Disappointment

Daughter
in hospital.
End of hopes
for National Mountain Bike
Championships.

Shoulder
dislocated, fractured.
In good spirits
despite disappointment. She will
mend!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Our daughter arrived last week for a visit from her home in Spain, specifically to enter the National Mountain Bike Cross Country Championships last weekend and the Endurance Championships in the Isle of Man this coming weekend. Unfortunately on a practice session last Saturday she came a bit of a cropper — an early end to her racing season! I was glad that our eldest son was with her at the time, doing his own practice lap for the ‘fun’ race. With a bit of luck she will be out of hospital in by the weekend — fingers crossed.

Not Another Bike!

Henry Burton BikeYes, I’m afraid so, I have acquired another bike! Unexpectedly I must add.

Regulars will remember that I have written in the past about my bikes and I have one, a French made Motobecane classic Road Racing bicycle (circa 1980) which I call ‘Captain Beaky’ and which was bought so that I could take part in La Pedals de Clip in Spain this year. My husband and daughter both have English-made bikes from the late 1950’s and took part last year as well, but at the time I didn’t have a suitable bike.

I really would have liked to also have English bike but classic English bikes are very expensive, especially in good condition. Finding one in need of refurbishment and therefore not expensive is a matter of luck, especially if you want a small frame. The French one, however, was affordable though a little on the top end of a suitable size for me. We did what we could to make it fit better and it is not bad, in fact it is a very nice bike, but all along I have said that if I came across an affordable English bike with a slightly smaller frame I would get it. So, while not exactly actively searching for one we have been keeping our eyes open.

My husband recently made a visit to our local bicycle recycling charity ‘Back to Bikes’ in Stafford (they take in donated bikes, refurbish them and sell them at affordable prices. If they are not worth refurbishing they strip them for parts and/or scrap them).  He wasn’t looking for a bike but saw this one and brought it home for me. It is in need of complete refurbishment and there is a good chance ‘Back to Bikes’ would have scrapped it.

The bike is a locally made ‘Henry Burton’ bike circa 1960 (could even be slightly earlier). Henry Burton was an ex-cyclist cum frame-builder who built frames in his shop in Stafford, not far from my home, between 1950 and the early 1970’s. However he was apparently notoriously bad at keeping records and didn’t bother with frame numbers so we can’t be absolutely sure of the age. All we really have to go on is the style of the frame and its other parts plus the style of the ‘decals’. The shop in Stafford is now run by Henry Burton’s son and no longer builds frames although they do still sell Henry Burton bikes – built elsewhere and labelled as Henry Burton. My husband took the frame into the shop and Burton’s son has confirmed this is an original hand-made Henry Burton frame – see front decal below:

Front Decal

Our other aid to ageing the bike is the style of the script on the down tube, which is just about readable. Apparently Henry Burton had stopped using this style of script, opting for a more modern upright ‘print’ style by the mid-1960’s:

Down Tube Script Decal

This bike, which I have decided to call ‘Bertie’, is decidedly smaller framed than ‘Captain Beaky’ and is English through-and-through. At the moment it is totally in pieces and restoration has commenced. We have bought some new (old stock) wheels of the correct era ready to replace the not-so-good old ones, plus new tyres. A dent in the top tube has been repaired and the frame is in the process of being rubbed down ready for re-spray. We have found some replacement old style decals to be stuck on once the repaint job is done and the aim is that I will use this bike for La Pedals de Clip next year. If our youngest son decides to come along too then he can ride ‘Captain Beaky’, with some adjustment back to its original state in order to fit him. Watch this space.

Blow Wind, Blow

Blow wind, blow,
blow the clouds along,
sweep away the rain showers,
bring sunshine and birdsong.

Hot and Humid

Hot and humid
out on the bike
for a short, sharp ride
before the weather turns.

Indra’s Net

Indra's Net coverRecently published by Bennison Books, ‘Indra’s Net’  is an anthology of poetry generously donated by writers from all over the world. The book is being sold in aid of The Book Bus charity ‘which aims to improve child literacy rates in Africa, Asia and South America by providing children with books and the inspiration to read them.’

