The Next Ride Sunday 8 March 2020

27 February 2020

The Back of Beyond” (Lewes to Berwick)

Ringmer – Palehouse Common – East Hoathly –

Whitesmith – Vert Wood – Ripe

It’s nearly three years since we did this ride; if it was left to me we would do it at least once a year, as it features some wonderful cycle-friendly lanes. The “nickname” comes from an exclamation by a Clarionista (confusingly, NOT Nick) on a previous version of the ride.

If you’ve never seen Charles I’s death warrant, now might be a good time to join us for lunch at the King’s Head in East Hoathly, where, on our last visit, a photo taken after lunch appeared to show Tessa stealing Chris’s right arm, but apparently it was just a trick of the light.

Hopefully there will be many stops to admire the Sussex countryside. Readings from T S Eliot are optional (even in Hollow Lane).

Vert Wood is, as before, an option if not too muddy.

Practicalities:

Start at Lewes Station (car park) at 09:40.

Trains: Get the 09:17 Seaford train from Brighton to Lewes.

Length: 25 miles.

Duration: 6 hours including lunch and cat herding.

Getting back: Trains leave Berwick hourly for Brighton at 55 minutes past the hour. The Berwick Inn does a very nice apple crumble and ice cream. Sun sets at 5.53 pm.

Terrain: Flat, with some gentle undulations. There is a very short section of the B2192, but otherwise quiet lanes and a reasonably hard track through Vert Wood.

This is a linear ride; anyone arriving by car can park at Lewes Station and get the train back there from Berwick; or park at Berwick and get the train to Lewes. Get a return ticket to Berwick.

Jim.


The Last Ride – Sunday 23 February 2020

27 February 2020

Tessa’s Report Hassocks Circular

It wasn’t the ride Nick had planned.

Adverse weather and the prospect of negotiating Wivelsfield Station steps made Angela D, Jim, Sikka, Sue ( from Farnham) and Tessa rebel. We decided to alight at Hassocks and make our way to Wivelsfield to have lunch at the Cock Inn. Then decide whether to continue to Shoreham via the Downslink and Nick’s beloved cafe , Stan’s Bike Shack?

February 23, 2020: Hassocks circular w/ South Downs Link to Shoreham optional finish

Waterproof trousers were on and off as we headed through a little drizzle and strong and gusty winds through Ditchling, left down Spatham lane, right at the crossroads, heading towards Plumpton before turning left to Wivelsfield Green.

We were early for an unbooked lunch but were given a warm welcome even though all tables were fully booked. We all squeezed onto a small table in the bar. Food was good except for a runny fish pie and not very cheesy cauliflour. The expected rain started to fall outside making us feel extra cosy.

Leaving the pub was a small challenge. Our bikes had been boxed in by a parked car. Angela, in full voice went back into the pub asking whose number plate ended WEA?. He was reluctant to come out at first but Angela was persuasive mentioning possible scratches to his car. The incident ended amicably with some good humoured remarks from the car driver about us not exceeding the speed limit. As if Clarion would!

February 23, 2020: Hassocks circular w/ South Downs Link to Shoreham optional finish

Again it was waterproof trousers or not, and where do we go? Angela planned a return to Hassocks by careful map reading as we felt Stan’s Bike Shed and too far a destination with such uncertain weather.

We headed into the wind towards Burgess Hill. The sun came out illuminating lilac and white crocuses that bloomed on the grass of Burgess Hill’s suburbs. Birds were singing and earlier we had seen celandine, snowdrops and primroses blossoming.

The suburb roads were full of traffic and potholes so we were pleased to leave and join a small quiet cul de sac that led us to Goddards Green.

Soon we had reached Hurstpierpoint College. The lane leading to the main Hurstpierpoint – Hassocks road was a deceptively uphill haul so at the junction we all felt the need of a tea stop in Hassocks.

