I will always reply to comments and always re-reply to re-replies.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008


(click to enlarge)
Well - that's a first! (especially for HHnB!) No-one managed to locate the quote in my "Kipling's Remedy" post. It comes from "Juggling Jerry" by George Meredith (the poet of Box Hill). Here is the verse from the poem:

Yonder came smells of the gorse, so nutty,
Gold-like and warm: it's the prime of May.
Better than mortar, brick and putty
Is God's house on a blowing day

Obscure poem by an unfashionable poet. But when, as a schoolboy in 1954, I saved up and bought my first lightweight bicycle frame those two lines were written above the frame builder's message in his catalogue. Then and now in summed it all up, really.


Lucy said...

Someone once said 'Meredith is the prose Browning. And so is Browning.' Don't recall who.

I really like 'The Egoist', but I know little of his poetry.

Lovely picture.

herhimnbryn said...

No tick vg for me then!
I did google the quote but had no luck.

Lovely pic. Sigh.

Lee said...

Google found it easily enough when I put the whole two bold lines in. Found your blog too, which was impressive.

Nea said...

Ah what a view......and as you say......sums it up nicely....the poem.

Avus said...

Yes - I have this arrangement with Google, you know.

chiefbiscuit said...

A beautiful post - and love the poem; hadn't heard it - or of the poet. I like learning new stuff!

Avus said...

That's what I like about blogging - always new stuff and new paths to follow

Vita said...

Oh! What a lovely photograph. Glad you got to give the bike some exercise. The ride's more pleasant with the wind behind!

Vita said...

Those Claud Butler bicycle frames are BEAUTIFUL. Not even Wikipedia has a biography of Claud Butler. Why the demise in the 60's?

Avus said...

Nice to have someone appreciate Claude's wonderful craftsmanship. He was a superb frame builder and held in great affection by the cycling community, but was known to have a weakness for drink. He went bankrupt in 1954, owing £15,000 in income tax (a lot of money then). The name and rights were bought up by Holdsworth, who continued to sell bikes with the brand name (but not the quality of the original "Claudes"). Claude died in 1978 after a long illness.
The name is still used on bikes to this day. My 2 year old "hybrid" which I use for town riding is badged as a Claude Butler, with all his frame transfers, but it was built in China and I chose it for nostalgic reasons!
Original Claudes are much valued and superb examples are ridden in the Veteran Cycle Club. I am looking out for an "Avant Coureur Special" model (the one I mention in the posting) to add to my collection one day.

Anonymous said...

If you know the avant coureur, could you help me and tell me if this is one?


Avus said...

Having looked at the frame I would say it is a "Claud" of mid fifties date - the wrap-over seat stays at the saddle end are the give-away. The steering head bi-laminated lugs look right too.
However - the seller gives a 4 figure frame number - Claude's were numbered as follows:
515 2383 = first 3 numbers are the year and month (51/May)last 4 are the actual production number for that year (2383rd.)
So the number he quotes should have a further 3 figures in front, which will be the deciding factor.

Avus said...

Anonymous P.S.
You can see an "Avant Courer Special" frame at:


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