“The West Surrey Cyclist” - January - March 2006
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Front cover - a new design for 2006 - see next
Inner front cover - West Surrey CTC District Association
Editorial front matter - similar to previous issue
Riding Around - With Editor Geoff Smith
Icebergs and Ducks Legs - by Jeff Banks
For Sale - Harold’s mountain bike
Points From the 77th Annual General Meeting - by Geoff Smith
- Wooden Crank
West Surrey DA Awards - Adopted details - Benstead Rules 2006
Organised Cycle Rides January - March 2006 - the Rides List
Letters to the Editor
- photo competition proposed by Bob McLeod
- repair of punctures - by ‘Adon’
- ‘Cycling For All’ day - by Mark Waters
Advertisement - ‘The Sorcerer’ - by Godalming Operatic Society
Advertisement - Atomic Bike Company Ltd, Aldershot
Have the Magazine delivered for £3 a year
West Surrey Sweatshirt Glimpsed in Mongolia - by Dave Williamson
End-to-End Memories, September 2005 - by Liz Palethorpe
Looking Good ..... in Our DA Shirts
Repair or Replace (Tubes)? - Personal Views of Phil Hamilton
Dates for Your Diary
From the President, Rico Signore
DA Personalities - Seven - Don Jones
PRESIDENT Rico Signore 01483 822240
SECRETARY Jeff Banks, 17 Waldens Park Road, Horsell, Woking GU14 4RN. 01483 772616 email@example.com
TREASURER Tim Bar 01483 825691
RUNS SECRETARY Bob McLeod, 23 Beresford Close, Frimley Green, Camberley GU16 6LB. Phone 01252 835321
COMMITTEE MEMBERS Geoff Smith 01483 769051; Peter Callaghan (Chairman) 01483 770902; Chris Jeggo 01483 870218
VICE-PRESIDENTS George Alesbury, Harold Coleman, Chris Jeggo, Clive Richardson, Roy Banks
MAGAZINE EDITOR Geoff Smith, 2 Julian Close, Woking GU21 3HD. Phone 01483 769051
ARCHIVIST Chris Jeggo 01483 870218
CTC AREA RIGHT TO RIDE OFFICER
Peter Clint 6 Pendennis Close, West Byfleet KT14 6RX. Phone 01932 340564
SUNDAY RIDERS Clive Richardson 01428 724390
GUILDFORD AND GODALMING WAYFARERS Peter Fennemore 01483 300689
MIDWEEK WAYFARERS Rico Signore 01483 822240; Roy Banks 01344 842676; Sybil Preston 01483 837839
WOKING WAYFARERS Anke Blackburn 01483 765837
FARNHAM CRN Liz Palethorpe 01252 792187
ALL bike riders in West Surrey can surely bask in reflected glory at the continued success and high profile of the DA’s flagship event, the one and only Tour of the Hills. I say “one and only” because it should never be forgotten that this is THE true Tour of the Hills. No-one else should be able to use this title for their hilly event, wherever it happens to be. We were there first and I have long thought we should do something to register or preserve our right to the name somehow, just in case someone attempts to purloin it. I must get our legal beagle secretary on to it.
But returning to the matter in hand, the present reflected glory follows the vast and glamorous coverage afforded the 2005 event by Cycling Weekly, five full colourful pages with breathtaking pictures by a staff photographer, impressive mapping, and incorporating the personal experiences of no less than four of their star writers not counting Richard Hallett, author of the main piece. That makes at least six CW journalists engaged on our event. I hear there were even more.
Mark Waters described the editorial package as “stonkingly good”. I would add that the headline “Still the south’s greatest challenge” and standfirst (bit under the headline) description of the event as “Southern Britain’s classic challenge ride” is the real accolade - perfectly true, too.
Richard Hallett had it right in the body of his report when he referred to the Tour of the Hills. Being pedantic, I have to say the layout department and others were not so accurate by mentioning repeatedly over those five glorious pages Tour of the SURREY Hills (my emphasis). It really ain’t just Surrey, lads, but thanks to one and all for your coverage and continued loyalty to this tough little number of ours.
