The Next Ride 29 September

16 September 2019

his ride will be led by Angels (D) and will depart from Normans Bay and return via Pevensey and Wareham.

Full details will be emailed shortly.

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Clarion Latest

16 September 2019

Dear All

Sue and Ian are hopefully enjoying warm sunshine in Montpellier. Meanwhile, Clarion continues to provide its members with opportunities to cycle around Sussex, whatever (almost) the onset of Autumn throws at us.

In this issue you will find reports on the two rides we have already had during September.  Don’t forget that, unusually, a third ride is still planned for this month.  it will be led by Angela (D) on the 29th. Details will be emailed shortly.

Looking ahead to October, a special ride is planned for Sunday 20th in memory of Leon.  It will be a short circular from Hassocks station, including a stop at the natural burial ground where he is buried. Lunch at the Jack and Jill Inn.  Non-cyclists welcome: there is parking at the Inn.

The ride will be led by Joyce, John (Clinton) and David (J).  Full details in the next newsletter but please put it in your diary.  If you want lunch at the Jack and Jill please let Joyce know as seating may be limited (email: jedmondsmith@yahoo.co.uk or text: 0776 162 8836).

Roger

 Ian writes:

After a long period when I had real trouble finding people to take on rides, we are now OK up to the end of November except for 10 November (see grid below) – any offers?    If anyone wishes to follow the lead of Sikka and Tessa and propose an extra ride please let me know.

 

Toads Hole Valley Development

 Our Campaigns Officer (Angela (D)) sent the following to the Brighton and Hove planning department on 19 August

 Dear Madam/Sir

 I am writing in my capacity as Campaigns Officer for Brighton and   Hove Clarion Cycling Club about the proposed Toads Hole development.

Climate change is now high on the agenda of Brighton and Hove citizens.

This development does not go nearly far enough in tackling carbon emissions, especially those emitted by cars.

The development does not prioritise cycling and walking as per the national planning policy.

The target of 40% of journeys to be made by walking or cycling is much too weak; the target needs to be set much higher at 70%. People can and will make big changes to their mode of transport if the right infrastructure is in place.

The doctors’ surgery is set in a sea of car parking. Why not set the surgery in a park with plenty of bike racks, trees and access for disabled people?

The proposed cycle route across the A27 is a really poor design with 5 crossings, a chicane and a gate. This is not access to the South Downs but a ridiculous obstacle course. Build a proper bridge.

Regards

Angela Devas

Campaigns Officer Brighton and Hove Cycling Club

@BrightonClarion

Changing Your email

It’s easy to forget to let people know when you change your email address or other crucial details.  Here’s a message from Jim our Acting Membership Sec

You can log into your Clarion membership record by using the unique URL that you will have been provided with; this is of the form https://mmjo.me/**** where the four asterisks are replaced by a combination of letters that is unique to you. Paste this into your “browser” (i.e. Internet Explorer or equivalent).

 This will return an invitation to sign in with or without a password. If you don’t have a password choose the “without password” option and the system will send a link to the email address with which you are registered.

 Clicking this link will take you to your membership record, which you can then edit.

 If you do not know your unique URL, email Jim (j.r.grozier@btinternet.com) and he will send it to you. It’s a good idea to keep it somewhere where you can find it again in case you need it!”

 Train Availability

If you’re planning a ride please do make sure to check train availability if trains are needed. Rail Enquiries is warning about possible ‘Industrial Action’ and it is not unknown for Southern to make changes at a fairly late stage

Ian


Clarion Ride Report Chichester Circular via Pagham Harbour – 8 September 2019

16 September 2019

Group_HD

Ten Clarionistas caught the Chichester train – it was good to see Jenny and Joyce after too long an absence, along with Angela C, Corinne, Sean, Sikka, Tessa and Wendy T. Unfortunately it was also the day Southern chose to unveil its new bike policy of a maximum of half a bike per carriage, evenly distributed along the train, with all the skilfully bisected half-bikes leaning against the doors so that they had to be shifted across on the command “We are now approaching Hove”. The guard was very nice and polite, but her strict rules turned out to be somewhat at variance with the official policy laid down at https://www.southernrailway.com/travel-information/on-board/bringing-a-bike. No doubt Southern are attempting to undercut the Great Western, whose policy of 1⅔ bikes per carriage on the Great Malvern service seems absurdly generous ….

Passing through the network of lakes on the site of an old quarry (Ivy Lake, Copse Lake, East and West Trout Lakes) we headed out through North Mundham and beyond on a quiet lane, with plentiful birds, butterflies and blackberries and fields stretching out to infinity. We saw a lovely Comma butterfly with its scalloped wings, but it was unfortunately rather camera-shy.

