The Monthly Newsletter of Chelmsford YHA Local Group
Back on the Trail
With a gradual relaxation of lockdown we have been able meet up again at last. We started off with a modest gathering in early July, as Dave and Doug met up for a socially distanced bike ride through west Essex including a pub visit – I’m not sure which of the two things I was most jealous of missing out on! A couple of weeks later and we had built up numbers to 5 for a deliciously sunny walk round Thorndon Park and upgraded to a full pub lunch. CYHA is back!
Our next foray was another bike ride. This time 6 of us met at the Walnut Tree in Broads Green, as Jim hosted us on a delightful 12 mile ride round the country lanes. It had been very hot all day, so it was a real treat to pedal ourselves a breeze and then cool off with a drink at the pub. It was almost like old times, but we did sit at separate tables.
By the start of August we had written our risk assessments and felt confident enough to walk in a slightly larger group. Seven for the walk itself, and George joined us for a drink afterwards in the Leather Bottle, Pleshey. The evening was characterised by a particularly fiery sunset and George’s parting gift of a punnet of greengages. Yum!
The bike rides proved really popular in the soaring temperatures – or was it the prospect of another Sunday lunch? Dave P hosted 6 of us on a 25 mile ride around the Stansted area. Who knew there were such gorgeous villages just a stone’s throw from the airport? We were initially thrown by Essex Highways trying to close access to the car park, but eventually managed to all meet up in the same place and with our bicycles. Two tables for lunch, making up for the social distancing by shouting across the garden.
As I write this Dave and I are preparing for the first group trip away under “Covid-secure” conditions. There will be almost as much hand sanitiser and cleaning equipment as food, but I’m really looking forward to getting away. Another little sniff of normality? Bring it on!
Culture Club, a little side activity of CYHA
At the beginning of lockdown Cressida was listening to an adaptation of "Wuthering Heights" on the radio. I thought I'd give it a listen myself, it being an iconic novel which had somehow passed me by, despite being filmed many times, and inspiring work by Kate Bush and Cliff Richard among others. We decided initially to discuss our thoughts on the book together on the phone, but then extended the invitation to others who might be interested, using Skype to facilitate.
All present seemed to enjoy the discussion, and so the book club was born: to share and explore our responses to literature, and to make more tolerable the excessive time we now had to spend indoors.
A variety of fiction followed: the first Sherlock Holmes story – "A Study in Scarlet", "The Great Gatsby", "The Jungle Book", "The Old Man and the Sea", and "Lord Jim", each provoking thoughtful exploration of themes, character, etc., with questions provided beforehand by Geli often adding focus.
All the novels studied stimulated appraisal of the films and dramatic adaptations derived from them within our discussions.
We have also viewed two films as separate subjects, one being the 2010 production of Shakespeare's "The Tempest", and most recently, Coppola's 1979 epic "Apocalypse Now". Early on we decided not to confine ourselves just to books, but to have a broader cultural outlook, hence the title "CYHA Culture Club.' Future meetings may cover other areas of the arts, such as poetry and painting, but the primary focus remains books.
We have maintained quite a low profile within CYHA; obviously the very nature of our activity requires only a limited number of participants. But please don't hesitate to enquire if what we do appeals, whether regularly or only occasionally (Cress is our committee member).
We don't have a set programme, generally deciding on subjects a couple of weeks ahead of our fortnightly meetings. Next up is "St. Mawr" by D H Lawrence.
Please send any comments on these pages to Dave Plummer