We said goodbye to Nick at the junction , the lure of Stan’s being too great and headed into Hassocks to have tea, hot chocolate and delicious chocolate brownies at Proper Cycling and Coffee, the perfect cafe for weary Clarinistas.

February 23, 2020: Hassocks circular w/ South Downs Link to Shoreham optional finish

Thank you to our two leaders Nick and Angela for a lovely weather defying day out.

Tessa.


Clarion Latest 24 February 2020

27 February 2020

Dear All

Coming back down the M1 from Nottingham yesterday in pretty appalling weather with parts of the motorway partially flooded– following the national committee meeting on Saturday – I kept wondering how the ride to Stan’s Bike Shed was going and hoping those on it were having a bit better luck weatherwise than us. Sorry that Stan’s turned out to be not ‘on’ for all but Nick and that he arrived after it was closed. Better luck next time!. I think I’ve included everything suggested in the Future Rides grid – but please let me know if I’ve missed anything.

Norfolk Trip

I gather things have progressed a bit since the last newsletter. But anyone still thinking about it or having views about the best time of year to do this please let Jim know ASAP at j.r.grozier@btinternet.com

Our AGM Wed 25 March 2020

Thanks to everyone who responded to my plea in the last newsletter (and ‘last chance’ message).

If you intend to come do print out the agenda and any other papers you think you’ll need. In order that we can take a view and instruct delegates at our AGM I hope to be circulating the agenda for the national conference and the list of motions to be discussed fairly soon- once the final versions arrive.

Similarly, I’ll circulate any reports I receive from the other office-holders and any motions or general proposals you’d like discussed before the meeting.

The Warwick Meet, 10-12 April

We’ll all be getting info soon about this year’s Easter Meet – the 125th one. Earlier last year I actually suggested that Warwick might be a suitable place to hold it and wrote a little piece about the attractions of the area for those not involved in the various cycling activities. I’m putting it in this newsletter at the end after Tessa’s report (delivered exemplarily early as usual) of yesterday’s ride. Even if you’re not tempted to come to Warwick I hope you’ll find the bit about the Clarion connection with Daisy (aka the Countess of Warwick) and her exploits an interesting bit of ‘Clarion history’

Ian

Warwick Attractions and the Clarion connection

As with last year at York, the 2020 Meet will take place in one of Britain’s the most interesting county towns. There are plenty of possibilities for exploration in the area– Stratford-upon-Avon is not too far away and even the Cotswolds are not that distant.

But with the spa town of Leamington just a couple of miles away and the still impressive Kenilworth Castle within five there is really little need to stray that far. In Warwick itself St Mary’s church cannot rival last year’s York Minster but is still worth a visit.

But the main attraction is Warwick castle. Dating in part since before the Norman conquest, the castle was deemed the best in Britain by the 2003 Good Britain Guide. The castle is worth visiting for the setting alone – perched on a hill above the Avon. Owned and run nowadays by the Tussauds Group there are two impressive towers, dungeons and lots of displays and events going on throughout the day.

One feature of the more modern apartments is a sort of reconstruction of a 1898 weekend party hosted by Frances Countess of Warwick – better known as Daisy. It features wax figures representing the chief guest the Prince of Wales – future Edward VII – with whom she had had quite a long-running affair, her husband the Earl of Warwick and other guests including the young Winston Churchill.

Daisy (1861 -1938) was the inspiration of the 1892 music-hall song ‘Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do’ by Harry Dacre – still well-known. She was famous for her colourful, not to say scandalous, lifestyle, her lavish entertaining which eventually got her into serious debt and very nearly prison, her philanthropic activities, and her Left Wing politics which grew out of a connection with the Clarion.

In 1894, the year that Tom Groom wrote of the cycle tour that led to the foundation of our National Clarion Cycling Club, the paper published an article by its editor, Robert Blatchford, which criticised one of the extravagant Warwick castle parties put on by Daisy. Someone must have made her aware of this. She was incensed. She believed that she was doing a good deed by hiring lots of local people to help her to entertain her guests as temporary servants and so on. So she set off for London and confronted Blatchford in his office.

