Dear fellow members and friends
I was horrified to learn that Jenny was hit by a car on her way to the ride on Sunday. I’ve been in touch and she tells me she’s “pretty OK” though her injuries sound bad enough to me.. Everyone will join me in sending our best wishes for the swiftest of recoveries. She is going to pursue compensation for possible damage to her bike through the CTC legal department.;
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We need – within the next week or so – someone to take on the ride for 24 March – which I’m not able to cover. Offers please!
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This week’s newsletter focuses first on matters of general interest discussed at the AGM. Sometimes people are a little reluctant to take on a ride report. It’s been said on several occasions before, but well worth repeating, that there is no “standard” requirements for reports – whatever seems right to the rapporteur (se) is fine. Some people, notably Anne, Jim and Suzanne, have made some very impressive, long and detailed reports – and such are always welcomed. But, equally, just a few lines saying, perhaps, just who was on the ride, and briefly where you went and what the weather was like is absolutely fine. Or, why not follow Jim’s example and do a report based on photos? It’s entirely up to the ride report writer. Fred has done a step-by-step guide for anyone who is really stuck about how to do it. If you’d like one get in touch with Fred at firstname.lastname@example.org [They liked him so much they named him twice!] But the essential thing is to be like Frank Sinatra and do it your way.
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Roger and Jim have also put together a two part guide to putting photos on (and viewing/downloading from) Flickr – which I’m attaching with the newsletter.
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Fred writes “Clarionettes may be interested in this blog about Combe Haven Valley.”
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Message from Jim. “I’m sorry there has not been any more news of the Norfolk ride yet, but just remind everyone that it will be from 19-22 April (with rides on Sat 20 and Sun 21) and based in Sheringham, and that people intending to go should book their own accommodation? I’m hoping to do one recce at least in the next 2 weeks so should be able to send something out in the next circular.”
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Several people in B&H Clarion knew Peter Avis, who died before Christmas and others may have read some of the obits that have appeared in the press. And lots of us visit Dieppe from time to time – sometimes with bikes! Those of us who had expressed interest at Peter’s funeral were invited by the Dieppe town council to attend the inauguration of the “Place Peter Avis” on Saturday 16 February. Joyce took the Newhaven ferry the day before. Unfortunately, Sue and I couldn’t make the ferry because of my teaching commitment on Friday mornings so we had to go the long way round via the Channel Tunnel
What is now the Place Peter Avis lies at the back of the St Remy church off the Rue de 19 août 1942. Part of it is used for outside chairs and tables of Peter’s favourite Brazza café. Sue and I went to the place to have a preliminary look at it about an hour before the ceremony was due to start. The new plaque was covered by a small tricolour and the bench that Siobhan, Peter’s daughter, had initiated was just beneath it. It has a little plaque reading “In Memory of Peter Avis” A large poster in the nearby MJC building gave details of the inauguration of the place together with a large photo of Peter
There were between 100 and 150 people present when proceeding began soon after 11 a.m. There were a number of us from Brighton and “Giddings of the Times,” as Peter always referred to him, was accompanied by some of Peter’s old Observer colleagues. Sebastien Jumel, the maire, made a speech stressing Peter’s work for and attachment to the town and was followed by Brighton mayor Bill Randall who made a shorter speech – also in French. There were two more speeches – both in English – by another of the Dieppe councillors and by Siobhan. Apart from tributes to Peter much emphasis was placed on keeping the Brighton-Dieppe links going and building on them.
The plaque – which reads “Peter Avis, 1929- 2012. Journaliste anglais. Citoyen d’honneur de la Ville de Dieppe” was then unveiled to applause and we repaired to the MJC for an aperitif.
Sue took some photos – which I’ll be happy to send to anyone interested.
