights, a present from a generous daughter it seems. Definitely one for the Christmas wish list this year.

This is where we went, clockwise:

Bull circuit 12 August 2019

The lanes were quiet – just the odd tractor and car but no Range Rover or Volvo mums screeching round bends coming back from the school run. However, Andrew did flag down one Volvo mum just as were setting off to point out that the jockey wheel on her pony trailer that she was towing was too low. Being the gentleman he is, he quickly adjusted it for her and she went safely on her way.

A tame buzzard was seen perching happily on some telegraph wires without a care in the world as we approached Rickling and Sandra commented that she had seen a herd of deer in the same area earlier. With at least half the harvest in, the countryside was already beginning to look autumnal in places due to ploughing and field cultivations.

A quick stop outside The Cricketers in Rickling was made to check on the renovation progress, which appeared to be finished and so a mental note was made to pay a longer visit soon. Being in charge of photography for the evening, Andrew then dashed off ahead on the way to Manuden to try and emulate Brummie Brian by taking action shots from a horizontal position in the long grass. Sandra reached him first and thought initially he had fallen off his bike whilst Martin’s first reaction was that he looked like a traveller of no fixed abode looking for somewhere to sleep.  What we didn’t know was that he was busy taking some fine photographs of Windmillers huffing and puffing up a short incline:

A brief stop was then made outside Martin’s daughter’s house in Manuden to see if she was in but there was no sign of life and so we continued onwards through the Pelhams. At precisely 18.30 hours there was the sound of regimental music coming from what Martin thought was Charles’s Bluetooth helmet but it was actually his snazzy watch alarm reminding him to lock the chickens up. There followed a discussion about the Sussex Regiment and a somewhat poor rendering was given of another military favourite, Sussex by-the-Sea. Luckily the others were out of earshot.

Simon had told us during the ride of the poor health recently of his mother, who lives by herself in Worcester. The good news is that she is now better and out of hospital. Simon found himself in Worcester without any spare clothing, not expecting to have to look after his mother for several days, but solved the problem by paying a visit to local charity shops where he equipped himself with a complete new wardrobe including brand new shirts for £20! We did wonder if the smart trousers he was wearing had been part of the purchase but this proved not to be the case. (Not one to miss a bargain, Martin has since acquired a brand new lightweight jacket for a fiver from the Salvation Army shop in Saffron Walden.)

After a very pleasant two hour ride we pulled up outside The Bull once more where there was a fine selection of beers to choose from and nuts to chew on.

Thanks, Maurice, for a good route and Andrew for his fine photography and organisation.

Martin

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8 August. Beware Walberswick women! 40 miles.

Starting from The Royal Oak, Laxfield, a bit later than planned due to a road closure which affected several participants, 11 Windmillers set off already fortified by a shot of caffeine kindly laid on by the pub. Maurice led the way through the Suffolk lanes towards the coast followed dutifully by Andrew, Keith, Roger, Lawrence, Deborah, Graham, Geoff, Charles, Howard and Martin. This is where we went, all except Martin who had to peel off in Walberswick and return earlier:

Bike ride 8 August 2019

The lanes were fairly quiet even though this was peak holiday season, thanks perhaps to satnavs rarely choosing anything other than motorways, A or B roads. Apologising for the lack of hills at one point, Maurice navigated us swiftly towards the A12 with the help of a strong tail wind. Crossing the very busy A12 took a while, some achieving a gap in the traffic whilst others headed down a cycle path before waiting patiently for another gap to appear. It was at this point that Deborah was seen to hurtle pass those waiting to cross whilst she continued southwards on the cycle path towards Ipswich. Shouting above the noise of the traffic had no effect and so Graham gallantly took on the role of retriever Dawg and sped off in hot pursuit to apprehend Deborah and bring her to heel. Meanwhile the first group had set off at a pace towards Westleton and Dunwich, perhaps wanting to be the first to see the sea, but eventually we all regrouped and entered Dunwich together.

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The beach car park in Dunwich. From the left, Charles, Howard, Lawrence, retriever Dawg Graham, Keith, Deborah (looking a bit sheepish), Maurice, Deputy Dawg Andrew, Geoff and Roger

As time was a bit pressing and there was a lot more of the coast to come, it was decided not to cycle another 100 yards and see the sea. The next stop was Walberswick, the crabbing capital of the world according to most children, but the route was via John Bagrie’s sandy track through the woods which all agreed to tackle. And great fun it was too with all emerging safely onto the tarmac again on a back lane leading into Walberswick.

