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29 November. Let’s go ice skating. 21 miles.

Starting at the earlier hour of noon on this ride produced several benefits, not least of which was being able to ride in daylight. Other benefits were that most of the ice had melted and not re-frozen on this cold day, there was good light for Sandra’s constant spotting of wildlife, plus the bonus of a good lunch at 2.00pm in front of a roaring fire at The Red Lion in Hinxton.

Despite the cold, seven Windmillers comprising Graham, Rod, Sandra, Simon, Charles, Alan and Martin decided to brave the icy patches and set off on an anticlockwise route in the hope of picking up Andrew, who was attending a Zoom funeral. But it was a sunny day and so it proved to be not so bad after all, certainly not as icy as the photo above showing Dutch children heading off to school, and probably warmer than the previous Thursday once the first hill up to Chrishall had been climbed. There was more than the usual traffic on the road to Duxford Grange due to a snarl up on the A505, requiring several stops to allow vehicles to pass.

Thanks to having eagle-eyed Sandra with us, there were constant sightings of buzzards and red kites and no less than four sightings of deer, one of which was a stag with his three wives in tow. It seems that female deer are some way off gaining the full legal, economic, vocational, educational, and social rights enjoyed by stags.

Graham suggested a wise modification of the route to avoid cycling up to Duddenhoe End under the trees, where the surface could be distinctly icy, and so we took a slightly longer, more open route via Pond Street. Heading down to Arkesden was sheer bliss, soaking up the warm sun as we cruised along thinking of Deborah the flower girl on the way. Deborah was due to join us but, sadly, her horse had been hurt following Storm Arwen and she was expecting a visit from the vet. Even more sad was the subsequent news that the horse had to be put down and so our sympathies go to Deborah on her loss.

The long hill down to Clanver End looked dodgy in places and so care was taken not to go too fast and all descended safely. Then it was time to call up Andrew to see if he could join us but the eulogies were running late and so we climbed Hill Bastardo up to Littlebury Green without him.

Alan and Charles both peeled off at Catmere End to head through the woods back to Chrishall and Great Chishill respectively, from whence they came, leaving the remaining five to take in the views towards Strethall Church and Ickleton before descending past Martin’s allotment and wending their way through to Hinxton for a well earned pint and some excellent sandwiches. Here they are warming their extremities in front of the fire:

Cheers! A Wherry good ride.

And this is where we went:

Thanks to everyone who came along.

Martin

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25th November West Wratting to Cornish Hall End (and back, just about)

By this point in the year, it was getting cold. The wind was fairly strong and from the north. It was going to make the return journey quite taxing as things turned out.

The Chestnut Tree has turned into one of our most popular pubs this year. Coffee was indoors since we’re all jabbed.

Getting ready for the off
Rod unloads the e-bike, gadgets and accoutrements

Deborah is assisted by Brian in last minute preparations.

Suzann is ready to go.

We are still attracting good numbers of people considering the time of year and very soon two groups had formed and the ride started.

Group 1. Maurice isn’t in it since he does not hang around at the start
Our circumnavigation of Haverhill. Anticlockwise, the wind behind us for the first leg, but oh dear getting back was painful into the wind.

You may not know but West Wratting is famous as the home of E. P. Frost who developed an early form of flying, using flapping wings, called an ornithopter. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Wratting

The logic was that in order to fly one had to mimic the birds and insects who accomplish this feat rather elegantly. The notion of fixed wings was much less intuitive.

E. P. Frost’s ornithopter in 1910.
I attempt take-off in honour of E. P. Frost, but with even less success.

Larger, manned ornithopters have since been built and some have been successful. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ornithopter.

The first human-muscle-powered flight using flapping wings occurred on 20 April 2006, with a flight of 64 metres (210 ft). It’s all about power to weight of course, but then fixed winged aeroplanes, ornithopters and helicopters are all fairly hopeless without engines. In fact there are considerable advantages in not having fixed wings, these include; manoeuvrability, vertical take-off/landing and excellent slow speed energy performance, as the hawks demonstrate for us on every ride. It is fairly easy to build a miniature ornithopter that works well when powered by rubber bands or springs. The record flight time for an indoor, rubber-band powered, wing-flapping machine is 21 minutes, 44 seconds. So maybe E. P. Frost wasn’t so daft after all.

Coffee and cake half way round saw the two groups meet.

Brian demonstrates what may well be a paraffin pump? Might be petrol. Still in 20 years time we may have to explain to children what either one is (was).

A break before the hard ride back.

The return half of this route into wind turned out to be a struggle both for myself and some other Windmiller’s. A fit human can output 300 Watts for a few minutes (0.4 mechanical horsepower) an insect produces the equivalent, mass for mass, of 8000 Watts, which is why we can’t fly. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7810379/ This frailty became all too evident as I pushed on into the wind and towards the pub.

Having arrived and caught my breath, the Chestnut Tree staff were so organised and welcoming, which is why we keep coming back.

There we go soup and a roll delivered with smile, definitely one of our best pubs.
Graham continues to grow his Father Christmas beard but hopefully won’t scare the children.

All in all a very nice ride, especially considering the time of year. Thanks to Maurice, Andrew and all those photographers. Let’s hope we can keep cycling during this winter spell.

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18 November. Culture vultures circle Cambridge. 29 miles.

Captain Brian devised a brilliant route around Cambridge for this ride, assisted by Lieutenant Jeremy, which provided an update on some of the major developments taking place around this hotbed of science and technological research, with a cultural tour of Eddington thrown in for free.

Starting from The Three Horseshoes in Stapleford, Brian’s group A comprised Simon, Nigel, Howard, Roger, Charles, Victor and Martin, whilst Jeremy’s group B with Suzanne, Andrew, Graham, Chris, Rod and Deborah followed a few minutes later – 15 Windmillers heading out to soak up the sights of Cambridge.

This is where we went, anticlockwise:

Brian’s group sped along the multi-coloured DNA path towards Addenbrooke’s but Jeremy reports that his group stopped and he mentioned its significance: “In 2005, as a celebration of the 10,000th mile of the national cycle network, Cambridgeshire County Council and Sustrans created a DNA-inspired cycle path. The path is decorated with 10,257 colourful stripes, which represent the four nucleotides of the BRCA2 gene.” Brian’s group: Nota bene gene, and stop thinking about coffee.

