There’s really not much to report. 13 Windmillers cycled 31 miles – though Graham, as ever, did a lot more. Nobody fell off – and it wasn’t anybody’s birthday so, sadly, we all had to buy our own beer.
The only drama, albeit a mild one, was Roger’s puncture – but even that coincided with pulling in for a coffee break at Finchingfield, so no time was lost.
For the record, the turnout was: Alan, Andrew, Brian, Charles, Geoff, Graham, Howard, Iain, Ken, Rach, Roger, Sandra, Simon.
Thanks go to Andrew for getting everyone organised, and to Charles for the many photographs; there’s lots more here in the club album.
The weather forecast was a tad deceptive. Occasional showers? Humph, it was raining stair rods! Having waited in vain for a “Let’s call the whole thing off,” message from Andrew, ten Windmillers arrived in Henham hoping for a lull in the downpour.
Andrew had, quite understandably, been loath to cancel yet another outing from The Cock Inn, having already cancelled three in the past due to bad weather.
So there we were at 9.30, sipping coffee in the pub while the rain hammered down outside. Graham, having arrived on two wheels, was looking like a drowned rat and leaving puddles wherever he stood, while our remarkably understanding landlady trailed around after him with a mop.
Mulling over our options – it was still tipping it down outside – opinion was divided. The wimps – Andrew, Brian, Jeremy, Rod, Roger and Victor – formed a majority and just wanted to go home. But there was a gung-ho gang – Alan, Deborah, Graham and Sandra – gagging for a ride come hell or high water.
So it was that the wimps headed home while the gang of four stalwart, nay foolhardy, Windmillers headed out. And by all accounts they had a jolly time. The rain did eventually stop and they clocked up a respectable 19 miles on some very flooded roads.
So it was that some fifteen Windmillers were seen milling about the car park of the Cock Inn at Henham, Andrew doing his best to bring a semblance of order and making a vain attempt to group us into three equal teams. But Maurice was already off and heading for Debden Green, a gaggle of Windmillers in his wake. It’s as good a way as any to start a ride.
It wasn’t such a good start, however, for Jenni who, within five minutes, had pulled up with a puncture. Standing aside, she let Andrew and Mike do their manly thing of upending the bike to wrestle with wheels, levers, tubes and pumps and effect a repair. Jenni very sensibly left them to it and, some 20 minutes later, was back on the road chasing to catch up with Maurice.
We were on a 29 mile, figure of eight route taking in Thaxted, Finchingfield, Waltham’s Cross, the Bardfields and Broxted – and a lovely, scenic route it was too. Finchingfield being the half-way point, we pulled in for refreshments at Winners Tea Rooms, where Martin told the proprietor she had won the Windmillers’ Café of the Year Award. She waited expectantly, thinking he might pull out a trophy, maybe a framed certificate or suchlike.
“Er, that’s it, we thought we’d just let you know,” he explained.
“Righto, thanks,” she said, nonplussed, and returned to the kitchen.
Back at the pub, we enjoyed a well earned pint and a good lunch while Maurice listed the various charities the club was supporting this year. Totalling just over £7000, the monies were distributed to:
Macmillan Nurses, at the behest of the model boat donor, £1,000
Arthur Rank Hospice, in memory of Vernon, at the behest of Moira, £500
Great Chishill Windmill, where it all started some 10 years ago, £250
Breast Cancer / Moon Walk, sponsoring Jess at the Golden Fleece, £200
Addenbrookes Charitable Trust, at the behest of Lawrence and Simon, £1,000
Marie Curie Cancer, in memory of Rose, Victor’s wife, £500
East Anglian Children’s Hospice, £1,000
The Eve Appeal for gynaecological cancer research, £1,000
Samaritans, at the behest of Deborah, £500
Pets as Therapy, at the behest of Charles, £250
Breast Cancer UK, at the behest of Penny Woodhead, £750
For the record the turnout was: Alan, Andrew, Brian, Deborah, Geoff, Graham, Jenni, Jeremy, Martin, Maurice, Mike, Rod, Roger, Sandra and Simon.
Our thanks, as ever, are due to Maurice and Andrew, for planning and organising everything.
Recent events have shown just how dependent we are on HGV drivers, those unsung heroes who, quite literally, keep the wheels of our world turning. So we were duly impressed to learn – over coffee at the Blue Egg on Thursday – that Sandra will shortly be undergoing HGV driver training herself. Is there no end to this woman’s talents?
On a selfish note, we reckon this means we needn’t worry about our Christmas presents being stuck in containers at Felixstowe. A word to Sandra and things should get moving.
Thirteen Windmillers, a baker’s dozen, had set off from Henham for a 32 mile jaunt taking in Thaxted and Great Bardfield, where we pulled in at the aforementioned Blue Egg for refreshments.
Sipping coffee and munching cake, we caught up on news; everything from Sandra’s new found vocation to Simon’s exploits as a chimney sweep and Graham’s forthcoming big family wedding.
Back on the bikes we made short work of the return leg via Stebbing and Broxted to the Cock Inn, Henham, where lunch was waiting, not to mention a very welcome beer.
For the record the turnout was: Andrew, Brian, Charles, Graham, Howard, Jeremy, Lawrence, Ric, Rod, Roger, Sandra, Simon and Victor. Do shout if I’ve missed anyone.
Thanks as ever to Andrew for organising everything.
Finally, we send our very best wishes to Simon Oughton and Lawrence Wragg ahead of their long stays in Addenbrookes. We know they will be in good hands and we look forward to seeing them again soon, no doubt with tales to tell (but, please, no pictures!)
Last Train to Clarksville . . . Midnight Train to Georgia . . . Chattanooga Choo-Choo . . . but alas, nobody sings about Elsenham and waiting for the barriers to open, even though there’s time aplenty, 15 minutes in our case, to draft a ditty.
So there we were exchanging banter with the crossing keeper, our party of ten Windmillers having just set out from The Cock at Henham, and barely 2 miles into a 30 mile tour of North Essex / North Herts. We had come close to being just nine Windmillers, Rod having forgotten his helmet and about to head home, when Landlady Mel, bless her, appeared with a spare one she keeps on the premises. Now that’s what we call a cycling friendly pub.
Some three trains later, the keeper opened the crossing and we were underway once more, heading for Ugley Green and all points west.
Maurice had promised us a flat ride but, e-bike convert that he is, maybe he no longer notices the hills. We certainly did and, as the morning wore on and the mercury headed upwards of 25C, our once-tight peloton became strung out over a mile or more. While some of us like it hot, others, most notably Simon, aren’t so keen and, by the time we pulled in for refreshment at Braughing, he was looking distinctly pink.
It was in Braughing that Maurice had arranged an out-of-hours visit to The Golden Fleece. Mid-way round and run by our good pals, Pete and Jess, where better to stop off and take on some much needed water, coffee and biscuits.
Back on the bikes Maurice took the return leg at quite a lick, having promised Mel he would get us back in good time for lunch, so we were grateful when Henham and the The Cock finally hove into view. Sitting in the garden, we enjoyed a restorative pint while Mel’s team served up an excellent lunch.
For the record, our peloton comprised Alan, Andrew, Brian, Chris, Geoff, Graham, Maurice, Rod, Simon and Victor.
Thanks go to Maurice and Andrew for organising things, Jess and Peter for opening up The Fleece, and Mel for her hospitality (and helmet) at The Cock.
And finally, we wish our pal Lawrence, currently laid up in St George’s Hospital, a speedy recovery from his illness. We hope to see him back in the saddle soon.