Field

We continued onto a bridleway, following the NCN88 signs (if you “get your kicks on Route 66”, what do you do on Route 88? Seal your fate …?) and so to Sidlesham Quay where we had our picnic, sang “Happy Birthday” to Sally, and marvelled at the achievement of 18th century water engineers who had built a huge tide mill here, the only remnant being the brick platform on which we sat, and the pool beyond. (Sometimes one wonders whether “technological progress” is not perhaps an oxymoron ….)

History of the tide mill at Sidlesham Quay

After Angela D’s warnings about the political affiliations of the inhabitants of Hayling Island, we were heartened by a prominent “Stop Brexit” sign here.

Picnic at Sidlesham Quay

While we tried to identify a mysterious wader, Tessa passed around some photos taken by Leon, and one of his drawings, and Joyce announced that a special memorial ride for Leon is to take place on 20 October.

RSPB Medmerry was just a loo stop, where we had to weave around a large crowd of bird-walkers doing a roll-call before setting off. More bridleways and narrow paths took us to Itchenor where the little ferry boat, now apparently officially named the Itchy Bosom, loaded up with bikes, but unfortunately not ours, as we were at the back of the queue. While waiting on the jetty we watched the large electric solar-powered catamaran, the Solar Heritage, complete with electric wheelchair lift, docking – but had to turn away when it appeared that the wheelchair would be propelled straight into the water on the other side of the narrow jetty … but no, they just managed to turn it around and save its occupant from an unscheduled dip.

The solar-powered "Solar Heritage" at Itchenor

Jenny took a shortcut to Chichester while the remaining 9 had a welcome tea stop at Bosham, with teas, coffees, milkshakes, crumble and toasted teacakes. We then set off for the final crawl to Chichester via Fishbourne, bisecting our bikes once more in order to comply with Southern regulations. Thanks to Sikka and Tessa for a wonderful day out, and for shepherding us so well with their well-known leader-and-backstop routine. All Clarion rides should be like this!

Sally and Jim.

Chichester Harbour


Clarion Ride Report Sunday 01 September 2019

16 September 2019

Jim (leader) Corinne, Sally Angela D

Report by Angela Devas 03 September 2019

Ever so slightly bleary eyed we assembled at the station in the very early hours of the morning, barely able to make one another out in the almost pre-dawn gloom, but my vision was not so badly obscured as to not observe rather enviously the coffee clutched in our leader’s hands.

We decanted at Haywards Heath the back way to make as precipitate a departure as possible from that dormitorial suburb – apologies to those mistaken apologists for that god-awful town. The plaintive cry of ‘When is the coffee stop?’ soon emerged from Jim’s followers. ‘At the elephant!’ he cried – I believe Jim recently attended a rewilding talk by the excellent Dr Chris Sandom, University of Sussex, where Dr Sandom discussed elephants twice as big as African ones roaming the Sussex landscape in the Palaeolithic era. Jim, mindful of every eventuality, had provided all his followers with whistles to prepare themselves in case of their sudden reintroduction, although I can assure all concerned Clarionistas that the whistles were not needed for that purpose on this occasion. We arrived at a café cum shopping centre at a crossroads – and found to our delight a pleasant café, apparently, according to Jim, called The Elephant, though no such sign was visible, where we sat on a terrace overlooking a charming garden. Delight soon turned to distress as we discovered a party of 50 had arrived just before us and we might have to wait a while. Clarionistas can be stoic so we discussed not only the extinction of the Sussex elephant but of the country as a whole; we were, of course, feeling a touch guilty about enjoying the view and not joining in one of the demonstrations happening in Brighton.

Clarion ride 1.9.19 - Ketche's Lane

Very soon after our coffee stop we were at our lunch stop The Peacock  but undeterred we ordered; as our plates arrived we looked at one another helplessly as there seemed no one present who was able or willing to say grace, I mean of course the Instagram ceremony, the modern version of grace, where all food is photographed before consumption, so rather sheepishly we tucked in without a smart phone blessing. I can only offer my deepest regrets that no Clarionista will be able to partake virtually of our excellent meal. I do remember fish pie, vegetarian risotto and wild boar sausages. Our whistles, apparently, are also a good deterrent to the latter, the boar that is, before their sausage state.