The Cambridge busway created much discussion as Group A approached Cambridge, following the tragic death of a pedestrian when hit by a bus in October. This followed the death of a Sawston cyclist, Stephen Moir, in 2018, the investigation of which by the HSE has yet to be published. Another bus veered off the busway and crashed into the embankment in 2016, luckily missing cyclists and pedestrians. Whoever thought up such a crazy scheme? Scandalous!

Once through the back streets of Mill Road, the route took us up the side of the River Cam where precautions were taken not to do a Rod, Vernon, Martin or Charles, all of whom had crashed previously in one form or another whilst passing bollards or on the river path. Luckily nothing untoward happened but there was still a crash to come……….

Brian chose a fine coffee stop at the old station in Histon, alongside the busway, where Groups A and B met up momentarily. Both groups stopped to admire the new Chisholm Trail bridge over the Cam and this is what Jeremy said about it, “The Chisholm Trail bridge, which connects Abbey ward and Chesterton, was lifted into place by very large cranes in the early hours of November 8 2020. It is a key part of the Trail, which when completed will be a 26km route from Trumpington to St Ives. It is named after sustainable transport campaigner Jim Chisholm, who first proposed the idea more than two decades ago.”

On a less cultural level, knobbly knees were again in evidence on this ‘shall we, shan’t we wear long trousers day’.

Votes are requested for whose knees are the knobblyest. So far, the votes are evenly split between those in the centre and on the right.
Hot numbers? You must be joking
Group A hyped up after some excellent coffee

Not long after leaving Histon, the crash happened at the Oakington junction on the busway, but nothing too serious, when Nigel collided with Brian. Here is the evidence:

The route then took us through to Girton and down to the new University site of Eddington with its modern architecture and all the trappings of a new community – fields, footpaths, cycle paths, a lake, bus station, supermarket, an award winning community centre and sculptures. Skirting the lake the first sculpture was the Fata Morgana Teahouse, as above, an impressive tower of stainless steel mesh with steps up to the top level for good views over the lake (although opening the mesh in places might have afforded better views). The sculpture was designed by Wolfgang Winter and Berthold Horbelt and was presumably inspired by a trip to Japan.

Next up was the Pixel Wall, by the same artists, which was not dissimilar to the distorting mirrors on the Palace Pier in Brighton:

Group B also stopped to take a look at the award winning Storey’s Field Centre and Eddington Nursery, which is also a very impressive space for all community purposes – probably the best village hall in the UK.

Then it was a question of wending our way along cycle paths and alleys on the west of Cambridge, down to Newnham and along the bike path to Granchester before heading through to Trumpington Meadows, over the M11 to Hauxton, through what was Fison’s contaminated site and which is now a housing estate, and finally back to The Three Horseshoes.

Group B’s cultural tour took a bit longer than Group A’s but eventually we all sat down to an excellent lunch washed down by some fine ales.

Windmillers doing what they do best – replacing calories

Many thanks to Brain and Jeremy for planning and leading us around the delightful route, to Andrew for organising us and to photographers too numerous to mention.

Martin

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15 November. A devilishly good ride. 24 miles.

Meeting at Andrew’s house at the earlier time of 2.00pm, five devils comprising the devil himslf, Andrew, and his disciples Alan, Charles, Simon and Martin met up with a sixth, Jenni, in Saffron Walden to cruise around some pleasant lanes, taking in Debden, Radwinter and Sewards End and hamlets in between. The seventh would have been Maurice but he was catching sea bass in Cornwall.

We had no idea what a treat there was in store once the sun got below the cloud cover and began to set.

This is where we went:

Stopping for a quick breather in Radwinter, the sky still overcast
First sign of the colour to come
Looking towards Barkway radio tower on the far horizon
Bang! The sun emerged suddenly with a vengeance on the road back towards Saffron Walden. Here we have three Windmillers, Charles, Jenni and Simon reflecting on life.
Jenni and Simon ablaze in the setting sun. No, Simon is not wearing pink trousers.
Goodnight sun, yet it’s only 4.00pm.

Waving goodbye to Queen-devil Jenni in Saffron Walden, the remaining five devils headed back to Wendens Ambo where Andrew offered a hell of a good choice of beers but, sadly, the light was going and so Charles and Alan continued on their way back to Chrishall and Great Chishill, clocking up around 35 miles in all – well done, chaps – leaving Simon and Martin to partake of the devil’s brew, i.e. Abbott Ale, in front of a roaring fire.

Thanks go to the devil himself, Andrew, for devising the route and for his hospitality at the end, and to Simon and Charles for their photographs.

Martin

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The 4th November. Vernon’s Memorial Ride

In a recent address to COP26, The Queen, also The Supreme Governor* of the Church of England, took time to remind us that, “nobody lives for ever.” Windmiller’s, are mostly in their 60’s and 70’s and ride 30 miles or more each week around the beautiful lanes of East Anglia. Each week they spend an extended lunchtime in the pub with their friends. I know none of them takes this good fortune for granted. That would be ridiculous. A memorial ride for Vernon then serves to remind us of a valued, founder member of the club and of our own good luck in being able to carry on the tradition.

Pat always makes us so welcome. A roaring fire, well tended pub, coffee, biscuits and good food in a room all of our own. In the evening I usually just need a light snack.

Victor was isolating ready for family duties. He rode to and from the start which nearly doubled the distance. We hope he will soon return to normal indulgencies.

We started at the Pig and Abbot in Abington Pigotts with tea, coffee and most importantly on this cold, windy day, biscuits.

Our route. The little tail is tea and coffee not from any ‘fat finger’ intervention.
Maurice was off enjoying himself even before the ride. See, he doesn’t even need a bike.

The first group to set off had to chase Maurice down the road. I remember them being Sandra, Alan, Geoff, Deborah, Jenni. Mercifully Andrew was in a more relaxed mood with the second group, Rod, Tom, Howard, Nigel, Victor, Charles and me. Howard and I got lost during the first half. I admit we were chatting and not paying much attention. It wasn’t Andrew’s fault; he was following the prescribed route and we weren’t. Still, I was in good hands with Howard, and we caught up just before coffee at Waresley Park Garden Centre after an exhausting pedal into the wind.

The way I remember it, after coffee, the cycling was easy. The wind was behind us and the weather was slowly improving.

