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Tuesday, June 19, 2007


(click on any image to enlarge)

Well, I am (very) pleased to find that the medication works and I am feeling myself again (as they say - apparently it is quite legal as long as you don't frighten the horses). Sunday morning's weather was delightful and a gentle 12 mile cycle ride around the locality beckoned.

The Raleigh Record Ace is still undergoing restoration, but is coming along nicely, thank you. So it was the modern Dawes Horizon that was led from the stables. Rather in the mode of a Japanese car, this is efficient, easy to ride, well equipped and.... completely characterless! I bought it on early retirement and it is the first complete new bike I have ever had, previously buying a frame of choice and kitting it out to preference. (You will note the convenient holder for the coffee flask - an essential addition) .
So it was off down the path leading from the estate, at present framed by clouds of blackberry blossom and English wild roses

It is a pleasant start to a ride, going across the fields with views to the local church

Then off through the lanes until we reached the escarpment above Romney Marsh, which laybeneath me, blue and inviting in the sunshine

Through the little village of Bilsington, known for its obelisk, dedicated to a local 18th century landowner who died in a coaching accident

Then a glorious swoop down the hill leading to the levels of The Marsh
However "et in Arcadia ego" Badgers hit by cars seemingly increase. They are surprisingly big animals (larger than a fox) and can grow to a metre in length.

Although tempted, I did not want to overdo things just yet. So a gentle ride through the lanes brought me towards the little Marsh church of St. Rumwold - who must be one of the strangest and unbelievable saints in that pantheon of odd characters (see link).

It is a very pleasant spot for a coffee break, with a memorial seat set against its south facing wall. One can relax in the sun, overlooking the Marsh and the Royal Military Canal (the history of which is interesting reading on the link)

And so home up the escarpment, (no, I did not get off and walk!) resisting the temptations on the notice board outside "The Good Intent" on the way!.

Sunday, June 03, 2007


(click image to enlarge and read text )

This is a note to register the 150th anniversary of the birth of Sir Edward Elgar one of England's greatest composers. He was also a keen cyclist, riding the renowned "Sunbeam" bicycles, although his preferred clothing must have been most uncomfortable on a hot day! He called all his cycles "Mr Phoebus".

T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia - aka, T.E. Shaw)) was a connoisseur of Elgar's music, as a letter from him to the composer amply illustrates. Many must be aware of his "Enigma Variations", but his "Cello Concerto" should be more widely known. It is a lament for the lost world of pre 1914, destroyed by the First World War.

(I am indebted to Bob Cordon-Champ's book "Sunbeam Bicycles and Motorcycles" for the image.)