However, far from apologising abjectly, Blatchford explained his socialist beliefs and principles – and, surprising, converted her to his way of thinking. There was no looking back. Later she joined the Social-Democratic Federation (SDF) – generally regarded as the most radical of the socialist organisations. She was rumoured to be the only delegate ever to arrive at of its annual conference by private train. In August 1923 the SDF’s paper, Justice, described her as being ‘intellectually and sympathetically with the working classes’ and a few months later she stood as the Labour candidate in the general election against the future Tory PM Anthony Eden for the Warwick and Leamington constituency.

However you look at it she was pretty unforgettable. If you want to know more, there is Sushila Anand’s 2009 book Daisy. The Life and Loves of the Countess of Warwick and there’s lots about her on the internet including a video documentary and Nell Darby’s article from 2018 ‘Daisy, Daisy the Cycling Countess’ which looks at some of Daisy’s adventures and misadventures connected with bikes. She did cycle though whether she ever had a tandem as suggested in the song or whether she ever joined our club is not known.

In contrast to all the razzmatazz at Warwick, Kenilworth castle is relatively peaceful. It is ‘one of the ruins that Cromwell knocked about a bit’ as Marie Lloyd once sang. It was deliberately ‘slighted’ in 1649 to prevent it being ever used as a royalist stronghold in the Civil War. But though mainly ruins it is still one of the most impressive castles in Britain. It was put back on the cultural map in 1821 when Sir Walter Scott’s novel Kenilworth was published. This was set in the Elizabethan period and one of the main and most attractive features of the castle today is its reconstructed Elizabethan knot garden.

So, no shortage of things to do and to see in and around Warwick. The problem will be fitting them all in!


The Next Ride: Sunday 23rd February

14 February 2020

Wivelsfield to Shoreham, via Stan’s Bike
Shack (or the Partridge pub in Partridge Green)
The ride on Sunday February 23rd will start at Wivelsfield station. We will have a
choice of lunch stops (Stan’s Bike Shack or the Partridge pub in Partridge Green).
I’ll be heading to Stan’s Bike Shack to sample their coffee for the first time, but
others may wish to have a break in the Partridge pub instead.
We’ll all meet up after lunch to cycle along the Downs Link to Shoreham train
station. Those with more energy may also want to cycle from Shoreham to
Brighton.
Train from Brighton to Wivelsfield is 10.08.
Ride concept by Nick. Fine-tuning by Jim.


The Last Ride: 2nd February 2020.

14 February 2020

The Last Ride –Sally’s Report 

 

 Berwick Circular 18 miles

 

Angela D., and Nick, co-leaders. Followed by Jim, Sikka, Richard Carroll, Sally.

 

It was a mild greyish February morning lightened by gleams of sunshine through the misty fields and on the scarp edge of the downs. There was a lot of water lying in the pastures after heavy overnight rain, filling the ditches to several inches up the hedgerows, and pouring into the drains. We pedalled along happily at an unfashionably slow pace, pausing to admire, at Angela’s instruction, manor houses and cottages—mostly 18th century, Ripe church (formerly known as Eckington, given by Henry VIII to Thomas Cromwell after the expropriation of the monasteries), and a lovely timber-frame and brick house in the village that looked Jacobean, with carved wooden people on the doorposts (see picture).

Detail from porch of old house

On the return from a detour to Laughton Tower, down a lane pitted with spectacular rashes of pot-holes, circular like the ones made by meteorites on the surface of the moon, I got a puncture. Luckily it was not too far to walk to the Roebuck Inn for lunch.