Continuing our excellent adventure we were rather detained by what Sally claimed was essential practice in sharp shooting from the hip with a gun in each hand. Now I know some of you will be a little astonished that not all Clarionistas are signed up members of the Anti Blood Sports League, but it appears that Sally is the founding member of the Pot Shot Action Against Undesirable Tories, and knowing that next week I am going right into the heavily militarised Thorney Island she was determined I should learn to protect myself. Accordingly, some time was spent riding my bicycle as fast as possible with my hands initially in my pockets and then releasing them suddenly and twirling imaginary pistols. Perhaps fortunately no live ammunition was present as I am notoriously astigmatic and might well have incapacitated our leader or another hapless Clarionista.

Clarion ride 1.9.19 - Slow Cats Corner

After lunch we wobbled on – this is an exact word as for various reasons we were all a little unsteady on our wheels. Corinne because she kept peering at her heart rate on the mini surveillance gizmo she attaches to herself and every time it hit 308 she leapt anxiously out of her saddle because she thought she was having a heart attack; Sally because she insisted on leaning backwards going uphill because she heard the cawing of a raven – in fact it was probably me shrieking ‘Horsham slab’ at passing rooftops or East Mascalls manor house https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1025621 and Jim because he attempted to ride his bike into any passing shed thinking it might be his longed for pumphouse http://www.villagepumps.org.uk/pumpsSussex.htm – but somehow or another we pottered along the lovely Norlington Lane, having ridden up the avenue of lime trees to Bentley wild fowl museum to discover that the whole reserve was closed and now given over to industry https://www.sussexexpress.co.uk/news/shock-closure-of-leading-family-attraction-in-sussex-1-8691586 – perhaps a nice little metaphor for the way this country is going?

At the Depot café by the cinema in Lewes we collapsed, looking like wasted extras from a late-night horror movie, onto outdoor sofas and we would probably still be there had Corinne not sensibly rounded us up to catch a train back to Brighton.

Clarion ride 1.9.19 - Relaxing at the Depot

Many thanks to Jim for organising and leading this ride.


Clarion History 26

16 September 2019

Blatchford and Thompson in wartime France

Of all the prominent figures in British socialism in the period before 1914 Blatchford was by far the most unequivocally in favour of British participation in the war.  On 28 August he had predicted that ‘the time is not far distant when the papers begin to print heavy casualty lists and the meaning of war will come nearer to us.’  The German plan was ‘to make war  “ with the utmost violence. “ ‘  and Britain must do the same.  The war must be ‘fought to a finish.’ He rejected any ‘foolish clemency to Germany’.’ There should not be ‘any kindly willingness to stop the war while Germany is still unconquered.’

He refused the  urging of  old comrades and associates to continue to play a part in the socialist movement.

I have not changed my religion.  I am still a Communist Socialist, as I was when I wrote ‘Merrie England,’ but one must face the facts, and it is a fact that I have done for the Movement all I could or can do. I cannot go back to it, even if I wanted to. It is too late. I am too old.

(By ‘Communist Socialist’  Blatchford would have meant it in the sense it was used in Marx and Engels Communist Manifesto of 1848.  In 1914 the adoption by the Bolsheviks of the label ‘Communist’ still lay several years in the future)

By the beginning of October 1914, in spite of being ‘too old’, both he and Thompson were reporting from France. Blatchford was keen to bring the reality of war home to his readers – ‘we islanders   do not know what war means.’  He went on – echoing his colleague’s comment the previous week, ‘Paris is not an island. There is nothing between Paris and the infuriated Germans but a French army and Sir John French’s contemptible little force.’ In his  ‘Notes from Paris’ in the same issue, Thompson was more upbeat, reporting that according to ‘ a relative with the British cavalry,  German soldiers were so worn by privations and broken in morale they are only too glad to be made prisoners.’

Many on the Left, both at the time and subsequently, were critical of Blatchford’s whole-hearted support for the war effort.  Yet he cannot be accused of  in anyway playing down, let alone attempting to glorify, the horrors of the war.  In his ‘Paris in War Time’ front page article on 9 October he gave an account of several horrifying incidents.

He expressed considerable pride in the British troops he encountered. Yet this did not mean that he was uncritical of the British officer class. On 16 October his article on the Clarion’s front page had the title   ‘British Snobs and Indian Princes.  Things I have seen in France.’   What Blatchford described as ‘snobbery’  and others as ‘caddish’ we  would certainly call racist.

After an army captain he met in France told him that he knew Blatchford disliked his, the captain’s, class but insisted ‘we are not all blackguards’ he was at a loss to know why he was presumed to be so hostile. He had, Blatchford insisted, ’always liked and respected British officers.’  But their one great fault was snobbery; ’They are splendid chaps, but snobs.’  He then gave an example of this.  Arriving at a hotel five hours south of Paris Blatchford was told ‘with some pride’ by the hotel staff that they had an Indian prince staying there who had ‘come to fight for the Empire.’