Vernon’s wife Moria and one of his sons (Giles) as well as family friends we already at the pub to greet the returning Windmillers

Ken, Brian and Hazel entered into the current fashion for saving energy, by missing the cycling and going straight to the pub. Graham missed out due to a pulled muscle, we wish him a speedy recovery. After due consideration it was decided that Lawrence and Simon (Oughton) also had good enough excuses for absence. Our best wishes go out to them.

A room of our own and a well attended memorial ride. It was great to have guests for the occasion.
Andrew did us proud with a very good speech then presented the Windmiller of the year prize.

Andrew made a moving speech recalling Vernon’s time with the club. In Windmill tradition, nobody gets off lightly in these retellings. The involuntary dismounts, the bikes scooped from the top of the car by height barriers, the crashes, the punchers. Rest assured they are all being recorded for when its your turn. I suppose they will say of me, we don’t where he is, but don’t worry, he won’t know either.

Vernon was admiral of a large sailing club and a highly competitive racer. Moria sailed with him and against him over several decades. She assures me, sometimes she even beat him. We hope she enjoys this portrait of Vernon in fine form with our club.

Moria was presented with Vernon’s Windmiller of the year award which had been delayed by the pandemic and with a beautiful portrait of Vernon looking relaxed after a good summer ride. This was a great choice by Maurice and just the way we remember years of cycling with Vernon.

Myself, the first word that comes to mind when I think of Vernon is, gentleman. He was unfailingly kind and generous to me. I also hope I might emulate his example. His zest for life, where he kept on golfing and cycling even in his late seventies and facing a terminal illness, also the way he approached the end of his life, with stoicism, dignity, and good humour.

So here’s to club members that contribute to the smooth running of the club, or to its entertainment value or to those who simply form the steady bedrock of our meeting week-in week-out. Maurice and Andrew are thanked once again for their efforts at the core of things.

*The Bible explicitly identifies as Head of the Church as being Jesus Christ (Ephesians 5:23), so that position isn’t available.

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1 November. Knobbly knees on show. 19 miles.

The day after the clocks go back might be considered the onset of winter but, instead, knobbly knees were still in evidence on this ride from The Tally Ho! in Barkway, but some more knobbly than others. Will those above stand a chance of winning the 2021 Knobbly Knee Kup? Only those attending the forthcoming Christmas lunch will find out.

The fine weather produced a good turnout of nine Windmillers at the earlier time of 2.30pm, with a promise of the pub being open on our return – Maurice, Andrew, Sandra, Rod, Alan, Charles, Nick, Nigel and Martin. It was great to have Nigel with us again telling tales of his recent motorbike ride around the Picos de Europa in Northern Spain.

As usual, Maurice shot off on his e-bike and it wasn’t until the end of Barkway High Street that the tail enders caught up, after which Storm Sandra was in her element tackling the head-on wind on the road towards Reed, where Alan once lived (next door to The Cabinet, lucky chap).

A large lorry transporting a small Massey Ferguson 35 in Barkway
A ride of big views, this one looking north east towards Royston and the Gog Magog hills.

Not long after the above photo was taken, one of the flooded dips encountered on 18 October was traversed again, but this time it was not so deep, thankfully. Deborah would hardly have got her feet wet.

Evidence of the still flooded dip on the road to Sandon. A nearby spring seems to be keeping it topped up.

Sandon is a lovely sunny village, perched as it is on top of a hill with magnificent views all around – a good location for John and Lyn Bagrie and their love of horse riding, walking, running and cycling. Could do with a pub, though.

Down to Buntingford we sped, with Rod spotting two huge buzzards on the way, stopping briefly with Sandra to put Charles’s chain back on, and through to Wyddial and past ‘visions of loveliness lane’ until we crossed the road towards Anstey. Nick and Alan both peeled off to head for home whilst the remaining Windmillers returned to The Tally Ho! via Nuthampstead to enjoy a pint and watch England beat Sri Lanka in the T20 World Cup on the pub’s telly. All in all a great end to a great ride.

This is where we went:

Thanks go to Maurice for leading the way, to Andrew for organising us and Charles for his photos.

Martin

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28 October. Sunny Suffolk. 34 miles.

The Plough at Rede was once again the meeting place for this tour of sunny Suffolk lanes. Brian and Joyce, the owners of the pub, had just entered their 40th year of running it and it was good to offer them our congratulations on arriving for coffee at 9.00am and placing our lunch orders. Providing good food and beer in a wonderful location, a friendly welcome and great efficiency, it’s no wonder the pub has been so successful over the years.

Maurice, Brian, Sandra, Rod and Chris set off as Group A followed a few minutes later by Andrew, Howard, Roger, Simon, Deborah, Ken and Martin. This is where we went, clockwise:

Note the near vertical line at around 6 miles – that’s Hartest Hill, also known as the hardest hill in Suffolk, with an average gradient of 7.6% and a max of 12.6%. And whoever said Suffolk was flat should take a good look at the elevation / gradient profile of this ride!

Passing initially through the pretty village of Hawkedon with its church surrounded by green meadows we cruised down a valley before the first climb up to Somerton where Group B stopped to watch Simon experimenting with what effect gravity might have on a tyre dumped by the roadside. Luckily it rolled towards a ditch instead of careering down the hill we had just climbed.

As Deborah said, ‘What is the prof up to now?’. In case you’re wondering, the plastic bag has nothing to do with Simon.

Hartest Hill came next, which resulted in another stop at the top to regain breath, followed by a pleasant run through to Lavenham and onwards to Café Como at Brent Eleigh, which necessitated taking the busy A1141 towards Hadleigh. We were reminded of how careful we have to be whilst making rare use of A-roads when Simon was overtaken by a Fiat Panda as a car was coming towards it on a clear stretch of road, leaving barely an inch between either of them – a narrow squeeze indeed.

Café Como is a popular place for cyclists and deservedly so judging by the quality of the coffee and cakes, the oozy flapjacks being especially tasty.

Coffee at Café Como for Group B, courtesy of Brian from Group A.
What is the collective name for e-bikes? Suggestions please. Ed. Note the Raleigh brand still alive and well on the e-bike on the left.

The return leg took us again through delightful villages and lanes with some interesting architecture.