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Geoff refreshing himself, Howard checking his bike and Deborah unscathed, at the end of John Bagrie’s sandy lane

It was at this point that Martin had to return to Laxfield along much the same route as the others were to follow later, clocking up 34 miles in total,  but missing out on the fun and games to follow. It turns out that after sampling the Adnams in The Lord Nelson in Southwold, the Windmillers split up into two groups but reached the bridge over the River Blyth leading to Walberswick at the same time (the bridge being used originally for a narrow gauge railway line). The story from Andrew then goes like this. Firstly a flamboyant lady in a flowing dress riding a bicycle at speed with a large wicker basket on the front gave one of the Windmiller groups a telling off for riding on a footpath. She then dismounted and pushed her bicycle over the bridge, followed gingerly by the Windmillers, until mounting again on the other side and shooting off at high speed only to be shouted at fiercely by a Walberswick lady walking her two dogs saying she was riding too fast and furthermore tried to pull her from her bike by grabbing the flowing dress, without success luckily. Andrew said it was like something out of a classic British comedy movie. The moral of this story is Beware Walberswick Women!

Martin’s route took him via the pretty village of Bramfield which had the distinction of having both a thatched church, St. Andrew’s no less, with a separate tower, fine wall paintings and also another example of a crinkle crankle wall:

The strong tail breeze on the way to the coast was on the nose for most of the way back which, coupled with some real hills, made the going somewhat slower but the magnificent scenery particularly around Walpole more than made up for the extra effort needed.

A late lunch was had by the main party of Windmillers who also celebrated Deborah’s birthday in fine style. Happy birthday, Deborah, and thanks for buying the drinks! Meanwhile, Martin was en route to a hot and sweaty shed also known as Luton Airport.

Thanks to Maurice for planning and leading the way and to Saint Andrew for his organisation and stories.

Martin

 

 

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5 August. Tally Ho! circuit with new members. 17 miles.

A warm welcome was given to two new members on this fine summer’s evening, John and Tim, both of whom had discovered the Windmill Club on the Cycling UK website. As well as being keen cyclists they are also car fanatics, John having competed in the Mille Miglia in Italy recently in his hotted up Triumph TR3 whilst Tim has designed and races his own sports car at Silverstone and other places. John lives in Much Hadham and Tim in Fulbourn. They found themselves in good company.

Meeting at The Tally Ho! in Barkway at 5.00pm, John and Tim were accompanied by Maurice, Andrew, Deborah, Charles, Nick and Martin on a pleasant 17 mile circuit around the lanes. But Charles clocked up around 30 miles in all having cycled from Chrishall and back again. Well done Charles! Newish member Nick has been considering buying an e-bike but after just a few rides he is thinking of changing his mind – it’s amazing how quickly cycling fitness can be achieved,

This is where we went:

Tally Ho circuit 5 August 2019

The pace was fairly leisurely which meant there was ample time to learn about the racing exploits of John and Tim in their very different cars – John describing in graphic detail the crazy nature of the Mille Miglia when hundreds of competitors are encouraged by the police to drive at break neck speeds on public roads and Tim promising to show us pictures of his hairy sports car powered by a Honda Fireblade motorbike engine, which he subsequently did in The Tally Ho!.

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Stopping for a breather near Kelshall. From the left, John, Charles, Nick, Deborah, Maurice, Andrew and Tim

A brief stop was made in Sandon before passing Lyn and John Bagrie’s house on the way to Buntingford, where thoughts of what we might see between Wyddial and Anstey on this warm evening entered the minds of both Andrew and Martin. But it was not to be – the scantily clad ladies seen emerging two years ago from their Mini Convertible down what has since been named Visions of Loveliness Lane were nowhere to be seen. Alas, we live in hope for another day.

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Deborah and Maurice back at The Tally Ho! Deborah and her husband have recently returned from a glorious bike ride through the Hebridean islands of Scotland.

The Tally Ho! had its usual jolly atmosphere, even though the choice of beers was not quite what we are used to. What a fussy lot the Windmillers are! It was good to see the pics of Tim’s smart sports racing car and we look forward to hearing how he fared at Silverstone.

Thanks go to Maurice as usual for planning the route and to Andrew for organising us.

Martin

 

 

 

 

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25 July. Hot dawgs and cool dudes. 19 miles. 38.7C.

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Cool dudes. From the left, Rod, Lawrence, Ric, Graham, Maurice, Andrew, Ken, Geoff.

On what turned out to be the hottest day ever recorded in the UK, 38.7C in Cambridge, nine Windmillers decided to venture out from The Fox and Duck in Therfield in an initial temperature of around 30C. But Maurice knew what they were letting themselves in for and arranged the first stop at his house to cool off and take it it easy whilst reacquainting members with his fine collection of automobilia.