That evening at dinner he and a friend were able to observe from a nearby table.  The prince came in with a British general who managed not to speak to him or even look at him throughout the meal. The following evening he saw a group of British officers ignore him in the smoke-room.  Blatchford’s, unidentified, ‘young friend’ thought ‘he had never seen anything so caddish and brutal in his life.’  And Blatchford agreed ‘He had come all the way from India at his own expense to fight our battles, and he was subjected to the most horrible snub by the officers of the army of the King to whom he was so strangely loyal.’   Blatchford’s army captain was not present. ’He had gone to the front.  Had he been there he would have joined in the infliction of that bitter insult on a brave man.’

This piece resulted in praise from the oldest of the socialist weeklies in Britain, Justice.  ‘Whatever some of us may have thought of  certain aspects of our friend Robert Blatchford on the European war, we can all agree that he has done  excellent service in calling attention to the manner in which English officers behave to Indian princes.’   The paper’s ‘Critical Chronicle’ was equally supportive. ‘Robert Blatchford has done much good service for many years, but we doubt if he ever did a better bit of work for his own country and humanity at large that by his exposure in last week’s ‘Clarion’ of the incredibly caddish behaviour of “English officers and gentlemen.’’’  The paper thought the prince’s action in coming to fight was ‘very foolish of him,’ but the officers’ rudeness was inexcusable. ‘How silly from the “Imperial” point of view, as well as how blackguardly.’

Reporting further on his ‘Trip to France,’ on 30 October.Thompson attempted to describe something of what he had seen near the front.

The cottages of ploughboys and shepherds are inhabited by troops, the farmhouses by colonels and generals. The fields are monstrous gipsy encampments, with artillery instead of hawkers’ vans. Costly motor cars without wheels are scattered along the roadside, with here and there a dead horse. The highways and the country lanes are thronged with a never-ending movement of military transports and soldiers –not soldiers like the dapper Tommies of the Horse Guards’ Parade or the shining cuirassiers of Longchamps but disorderly swarms of slouching, slovenly scarecrows, dirty as hounds returned from otter-hunting in muddy burrows, and dragging their feet like weary tramps.

‘Incidentally,’ Thompson added, ‘I myself enjoyed the adventure of being arrested by French officers as a German spy.’ Justice the following week (5 November) also reported the incident adding, ‘Fortunately there were no casualties.’

Ian         

 

Next time.  The final episode.   A Shocking Edition.  The Clarion on Christmas Day 1914


The Next Ride: Sunday 8 September 2019

6 September 2019

Chichester Circular

From Chichester station we cycle through the outskirts of the town to join a bridleway taking us between lakes and heading for North Mundham. Following the road through the village we move seamlessly onto bridleways leading to Pagham Harbour. We then have a choice. Either explore the new pedestrian/cycle paths in the Nature Reserve/s and return north via the Saltern Way, or, alternatively, make our way via mostly quiet roads towards the Saltern Way going south-west and catch the West Itchenor ferry taking us eventually to Bosham. Here we would have an optional stop for tea. From there on road and pavement cycle path back to Chichester via another well-surfaced pedestrian/cycle way. The ferry costs £3.50 with a bicycle and is cash only.

Bring a picnic if the weather is suitable, if not we will divert, probably to the Anchor north of Sidlesham.

This outline is a little vague as we are still to complete our final recce.

The terrain is largely off-road, the roads are mostly quiet with brief forays along busy roads to join these up.

A gentle flat ride. Approximately 20-25 miles depending on the final choice of route.

Trains: Brighton 10 am arriving in Chichester at 10.58 when we will begin the ride.

Return: Chichester 0.22 and 0.52

Sikka and Tessa


Clarion Ride Report: Sunday 01 September 2019

3 September 2019

Haywards Heath to Lewes

Jim (leader), Corinne, Sally, Angela D

Report by Angela Devas 03 September 2019

Clarion ride 1.9.19 - Jim, Angela and Corinne at Haywards Heath station

Ever so slightly bleary eyed we assembled at the station in the very early hours of the morning, barely able to make one another out in the almost pre-dawn gloom, but my vision was not so badly obscured as to not observe rather enviously the coffee clutched in our leader’s hands.