The title was suggested by one of the contributors, the late Cynthia Jobin who tells us: ‘Indra’s Net is a metaphor for universal interconnectedness. It’s as old as ancient Sanskrit and as ‘today’ as speculative scientific cosmology.’ (from the Forward by Carol Rumens)

I am honoured to be included in this anthology alongside several prize-winning poets as well as other writers of ‘small stones’.

This is a varied, accessible and enjoyable poetry anthology in aid of a very worthwhile cause and I would like to encourage you to treat yourselves (or a friend) to a copy. The book is available from Amazon and all profits from the sale of this book will go to the charity. To buy a copy of the book please go to the Amazon page HERE. 

To find out more about The Book Bus charity visit http://www.thebookbus.org

Options

Today the day just can’t decide
what it wants to do.
Cloud, drizzle, wind or sun?
Checking all the options!

Choice

What a choice.
Tour de France or Wimbledon?
It’s exhausting watching both.
I need a nap!

The Croxton Wells

Further to my post last Monday on the subject of Well Dressing, which you can read here, I did eventually get to visit the wells on Friday. They were only left in situ for one week so this was really my last opportunity. I half expected them to have faded, having been decorated using natural materials, but in fact they were still in good condition.

Well No. 6This was a good excuse to go out on the bike (‘Lola’) and to prove that I did here is my bike by Well No. 6.

I was intending to ride the 6.3 miles Heritage Trail which included visiting the five village wells and the sixth which was a bit further away along a lane out of the village. Croxton is about 3 miles from my home so the round trip would have been about 12.5 miles. Unfortunately I missed a turning down one lane (see Friday’s post) and ended up doing a round trip of about 14 miles.

As I mentioned in my previous post the theme this year was ‘Supporting the Community’ and Well 6 is a spring-fed well beside a fishing pond, near the remains of an old manor house. This ‘Dressing’ celebrated the Shropshire and Staffordshire Blood Bikes (which now also cover part of Cheshire). This is a volunteer organisation that transports blood, as well as breast milk for premature babies and microbiological samples on behalf of the NHS, using specially equipped motorbikes.

Boughy's Well No 1The wells all served the community in times gone by, some providing water for the people of the community and others were used to water livestock and passing coach horses. Well No. 1, on the left, is known as Boughy’s Well and is another spring fed well on an area known as The Flash. This well provided drinking water for the village and is now protected by a fence. It was ‘Dressed’ by members of the local community and represents the police, fire and ambulance services.

Well No 2

Well No. 2 on the right was created by local children and represents Staffordshire’s Lowland Rescue Service, helping find missing people and saving lives at times of flooding as well as transporting paramedics to casualties in adverse weather conditions.

Well 3 RNLI

The  small ‘Dressing’ for Well No. 3 sits above a ‘sloping well’ carved into the sandstone rock. It celebrates the work of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI).

 

Well No. 4 below is another ‘sloping well’ that was used to water farm animals and coach horses. This star-shaped ‘Dressing’ depicts the village groups that support the community, such as the choir, the church, the Garden Guild, the Tennis Club and the WI (Women’s Institute – who initiated the Well Dressing Festival).

Well No. 4

Finally Well No. 5, below, is known as ‘Cattery Well’ as it sits outside a local cattery! It is a deep spring-fed well and always has water. It provided a plentiful supply for local residents. This well is also fenced for safety purposes and the ‘Dressing’ sits above it. The ‘triptych’ design was created by children from the local primary school and references their school badge which includes a bee, train, kingfisher and the church. As well as learning about the ancient custom of Well Dressing while doing this the children also learnt about the importance of wells in rural villages.Well No. 5 Cattery Well

Missed Turning

A new cycling route today,
taking in the Croxton Wells,
slightly further than I had planned
due to a missed turning!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
If you are wondering what I mean by ‘the Croxton Wells’ check out Monday’s post here.

News

Visiting
family members,
day catching up,
conversing, sharing food and
news.

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