To TA East members & friends

From Ferg Muir


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Our next TA EAST Meet is an Expedition into North-West Norfolk on Saturday week – Do give our Pete Martin our Captain (North) your support


Meet at Docking at 10:00 am;

Coffee at Simply Delicious, Bridge Street, Fakenham;

Lunch at Fox and Hounds, Weasenham All Saints.

Further details: Pete Martin 07932 878030



Regional AGM – 10th August.

Thanks to all who attended, we had a good AGM with our main officials deciding to continue, so a major re-think was avoided.

The ride back from Tostock to the Maglia Rosso was a tough proposition with the wind dead in the opposite direction. But for once it was good that this route is mainly a series of zig-zags with right-angled corners. So it was mostly in a half crosswind, and with the mid-summer hedges so dense, the blast often seemed to go clean over the top


Among Harvest Fields on a TricycleFerg Muir

The road race was over. Competitors and marshals were gradually leaving the thatched village hall of Saxlingham Nethergate and dispersing into a warm mid-summer evening.

I had a reasonable collection of notes to help me describe the race for the regional newspapers. No more responsibilities that day, but I had my Higgins and was near enough home to be free to wander.

I found a seat at Saxlingham Green cross roads. Made sure I could read my own notes, picked up a “conker “ prematurely blown down by the recent gale, watched a combine harvester moving between fields, chose a route on the map and trundled off.

Many of the lanes round here follow the centre of elongated greens, sometime little more than wide verges, at others quite extensive commons with scattered houses on the outer edges.

I passed the red phone box that featured in a painting by an artist called Michael Andrews which sold for nearly £700,000 a decade ago. He lived in the parish and it was the sense of timelessness in the area that caught his imagination.

Realising that daylight would probably soon fade I stopped under an oak tree and took photos with dark red Higgins as a focal point.

The road was easy tricycling – nearly flat, mostly through cornfields, but not like the prairies of mid-Norfolk. Here the fields were no more than 20 acres or so, the hedges mostly intact and high, and the defining characteristic was the great number of hedgerow trees. There were few houses and almost no cars.

I took lanes that flanked Brooke Wood on two sides. This wood is not especially spectacular, but it is noted for having retained unchanging boundaries throughout the time since it was first mapped in the eighteenth century. On this cloudy but warm evening it was dusky along the edge of the trees and there were creatures I couldn’t make out flitting among the trees.

The wood is divided in two by a single wide ride and as my lane passed the end of this I realized the air was full of dragonflies – maybe thirty or forty of them flying in an interlacing unending twirl, filling the space between the two halves of the wood.

These are big insects – three, perhaps four, inches long. I don’t know why they were there. There may well be a pond or ponds nearby, but this isn’t marshy or riverside Norfolk. Perhaps there had been a sudden hatching of some food-source insect

The dusk was too deep to attempt a photo or identification. I could only sit astride the trike and watch quietly, almost overwhelmed by wonder.

Eventually I moved on. The clouds were thinning, allowing the light to hold up. My earlier photos was of standing corn. Now I found a cut field with straw bales and took a few more photographs.

The lane grew narrower and dropped down to a small but water-filled ford. The lane was only one car’s width between the banks, so the middle was earth and debris. There was no room for three tyre-tracks on tarmac so I had to hang on while my rather narrow and racy trike did a dance of its own.

Then through the tiny village of Howe and up the climb into Poringland.

This isn’t for the most part a picturesque village – it is mostly a dormitory settlement on the Bungay–Norwich B-road. But it has the Royal Oak – an entirely suburban-looking pub that has recently become a real-ale haven.

Here a half-pint happily concluded the best part of the evening on three wheels.

There remained only half a dozen miles home and the extraordinary memory of the dragonflies dancing by the wood.


Best Wishes to You All

Ferg Muir 01603 615000, fergusmuir@btinternet.com


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