This magnificent wall and arched gateway surrounds Wells Hall on Milden Road just outside Brent Eleigh.
This is the site of the former Ward & Son brewery in Foxearth, where Deborah happened to stop to peel off a layer. Established in 1848, the brewery was acquired by Taylor, Walker & CO. in 1957, repurchased from Ind Coope in 1960 and demolished in 1962
The Ward Brewery in its heyday
Those were the days.
The River Stour at Foxearth, looking very Constableish. But the water for Ward’s beers came from a 100m deep borehole into chalk – full history here: http://breweryhistory.com/wiki/index.php?title=A_History_of_Ward_%26_Son_Ltd

The countryside past Glemsford became quite hilly again, steep enough to tempt Roger and Martin to don skis at one stage given sufficient snow, with a splendid view towards Hawkedon at the end (main photo above).

Then it was back to The Plough to down a well earned pint and enjoy a good lunch, except for Deborah who had to head back, but we were joined by Suzanne who had cycled all the way from Abington and who had a strong head-wind for her return leg.

Thanks go once again to Maurice and Andrew for planning the route and organising us, and to Deborah and Brian for their photographs.

Martin

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21 October. Bloody floody ride. 29 miles.

This was a ride of great extremes of weather – cold and miserable at the start, warm and sunny at the end and flooded roads to contend with at many points on the circuit from The Fox and Duck at Therfield. The photographs tell the tale, but floods are difficult to photograph when pedal high in water and so you’ll have to take my word that we did in fact traverse a few.

It was a go, no-go decision for Ken but, recovering from a bug, he decided wisely to do a shorter ride and meet us on the return leg. The remaining 12 Windmillers comprising Maurice (in his smart yellow rain hat), Alan, Charles, Rod (also in a yellow hat), Sandra, Deborah, Howard, Roger, Chris, Brian, Simon and Martin chose to believe the weather forecast and set off in the direction of Buntingford in two groups.

Just outside Therfield Group B met John Bagrie coming the other way who joined up for a while before choosing his own route (and most probably avoiding the floods). He was later spotted in Ardley and then reached Sandon before both Groups A and B.

Group A decided to try their luck with the café proprietor in Westmill and managed to be seated at an inside table, as it was still pretty miserable outside. Group B pressed on to Church Farm at Ardley, passing through some autumnal Hertfordshire scenery as the sun began to emerge.

Chris and Rod in Wood End outside the fascinating late 16th century timber framed Chapel Farmhouse with a Congregational chapel bolted on to the end, erected in 1820. The two buildings were merged into one property in the 1970s. Full details of the history here: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1101421

The return leg took us through more water-logged roads as far as Sandon where Group B spotted Group A just leaving after stopping to chat with John who was sunning himself on a seat overlooking the famous duck pond.

There was one final flood to pass through between Sandon and Therfield, one that deterred Ken from heading towards us and who instead headed down to Royston for an excellent coffee at Macdonald’s. Just as well because Deborah reported water soaking her shoes, which must have explained the squelching sounds coming from the other end of the table at lunch.

Back at The Fox and Duck, we sat at ‘our’ table and enjoyed a good lunch.

Speaking of style, there is none more stylish than Charles, this time sporting a Harlequin jersey and matching socks – clearly determined to win the 2021 Sartorial Prize at the forthcoming Christmas lunch.

Thanks go to Maurice for changing the route to avoid a section on the A505 and to Andrew, who was nursing a bad back and couldn’t join us, for organising us. Thanks also to Charles for some of the photos.

And this is where we went:

Martin

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Rainy Days and Mondays

4th October Planned route length 20 miles

Inspired by Martins last blog on the monday rides and the weather I have decided to scatter a few song titles in this blog. (a few off them may have been slightly changed to fit. How many can you spot)?

In 1970 Creedence Clear Water asked Have you ever seen the rain. Well on monday the 4th of October 2021 as Alan, Jenny, John, Maurice, Nick and Simon set of from the Old Bull at Lower Langley there were no signs of rain other than a Few Fluffy White Clouds.

The 20 mile route was to take us through Barley, Anstey, Brent Pelham and back to the Bull at Lower Langley.

On route just passed Maurices house we picked up Rod, who because of the fuel situation decided to leave the car at home and to pick us up on route.

Smiles before the rain

Rod ’s pictures before the rain.

As we set off up towards the Joint we could see A Change was Gonna Come. Sure enough Rain started falling. Those not wearing water proof jackets quickly stopped to get them on. With Large Rain Drops Stared Falling on our Heads Nick sped off up to Barkway. Once we caught up with him we found him sheltering in a bus stop. Asked why he stop there he replied I can’t Stand the Rain.

After a few minutes sheltering in the bus stop we agreed that the rain was not going to stop and the best approach was to Make it Through the Rain. Passing by the golf course and looking south west we could see Hard rain was going to fall. Sure enough Down Came the Rain it bounced off the road and dripped in through our waterproofs. At this point there was No Singing in the rain and certainly No Laughter in the Rain.

At Anstey we took the collective decision that we did not want to be Fools in the Rain so in order to get back as fast as we could we would truncate the route.
At Meesden the temperature dropped and the rain turned to hail, stinging any exposed skin.

Approaching Nicks house Maurice asked, if any of us wanted to Shelter from the Storm. At this point we were all thinking Who is going to stop the Rain. However as we were all wet through and starting to feel the cold we decided to carry on back to the Bull.

Coming down the hill into Lower Langley the rain stopped and the clouds parted allowing us to See clearly the Bull Now that the Rain was gone.

A few wet cyclist squelched into the Bull to drink a well earned pint.
If not the most enjoyable ride we have ever been on it was certainly one of the most memorable.

For those who went on the ride it was generally agreed that that was the heaviest rain that we had ever cycled.

For those wondering what the song titles were (poetic licence was used on some) here is a list.

Rainy days and Mondays. The carpenters

Have you ever seen the Rain. Credence Clearwater

Fluffy White Clouds. The Orb

A Change is gonna come. Sam Cooke

Rain. Madonna

Rain drops keep falling on my head. B J Thomas

Down game the rain. Mitch Murry

I can’t stand the rain. Tina Turner

Singing in the Rain. Gene Kelly

Laughter in the Rain. Neil Sedeka

A Hard Rain is going to fall. Bob Dylan

Make it through the rain. Mariah Carey

Fool in the Rain. Led Zeppelin

Shelter from the Storm. Bob Dylan

Who is going to Stop the Rain. Creedence Clearwater Revisited.

