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

Monday, December 23, 2013


I  see that my last posting was back in sunny July - climate is a little different today, cold, wet and very windy. However, I have been very lax recently with blogging so my apologies and my wishes for a peaceful, happy and healthful time, both over Christmas and for 2014.

Something a little different for Christmas for you all:

Below is a picture of Rembrandt's "Night Watch". The Rijksmuseum museum in Holland wanted to bring art to the people and hopefully, they would come to see more. They took one Rembrandt painting from 1642, Night Watch, and did the following in a busy mall.

Before clicking on the link, take a good look at the painting. And view with sound on.


Monday, July 01, 2013

Church of St Thomas Beckett, Fairfield

A pleasant Sunday ride on the hottest day of this year, so far (about 25c). This is the isolated church at Fairfield, dedicated by the monks of Canterbury who were responsible for "inning" (draining) this part of Romney Marsh in mediaeval times. Its full history can be seen here.

Plain brick outside because of the later renovation (see the history). But inside (ancient key kept by the local farm house) is an undiscovered 18th century gem of box pews and oak beams:

Then it was about time to head for Miss Mollett's "High Class" tea shop for a light lunch of Bacon,brie and cranberry toasties with salad, plus a large pot of tea. Just sitting outside in the warm sunshine and watching the world go by in the ancient village of Appledore.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

SPRING (at last)

Sunday morning, April 7th and at last the bitter winds, direct from Arctic northern Europe, have abated and are swinging round to the south.

Sunshine and temperatures of 11c invited me to take the e-bike out for its first longish run since my minor stroke.

A welcome stop at the 10 mile mark was in the village of Appledore . Miss Mollett's home-made tea cakes, toasted, with butter and black currant jam were absolutely delicious.

Another 10 miles over Romney Marsh took me home. The cycle ride in the sun did me more good than all the tablets the doctor has given me!

Thursday, March 28, 2013


A message from one of my motorcycling heroes - from the days when motorcycle racing was a clean, sporting event, with riders in sober black leathers (no advertising), riding "real" motorcycles (not sounding like vacuum cleaners enclosed in Easter eggs).

Six-times World Champion, 33-times Grand Prix winner and‘Birthday Boy’

Geoff Duke OBE.

“As I celebrate my 90th birthday on Good Friday, I just wanted to thank you all for your kind messages, cards and gifts. It is always a pleasure to receive a letter from a fan and wonderful to know there are so many of you out there who remember fondly my racing days.

Unfortunately, I am no longer able to reply to all your kind messages and requests for autographs, but I wanted to let you know how much your letters mean to me. I remain a keen follower of our sport, and have always enjoyed meeting you and reminiscing about the old days at events all over the world.

Although I can’t make it to as many meetings as I have in the past, I hope to follow the 2013 season, especially the Isle of Man TT, which, as many of you know, is my ‘home’ event and has always been one of my favourite circuits.

As I mark my 90th birthday with my family, I will be recalling my career and remembering all the fans who played such a large part in it.

Thank you all.

Please watch the following link:

Thursday, March 07, 2013


Getting out of bed last Thursday my left arm and leg had pins and needles and were difficult to control, however I continued with my day which mainly consisted of teaching a youngster to drive a 12 metre coach.

Next morning there was no improvement so I rang my doctor who said he did not even want to see me, but to get myself up to the Emergency Department of the local hospital at once as I had probably had a stroke. And so it turned out. An MRI head scan later I was put to bed and connected to various machines and dials. Hospital wards are not places for a good night's sleep - mine looked just like this one, but at least I had the bed in the right hand corner.  So, after 3 days of restless nights, hospital food, medication, jabs and caring/cheeky nurses, they got fed up with me and chucked me out with a large bag of pills - some of which I intend to take (but not the statins!).

Apparently, especially considering the day's delay, I am a very lucky boy. Slight clumsiness to left hand and leg but otherwise OK. No physio needed, but no driving for 4 weeks (although they said nothing about cycling!)

I am a lean (155lbs), fit 74 year old. Non smoker, moderate alcohol who likes gentle exercise (cycling and dog walking). So it can happen to anyone.

It was Woody Allen who said "If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans".

Saturday, February 16, 2013


In my reply to Roderick Robinson's comment to my last post I wrote that the controversial history of Richard III could be the subject of a detective story and mentioned Josephine Tey's  investigative novel on precisely this subject - "The Daughter of Time".

My own daughter drew my attention to Peter Hitchens'  commentary about the book on BBC Radio 4's "A Good Read", where he calls it one of the most important books ever written.

It is a short book, easily read in one or two sittings and pretty "unputdownable" for those who enjoy such things - available from Amazon, in paperback or Kindle.

You will never again accept historical record on trust!

Saturday, February 09, 2013


Many in Britain would have seen the fascinating Channel 4 TV programme on the discovery of the skeleton of King Richard III - a much maligned monarch or an evil monster according to who you believe. My daughter and I tend to favour the former. History is always written by the victors and Henry Tudor employed many spin doctors to legitimize his victory at Bosworth in 1485 and his subsequent reign based on a very thin claim. Shakespeare curried favour to the last Tudor (Elizabeth I) when he wrote his play, "Richard III".

With Richard's death it was given that the last of the Plantagenets had passed away - however there is a curious story that his illegitimate son lived on and is buried at a derelict church about one mile from the photograph in my previous post.

Now that the archaeologists who excavated Richard's skeleton have his DNA there is talk of them excavating the grave at this church to see if the story can be proven.

Since "Richard of Eastwell" died childless, our present Queen is secure in her succession!

Saturday, January 26, 2013


There has been heavy snow and a biting, icy wind this last week. However a front came in off the Atlantic on Friday evening bringing warmer weather and rain. By mid-day Saturday things were as per photo above - so a 25 mile cruise amid the North Downs took up most of Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013


With almost continuous rain for weeks now Christmas was a wash-out and I have been getting "stir-crazy" watching the water lashing down the windows.

However New Year's Day dawned with clear blue skies and last night's forecast was encouraging. The "electric Claud Butler" was unleashed (well, the charge cable was unplugged) and off we wheeled. A head wind was encountered as we toddled to Tenterden . I still can't get over the guilty pleasure of simply pressing a button on the handlebars to awaken the genie who assists with the pedalling!

Down Tenterden High Street, fairly empty on this Bank Holiday then headed for the ancient Isle of Oxney past a couple of vineyards (yes - good wine!) and the actress Ellen Terry's house.

Elevenses was taken relaxing in the SUNSHINE  near the Royal Military Canal

Two belated mince pies. The essential coffee flask will be noted (well laced with brandy - the engine needs a regular stoking).

Then it was a gentle meander across Romney Marsh for lunch at the Woolpack pub

Home by about 3.00pm just as the bloom was going off the day. But a "day of days" indeed. A delight snatched from winter. 40 miles and no aching knees! (thank you electric genie)

Happy New Year to all  my readers!