We decanted at Haywards Heath the back way to make as precipitate a departure as possible from that dormitorial suburb – apologies to those mistaken apologists for that god-awful town. The plaintive cry of ‘When is the coffee stop?’ soon emerged from Jim’s followers. ‘At the elephant!’ he cried – I believe Jim recently attended a rewilding talk by the excellent Dr Chris Sandom, University of Sussex, where Dr Sandom discussed elephants twice as big as African ones roaming the Sussex landscape in the Palaeolithic era. Jim, mindful of every eventuality, had provided all his followers with whistles to prepare themselves in case of their sudden reintroduction, although I can assure all concerned Clarionistas that the whistles were not needed for that purpose on this occasion. We arrived at a café cum shopping centre at a crossroads – and found to our delight a pleasant café, apparently, according to Jim, called The Elephant, though no such sign was visible, where we sat on a terrace overlooking a charming garden. Delight soon turned to distress as we discovered a party of 50 had arrived just before us and we might have to wait a while. Clarionistas can be stoic so we discussed not only the extinction of the Sussex elephant but of the country as a whole; we were, of course, feeling a touch guilty about enjoying the view and not joining in one of the demonstrations happening in Brighton.

Clarion ride 1.9.19 - Fashions at the coffee stop

Not only elephants and coffee but fabulous fashions too!

Very soon after our coffee stop we were at our lunch stop The Peacock but undeterred we ordered; as our plates arrived we looked at one another helplessly as there seemed no one present who was able or willing to say grace, I mean of course the Instagram ceremony, the modern version of grace, where all food is photographed before consumption, so rather sheepishly we tucked in without a smart phone blessing. I can only offer my deepest regrets that no Clarionista will be able to partake virtually of our excellent meal. I do remember fish pie, vegetarian risotto and wild boar sausages. Our whistles, apparently, are also a good deterrent to the latter, the boar that is, before their sausage state.

Continuing our excellent adventure we were rather detained by what Sally claimed was essential practice in sharp shooting from the hip with a gun in each hand. Now I know some of you will be a little astonished that not all Clarionistas are signed up members of the Anti Blood Sports League, but it appears that Sally is the founding member of the Pot Shot Action Against Undesirable Tories, and knowing that next week I am going right into the heavily militarised Thorney Island she was determined I should learn to protect myself. Accordingly, some time was spent riding my bicycle as fast as possible with my hands initially in my pockets and then releasing them suddenly and twirling imaginary pistols.* Perhaps fortunately no live ammunition was present as I am notoriously astigmatic and might well have incapacitated our leader or another hapless Clarionista.

Clarion ride 1.9.19 - Ketche's Lane

Sally ascending a slight undulation on Ketche’s Lane

After lunch we wobbled on – this is an exact word as for various reasons we were all a little unsteady on our wheels. Corinne because she kept peering at her heart rate on the mini surveillance gizmo she attaches to herself and every time it hit 308 she leapt anxiously out of her saddle because she thought she was having a heart attack; Sally because she insisted on leaning backwards going uphill because she heard the cawing of a raven – in fact it was probably me shrieking ‘Horsham slab’ at passing rooftops or East Mascalls manor house and Jim because he attempted to ride his bike into any passing shed thinking it might be his longed for pumphouse

Clarion ride 1.9.19 - old pump house at Fletching

… but somehow or another we pottered along the lovely Norlington Lane**, having ridden up the avenue of lime trees to Bentley wild fowl museum to discover that the whole reserve was closed and now given over to industry – perhaps a nice little metaphor for the way this country is going?

Clarion ride 1.9.19 - The Avenue (returning without tea)

The avenue

At the Depot café by the cinema in Lewes we collapsed, looking like wasted extras from a late-night horror movie, onto outdoor sofas and we would probably still be there had Corinne not sensibly rounded us up to catch a train back to Brighton.

Many thanks to Jim for organising and leading this ride.

Clarion ride 1.9.19 - Relaxing at the Depot

* I witnessed this daredevil spectacle – but was unable to record it for posterity, as this would have involved taking my camera out, switching it on and taking a picture, all the while whizzing downhill “no-hands” at great speed, which would almost certainly have resulted in me falling off and not being able to shepherd my little flock to the safety of the Depot – Jim.

** Seasoned Clarionettes may recall that on 5 September 2010, Norlington Lane was the venue for the Norlington Speed Trials, in which Jenny Millington and Jim Grozier competed for the Golden Helmet award. As Roger reported at the time, “The aim was to register the highest maximum speed over a measured distance in Norlington Lane; the distance specified was ‘hardly any’ and the winner was our undisputed leader with a miraculous maximum of 23.3 mph. Jenny came a disappointing second with a miserable 23.2.”