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Wednesday, March 31, 2021


 Spring has truly sprung this week and a morning ride on the ebike meant that I could actually leave off a couple of layers of clothing; sun pleasant and warming on my back.

I decided on a complete change of route and abandoned Romney Marsh for a wander in the Kent Weald. My route took me into the Wealden village of Smarden, a lovely spot best described by this quote:

"This enchanting village was established in around the 14th-century at the time when the forests of the Weald of Kent were being cut down to make way for permanent villages. Smarden, is little more than one street, yet it has a host of attractive properties including large half timbered houses built by prosperous wool merchants during the 17th-century.

At the time when the forests were being cleared to make way for sheep, King Edward III chose to grant Smarden a charter to hold a weekly market, his thinking was, that this would encourage the wool trade, and how right he was. Wealthy merchants came to do trade and they settled here and built magnificent homes for themselves and their families. They also donated generously to the church. The charter granted by Edward III was endorsed by Queen Elizabeth I and hangs in the church to this day."

Being in the edge of what was once the Wealden forest of Anderida the whole village is built of wood. The large merchants' houses referred to above and the village street full of weather-boarded cottages.

I entered the village and made for the church, since experience tells me that one usually finds a bench in a churchyard and sitting on the ground is OK but getting up again is difficult without something to hold onto these days.

Ensconced in the cosy corner seat to the right of the blue porch door I settled down to enjoy a pork pie and a flask of tea. The church is in an angle of the village so the paths across the yard are used as a shortcut. An upright old gent came by and stopped. "I see you are enjoying sustenance on this warm day." His exact speech and dress complimented the overall image I had formed.

I had parked the bike on its prop stand on the other side of the path and he was obviously interested. "I have considered one of these machines to get around the village" he said, poking it with his walking stick as a farmer would poke a favourite pig.

I said that this was my fifth ebike since a stroke and it was a marvellous way of getting about and keeping active.

 "I have a car and seldom use it, but walking is beginning to get tiresome. Are they expensive?" he queried, beginning to explore the handlebars and their controls.

The upshot was that I provided him with the contact details of Ebikes Direct, my supplier at not too far away Bodiam. I think I must ask them for commission on any referrals since the amount of interest I get and conversations generated on stops is quite encouraging.

A "working lunch" indeed.


Vita said...

Ha ha! You're a crack-up. What did you reply when he commented on your pork pie? I love a nice warm sunny bench--one of my favorite things.

gz said...

And they filmed The Darling Buds of May at Smarden didn't they?
It is a nice place to be

Avus said...

I didn't offer him a bit of the pie, but did agree that the sun and lack of wind made it all very agreeable. It was this obviously, to him, encouraging reply that led to the conversation reported. The bench is marvelously sited, an absolute sun trap out of any wind.

Yes, Smarden was used for the "Darling Buds" as well as a number of nearby villages such as Pluckley where the wedding scenes were filmed. Pop Larkin's farm site is nearby at Bethersden and the "kitchen" stgae set has been preserved and open to view at the bi-annual veteran vehicle day which the present farmer stages.

Dave said...

A wonderful village. Its only during lockdown that I have appreciated and enjoyed taking a flask of coffee with me on rides as previously I relied on cafes. But it is pleasurable to stop wherever you want and enjoy a drink and a sandwich.
Ebikes are becoming really popular now, I see lots, they have definitely helped in getting people out and about. I like the quote on the contents page of this months Cycle magazine, "they are an alternative to not cycling"

Avus said...

Yes indeed. "Home made" elevenses are quite nostalgic, taking me back to my early cycling days when happy groups of us would pitch up by the side of traffic free lanes for those morning snacks. We couldn't afford cafes then and usually took more sandwiches to eat in pubs over a pint of beer at lunch times.

Your Cycling quote sums up ebikes, they were certainly my saviour.

Pam said...

That sounds absolutely lovely. But how have you managed to get through so many e-bikes?

Avus said...


The development of ebikes and their batteries is truly amazing. My first (a conversion kit which I added to an old hybrid bike) would only take me about 30 miles on a full charge.My current Wisper can go about 70 miles on a full charge (not that I ever ride that distance at one go these days)

I tend to change them when the guarantee runs its course. Initially this was a year, but these latest bikes have three year guarantees. Also I had one bad buy which I changed immediately, at some cost to me!.