The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group
BACK TO THE WINTER!
Having journeyed just about as far from you all as we could manage without spending 3 weeks bobbing about in the ocean, Dave and I have returned safe and sound to the miserable grey drizzle that is Britain in winter. Many thanks to Dave J, Jim and Tom for looking after everything in such a way that our absence was barely noticed! It was lovely to come back and find the newsletter waiting on the mat and all the New Year accounts nicely balanced.
New Zealand is everything everyone says it is. A slower, more sedate pace of life in stunning scenery, including the closest to an unspoilt wilderness as you are likely to get. We really had a great time, and it was lovely to see Jane and Dave again. You will see we already have a slide show lined up for April and we're really looking forward to showing you all the wonderful things we've seen, including Dave and Jane's palatial new residence!
Jane says she really misses everybody, and there's nothing quite like CYHA anywhere else. And if anyone else wants to visit, they have plenty of space!
Fun with Maths
Many thanks to Cressida for hosting a great evening that had all our brain cells creaking back into life. We were particularly impressed with how close our angle estimates were - never more than 4° out!
Thanks to John for sharing his impressions and knowledge on the isle of Corsica. Stunningly scenic and steeped in history, this is now a must for everyone's holiday destination top ten.
We spent the last weekend of January exploring the Chilterns from Ivinghoe hostel. Saturday's walk started along the Grand Union Canal, good for the boat and train-spotters, and then followed the Ridgeway path to climb Ivinghoe Beacon for some fine views just before dusk.
Sunday's walk took us on another section of the Ridgeway path, up Coombe Hill, one of the highest view points of the Chilterns, with its Boer war monument and extensive views. Then we walked through the grounds of Chequers, the Prime Ministers country retreat. Sadly Tony didn't invite us in for tea, but we had an opportunity to admire the recently improved security defences. Crossing the main drive, we briefly contemplated how far we'd get if we if we strolled up the drive way, but when the security cameras panned round to follow us we thought we'd better behave. Lucky we did, because the afternoon ramblers on the path included a policeman with a very big dog and another other with a very big gun.
Getting back to Wendover, Cressida somehow persuaded us that a mere teashop wasn't good enough, and we found ourselves in Rumsey's Chocolaterie, for a round of hot chocolates with extra chocolate, chocolate cake, chocolate truffles and other chocolately things. Not a bad way to finish a splendid weekend!
Adventures in Essex
The book "Adventurous Pub Walks in Essex" inspired Dave J to take our lives in his hands and lead us on a daring expedition into the uncharted wilderness of South Essex. Braving hail storms and sunny intervals, and sustained only by two pub stops and a tea shop, we fought our way down muddy tracks and over broken stiles from South Hanningfield to Ramsden Bellhouse. Reaching the dizzy height of 70m above sea level, we were rewarded with unforgettable views across Basildon to Canvey Island and beyond.
The snow-blanketed peacefulness of the alpine cabin was suddenly broken by a 1Khz tone. Beep! Graham stirred briefly, then returned to peaceful slumber. His aching muscles were still recovering from a tumble on the piste the day before. Beep-Beep! Within what seemed like only a microsecond, Jonathan, in the other bed, yawned loudly, stretched and sprang into life. The sound of rustling plastic bags further conspired to disturb the precious silence. Clutching preciously to the warmth and comfort, Graham wrapped the pillow around his head.
Click! The 60W bulb seemed like a searchlight. Reluctantly, Graham rose and lied.
"Good morning Jonathan".
"Morning" replied Jonathan with a gusto that's difficult to fake.
Downstairs the chalet maid was preparing breakfast for seven hungry skiers who would need all their energy plus more, to tackle the red runs that Gordon and Dave were planning for them.
Later that day, back in the chalet, Graham casually enquired…"Jonathan?"
"What was that beeping noise this morning?"
"It was the alarm on my watch", replied Jonathan.
"What time was it set to?" enquired Graham.
" 8 o'clock" replied Jonathan.
Graham pursued with the questions. "Didn't I hear it earlier than that?"
"No. It's set to 8 o'clock"
"I was sure I heard it earlier than 8 o'clock" Graham said, the slightly raised voice attracting the attention of the rest of the group.
"No. Apart from the hourly chimes…." Replied Jonathan casually.
"The what!" Graham gasped.
"The chimes. It chimes on the hour." The room erupted into laughter, almost drowning Jonathan's next question:
"Did it disturb you then?" Jonathan asked, confused at the laughter, which seemed to be louder each time he spoke.
"Only at 4am, 5am, 6am, and 7am…" replied Graham.
Also see Helen's Antarctic Diary
Please send any comments on these pages to Dave Plummer