"The West Surrey Cyclist" - July - September 1991
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The charity ride which the DA is organising for the Woodland Trust in aid of Durfold Wood has been postponed to 11th August. Please contact Keith for details.
The West Surrey DA ( us ! ) will be hosting the Home Counties Rally in 1993. It will be based in Godalming.
Congratulations to Geoff and Fiona Davies, who had a baby son, Tristan, on 3rd April.
Congratulations to Marguerite who rode 323.73 miles in 8 days, Lands End to Woking. Her ride was in aid of Woking PHAB and SAMBA riding for the disabled.
Best Wishes to Bill who was 87 years on June 15th.
Ann Greening is organising a weekend trip on the 14th and 15th of September. The closing date for bookings is the 31st of August. For details telephone Brookwood 2193.
Congratulations to Jill and Hamish Smith who became Grandparents and Bill who became a Great Grandfather to a baby boy Martin on Sunday 9th June.
We mentioned how cheap it was to eat out in the country districts of France and one of our funniest and cheapest meals we had last year was at a farm. In the Dordogne/Perigord area you will quite often encounter little signs in the middle of no-where stating "Auberge de la Ferme". The French Tourist Office of the district and the local farmers have got together and have come up with the wonderful "Farm Restaurants". These restaurants are dotted around the countryside, up little tracks and are usually just accessible by car albeit on very rough tracks. Well, we were recommended to try one of the farm restaurants by a French family, so we called round during daylight hours, fortunately because we would never have found our way in the dark for the first time, and met the farmer and his family who showed us around the dining room and made a reservation for us for the following evening.
Off we set (in the dark but with a brilliant full moon to guide us) and arrived at the appointed hour to find that we were the only diners - was this an omen? Well we sat down and the farmer served us with a home-made aperitif - wonderful. I agreed to drive home so Philip had an "encore". Then it was the turn of the "cabaret"! It was Tom from Tom and Jerry. This little field mouse spent about 30 minutes being chased by Philip around the restaurant until he was cornered and we managed to get him to go out on to the patio to continue his act. The first course was an enormous tureen of home-made soup. Really, it was more like a stew of ham, potatoes and vegetables and enough for a family. This was served with plenty of french bread and home-made white wine (a bottle). Then home-made pate which was delicious served with - you guessed home-made red wine. The main course was confit de canard which is a great speciality in the area and is a breast or leg of duck preserved in its own fat and when required it is then cooked so that it almost falls off the bone and this was served with the inevitable salad and saute'd potatoes with garlic and herbs - truly wonderful.
During all this munching and slurping Monsieur the farmer kept sitting at our table talking to us in a very strong French dialect that we found very difficult to get the true meaning of but we chatted back and he seemed to understand our French but it was very mind bending to say the least. Then came the cheese and then, just in case we still felt hungry, the piece de resistance the pud - a speciality of the region - Nut Tart (made with the local walnuts). Well, this was just too much for us and when Monsieur le Patron went out to the kitchen I secreted the tart (still hot!) in my handbag so as not to upset him. We had coffee and rounded off the meal with the house liqueur. The price - well a staggering £8.00 per person inclusive (by inclusive we mean including the cabaret as well). Even though everything was made on the farm we just don't know how they manage to serve all that food and drink for such a small amount of money. It was quite an experience.
When we weren't cycling in the wonderful countryside we spent some afternoons playing "boule". I bought Philip a set of the proper metal boule in a wooden case for his 50th birthday so we looked quite professional. We started playing with four other Brits but they took everything too seriously and hardly ever laughed, so much so that we felt as though we were playing bowls against David Bryant for the World Professional Bowls title.
To cut a long story short we were invited to join a very noisy group of French who, although taking the game seriously, had fun. They took the micky out of us because we had all the gear but we held our own and had some very happy and memorable games with them.
