Chelmsford YHA Group


The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group

August 2015

Two legs good? Two wheels better?

Cycling from Darsham, Suffolk

For the last couple of weeks, CYHA has taken to two wheels, with bikes standing in for boots.

First up was a weekend in Darsham, where we cycled to the seaside both days; Southwold on Saturday, and Aldeburgh on Sunday.

Saturday was a lovely sunny day and the ride included Dunwich where the brave or crazy swam, while the sane went to the cafe, lunch by the river in Walberswick, and Southwold itself. There we visited the pier and played Tim Hunkin's games such as getting a brain wash, and the zimmer frame simulator, and took either afternoon tea and cakes, or beer in the Adnams café.

Sunday, we went South to Aldeburgh via Minsmere then via some green (or rather, sandy) lane sections to Aldeburgh. Unfortunately the weather turned nasty in Aldeburgh so we had to dodge the rain in a beach shelter and then a café. It then brightened up just as we left to ride back. Our culture for the day was Maggi Hambling's Shell (or turkey) sculpture on the beach, and the new Anthony Gormley on the Martello tower which looks like he is queuing for the toilet.

Second, the next Wednesday was a lovely sunny bike ride from the Walnut Tree at Broads Green to the Easters, and back via Pleshey, including a wonderful sunset, and finishing in the pub beer garden.

Third, today was a Sunday bike ride from Coggeshall to Tollesbury and back, 35 miles including Herons in trees at Abberton, sandwiches by the sea at Tollesbury, ice-cream and tea & cakes in the Coggeshall clock house, but not the rain promised by the weathermen.

And that's not it; we're doing an evening bike ride from Writtle on Wednesday 19th August, and the possibility of cycling on old railways in the Peak District at the end of October.


Tim Hunkin on The Pier

There were lots of distractions to choose from, so if we weren’t going to lose all our change we were going to have to be picky.

Tim Hunkin is the engineer and cartoonist behind a range of bizarre contraptions, a selection of which can be found at the Under The Pier Show at Southwold Pier.

Dave and I chose the Expressive Photo Booth. Tired of people posing for photos with waxy smiles, Tim designed this booth to catch you off guard. Weird mood lighting, a sudden drop of the seat just before your photo is taken, a blast of air for that wind-swept look and of course the bang of the trap door in the roof to distract you into looking up. It made you laugh, plus you get a souvenir photograph to take home with you. The machine even makes old-fashioned slurpy chemical noises whilst actually printing your picture digitally.

Dave and Jim also had their brains washed. You sit on the special seat with the top of your head in the contraption, whilst a periscope allows you to view your ‘very dirty’ brain being cleansed. Squeaky clean.

Possibly my favourite, and certainly Cress’s, was the QuickFit exercise bed. Promising to take all the unsightly sweat out of exercise, you lie on a bed which lifts and jiggles your limbs whilst you watch a Jane Fonda type animated exercise video. At the end of the video Jane Fonda explodes and is swept up by the cleaner.

The Orwell Connection

One person who links the Isle of Jura (from last month) with Southwold, is George Orwell. Apparently he lived next to the chip shop in Southwold, a good deal more civilised than the remote farmhouse at Barnhill on Jura where he wrote 1984. As a tribute (!) to the great writer, here is the CYHA version of 1984. I think I just heard Orwell turning in his grave….

It was a bright cold day in June, and the clocks were striking thirteen. Chelmsford YHA, heads down in an effort to escape the vile wind (it had been beans for breakfast again), slipped quickly through the doors of Tarbert Lodge, though not quickly enough to prevent a swirl of gritty dust from entering along with them.

The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage – it was George’s turn to cook. Inside the kitchen a fruity voice was reading out a list of figures which had something to do with the production of cheese sandwiches. The voice came from an oblong metal plaque like a dulled mirror which formed part of the surface of the right-hand wall, so that Cress could Skype in the instructions for the sandwich making. At one end of the room a coloured poster, too large for indoor display, had been tacked to the wall. It depicted simply an enormous face, more than a metre wide: the face of a man of about fifty-two, with ruggedly handsome features. It was one of those pictures which are so contrived that the eyes follow you about when you move. YOUR TREASURER IS WATCHING YOU, the caption beneath it ran. They decided not to open that second pack of biscuits.


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