February 2, 2020: Berwick circular

 

The cognoscenti had advised in advance that this was a cog-themed establishment, in honour of “steam punk,” whatever that may be. The décor was largely characterised by interlocking wheels of assorted sizes with teeth on them. Apt for a cyclists’ pub. It could have been named “The Derailleur Inn.” After lunch, Jim helped me to fix the puncture and I vowed in future to bring a spare inner tube, and a selection of adapters suitable for different valves, since the pub offered a foot pump which, however, was incompatible with my tyre.

 

We set off back, rather later than intended because of the delay caused by the pneumatic mishap. Richard raced ahead to catch the train. Nick just missed it. The rest brought up the rear, and the 5 of us had time for a pot of tea, and in Jim’s case an apple crumble with ice-cream, at the Berwick Inn. We were home at Brighton soon after 5.30.

Laughton Tower

Snowdrops

Sally.


Clarion Latest: 9 February 2020

14 February 2020

 

Dear All
The ride planning meeting last Tuesday seems to have been very productive but I
will wait until I get a definite offer for 8 March before confirming anything. As
usual will let you know when I do.
If you’d like to take on 8 March please let me know and I’ll include it in the next
newsletter. Likewise if anyone wants to take on 22 March.
Norfolk Trip
One of the items from Nick’s report (see his google group message) of the
meeting was
When are people free for the proposed Norfolk trip? It was suggested that
September might be the best time for this, although the previous Clarion
Norfolk visit was in April (7 years ago). Would 5 or 6 people be able to
commit to the Norfolk trip.
Since then I have received the following message from Jim.
I would like to get a date fixed, and accommodation booked (at least for me
and Sally). A few from the Google group have expressed interest, but I’m
aware that not everyone is in the Google group.
So, please let Jim know ASAP at j.r.grozier@btinternet.com

Boots and Spurs
Suzanne’s report – complete with photo – did us proud in the last (much delayed)
issue of Boots and Spurs and I was very pleased that Angela (D)’s piece on
‘fellowship’ (which I sent in without telling her!) was also included.
The deadline for the next issue is the end of March. Anyone feel like doing a
brief report on our more recent activities? Do let me know.

Our AGM
I think the best time for our AGM will be one of the days during the final fortnight
of March which will give people the best chance of having proposals included in
the agenda and in the case of office-holders having their reports circulated – even

if they go out after the agenda in some cases.
I’ve had zero response from my request in the last newsletter that those intending
to attend the meeting let me know specific dates or days of the week that are not
good for them, but let’s try again.
I’ve checked again with Anne and Mick who are hosting the meeting and also with
our chair, Roger, as a result of which I’ve been able to reduce the choices to the
following 6 dates in March Mon 16, Wed 18. Fri 20, Tues 24, Wed 25, and Fri
27
If you can’t make any one of these dates (or more than one!) please let me
know not later than next weekend – Sunday 16 February. I’ll be sending out
the agenda etc as soon as possible after that. Any reports that arrive
subsequently will of course also be circulated.
Sorry the notice is so short but I have to attend a national committee
meeting in Nottingham the following weekend and I’m pretty busy at the
moment checking proofs during the rest of the week.
Angela (D) suggested using Doodle – which I attempted to do but without success
in the end, It was a good suggestion – just a bit too complicated for my tiny brain!
But since there are only 6 choices now it shouldn’t be too difficult for everyone
just to say ‘I can’t make………’
Finding a date that suits everyone is always a problem and I realise things may
come up before whatever date we agree that will make it difficult or impossible for
someone to attend. So, I can’t guarantee that the date will be good for everyone
but as usual I will do my best!
If anyone has a proposal to put to the AGM it would be good if it could be included
in the agenda so everyone can think about it – and perhaps discuss it before the
meeting. Again, let me know by next Sunday if there’s anything you’d like
included. I’ll be happy to circulate any other proposals that arrive after that
separately.
Sorry that Jim had to cancel the 9

th February ride – but it was clearly the right

decision in the light of the weather forecast
However, we have still got Sally’s account of the 2 Feb ride and you can see a
version brilliantly illustrated with photos on via the google group.

Ian