Well, six weeks pass very quickly when you are having fun and the time came for us to depart. All our "boule" friends came to say goodbye and hoped they would see us next year and with Wendy (the caravan) and Petal (the tandem) safely packed, off we set for home. Not too sadly because we had two further holidays to get in before Christmas and, of course, Philip's Birthday and Retirement Party. Oh dear, this retirement business is so stressful trying to fit everything in!!!
Well, we have purchased a new caravan (Wendy II) and we shall be off soon to spend 10 days at the Tandem Club International Rally on the Luxembourg/German border and then on into our beloved France for another four or five week holiday. As Philip says, "Being retired is the best job he has ever had, you can't get the sack and you can't be made redundant and your pay cheque comes through the letter box regularly every month!" I do agree with him!
Kitty and Philip Stickley
A visit to the library produced a map and book on the area and I then waited for developments - which largely amounted to my renewing book and map on subsequent library visits ( and we've still got them so don't go looking ! ).
Easter over, Sue thought it was about time I plotted a route so we spent an evening studying the map using her now widening knowledge of the area. That proved to be the first problem - the knowledge was wide and likely places to visit were too far apart to feature in a "leisurely with the emphasis on socialising and cream-teas" as has been advertised! So forgetting all her reading we first plotted a "circular" route and hoped that we would be able to find the necessary facilities ( and loos) on it.
Checking times I found that to start from the designated station would entail a train change. Not a good idea, so back to the map for a quick re-plot, and then off we set to check that all would agreeable.
Yes, there was a cafe close to the station where early arrivals ( from other directions or early trains ) could be sustained, but disaster at the mid-morning village - no coffee shop, in fact no anything really. A jolly good place to by-pass!! Onward to the lunch stop which boasted not only a picnic location and convenient loos - but also some lovely shops and an excellent tea room / restaurant should the weather be unkind!
We next located the overnight stop, inspected the rooms, sampled the evening venue, booked dinner for 8 (people) ( I'm not convinced the landlord has ever taken such an advanced booking) and sampled the cooking to ensure it was up to standard. On, on WE only have the day for this weekend ride!!
We are in about the right place but can't find the Sunday coffee stop. Enquiries elicit that it closed last year, so another quick rethink and coffee is booked at a hotel set in 8 acres - All a bit posh but I suppose they deserve it!!
And now for the cream tea! We went up and down the road about five times before I realised that the quaint restaurant I sought was that little place heavily disguised as a building site!! Not again! All's well that ends well - Sue found a place and made the booking.
So its all planned, modified somewhat but planned - and I'm not letting on what the route is, where the stops are, or the incredibly short distance to be covered - but I will say the route prospecting was fun not least because the scenery is so beautiful and carless roads are bliss. However do watch out for the cows, ponies, donkeys, ducks, pheasants etc, which also enjoy the empty roads. Have fun Ladies, bottoms up over the cattle grids and ask Sue to tell you about our multiple encounters with the same pony and trap going to and then from the wedding ( it, not us ! ).
So what happened ladies, the editor thinks it is in the Public interest that the tour details are unbiasly told to our readers in the next issue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Ed
Several months later and after much planning and letter writing David and I arrived at the State House Hotel, Land's End where we were to spend our first night. It was a beautiful sunny, afternoon and we spent some time wandering around the complex which is worth a visit if you are in the area ! The Hotel was very comfortable, the people friendly and we had a good 'bar meal' as we watched the sun set over the sea.
Sunday 25th April dawned fine but with a strong N.E. wind which was to stay with me for seven out of the eight days. With the car loaded and after the necessary photo session under "the" signpost I was on my own. I don't suppose more than a dozen cars passed me as I cycled on the A30 to Penzance where I turned onto minor roads stopping for a cup of coffee in MARAZION looking out to St MICHAEL'S MOUNT. I continued on the "yellow" roads until I reached PENRYN and then down the main road to Falmouth for the night. 35.80 miles.