AND thanks also to our new archivist Chris Jeggo for a little bit of historical detail. At my behest he advises that in 1981 the DA organised a 100km “super grimpeur” using a circuit around Leith Hill and Holmbury Hill. This led to the first Tour of the Hills in 1982 (on a route compiled by Harold Coleman and with Chris himself notating the cumulative ascents).
This means that the 2006 event will be the 25th. Looking ahead to 2007 we should surely have a 25th anniversary (1982 - 2007) commemorative medal struck for all finishers.
And ensure that by this time we have “patented” the Tour of the Hills title as ours in perpetuity. Over to you, secretary Jeff.
ISN’T life odd? Sometime ago I asked Phil Hamilton to do me a piece on his formula for mending punctures and getting those infernal tubes off and on. I held on to it for a while and included it to great interest from readers in the October-December edition. No sooner had I done so than the October issue of the CTC’s national Cycle magazine plopped through the letterbox with a piece on the very same thorny subject. You pays your money and takes your choice....
And no sooner was our West Surrey mag out than Phil had a puncture, his first for many a moon, on one of our Sunday rides. Various wags took pleasure in checking he proceeded in strict accordance with his own published advice. I can state categorically that he did.
More practical advice from Phil is in this issue - together with a witty letter “puncturing” his previous much appreciated effort. He and I would welcome further comments.
During the extended discussion about the Benstead Cup at the DA’s recent Annual General Meeting I referred to the amount of time (hidden to the casual observer) spent wrestling with the points system. Of course, the Benstead Cup, whilst an important part of the Club’s folklore, is within the grasp of only a handful of (worthy) DA members, and its intrinsic interest to the DA’s 1000 members is, perhaps, minimal. Those who achieved awards are, nonetheless, to be congratulated.
At the same time, it strikes me as one of those ironies of life that we treat as invisible those of our group who work tirelessly throughout the year for every member’s cycling safety and enjoyment on the much tougher scene of local politics.
The Benstead Cup has taken up approximately 90 minutes of AGM (and 3 hours of full Committee) time over the past two years. Time given at the past two Annual General Meetings to campaigning and those who give a combined estimated thirty man days of time tussling with correspondence and public meetings totals approximately 90 seconds.
If ever there was a good example of an unsung huge amount of beneficial effort going on under the surface this must he it. For those of you who have not seen the Annual Report for 2005, the following is an extract of the references to campaigning in 2005.
“Peter Clint continues to put a significant amount of his time into local issues. He describes 2005 as a year of hopes and disappointments. The objective at the outset was for the authorities to complete the establishing of twelve cycle routes into Woking. It was not to be. After the general election, funds were re-directed by central government to motor projects.”
Meanwhile, Keith Chesterton reports that other members have been active in Cycle Forums in West Surrey. In Guildford, Waverley and Mole Valley, the projected route of the NCN 22 has taken much time. The route is now being signed from Puttenham to Seale and around Farnham. There is also a reasonable route from Westcott to Shere but Mole Valley Forum wants a better way into Dorking.
The Guildford Forum recommended a new cycle path from Shere to Newlands Corner and then on existing bridleways to Guildford. But Surrey and Sustrans said there was not enough money and want a substantial diversion via Shamley Green and the Downs Link path to Guildford. This would not benefit cyclists at all. Forums have also looked at the Provisional Transport Plan 2005/2011. Surrey are abandoning their previous targets to double cycling, and say cycling has not increased in the last 4 years.
We all know that is untrue - the number parked at stations, at stands in Guildford High Street and in people we see cycling shows this. Surrey use this to cut the target to a 20% increase in the next 5 years in just a few areas (including Woking!) and cut the moneys available to £3 million for 5 years for the whole of Surrey. This works out at £60,000 per district per year - about 5% of the total transport budget. This will do very little to help cycling after the years of neglect it has suffered. Forums will campaign for an increase in moneys to be made available.
(A copy of the full Annual Report is available on the WSDA website. Or ask me for a hard copy).
:: Membership as allocated by postcodes within the West Surrey area is 944 compared with 1,097 in the previous year.
:: As well as the established group rides, all of which continued to thrive in the year, Chris Jeggo’s all-day Sunday rides, which he started in 2005, proved to be a great success with a regularly attending group of enthusiastic riders.
:: The Midweek Wayfarers outings were again the most popular, with a grand total of about 1,000 rides being totted up based on those who signed in or had their names recorded. Sunday Riders and Sunday Intermediates were equal second with about 250 rides each.
