Margot, Peter and I decided upon a quick spin down to Great Waltham today. As this is a route I wrote about a couple of days ago, I’m going to focus on what we saw, photographed (snaps), and what we talked about (chat).
Margot and I like to set off early, so the three of us met up at 8.30am and pedalled off towards Felsted. It was -4 degrees, so was cold, with mist lifting from the fields.
As we rode through Felsted, Peter and I had a bit of a debate about boarding schools. My observation is that boarding suits some people but not others. Peter used to attend a boarding school in Darjeeling, India, and observed that his time was perpetually scheduled and accounted for – from the time he got up at 5.30am (!) for prep, through the school day, meal times, sporting events, through to evening with clubs and societies. Some of his peers did not get on with this at all, but others remembered their school days as the best of their lives.
We shot down Mill Lane, and the sun burned through the mist. Opposite the Mill, there is place that sells eggs by the roadside. Margot pulled over to see whether there was any stock in the plastic crate, and there was! So the money was duly inserted in the honesty box, and the eggs were packed in her rear rack bag.
We were pedalling towards Stagden Cross when we came across these horses being led towards us. As responsible cyclists, we stopped to allow them to pass us on the narrow lane, and received thanks from the groom. I wondered what the horsemanship rules for leading horses are, as she was leading two horses, but was also talking on the phone all the way up the road, so perhaps they were not fully under control? Or perhaps I’m just over-wary about horses?
After 16 miles we met my husband Jim, at Great Waltham Stores, where we found the café to be busy. Here I undid all my good calorie burning activity by having a marvellous almond friande with my tea. Margot told us about her trip to Australia, where she and Fiona had spent 3 weeks packing in an inordinate amount of activity – visiting her Mum and running Park Run in Hobart, visiting friends in Victoria, and driving the Great Ocean Road.
We took the short route back to Rayne, heading more or less due north. Last week Jim and I went to the Dales to see an auction. Hannah Hauxwell was a Dales farmer who was in the tv series Too Long a Winter, that showed her life of privation, running a farm using traditional farming practices – no pesticides, no fertilisers. When she became too old to run the farm, it was sold to the local wildlife trust and she moved to the local village. The wildlife trust have named this land Hannah’s Piece, and it is now an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) as it is one of the few places left with Dales wild flowers.
Hannah died last year, and it was discovered that she had hoarded everything from her parents and uncle, and that there were many hand made quilts in her attic, along with the family bible and other farm detritus. These were sold at auction last weekend. I was very pleased to look at her stuff in the saleroom, and noted the power of television – her quilts, typically valued at £2-300 actually sold for between £500-£1,500. A huge cultural heritage, some sold abroad eg quilt collectors in Australia, but the auctioneer said most was remaining in the Dales area.
Also, Jim and I dropped in on the Railway Museum in York on our way home, and looked at the WW1 remembrance exhibit – an ambulance train carriage. Fascinating to see how trains were used to evacuate injured troops and how their design evolved. The original design had separate accommodation – even with a door between! - for officers and men, but later designs focussed on accommodation for lying down cases; sitting up cases; and secure mental cases (their terminology).
By this time we were back, riding down the Flitch Way to Braintree. This blog post has not been much about riding, but does show the wide variety of things up for discussion while we are out.
Easy Riders - strong on companionship and conversation. Long may it continue!