The ride as far as Maurice’s house was very pleasant – a nice breeze along the ridge towards Barkway and then down the long long hill to his house some recording a speed of 34+ mph on the way with a strong tail wind. By this time it was only around 10.15am but once settled in, having cool drinks and coffee laid on by Maurice and Lyn, there seemed to be no desire to rush off………….

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Lolling around at Maurice’s
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Hot Rod and cool dawg
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Maurice’s modified Douglas motorbike nearing completion. It has a Honda engine, disc front brake and sports a new four branch exhaust system.
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Reluctant leavers in the shade of Maurice’s driveway

Having decided to eventually make a move, there was relief all round that we took a right out of Maurice’s driveway and not  a left back up the hill. At the first junction with the Royston – Barley road it was fascinating to see a machine stabbing huge straw bales with a fork and then transferring them to a trailer behind the large tractor – a stark contrast with the ancient old binder we saw the previous Monday cutting wheat straw for thatching. Here it is in action:

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A fancy new bale stabber / loader in action

The onward route was planned to be Barley, Nuthampstead, Anstey, Buntingford, Sandon and back to Therfield but it only took as far as Shaftenhoe End to realise that this was a bit ambitious on such a hot day and so a revised route from Nuthampstead via Barkway was substituted, resulting in a shorter ride which got us back to The Fox and Duck by noon, at which time the temperature was touching 36C. Lunch in the shade of the garden and a cooling beer was a pleasant end to a ride that certainly got pretty hot towards the end.

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More lolling around, this time in the shade of the garden of The Fox and Duck. Graham declined the offer of a lift back to Ickleton, having cycled from there in the first place, clocking up around 40 miles on the hottest day ever recorded in the UK!

And this is where we went:

 

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Huge thanks to Maurice for tailor making the ride to the extraordinary weather conditions of the day and for his and Lyn’s kind hospitality – certainly one for the record books in every sense. Thanks also to Andrew for getting us to the start line and for the Strava pic of the ride.

Martin

PS. On the way back to Ickleton, Martin’s car thermometer recorded 39.5C at Ickleton  Old Grange.

 

 

 

 

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22 July. Bull circuit. 17 miles.

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A fine hot summer’s evening saw seven Windmillers assemble at The Bull, Lower Langley, for a leisurely ride around the lanes. Maurice led the way followed by Andrew, Keith, Simon T,  Charles, new member Nick and Martin. The route took us to Langley Upper Green, Duddenhoe End, down to the Wendens Ambo road and then up to Chrishall as far as the track through the woods to Elmdon.

There was talk of stopping at Simon and Ollie’s house in Elmdon but there was no sign of life and so we pressed on towards another off road section, this time from Elmdon to Catmere End, except for Keith who preferred not to shred his tyres and so we agreed to meet him at the Axe and Compasses in Arkesden.

The journey through the woods was uneventful thanks to the new surface on the bridle way and we soon emerged the other side to continue to Littlebury Green, down Hill Bastardo to the Wendens Ambo road and then up the long hill towards Arkesden before rejoining Keith for some refreshment.

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Windmillers enjoying refreshment at The Axe and Compasses in Arkesden. From the left, Nick, Maurice, Keith, Simon, Charles and Andrew.

It was on the return leg in Clavering that we stopped in awe to watch an old fashioned binder cutting a field of tall wheat, spitting out tied sheaves as it did so until it of course jammed like they always did. This resulted in Maurice and Martin reminiscing about the old days and chatting to the operator who was busy unjamming the  machine. It turned out that the wheat was being cut for thatching straw but the sheaves would still be stacked up to dry before being threshed. It would be interesting to know how the yield of this particular Maris variety compared with more modern varieties.

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Cutting wheat straw with a binder for thatching in Clavering

Declining the operator’s invitation to return the next day to stack up the sheaves, Maurice and Martin finally set off in pursuit of the others who had gone ahead, only to find that the Ms got back to The Bull first, Andrew and the others having gone via Meesden to drop off Nick but who arrived quickly afterwards. It was the end of a perfect ride and what better than to finish by sitting outside The Bull soaking up the evening sun?

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Thanks, Maurice for planning such an excellent ride around our lovely quiet lanes and Andrew for the Strava map and organising us.

Martin

 

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18 July. Come rain or shine, a reel great plaice to have a good time. 40 miles.

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The corny sign above the counter in The Ferry Café at Felixstowe Ferry could not have been a better summary of this ride across Suffolk on a wet and sunny day. Who would have known that smiling Andrew was looking like a drowned dawg only a few minutes before Brian took the above photo?