I can see clearly now the rain has gone. Jimmy Cliff

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18 October. Close shave of Simon’s legs. 17 miles.

Simon’s legs were much in evidence again on this damp ride and at one stage near Furneux Pelham he almost regretted not wearing thick leather trousers and armour plated boots. He doesn’t usually shave his legs, as far as we know, but a lady with a gang mower nearly did it for him.

Starting from The Bull at Lower Langley at 3.00pm on an afternoon that threatened a downpour, but luckily held off, Andrew, Rod, Alan, Simon, Sanda and Martin set off on a spur-of-the-moment route that Andrew devised to take us around the lanes and back by opening time. That’s what good planning is all about.

Andrew getting his leg over at the start.

Everything went well until the lady with the gang mower was encountered, mowing a verge on a Byway approaching Furneux Pelham in the same direction as we were going. Alan passed by safely but as Simon was passing the lady suddenly did a U-turn without looking behind her and both she and Simon screeched to a halt with the blades still spinning a few centimetres from his legs. The look of shock on both faces was considerable but at least Simon escaped unshaven.

Thereafter, things improved and we settled down into a pleasant ride around familiar lanes until we came across a Road Closed section between Great Hormead and Anstey, a situation which rarely deters Windmillers. Having been encouraged to give it a go by a workman at one end of the section, we soon encountered a large Tarmac lorry, spreaders, rollers and a gang of workmen who made it clear we were not wanted. So there was nothing for it but to follow Sandra and take the stubble field bypass alongside the road, give them a cheery wave, cross a deep ditch and we were soon back en route again.

As we passed through Anstey we gave Keith a shout and a wave and hoped we would be seeing him out with us again some time. The Blind Fiddler is a pub well worth visiting too, and it opens early.

Stopping in Anstey to discuss Red Kites and examine the village well mechanism – a large handle and gear wheel clearly designed to hoist up a hefty bucket of water.

Back at The Bull we were given a warm welcome and Rod and Sandra bought the beers – thanks both! There was some Crafty beer on tap which was excellent. Sadly, Alan and Andrew both missed out as Alan headed back to Great Chishill at Shaftenhoe End and Andrew had to dash off to cook a road-kill pheasant for supper.

This is where we went:

Thanks to Andrew for planning the route on the spur of the moment and for organising us.

Martin

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30 September. Keep the flag flying! 32 miles.

Men of Essex were ticked off roundly it seems during World War 1 for not enlisting in their regiment, which had seen honours in Egypt, Gibraltar, the Battle of Waterloo and South Africa, amongst many other battles. So says the poster in The Chestnut Tree, West Wratting, as well as reminding women to do women’s work. Not only that, but women are reprimanded in another poster for excessive drinking and asked to leave the pub after having had ‘reasonable refreshment’. Meanwhile, the South Midland Divisional Cyclist Company was recruiting enthusiastic cyclists to ‘cycle for the King’ and pedal abroad somewhere having been given a free bike, uniform and clothing. Furthermore, having bad teeth was not deemed to be an issue. What a fab deal, except the cycling probably involved ferrying messages from trench to trench in the battlefields, for which task having bad teeth was a minor problem except, perhaps, for those on the receiving end of the messages.

These eclectic posters which adorn the walls of The Chestnut Tree provide a stark reminder of how lucky we are not to have fought in any world wars, although Charles has of course been in the thick of it during his Army career. Well done, Charles; we salute you. Fortunately, women are allowed to stay longer in pubs too, whether or not they have consumed a large amount of alcohol, and those fond of cycling like Windmillers can go where they like, when they like, except they have to pay for their own bike these days.

Thus ended a repeat of a ride to Finchingfield and back attended by Maurice, Graham, Ken, Victor, Alan, Rod, Brian, Jeremy, Howard, Roger, Simon and Martin. Charles was due to take part too but somehow or other he left his helmet at home and felt naked without one. (Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. So easily done. Ed.)

This is where we went:

It was a windy day and dry except for a few spots of rain whilst having coffee in Finchingfield.

A few old timers resting awhile in Finchingfield

Finchingfield is such a photogenic place that it’s no wonder the locals get a bit cheesed off at times with all the tourists. But it’s good business for the cafés and pubs.

The Parish Church of St Mary’s in West Wickham, dating from 1350, looking stark against an autumnal sky

Back at The Chestnut Tree we were joined for lunch by Suzanne, showing off her flashy new bike, and Geoff who had recovered from a back injury whilst weeding his garden – moral of the story, cycle don’t weed.

Suzanne’s new mile-eater – lifted with a little finger.

Yet another good lunch was consumed, washed down with some fine ales. How can one tire of such a place?

Thanks to Maurice for organising the ride, Graham for the gpx file and Brian for some of the photos.

Martin

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Missing Mondays

Some blog followers might be forgiven for thinking that Monday rides in August and September didn’t happen, but that’s not the case! It’s just that the blogmeisters didn’t get their act together, but holidays have taken their toll too. So here’s a summary of how Windmillers spent their Monday afternoons recently – far removed from what the Mamas and Papas thought of Mondays:

Every other day, every other day
Every other day, every other day of the week is fine, yeah
But whenever Monday comes, but whenever Monday comes
But whenever Monday comes, you can find me cryin’ all of the time

For those who wish to remember bopping along to the Mamas and Papas here’s a link to those ageing rockers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h81Ojd3d2rY

The last Monday blog was on 2 August. Since then:

9 August. Andrew, Charles, Nick, Rod Deborah and Alan set off from the Red Cow at 16.30 for a 21 mile ride to the power line capital of Essex, Stocking Pelham, and back.

Rumour has it that this is a photograph of Charles’s handlebars. He is indeed a limited edition.

16 August. Meeting again at The Red Cow at 16.30, Maurice led a ride with Sandra, Rod, Alan, Nick and Simon in tow on a magical mystery tour of the lanes – no sign of a map on WhatsApp but Great Chishill was clearly en route judging by this wonderful photo taken by Rod:

23 August. Not sure who attended or where they went but Andrew, Nick, Charles, Sandra, Maurice and Simon might have been amongst them.