:: The DA organised seven rides counting towards Benstead Cup, Audax and DATC events. There were 119 entries from the DA compared with 83 last year. An innovation was the 60km Surrey Hills Saunter in March.
:: Clive Richardson won the Benstead Cup for all-round attendance, support work, and riding performance at DA events. He also took the Bill Inder Trophy for Sunday attendances.
:: Other awards included: Benstead Cup runner-up, Chris Jeggo; Ladies Benstead Shield, Anne Tanner; Bernard Howell Trophy for highest-placed veteran, Chris Jeggo; Keith Parfitt Memorial Pot (new this year for organising and marshalling Benstead Cup events), Mark Waters; George Alesbury Tankard for Midweek Wayfarers attendance, Jean Tedder; Bert Bartholomew Trophy for oldest DA rider in 50 miles Reliability Ride, Roy Banks.
:: DA Medals: 1st Clive Richardson, 2nd Geoff Smith Jnr, 3rd Anne Tanner. DA Veteran Medals: 1st Chris Jeggo, 2nd Don Jones, 3rd Ian McGregor.
:: In his report, Secretary Jeff Banks noted that the West Surrey DA is alive and well despite some gloomy conversations in the year bemoaning the demise of the “old days” and the erroneous view that numbers (of riders) are in decline. For the first time in his five or six years experience of riding with the groups he observed that the club “has suffered the embarrassment of not knowing with what to do with too many people that have shown up to share an outing with their fellow riders”.
:: Treasurer Tim Bar reported that total net assets had increased to £2,504 from £2,177 with events income up by £219 and magazine costs down by £230. Costs of running the DA were also down by £164.
:: In the inevitable somewhat convoluted discussion about how points should be awarded for the Benstead Cup competition it was accepted that only “purely riding” events would count. The meeting accepted the formula as sought by the 2004 AGM from the vice-presidents and committee, with additional minor points of clarification.
“Don had parked his car in Bentley, which was central to New Alresford for coffee and Lasham for tea. We all eventually met at New Alresford Station to continue our ride to Stockbridge for lunch. As we parked our bikes outside the café Don realised his rear bag was missing together with all his credit cards, money, phone, and car keys.
“So we retraced our route to Alresford to no avail. Don was mentally and physically exhausted as we made our long and quiet journey home to Haslemere. There, Don was greeted by his wife with the news that the bag had been found in the middle of Sun Hill Road, New Alresford, by a gentleman who had phoned leaving a contact number.
“So back we went to collect the bag with all the contents intact. Don was then able to retrieve his car from Bentley after a long day in the saddle.”
(Secretary Jeff Banks has felt compelled to comment in the draft AGM minutes that “reports that Don will express his relief by offering free drinks on future rides remain unconfirmed”. As a former DA secretary Don is well aware that these minutes are open to challenge at the next AGM on the basis of fact, blasphemy, moral rectitude, and unseemly character assassination.)
MAY I make an appeal? One of the actions I have inherited as rides secretary is to provide something interesting to be displayed on our handsome noticeboards at the AGM and elsewhere. One idea is that members might like to provide recent photographs that have some connection, however tenuous, with cycling.
To make things more entertaining I propose to ask the committee to resurrect the once popular photo competition. It would be refreshing to have something other than the Benstead Cup to get worked up about at the AGM. Much better to argue over the best photos in the various sections.
I am sure that still life would include a cyclist caught napping in the sunshine. Action, humorous, portrait and landscape could be included. In the meantime, just take the pictures, confident that they will be displayed at the next AGM.
In addition, you may have noticed that David Jupe has a section entitled Gallery on our website. David is always looking for pictures to add to the collection.
When Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenberg in 1517 he thought he had all the answers, but 400 years later is mankind any nearer The Truth?
By opening your pages to your puncture expert have you not now created a schism in the club which needs to be healed at once? For example, who is he to say that “the hardest part is getting the wheel off” when we all know the hardest part is getting the wheel back on again. But this problem he simply glosses over.
Then again he says “remove the offending penetrator from the tyre.” With what? Fingernail? Awl? Screwdriver? He may scoff, but recently I witnessed one of our most experienced members contemplating the use of a hacksaw, such was his frustration in attempting a cure. And that’s true! We all know that this operation is as delicate as a brain surgeon removing shrapnel from a head wound, but he gives us no help in this.