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Starting off from The Fox at Newbourne, betwixt Woodbridge and Felixstowe, seven Windmillers comprising Maurice, Andrew, Sandra, Brian, Graham, Howard and Martin, the weather was at first cloudy and dry but having driven through rain on the way over it was surely only a matter of time before it reached the East coast. And sure enough it did, just as we were on top of an exposed Deben riverbank before reaching Felixstowe Ferry. (This was the route we discovered a few weeks back when we had to do a U-turn as the ferry was not running and return to Newbourne.) So jackets were hastily put on but we soon pulled up in front of The Ferry Café to dry out and enjoy a coffee.

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All aboard the ferry across the Deben to Bawdsey

From quiet Bawdsey onwards the rain became more of a steady drizzle as we meandered through Suffolk lanes en route to Butley and Orford, stopping in Capel St Andrew so that Andrew could once again shake the hand of Saint Andrew himself, confessing his sins as he did so.

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To celebrate the millennium villagers of Capel raised money to have the unusual village sign erected. The statue is of St Andrew, the patron saint of fisherman, seen holding an eel. Not sure what exactly our Andrew is holding.

Another brief stop was made at Butley to view the estuary and then it was on to Orford for lunch in The King’s Head where we were greeted warmly by the landlord and Maurice’s friend Chris and his wife Judith who were holidaying in Aldeburgh. Much steam was produced as jackets were taken off to dry out, followed by an excellent lunch washed down with fine beer, courtesy of Chris and Sandra, whose birthday we celebrated. Happy Birthday Sandra!

After lunch it was off to Woodbridge via Rendlesham Forest, into the wind, but we saw some sun too. The group spread out a bit resulting in some reaching The Tide Mill in Woodbridge before the others, and Martin deciding to head directly to Newbourne due to an evening engagement.

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The Tide Mill, Woodbridge

And here is the route taken:

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Despite the weather at times it was a great ride. Thanks as usual to Maurice for organising it, Andrew for getting us to the starting line on time and Brian for the pics.

Martin

 

 

 

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4 July. Eco warriors and their tribe in North Norfolk. 35 miles.

What a day to choose to ride around North Norfolk! Maurice got it spot on with his weather forecast when he decided to choose a circuit from Fakenham for what turned out to be a glorious ride in perfect conditions. Assembling incognito in Morrison’s car park, or at least that was the plan, Maurice was joined by Andrew, Sandra, Keith, Brian, Ken, Roger, Charles and another eco warrior, Martin, who had borrowed Ann Worthing’s e-bike for the day. This was Martin’s first experience of an e-bike and he spent a happy day in eco mode, as did Maurice, marvelling at the speed, acceleration and range of the Trek bike.

This is sort of where we went, clockwise from Little Walsingham having first gone through the pretty villages of Little and Great Snoring on the way from Fakenham:

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A few modifications en route meant we cycled to Holkham Hall from the southern entrance and exited on the western side before visiting Burnham Thorpe and then stopping for coffee at The Hoste Arms in Burnham Market. The views on the way were stupendous:

 

 

 

Note the sad condition of the Lord Nelson pub in Burnham Thorpe (bottom row) which we last visited 3 years ago. There was still a lot of Nelson memorabilia in the pub at the time which hopefully as been preserved.

After coffee we set off for Wells via Burnham Overy Staithe and Holkham but did not take the path parallel to the beach behind the pine trees as time was pressing, or was it the thought of all that seafood in Wells fast disappearing on such a gorgeous day? A windmill seen from a distance near Burnham Thorpe, which can just be seen in the poppy pic above, came into closer view over the marshes on the way to Burnham Overy Staithe:

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Where shall we go for lunch? That was the big topic of conversation on entering Wells, minus Charles who had to head for home at Holkham.  Should it be The Wells Crab House where a group of Windmillers had enjoyed an excellent evening meal 2 years ago whilst on a 2 day outing to Norfolk? No, that was full. How about that pub at the top end of town or the one in the middle? Both sounded good but then a table was spotted on the good ship Albatros moored alongside the quay and the matter was settled quickly. The next hour or so was probably one of the most memorable lunches in the history of the Windmill Club. Words cannot describe the view from the boat as the tide was coming in, nor the conversation with the Dutch skipper who told us all about the history of the boat transporting horses during the First World War. These pics tell the story a lot better:

 

Note the Dutch pancakes, the excellent pints of Wherry and Roger, Ken and Martin listening intently to the Dutch skipper.