I clambered into my waterproofs on Monday morning and stayed in them all day. The wind had gone round to the S.E. but brought the rain. I wouldn't let David out of my sight until I had boarded the ferry from Falmouth to St MAWES. It's a crossing well worth making as it's great fun and saves about 10 miles. I struggled to push the bike out of St Mawes the road was so steep, but I enjoyed the view from the top ( yes in the rain ! ). I stopped just outside FOWEY, in a welcome bus shelter for lunch before descending the hill to the little car ferry across the pretty harbour. After 45.11 miles I arrived, soaked to the skin in my new Gortex jacket, at our pre-arranged E.H. in Liskeard. My did I enjoy the red hot bath...!! During the day I had cycled down a little lane, with grass growing down the middle, where the high banks on either side were covered in primroses. I have never seen anything so wonderful.
For the Tuesday I had planned a short day which turned out to be necessary as it took me 6.5 hours to travel 29.13 miles. I must have walked ( uphill) most of the way from TAVISTOCK to TWO BRIDGES but at least I was now out of Cornwall and into Devon.
The Wednesday was another beneficial, short day. Just 26.13 miles so I was in EXETER by lunch time and able to go round the shops before watching England on the TV ( football, of course ! ).
Thursday had an added incentive as we had arranged to meet one of my other sons in BRIDPORT, for dinner. The ride was hard with a few black arrows to walk up. While I was struggling up one of them my mobile phone rang so I chatted to my husband until I reached the top where I said "cheerio !" I arrived in Bridport a little early so was able to scrounge a cup of tea off a friend of mine who moved there about four years ago. I'd done 46.46 miles.
I wasn't looking forward to Friday as I was well into Dorset and I had seen all the close contour lines on the map. However the weather was on my side and although there was still a N.E. wind it was bright and sunny and the views from the tops of the hills I walked up were breath taking. I've always liked Dorset and shall certainly return. I arrived in Shaftesbury having done 40.17 miles and wished I hadn't pre-booked the accomodation.... Never mind it was only for one night so we made the most of it.
It rained during the night but managed to stop by the time I was ready for the off. With most of the mountainous hills behind me I was looking forward to an easier ride. As I crossed into Wiltshire I was making good time so decided to cross the river Avon somewhere south of Salisbury rather than cycling through the city. I went to BODENHAM hoping to cross at Langford Castle but all the signs said "Private, keep out" so I went further south to DOWNTON and then did a little bit of "rough stuff" over WITHERINGTON DOWN to get back to EAST GRINSTEAD and so into Hampshire and STOCKBRIDGE for the last night. 45.94 miles.
On Sunday I was feeling a little tired and not looking forward to the ride home which had the psycological barrier of being the wrong side of Basingstoke. I went to David's room at 7.30 am to collect his luggage only to be greeted by a very drowsy voice which had " gone back to sleep" . However - he somehow managed to be down to breakfast by 8 o'clock so I was on the road before 9 am.
I struggled through Longstock and stopped to take a photo in WHERWELL before arriving in OVERTON where I had hoped to find a coffee shop but didn't so had to make do with a Tracker bar and a drink of Ribena. I stopped in ODIHAM for lunch but was told "no food today, all the staff are sick !". However after some orange juice, a packet of crisps, a cup of coffee and a kitkat I headed for Pirbright where I was the first customer for tea !
So back in Surrey I arrived home and posed for a photo before flinging my bike in the shed and tumbling into the armchair. I'd done 54.99 miles that day and 323.73 altogether over the eight days.
Some of you will say "easy you could have done it in half the time" but to me it was a very satisfying achievement. On my own, I had planned all the routes, booked the accomodation and cycled from Land's End to Woking and above all I had enjoyed most of it, as I had kept the mileage to a level I knew I could manage. My cycling was made easier with David carrying the luggage and it was lovely meeting up with him for dinner and breakfast and I thank him for coming. I also managed to raise £200 for two local charities.
Ten days later I was cycling in Yorkshire but I cheated by going "train assisted" to SETTLE !!
Marguerite Statham 31/5/91
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RECOMMENDATIONS ( What can you recommend ? )
The CTC Shop sells an excellent shoping bag which clips onto the rear pannier. By PMD Freeway.
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