Sandra in the pink on her gleaming Giant

30 August. Bank holiday Monday. No ride but some may have met up at the Upper Langley fete on Andrew’s recommendation for light sabre training and to feast on amazing cakes:

Towards the end of August news began to emerge of illness affecting Lawrence and Simon Oughton, both of whom were expecting to have operations in the coming weeks. We wish them both well and look forward to having them join us again once recovered. (Lawrence kept cycling throughout September and on Doctor’s orders, not to mention Nurse Elaine, has been piling on the calories.)

Maurice had a lucky escape at the end of August when his bike was hit by a maniac car driver as he was crossing the A1198 north of Royston and he got thrown off. He landed with a thump but promptly continued his journey to pick up his car and drove home. It was only later that shock set in and bruises began to appear but it could easily have been a lot worse. He needed a few days to recover, assisted by large quantities of pain killer.

6 September. With Maurice injured and Andrew away, Martin arranged a ride from The Bull at Lower Langley for a change but who should turn up – Maurice! It takes a lot to put a good man down. Accompanied by Charles, Sandra, Nick, Alan, Jenni, Simon, and Graham, the ride took place on a lovely evening and included an off-road section which was a good test for Maurice’s ribs.

13 September. Back to The Bull for a ride organised by Andrew with Charles, Nick, Rod, Jeremy, Simon, Deborah and Martin in tow. Luckily Violet’s Lane, known as the longest ford in Europe, was dry at the top end but Graham discovered what it can be like at times:

Graham up to his knees in Violet’s Lane in April this year

20 September. This was Black Forest week for Simon and Martin, Andrew was attending a bash at Rusack’s Hotel in St Andrew’s and Deborah was sunning herself in Spain. Maurice organised the ride, again from The Bull, and whizzed around the lanes with Charles, Rod, Nick, Alan and Graham in tow.

27 September. On yet another lovely September evening where better to start and end a ride? Yes, you guessed it, The Bull once again. It’s been good to re-aquaint ourselves in recent weeks with this unpretentious, quintessentially English country pub. Andrew was still away, this time quaffing port in Portugal, but Maurice, Charles, Rod, Alan, Sandra, Simon, Graham, Lawrence and Martin set off at the earlier time of 16.00 due to the days beginning to shorten and the shadows getting longer. Maurice put us through our paces with several bastardos to contend with and a high average speed but this just created more business for The Bull once we had returned. And it was great to have John Bagrie join us who had been doing his own thing, but threatening to join us on a Thursday ride. Riding in small groups of 6 / 7 makes life easier for all concerned, whether they be Windmillers, motorists or cafés – just like it used to be John!

Thanks go to the organisers of the recent Monday rides and to the photographers, particularly Charles.

Martin

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West Wratting and Finchingfield

Well the weather did us proud again ! Floods and downpours earlier in the week were replaced by a brisk breeze and sunshine for this Thursday’s ride. Once again, the Chestnut Tree in West Wratting hosted. After coffee, the 13 riders split into two groups (Maurice, Alan, Howard, Suzanne, Charles, Ken and Ric in the A team, Andrew leading the B team of Lawrence, Roger, Graham, Geoff and Rod).

Happily the stiff breeze was mainly across the predominantly North – South course and didn’t prove too distracting. The A group managed to miss the cut through from Howards Lane in Horseheath and group B nearly caught up.

A timely photo stop by Lawrence and a hedgerow cutting induced puncture to Graham ensured that the A group once again managed to establish a healthy lead. After two (!) inner tubes for Graham’s front wheel and tyre brand advice duly delivered by Andrew, B group got to Finchingfield for coffee and cake just as the A group were heading off.

All managed to regroup at the Chestnut Tree, however, for the now familiar excellent beer and food.

The smaller cycling home contingent this week (Howard, Suzanne, Ric, Graham) finally had to contend with the breeze in their faces.

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9th September. Braughing to Silver Lees Polo Club

Having assembled at one of our favourite pubs, The Golden Fleece, we set off in good spirits on a warm September morning.

Howard ready for any length of ride.
Andrew leads another group. Then again he finds the fun only starts when you get lost. I’ve noticed though, he always gets back to the pub on time.
Chris enjoying the ride as always.

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.

Lawrence and Brian carefree cycling in warn autumn sunshine.
Howard and Paul looking like proper club cyclists
A cottage near Silver Lees Polo Club. Prototype for that of Bilbo Baggins.
Harvest is done and our world is full of new patterns. Some as big as whole landscapes and some so small you have to kneel down and look closely at them.

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.

A place devoted to the love of horses. They might be good fun, but they are also a bit scary.
Good jumping I’m told, but goodness knows what happens if you fall off. Are the hospitals ok in Quetta?
Charles, making friends with his horse. After all, its doing all the hard work.
Charles demonstrating the positive effects of a fry-up on longevity. Don’t believe what all those silly doctors tell you.

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.

A shoe-in for Windmill sculpture of the year.
Deborah and a puppy. It took some effort for her to leave it behind.
Rod and Ken enjoying mid-morning coffee.
Suzanne and Brian sharing some story

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.

Horses. Feeding, watering, mucking out, grooming, vets bills. Oh yes and then there’s the riding bit.
Beautiful chestnut horses. The pads protect their legs from the polo ball. Apparently they are better at polo strategy than some of the riders, leading to some interesting differences in opinion on where to run to next.

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.

Round and round. A good job for any underachieving, but horse-mad, daughters you might have spare. After all they may meet a wealthy Arab and make you proud of them yet.

My Mandela shirt from Cape Town. It follows an African aesthetic unrelated to William Morris and the English Arts and Crafts concept of taste. Perhaps the pattern is a little busy, but what the hell.

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.

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2 September. Record ride? 34 miles.

20 Windmillers cruised into Finchingfield in three separate groups to take over every available seat outside at Winners Tearoom on what could be a record ride for the Windmill Club. And Maurice joined us for lunch which made a total of 21. What an amazing turnout!

Assembling once again at the fabulous Chestnut Tree in West Wratting at 9.00am to have coffee and place lunch orders, the groups setting off included Andrew, Brian, Sandra, Ric, Charles, Ken, Victor, Roger, Rod, Graham, Alan, Jeremy, Howard, Mike, Tom, Lawrence, Jenni, Geoff, Simon and Martin. And to think we could so easily have several others join us, were it not for holidays, this says a lot for the club.