Then he pays no attention the different types of puncture: impact puncture; pinch puncture; tread-side puncture; rim-side puncture etc, all of which require different solutions.
He then recommends us to “mend the puncture”. Precisely! But how should we do it in such a way that the patch stays down without curling up at the edges or sticking on to the inside of the tyre. Not a word has he to say on this vital operation.
But the biggest controversy will rage over his assertion that tyre removal should start and finish near the valve. I beg to differ. All my experience has shown me that it should be opposite the valve.
And so I could go on. But there is a need to be constructive, so I would ask other members to make their views known to the Committee, who should then commission your correspondent to write a comprehensive operations manual on the subject to which we can all give our allegiance. This is likely to be a lifetime’s work, so some limitation will need to be placed on it. Should we ask for the first draft to be ready by the year 2010?
Ultimately we can then legislate that novice riders strap to their crossbars the manual in its several volumes, to avoid the situation where the veterans have to repair their punctures for them as was the case on 3 (three!) occasions not long ago when a certain ex-p*l*c*m*n first joined the club (I respect his anonymity). It would also make them go slower.
THE idea of the “Cycling For All” Day is that riders of any ability whatsoever can come over to Elstead and do something. It should make the day very much a DA day for all and I hope we can get lots of people turning up, if only for tea and cakes. The hall will stay open all day and hopefully one or two members may wish to help with the arrangements there.
Editor’s note: The big day is Sunday May 21st. Please note in your diary. Full details of the day will appear in the next issue. Meanwhile, I am delighted to carry Mark’s ad for the Godalming Operatic Society show, - which also deserves your support!
If you could have gained access to a spy satellite back in September and had zoomed in on Mongolia, you would have seen several hardy souls cycling across the central steppes. This wasn’t the CIA checking things out before George Dubya’s visit, but a group of cycle tourists including three from West Surrey. Derek and Anne Tanner and I joined a mixture of folks from Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. in an adventure cycling and camping as we journeyed to Karakorum, Genghis Khan’s ancient capital.
Things did not start too well, with a delayed Air China flight out of London due to bad weather (they said). This was followed by a day lost waiting for a plane at Beijing airport courtesy of the same because of bad weather (they said). Suddenly though, an aircraft was miraculously found in a dusty corner somewhere and we were whisked away in the middle of complimentary hotel noodles to land in Ulaanbaatar in the early hours.
This gave us a day in the capital to go sight-seeing and to sort out the bikes. Some of the cast had taken their own but rather than risk any excess baggage fees, I hired one from the tour company. This could be best described as basic but adequate, having most of the gears, some of the brakes and several saddle toppers that could be carefully arranged so that the holes didn’t line up.
Despite losing a day, we were now running on Mongolian time which is fairly elastic. This meant that we merely caught the next night’s sleeper train for a twelve-hour ride into the interior. I wonder what happened about the empty bunks on the train we were supposed to be on. The vastness of the country could be sensed as the train rumbled through the night until we reached a copper mining town called Erdenet. From here we were whisked in Japanese people-movers to where the bikes were waiting with the back-up crew and their more robust Russian vans. One taxi broke down en route and our Mongolian crew were only too delighted to ride to the rescue and show off the prowess of their vehicles. As Graham the tour leader said “They’re married to their wives but in love with their vans”.
From that point, it was “Onwards and upwards” (the usual command from Graham), romping along hard dirt roads following valley bottoms and rivers. Occasionally there was a steep pass to storm before we dropped down to the next valley, until we reached the camping spot for the night. One van stayed strictly at the back while the other went ahead to mark the way or prepare lunch or snacks.
And so we continued, that is until the snow came. The small print did state ‘it can snow any day of the year in Mongolia’, but at one point it seemed like it was snowing everyday. This is where the title of this piece comes in as I think I caught a glimpse of Derek’s West Surrey shirt as he piled other layers on top to keep out the cold. As for myself, it was a case of wearing everything I’d got and putting Sainsbury’s carrier bags on my feet (an excellent suggestion from Anne but not a good fashion statement).
