Three Worlds, Frome: homage to Escher

bike in water

Published in: on November 11, 2009 at 5:43 pm  Comments (1)  
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Guest Blogger – Yalda Davis: Cycling round Suffolk

In an historic first for The Highway Cycling Group blog, we have a guest blogger. Regular readers will be familiar with Yalda’s vintage Raleigh bicycle, but now Yalda has provided a splendid write up of her recent few days cycling round Suffolk, and supplied some terrific photographs that will have you longing to get on your bike and explore the countryside.

Rattlesden church

Rattlesden Church - Suffolk

Having been desperate to get out of London for several weeks, I finally booked my tickets to go to Suffolk with my bike for a couple of days, regardless of the weather – but hoping I would be lucky! Which indeed I was. But first things first – the 6.5 miles from the train station in Stowmarket to my parents’ house (where we always spent holidays when I was a child) I always found a particularly punishing ride – I defy anyone to tell me East Anglia is flat after doing that journey! On a one-gear bike at least…. Well, this time I had a pleasant surprise as it didn’t seem nearly so bad as before – all those 16 mile round trips to work and back with the long hill up to Manor House (London) along the side of Finsbury Park must’ve done the trick! Even the not-so-nice B1115 felt like a treat with the vast expanses of green on either side, and my rats must’ve liked the country air as they slept soundly in my bike basket (in a box of course!) all the way home despite the odd bumpy patch!
The following morning I set off for Punchard’s Farm, otherwise known in our family as the Jersey cows (for obvious reasons) – a favourite place of mine ever since I can remember. On the way I passed the brilliantly named (but only recently signposted) Louse Lane.

Louse Lane on the way to Punchard's Farm

Louse Lane on the way to Punchard's Farm

I was hoping to see some babies of one sort or another, it being the right time of year, and I wasn’t disappointed – a foal about 6 weeks old, and 6 fluffy kittens about 3 weeks old in the barn, in the cosiest little den I’ve ever seen, made of straw bales.

foalkittens

After that I carried on northwards to Rattlesden, a village with a lovely church and pretty thatched cottages. I then had to turn around to head southwest towards Lavenham, intending to take a narrow turn off on the same road as the farm I had just come from, as it is my favourite road in Suffolk (so far anyway!) However I managed to take a different route back for most of it, which satisfied my rather over-zealous determination never to return by the same road where possible!

A favourite lane

A favourite lane

Anyway this particular narrow country lane is my favourite for various reasons – first, it’s so narrow it has grass growing down the middle; secondly, recently I discovered that a farm from my (vague!) childhood memories (which I’d many times decided must’ve been either from a fairy tale, a dream, or else existed somewhere far away that I’d never remember the name of or revisit in my lifetime) was down this road: the low stone walls of the farm on one side of the road, and a pond full of ducks on the other. Nothing more supernatural about it than that, though still it retains that fairytale-like quality that it had in my mind for so many years. Thirdly, along this road is one of the most beautiful old houses that I’ve ever seen – which I now know is called Hill Farm! My fourth and equally satisfying discovery about this road was that there is a poppy field along it – and having not seen a poppy field for a long time, that was an extra special discovery.

Poppy Field

Poppy Field

After the delights of this road, I concentrated again on actually getting somewhere – Lavenham – in time for lunch. For anyone who doesn’t know Lavenham (plenty, I’m sure), it is an old wool town, with lots of crooked old beamed houses from the 17th century and earlier no doubt. It is popular with tourists, and being Sunday, with a French market on in the square, I probably could have picked a far better place to find a quiet country pub with a garden to eat in… Nevertheless, I found a table under a weeping willow, which though rather shady, created relatively successfully the illusion of peacefulness!