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“Pothole Epidemic” shouted the headline of the front page of the Argus and the details were pretty shocking. But they fade into relative insignificance besides the account of Graham Tooley in last weeks “comic” (Cycling Weekly) Graham maintains that he’s never seen roads so badly maintained in 40 years of cycling. “Cycling through West Sussex I hit a pothole sending me falling to the ground, suffering with serious cuts and bruises.” His 12 year old Colnago bike was damaged beyond repair and will cost him £1,800 to replace – but so far, at least, he has been refused compensation by the Highways Agency.
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Cycles of Radical Will – Anne reports
We were sorry to miss John’s ride out on The Levels in early January & enjoyed the photo-strip report from Jim with all the highlights & humour. The next day when it wasn’t raining we struck out that way ourselves from Polegate to Bexhill on the NCN2 to see the new exhibition by Shaun Gladwell at the De La Warr Pavilion. http://www.dlwp.com/event/shaun-gladwell
It’s called Cycles of Radical Will & features some cycling; a beautiful film of a BMX cycle ballet performed outside the de la Warr. On the roof there is an installation of BMX bike ramps sited so that the cyclists have to co-operate & interact to perform their stunts. These can be booked in advance if you want to try your hand at it! On the top floor also there are 3 video screens with 2 long & 1 short film on skateboarding & it’s sub-cultures, here, in US & Shaun’s homeland-Australia. On the ground floor in the main room there are 2 large screens showing a female beat boxer on 1 & a male body popper dancer on the other-both thrilling to watch & admire among the urban grime & graffiti or club scene.
We had a gourmet lunch there, starting on the balcony overlooking the sea but Mick soon retiring to the comfortable couch & warm interior. I had the most wonderful soup ever of cauliflower & cumin, followed by a vegan chocolate cake which we both shared & agreed on its goodness, & redbush tea for £9,which for the quality was good value. Mick had their spiffing sandwich lunch deal which was praised too.
The exhibition is on every day of the week till June 23rd & would make a good Clarion excursion. It hadn’t opened when Clarion last went out that way & our postponed Hassocks circular for March 10th, is probably bit too soon after last Levels, but, especially as the exhibits are said to change, we, or anyone else may be interested in a ride out that way before June 23rd.
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“Confronting War Ten Years On”- Jim reports
Sally and I attended the “Confronting War Ten Years On” conference in London on February 9th. Joyce and Leon were also there, in a different part of the packed hall.
The attendance had been variously estimated as 650, 800, 1000 … (official police estimate was therefore about 3). There was a galaxy of speakers, including Tony Benn (now looking quite old and frail but still able to deliver a speech and get a standing ovation) and various leading lights of Stop The War and CND – Andrew Murray, Lindsey German, Kate Hudson etc among many others. Some of the most impressive speakers were from overseas: Derrick O’Keefe of the Canadian Peace Alliance, Phyllis Bennis from the US anti-war coalition United for Peace and Justice, and Manuel Hassassian, the ambassador of the Palestinian Territories, who brought with him a delegation of Palestinian firemen. Two old stalwarts – Jeremy Corbyn and, especially, Tariq Ali showed they are still very much out there fighting for peace and justice.
Maybe there were too many speeches though. We were reminded several times that it was not just a celebration of the biggest ever demo – which took place in London and across the world on 15th February 2003 – but sometimes it did feel like that. A series of parallel sessions (I chose the one on Islamophobia) allowed issues to be explored in greater depth, including some participation from the floor, but maybe we could have done more of that, given that this was a chance to plan future strategy and decide what sort of movement we want the Stop the War Coalition to be.
For details of future events, keep an eye on the website at http://www.stopwar.org.uk/. There is an anti-drone protest in Leicester (where a drone control centre is apparently to be built) on 27 April.
Joyce adds: Thanks for a good clear report Jim – just to add – Leon attended the parallel session on Drones because B&H UNA has a resolution to UNA conference which he will be presenting and because drone airstrike technology is the frightening face of the future and needs controlling, through some kind of international legislation. Joyce attended the Israel Palestinian parallel session and was both uplifted (by speakers like Phyllis Bennis and Manuel Hassassian) and dismayed by the seeming endlessness of this tragedy and the lack of international action.