After the first overnight dusting followed by a chilly seventy-‘K’ ride, we voted to abandon the tents and journeyed further on to a ger camp where traditional felt tents are set up for travellers. Amazingly, though, some (including Derek and Anne) decided they had fallen in love with their tent and they had a night under canvas while the rest of us snuggled up in our gers with a proper bed and a comforting wood burning stove. Some folks are just too hardy.
I was slightly worried about joining the trip before the start, despite the fact that it had been down-graded from grade C (strenuous) to B (moderate). Rumours abounded that likely participants would be in their early thirties and therefore fit. The deciding factor as far as I was concerned was that Derek and Anne were going and I knew I could keep up with them. That is, I thought I could, until a thunderstorm loomed. At that point their wheels span like dervishes and the grassy plain dissolved under a pall of sweat as we approached the sound barrier. We made it to the lunch tent just in time to avoid a torrential hail storm lashed by hurricane force winds. Within half an hour it was all over, just soggy horses, wheeling steppe eagles and rainbows to tell of its passing.
Graham, despite being Australian, is a resident of the country and, speaking the local lingo, managed to get us invited into many family gers to sample the never-ending dairy products and fermented mares’ milk. This usually had an interesting flavour as it was invariably kept in an old oil can. Could we have the makings of a new celebrity fad diet here I wonder?
Having reached our destination, we had of course to get back to Ulaan Bataar. No train this time but a 400 K bus ride along some of the scabbiest roads in Asia with more pot holes per square foot than there are craters on the moon. I think it best to draw a veil over this part as some people didn’t travel too well. I’ll also not dwell on the sickness that pervaded the camp, which meant some people had to abandon their bikes and travel in the vans for several days. Or the twenty-four-hour vomiting bug that hit a few others including Derek and me.
How can I sum up the trip? The cycling was fantastic and the countryside beautiful and empty (twice the size of Texas and less than three million people). The natives were friendly (when they hadn’t had too much to drink) and would vacate their gers at the drop of a hat so that thirteen cold and hungry cyclists could huddle round the stove, eat all their dairy products and drink copious amounts of interesting hooch. And I haven’t mentioned the English bakery in Tsetserleg. Was it cold - yes. Do I still have ten toes - yes (thanks to Anne’s tip). Was it exciting - yes. Would I do it again - definitely.
Over the years E to E has been mentioned and yes, yes, we will do it one day. Eventually the day came, we set off, five ladies, should have been six, but one had more sense, the trip having to be completed in fourteen days.
Land’s End - what a dump! We set off in rain, so I don’t think Cornwall looked its best. Mid-afternoon in Truro we found a wonderful bike shop and three of us decided to forget about the weight we were carrying and each bought substantial wet weather jackets - I don’t think the shop had ever had it so good - three expensive jackets sold in five minutes flat. Then on to St Austell for the first night. Next day, still raining, we set off wondering if we were really doing the right thing, do we really want to do this? By midday the sun made an appearance and our spirits soared. Stopping in Okehampton we stayed in a large rambling B & B - wonderful. The proprietors, self-sufficient people, sold their own honey, jams and home produce, so great deliberations whether we could carry some of this but in the end sense prevailed. Then on over the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the Severn Bridge where there was quite a wind blowing - scary stuff.
One day followed another. The worst day of the trip was trekking through Whitchurch, Nantwich and the outskirts of Warrington and of course it poured with rain all day. We ended up in a Travelodge for the night - wonderful places for doing one’s washing - the heating on full, turning the place into a Chinese laundry.
The Yorkshire Dales will always stand out in my mind, sunny skies, the wonderful scenery, the remoteness of it all and one steep climb after another - beginning to wonder whether we were mad or not but with a good giggle and a laugh we managed and a wonderful B & B at the end of the day.
Up through the Borders, absolutely no one around and in the middle of nowhere we came upon a Tibetan Centre, what lovely people - we would have loved to have stayed longer but had to push on. Straight through Edinburgh, cold and windy, lunch in the Royal Braemar Hotel, not exactly dressed appropriately but no one seemed to mind, past Balmoral with the Queen in residence but didn’t have time to pop in for tea. Along the highest road in Scotland, seemed a good idea when sitting at home planning the route, not so sure now, and ended up in Tomintoul, the highest village in Scotland. Riding through the Highlands was absolute magic, beautiful blue skies, riding on little single track roads with deer, red squirrels and buzzards - a day to be remembered.