Afterwards I cycled the 6 miles back home, stopping at a stream on the way (my eternal quest to find nice rivers and streams in central Suffolk…), to complete a ride of 23 miles – rather longer than I anticipated!
The following day I decided on a less ambitious ride down through Kettlebaston (yet another of the strangely named villages round there….) – where, so the story goes (I wasn’t around to witness it!) my brother once cycled full pelt down the hill, didn’t manage to turn the 90 degree corner at the bottom and went flying into a hawthorn hedge – ouch! Then on to Chelsworth and Monks Eleigh. Chelsworth must be one of the most beautiful villages I know – it’s only minus point is that it lies on that infamous B1115 road where cars whizz past horribly fast. I visited its little church, tucked back behind a house, dating back to the 13th Century or possibly older. Here I did find a river to my satisfaction – I can’t believe I’ve never noticed it before – and I spent a while standing on a little bridge admiring it, reluctant to leave. Sadly all the riverbank seemed to be on private property so I couldn’t laze by it. In Monks Eleigh I enjoyed an icecream in the churchyard at the top of a hill and had a chat with the lady who had come to lock up the church – she seemed to find it odd that I was out cycling on my own!

The River at Chelsworth

The River at Chelsworth

This ride still came to 14 miles, which again was further than I thought this particular round trip would come to.

So – I was having such a wonderful time that I ditched my reserved ticket back to London and bought a new one for the following day – with the determination that I would definitely go there more often this summer!

Oh and on the way back to the train station I hit my record speed down a steep hill – 28mph, very satisfying!

Yalda Davis is a London cycle commuter, a fan of rats, and is Communications Officer for The Prince’s Rainforests Project: Add your voice to the call to stop tropical deforestation before it’s too late at www.rainforestSOS.org

The Prince’s Rainforest Project

Well I haven’t been riding too much recently, I’ve been working with The Prince’s Rainforests Project helping put their website together www.rainforestSOS.org I’m going to expand on why this is important now and I’m not going to talk about cycling in this post, but bear with me, just this once.

The plight of the rainforest has been publically known for the last forty years, and sad to say, actual ground level stopping of rainforest destruction has been hard work, or almost ineffective. This needs global action! Thankfully some real progress is finally being made in working to make the rainforests worth more alive than dead. The Prince’s Rainforests Project was established by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, to raise awareness of the connection between rainforest destruction & climate change and the need for urgent action to tackle the problem of deforestation. The Project works with governments, business, and NGOs to find a way of ensuring Rainforest Nations and crucially, the people who live in rainforests, get more money by looking after rainforest and leaving the trees standing, rather than by the unsustainable action (but in the short term currently very profitable) of chopping them down. In order for policy on preservation of standing rainforest to change, world leader and policy-makers must be made aware that there is public understanding that deforestation is costing us the earth. Previous rainforest charities have focussed on preservation on grounds of biodiversity and land rights. Both are admirable and right reasons for preservation, but it would not be immediately apparent to us here in the West why that would matter. there has been the feeling that, it would be ‘a shame’ if the rainforests died off. However, it’s somewhat more serious than that:

  1. The destruction of tropical rainforests releases more carbon annually into the atmosphere than the entire global transport system. That’s more stored carbon released every year than the combined carbon released by all the cars, busses, ships and planes in the world over the same period!
  2. But rainforests are important for another reason. Mature tropical rainforests continue to sequester carbon at a rate of a few tonnes of CO2 per hectare each year. One study estimates that old-growth tropical forests absorb up to 15% of annual manmade GHG emissions.  So, in addition to the 17% of global GHG emissions resulting directly from tropical forest loss, tropical deforestation produces an ‘amplification effect’, because the stock of natural forests remaining to absorb carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere is reduced.
  3. In addition, the cloud cover over tropical rainforests provides an insulating belt around the planet, reflecting sunlight and evaporating moisture: this can reduce the ground temperature by as much as five degrees Celsius. This insulating effect is lost after forests are cleared.
  4. Recent scientific research indicates that deforestation in the Amazon region could also lead to droughts, which would trigger the release of carbon dioxide from vegetation and perhaps lead to a massive die-off in the world’s largest rainforest. These positive feedback effects could greatly accelerate global warming.
  5. That’s just the top-level stuff. Rainforests also regulate rainfall, maintain soil quality and are home to almost uncountable of species of plants and animals. For further information read up here.

If you have no time to do anything else, but you want to show your support for the rainforests, then please just fill in your details on the widget-thingy below. It’s free, no one is asking for money, just your voice.

If you want to do more then please add the widget to your own social media by clicking on ‘Grab this’ and choosing where you want to put it.

If you want to do even more then fill your details in on this page here to be alerted when the frog video application goes online, and make your own frog video. Be one of the first to use this exciting new application.

That’s all, back on your  bikes, go go go!