It was great to have Lawrence with us, borrowing one of Maurice’s e-bikes for the day, and at the end there were still five blobs left on the battery indicator, having completed the circuit in eco-mode. Mike joined us too but chose wisely not to accompany Graham to the start from Ickleton which would have meant riding via Finchingfield and having breakfast in Haverhill. Brian, Ric, Victor, Tom, Jeremy and Howard also rode from their homes, clocking up many more miles / km. Well done to everyone.

Here is the route taken, anticlockwise:

Winners coped well with the invasion and dished up excellent coffee and cakes with great efficiency. A feature of the ride were the extraordinary smells that surrounded us, not just of the coffee but those of the harvested countryside – a mixed fragrance of freshly combined and ploughed fields which nasal buds were still able to detect despite frequent lateral flow tests for some.

The first stop for Group B on the return leg had to be Finchingfield’s windmill:

The route then took us up a quiet lane to Helions Bumpstead, passing Jamie Oliver’s new abode on the way:

Jamie Oliver’s country pile with his iconic white Ford Capri in the foreground. No jokes, please, about Essex girls and Ford Capris!

Simon also came across a classic pile of rusty junk somewhere en route which took his fancy:

Parts of an old Ford Capri?

Meanwhile, Andrew made a stop in Castle Camps to admire this RAF war memorial:

Back at The Chestnut Tree, the beer flowed plentifully as thirsty and hungry Windmillers arrived for lunch. And once again we were not disappointed.

Maurice was still feeling a bit bashed and bruised from his accident last week but threatening to be back on his bike very soon. There’s no putting that man down.

Thanks to the team involved in planning the route – Howard in particular – and to Andrew for organising the record turnout. Also many thanks to photographers Charles, Brian, Graham and Simon.

Martin

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26 August. Pat’s pies ride. 31 miles.

Our thoughts today as we gathered for coffee at the Pig and Abbott in Abington Pigotts were with Lawrence and Simon O, both of whom will be having medical time out shortly. We wish them well for a good recovery and look forward to seeing them again as soon as possible. We also heard about a close shave which Maurice had the previous day whilst crossing the A1198 north of Royston on his bike when a passing motorist clipped his front wheel and knocked him off resulting in a few bruises, but it was great that he could join us for lunch relatively unscathed.

So eight Windmillers, Andrew, Ken, Roger, Charles, Alan, Simon, Howard and Martin set off on a pleasant anticlockwise circuit of Hertfordshire and South Cambs lanes before meeting up with Brian and Victor in Haslingfield who rode over from Shelford. Alan had set off from Great Chishill and Howard had ridden all the way from Saffron Walden, clocking up 70 miles in all. Well done to all those long distance types.

This is where we went:

It wasn’t long before Alan hollered that he had a puncture, just before Barrington, but it turned out to be a mini one which was conquered at regular intervals thereafter by means of his trusty pump.

In Haslingfield Brian and Victor were bemoaning the loss of the Moringa Tree café and its sausage rolls but were having a coffee instead at the nearby village shop, also destined for closure apparently. How will cyclists ever survive in this area in future?

On we went, taking a slight Maurice detour in Bourn as we did so, until another detour was made into what we thought was Bourn Golf Club for coffee until a chap with a yellow hat said it was a construction site for the new clubhouse. The old clubhouse was further down the road, where we pulled in for large slices of freshly made strawberry and cream sponge, but not an Americano or Cappucino in sight – just a bag of something that tasted frothy when stirred into hot water. Hopefully the new clubhouse will invest in a coffee machine.

Coffee time at Bourn. Nobody took up Andrew’s offer of a fry up.

The return leg was uneventful, except for the occasional pump up by Alan, and relief was expressed all round that we descended the 10% Croydon hill rather than going up it.

Back at the Pig and Abbott somewhat earlier than expected due to a relatively quick flattish ride, it was good to have Maurice join us to give graphic detail of the idiot driver who nearly mowed him down. The driver stopped and asked if he was ok but then drove off without giving his details so if anyone in the Royston area spots a black Vauxhall being driven at high speed, make a note of the number.

Pat’s pies were as good as ever, according to those that had them, and other menu choices were also excellent, washed down with fine ales. We shall be back on 4 November for Vernon’s memorial ride.

Thanks to Maurice for planning the route even though he was unable to take part, Andrew for his organisation and Charles, Simon and Brian for the photographs.

Martin

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5 August. A red herring in West Wratting. 34 miles.

A red herring is something that misleads or distracts from a relevant or important question. It may be either a logical fallacy or a literary device that leads readers or audiences toward a false conclusion. Wikipedia. It’s also a very good pint of bitter brewed by the award winning Mighty Oak brewery in Maldon, and weren’t we lucky to sample it at The Chestnut Tree in West Wratting after this rapid ride around Cambs and Suffolk lanes?

Graham ensuring he has enough calories for the ride ahead.

And a rapid ride it was, having first placed our orders for lunch at The Chestnut Tree and had a cup of coffee. But the coffee stop in Barrow at The Three Horseshoes was not so rapid as the coffee machine packed up after the first few had been dispensed, resulting in a long wait for a cup of instant for those at the back of the queue of 16 Windmillers. Blame the Chinese, said Charles, who spoke ecstacically of Danish machines but eventually, after pressing various buttons the machine starting behaving itself just as we were leaving.

The A team of Maurice, Simon, Jenni, Roger, Chris, Jeremy, Victor and Ric were first in the queue whilst the B team of Martin, Deborah, Charles, Alan, Graham, Hazel, Howard and Brian arrived 10 minutes later having stopped occasionally to admire the lovely freshly combined Suffolk countryside, and got the instant coffee as a result.

Maurice gets in early with his coffee orders…….
………..Hazel is happy to wait for hers

All changed in the team line up after coffee as Deborah was on a very tight schedule in order to get to Chelmsford by 1.30pm to view a wedding venue for her daughter and future son-in-law, who got engaged recently. Congratulations to them! There was much debate about how best to get to Chelmsford and the combined wisdom of Windmillers, which might well have resulted in Deborah getting hopelessly lost, actually enabled her to reach her destination bang on time. Much of this must have been due to Maurice switching to sport mode on his e-bike with his slightly depleted group (Victor and Ric joining team B, which was not considered a very good swap for losing Deborah!) keeping close behind.

