Having assembled at one of our favourite pubs, The Golden Fleece, we set off in good spirits on a warm September morning.
Maurice needed his spare electric bike back from Lawrence, his other one having been hit by a car. Lawrence undeterred by an imminent, major operation, made it round this 30 mile ride on a standard bike. An amazing effort, only slightly assisted by a gentle push from Charles on one or two of the hills. They displayed bravery and care for other club members in the highest traditions of the Windmillers.
The highlight of this tour was the stop at The Silver Lees Polo Club owned by a mate of Maurice’s. Located in the verdant countryside to the west of Bishop’s Stortford. Despite the undoubted quality of our membership, only a few had been active polo players in their youth. Charles had played in 1977 in Quetta, Pakistan, during his military service. From the photos I see that grass was less plentiful there, but I am told that poppies do grow better.
The lady making the coffees spoke English with a southern hemisphere accent. Andrew of course immediately placed her origin to a small area of hills on the Southern Cape. Cue a conversation about the fine wines and horse riding in that part of South Africa. He never ceases to amaze me.
Horses are hard work and expensive of course. I’m told that each rider needs six ponies each to partake in a polo match. There are six riders a side, well you work it out, some full time staff are needed to keep the show on the road. The sport might be a bit expensive for your average Joe, but there you go, we were made very welcome.
The horses are exercised several at a time. The staff made riding multiple horses simultaneously look easy. In the past I have struggled with just the one. They run around a track made of shredded old carpet which is easier on their feet than sand. I always wondered what to do with all those off-cuts we have from when the bedroom was done. I can now make good use of them, I just need to buy a polo pony. Or six. I’m currently awaiting permission from my dear wife.
I also made a late entry for the ‘gaudiest cyclewear of the year award’. But the competition is fierce with several shirts in the running and Charles’s socks being in a category all of their own.
This was a great morning ride through some of the prettiest villages in England. Special thanks go to Maurice and his generous friends inviting us to the polo club. Deputy Daug for the organising and to those who donated so many nice photos to the photo-share.
A good time to be riding with the club, as our ever increasing membership proves.