A quick visit after lunch to the Wells and Walsingham light railway terminus resulted in us just missing a train but we had an interesting conversation with the station master who, as Ken observed, looked more like a New York cop. Then it was back to Fakenham via Great and Little Walsingham but stopping at the spot near Great Snoring where John Tarrington sadly had a fall and broke his wrist badly. We held a minute’s silence in his memory.

Thanks to Maurice for organising such a great route and of course to Andrew for getting us to the starting line on time. Slapped wrists for those who didn’t obey his command to spread out in Morrison’s car park to avoid being caught for not shopping! And thanks also to Brian and Andrew for many of the above pics, and to Ann Worthing for the loan of her e-bike, and to Ken for carting it there.

Martin

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1 July. Bunch of b******s confirmed. 14+ miles.

‘Don’t worry, we’ll go easy on you’, said Andrew, prior to Martin commencing a ride again after an 8 week lay off. But being unable to make the start at The Bull, Lower Langley with Maurice, Andrew and Keith, at the apppointed hour of 17.00, Martin called the threesome at 18.00 from The Bull to find out where they were. ‘We’re at Strethall heading for Elmdon’, said Andrew, ‘Why don’t you head to Little Chishill, up the three hills to Great Chishill and we’ll meet you somewhere near Chrishall most probably?’ ‘Thanks a bundle’, thought Martin, expecting a nice level route somewhere.

So Martin set off and discovered the three hills were easier than expected. He continued towards Great Chishill and Chrishall, expecting to meet the others coming in the opposite direction. As there was no sign of them he called Andrew only to discover that they were holed up in Simon and Ollie’s house in Elmdon having a few beers and hadn’t let Martin know. ‘What b******s’, thought Martin, agreeing completely with the view of Charles on his first ride out with the Windmillers back in May. There was, however, an invitation to join them but Martin declined as he was already heading through Chrishall and did not wish to clock up more miles than necessary. Guilt then set in with the b******s, resulting in Maurice phoning Martin to say that Simon had very kindly offered to give him a lift back to The Bull if he could make it as far as Elmdon. But by that time Martin was already speeding down the hill from Chrishall and so politely declined saying he would meet them all back at The Bull. And that is what happened, both Martin and the b******s having clocked up around 14 miles.

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B******s at The Bull

It’s great to be back in the saddle again! And thanks, Simon, for the kind offer. I’ll take you up on it another time.

Martin

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06.06.19 – Lucky for some thirteen !!

With the promise of coffee to start the ride, 13 eager Windmillers gathered outside the Red Lion at Great Wratting. Something was amiss though, the doors locked and no sign of life !!

We were almost ready to leave abandoning the early riser refreshment when a Mercedes estate car came careering into the car park, scuffing the front bumper and then parking, hitting a post holding up a lean-to building, watching on anticipating the demise of the building and spilling the baskets that were perched on the roof all over the car, amazingly this was not to be, lucky escape there. Coffee would soon be available, courtesy of the young man driving the car, something had been lost in translation/organisation or clearly forgotten, I think it was more likely the latter!!

Quickly downing the coffee and ordering lunch, we set forth to Kedington, Hundon and Stradishall. Maurice leading the posse comprising Roger, Victor, Lawrence, Simon, Chris, Deborah, Howard, Keith, Graham, Sandra, Geoff and Ken. The pace was fair and the group had split into two as the call came out for the obligatory Windmill (Stansfield) photo opportunity.

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There is a Windmill in the background, really!!

We regrouped for a full team photo call at Hawkedon

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As you can see it was yet another glorious day albeit a bit windy at times. Setting off again, it wasn’t long before the group was somewhat stretched out, some of us not getting any warning of a ford as we headed downhill at speed, missing the road route to the right of it and having to take the wet path, Victor managed to find a shallower path but as I was trying to avoid him, the only option was the deeper part which resulted in a rather wet foot. Catching up again, we were grateful of The Angel at Glemsford and the planned coffee and cake stop, well again something in the translation/organisation went astray and the cake was lacking, the Landlady was willing to head to the local store but we declined, perhaps thinking of our figures!! Simon though, took it upon himself to indulge us and while the coffees were being made he set off at speed and cleared the shelves in the store of everything sweet and gooey, returning only to find that no-one had bothered to think of him and having to get his own coffee, well done Simon, the cakes went down a treat.

On leaving Glemsford, we headed to Pentlow and the pace was still quite high, with the wind on our nose and the group got stretched out even more, leading to 5 of us missing a turning and doing the route below, while the others cut across country. All was well and we regrouped back at The Red Lion where we were joined by Martin, great to see him and hopefully seeing our jolly faces after another lovely ride, will aid his recovery. Looking forward to having you back riding with us again soon.

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32.5 miles clockwise

Thanks Maurice for another great ride.

Sandra