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2009-11-28

TA EAST NEWS 28TH NOVEMBER 2009

To TA East Members & Friends

From Fergus Muir

It is time to remind you of our lunchtime meet at THE VIPER, MILL GREEN near INGATESTONE this coming SATURDAY 5th DECEMBER.

Grid ref TL641018, Postcode CM4 0PT. Pretty much in the middle of a wood, about 6 miles south west of Chelmsford, 3 miles west of Margaretting and 2miles NW of Ingatestone.

Do give yourselves time to find it.. Some Essex cyclists do not seem to have heard of this pub, others are very familiar with it and speak highly of it. People tell me clearly it is at Mill Green, but I do notice that the map shows two Mill Greens nearby. On the other hand this is the only pub in Britain with this name so at least there is no confusion there.

I have spoken to them on the phone and they sound very welcoming. I am relieved to hear that they do not accept bookings “You take us as you find us” they say. Certainly suits us. Food is available. “An isolated, unspoilt country pub” says the Good Beer Guide.

We do not have an Elevenses place fixed, but if anyone has a suggestion – with a reasonably quiet route of perhaps 8-10 miles to the Viper – I will mention this in an email during the forthcoming week and tell anyone who telephones me – 01603 615000.

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As the days get colder here is a memory from a warm September:

THE WOLVEY WEEKEND

Some wanderings in between the racing – The ford at Little Lawford

Free from work on the Friday before the Stan Spelling/Jenny Noad championship weekend, Adrian Perkin and I arrived near Wolvey in time for an afternoon ride. We found lunch at a garden centre near Stretton under Fosse and unloaded the trikes.

Given a free hand to choose a route, my mind focussed, as it often does, on water, in particular fords and canals. I had noticed a ford across the Avon nearby – between Little Lawford and Long Lawford, which, if you wish, you can find on the map just NW of Rugby, national grid ref. SP469771

The ford was on a long track and, as Perkin was on his best racing trike – having left the touring one at home to make room for mine in his van – I was not expecting more than a quick investigation. But, as Mr Toad said, on hearing a motor car arrive at the inn where he was dining “There cannot be any harm in my only just looking at it”

It was a big ford. The Avon here is a decent sized river and you could not actually see the other side. I don’t mean it was over the horizon, but that the exit to the ford was not directly opposite, and from the entry it was not at all clear whether forders had to turn left or right in mid-stream.

Well, nice spot, I thought, but time to get back to the tarmac, or else my mile-eating companion will get fed up.

But Perkin was taking off his shoes and socks.

Leaving his trike he started picking his way into the middle of the river. Water up to the knees, he ascertained that the exit ramp was to the right. It was clearly too deep to be good for axle and bottom bracket bearings, but carrying the trikes looked possible. “I’ll carry your saddlebag” he said, encouragingly.

The die was cast. Looking at the stony bottom and being more of a wimp about pain than wetness, I took my socks off and put my shoes back on.

Perkin crossed successfully. I took photos, regretting the lack of zoom on my old Rollei B35 film camera.

I set out cautiously.

With water over your knee-caps it is not a good idea to try to walk casually while trying to hold a tricycle above the surface. Your – well, my fat – legs won’t move quickly enough to correct any imbalance immediately.

But it was wonderful – feeling the landscape, not just having the image on the retina of the eye.

Yes – I know – I could have been feeling the riverbed under my feet as well, but me and my trike together are quite heavy and I was happy to avoid an excess of sensation.

With concentration I got safely to the exit, which proved to be a sharp climb up to a concrete ramp.

We were relaxing on this, re-arranging our footwear and taking photos when a builder’s pick-up truck suddenly appeared in mid stream – you can’t see one side from the other, remember. It was ploughing along, pushing up a huge bow wave. We just managed to drag assorted trikes, shoes and saddlebags aside in time to let him charge the exit and get out. I dread to think what would have happened if he had had to stop with his exhaust pipe under water – I should think it would have kept the CTC Insurance Dept occupied for quite a while. As it was we waved to each other politely and he was gone.

That was the excitement of the day over, though the gravel lane up to Long Lawford was a still a pleasure. Looking at the map afterwards it was amazing how close we were to Rugby, with hardly any visible sign.

Presently we emerged from the lanes near Wolston, rather into the middle of school-run traffic , and triked back to the canal village of Brinklow and our parking place near Stretton wharf. Soon we were driving onto the campsite behind the Axe & Compasses amid the gathering company of tricycling friends, with the knowledge that, after our return home, there would still be an hour or two of pleasure with maps, computer and books, looking at where we had been. FRM

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Hope to see you at our Essex meet on Saturday.

Best wishes to you all
Ferg Muir 01603 615000 fergusmuir@btinternet.com

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