Arriving at John O’Groats - what else - pouring rain, howling gale, our teeth chattering, and absolutely soaked, we had made it - too cold to celebrate - we left that for later.
To anyone thinking of doing E to E, just do it. We all had an absolutely fantastic two weeks and memories to last for ever.
ON THE road, there is no doubt that it is quicker and easier to replace your punctured tube with a sound one rather than making a roadside repair - especially if it is dark and/or wet. However, you are then left wondering whether you should repair or replace the faulty tube.
The decision may be out of your hands - for instance, neither a puncture within half a patch diameter of the valve reinforcement area or a previous patch, nor a split larger than half the maximum length of the available patch can sensibly be repaired. Existing patches cannot be re-glued, and it is often not possible to remove that part of the patch which remains attached to the tube. It is not sensible to patch on an existing patch. These (non-exhaustive) instances will require a replacement, at a cost of about £4.50, although bulk purchase by mail order can bring that down to £2.50.
Puncture repair kits, costing about £2, typically contain patches and sufficient glue for 6 repairs, so materials for each repair cost 33 pence or nearly 14 repairs for the price of a new (£4.50) tube. Seemingly very good value, and there should be no question that tubes should be repaired, but..........
Editor’s note: Your user-friendly comments are invited
JANUARY 1st : New Year’s Day Rendezvous for all riders and rides groups, Seale Craft Centre (all morning)
JANUARY 11th : Annual midweek lunch, Black Swan/Mucky Duck, Martyr’s Green, Ockham (noon onwards)
MARCH 5th : Surrey Hills Saunter, 60km, CTC HQ, Godalming (Mark Waters 01483 414307)
MARCH 25th : Phil Hampton Memorial Rides, 30 and 50 miles. Medstead Village Hall, 10am (Caroline Brodie 01420 563535)
APRIL 23rd : Reliability Ride, 50 miles (Phil Hamilton 01483 772008)
APRIL 30th : Isle of Wight Round-the-Island randonnee
APRIL 30th - MAY 1st : May Day cycling event, Alfriston Youth Hostel, Sussex (Derek Tanner 01276 474553)
MAY 14th : Scorathon/route-finding event
MAY 21st : Cycling For All Day, Stonehenge 200km/Danebury 150km/Elstead 100km Audax events plus five rides at between 22 and 63km. More details elsewhere in this issue. (Mark Waters, as above)
JULY 16th : Rough Stuff 50km, 60km (Derek Tanner, as above)
AUGUST 20th : Tour of the Hills 110km/Tour of the Greensand Hills 53km (Tim Bar 01483 825691)
SEPTEMBER 10th : Reliability Ride, choice of 100 miles or 75 miles (Rico Signore 01483 822240, Peter Callaghan 01483 770902)
SEPTEMBER 24th : Tricyclathon
Please send details of local upcoming events to the Editor in writing, with a contact name and phone number. Inclusion on this page cannot be guaranteed or taken for granted unless this is done. A preliminary news item, advertisement, or article publicising the event will also be welcome to be considered for inclusion in the mag.
|Though the Editor expects,
This here President regrets
His brain is indeed
Of a transplant in need.
|We might be deficient
And quite inefficient,
But who gives a toss -
It’s nobody’s loss.
|By pleading “Alzi Light”
Perhaps this just might
Explain that losing the plot
Inevitably becomes our lot.
|Whatever else ails us
Is not worth the fuss,
As nought beats the feeling
Of pleasure when wheeling.
|Senior moments are rife
At our time of life;
Just try filling this sheet
With a deadline to meet.
|Forget the above,
swallow your pride
Get on yer bike
and go for a ride!
|. . . . . Happy Christmas!!|
Mr Donald Jones
Makes no bones
About the need
MANY thanks to those who have responded to my plea for more DA Personalities clerihews. Please keep ’em coming. There is lots of material out there; eventually I might print the whole collection as a limited edition supplement - Geoff, Editor
PS: I am indebted to Dennis Clarke for alerting me to a famous poet lurking somewhere among our West Surrey bike sheds. So come out, wherever you are, Mrs Claire E. Hughes.
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Web page by Chris Jeggo. Last revised: 29 October 2009.