Meanwhile, the now 9 members of team B set off also at a fast pace until it came to a sudden halt on hearing the word ‘Ouch’ screamed by Hazel who had been stung in a sensitive part of her nether region by something with a sting long enough to penetrate a layer of lycra. Luckily a gallant Windmiller (Alan?) came forward with some sting relief cream which seemed to ease her discomfort. Well done Hazel for managing this whilst surrounded by earnest and willing would-be helpers!

Back at The Chestnut Tree after a delightful ride through very quiet lanes but with a strong head wind on the last leg, we sat down at reserved tables in the garden to enjoy pints of Red Herring and other beers / drinks whilst eating fabulous sandwiches and other dishes, all delivered in such an efficient manner. The ham can be highly recommended, sourced from a Suffolk farm and cooked at the pub. It was great to be joined by Geoff who had done a ride starting from Balsham.

And this is where we went, anti-clockwise:

Many thanks to Maurice for planning the route, to Andrew who couldn’t make the ride but who organised us and to Graham and Charles for some of the photos.

Martin

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2 August. Barking mad tales of lost property. 20 miles.

Andrew regaled us on this ride with his stories of joining the ‘real’ Windmill Club whilst on a night out in London, and losing his wallet en route (not due to improper expenditure it should be stressed).

What happened was that he left his wallet at a BP Station whilst en route to the Silverstone Clasic in his brother-in-law’s Mercedes Benz 560SEC, once owned by Martin. One Windmill wag questioned whether there was anything in the wallet but Andrew claimed it contained £240 and they were not Scottish notes, plus credit cards. Luckily it was handed in at the BP Station who promised to return it, and it eventually arrived with nothing missing.

If that wasn’t enough hassle for one day, after a rollicking good night on the town Lindsey left her handbag in a London cab, a fancy handbag at that, which contained her mobile phone. Andrew eventually traced it to a house in Barking where the hung over SEC was directed to early on the Sunday morning in an attempt to retrieve it. And there on the drive was a Black cab and the phone could be heard ringing inside but despite Andrew barking in true dawggie fashion outside there was no answer. Eventually an upstairs window opened and the sleepy cab driver who hadn’t got home until 4.30am came out in his pyjamas and handed back Lindsey’s handbag. Phew! Relief all round in the Rusack family. Or just Barking mad?

These tales of woe were recounted at various stages of a pleasant 30 mile ride around the lanes which Maurice devised, somewhat cruelly, to take in hill after hill after hill after hill, starting with that nasty little bastardo going eastwards from Chrishall Grange.

Deborah spotted the words ‘mountain bike ride’ on the announcement and so came prepared only to find that this was not the case. Humble apologies were given by Maurice but, given the hills, the mountain bike was in its element.

So stops galore were needed to regain breath and hear the next instalment from Andrew.

At this stop on the road from Littlebury to Littlebury Green, Andrew is in full flow whilst Simon peers at Martin, also in full flow, having done a couple of somersaults after hopping over a gate to have a pee in the adjacent field, and landing in a deep ditch the other side of the gate. Much mirth all round.

Then it was on to Arkesden, Clavering, Langley Upper Green, Duddenhoe End and back to the starting point of The Red Cow for refreshments.

Thanks go as always to Maurice and Andrew for organising our rides, and to Charles for two of the pics – he is not guilty of the Windmill Club pic!

Martin

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15 July. Ego Borago, Guadia semper ago. 34 miles.

Translated from the Latin, means ‘I, Borage, bring always joys’ and that was certainly the case for 10 happy Windmillers who cruised around the lanes from West Wratting admiring the blue Borage fields and wondering why so many farmers are growing the crop this year. The joy of money perhaps?

Meeting at The Chestnut Tree for coffee before departure were Maurice, nursing a disjointed new knee, Andrew, birthday boy Ric, Simon, Victor, Brian, Howard, Suzanne, Tom and Martin.

Getting ready for the off whilst Maurice collects the dosh in the smart outdoor area of The Chestnut Tree

This is where we went looking for Borage, going clockwise:

The first stop was en route to Dullingham where we gathered under a threatening looking East Anglian sky, which proved to be harmless, and paid homage to Borage (photo above). Simon was joyfully happy to be photographed posing alone………….

………….as was Suzanne:

So Borage clearly has a joyful effect on Windmillers. Not surprising really because this is what Francis Bacon had to say about this ancient herb: ‘It hath an excellent spirit to repress the fuliginous vapour of dusky melancholie.’ And John Gerard said in his book Herball: ‘Those of our time do use the flowers in salads to exhilerate and make the mind glad. There be also many things made of these used everywhere for the comfort of the heart, for the driving away of sorrow and increasing the joy of the mind. The leaves and flowers of Borage put into wine make men and women glad and merry and drive away all sadness, dullness and melancholy, as Dioscorides and Pliny affirm. Syrup made of the flowers of Borage comfort the heart, purge melancholy and quiet the frantic and lunatic person. The leaves eaten raw engender good blood, especially in those that have been lately sick.’ So there you go; pick some and don’t just bung it in your gin and tonic but make a syrup and it will cure all ills whilst also putting a lid on your average lunatic Windmiller.

At the half way stage in Barrow we discovered a new pub The Three Horseshoes who opened up specially for us at 11.00am to serve good coffee, which was enjoyed in the pub garden, but the all important cakes were not on offer unfortuately. Opposite the pub was a fine garage, Kevin Williams, specialising in classic cars and we were somewhat surprised that neither Maurice nor Howard stepped inside to do a deal.

Maurice and Howard missed a great opportunity…………
But who would have wanted this one? Perhaps a member of the National Organisation of Beaters.

The return leg to West Wratting took us through more delightfully quiet Suffolk and Cambs lanes where GPX files came in very useful unless you happened to be on Maurice’s tail, who sped along at high speed even though he was recovering from a fall on his replacement knee – well done Maurice!

Back at The Chestnut Tree, birthday boy Ric very kindly bought the drinks and received a hearty rendering of Happy Birthday in return. Large helpings of food appeared from the kitchen and an excellent lunch was had by all.

Cheers, Ric!

Thanks once again to Maurice and Andrew for planning and organising the route and to Brian and Andrew for some of the photos.

Martin

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12 July. The wettest, muckiest Windmill ride ever. 21 miles.

This says it all. Oh, forgot to mention Jeremy’s puncture.

Martin.