Its been a while since the last update, so here are some ride related snippets. I have continued to give talks to community groups and last night gave my 149th talk which was to the W I in Dymock, a village Strider and I went through on Day 4 of the ride when we were heading from Gloucester to Hereford. Thanks to many generous people our ride donation total has now reached just over £88,000 split between the Family Holiday Association and the Riding for Disabled Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre. It was £48,000 in December 2013 when we got home after our seven months on the road. It went up dramatically in 2014 as some big donations came in and has continued to rise bit by bit since then. A typical talk raises £60 to £90 (but sometimes is much more than that) including a donation for my giving the talk, plus money from the sale of the card showing us in Exeter Cathedral, and some personal donations from audience members. Do get in touch if you would like a talk. I will come anywhere in Great Britain; talk to any number of people from 2 to 200+ (2000+ if you have got them) and accept whatever amount you feel you wish to give.
I am frequently asked where Strider is now and how he is. Well since December 2015 he has been with the Walby family, who helped me find him back in January/February 2012. He is in great shape as this shot shows. Here he is with Sam on a fun ride in July 2019!
It is a long time since 8 December 2013 when Strider and I got home. So, here are some bits of news:
Since then I have given 124 talks to different community groups, and have, so far, 20 more in the diary for 2019.
The fundraising has got up to £86,000 shared between the Wormwood Scrubs Pony Centre RDA group and the Family Holiday Association.
Strider has moved to the friends who helped me choose him back in 2012 and is very happily living on their farm near Mickleton looked after by Keith, Jacquie, Hayley and Sam. I see him regularly.
AND on Friday 28 December at 4.55pm you can hear me on the Radio 4 Listening Project talking with my Long Rider friend Katrina about our ride experiences. It is repeated in the Omnibus Edition at 2.45pm on Sunday 30 December.
Thankyou for your support to the Rid Round England, and
Remember: if you know anyone or any group that might like to hear a talk about the ride do, please, get in touch.
My Great Uncle Guy, born 19 September 1889 was my Grandfather’s twin brother. He served in the cavalry before, during and after the First World War. When I was young he mentioned two things that made a difference for the Ride.
He said that the popular image of the cavalry rushing everywhere on horseback was completely wrong. He told us there was only one Western that got it right (I forget which it was) and had the US Cavalry spending most of their time dismounted and leading their horses. The second thing was that if you were very hot and probably dusty (he had served in Egypt and I think in India) then a pair of silk longjohns under your breeches would stop them chaffing.
At Canterbury Cathedral with Tessa, a friend from college over 40 years ago. Craghopper trousers; Scarpa boots, and half chaps from Just Chaps.
So, when I was thinking about what to wear for the ride and I wanted plenty of useful sized trouser pockets which modern breeches and jodhpurs do NOT have, I realised that if I wore cotton walking trousers I would get the pockets. Two identical pairs would cover days on the road and a change for evenings. The risk of the loose material rubbing would be avoided with the silk underlayer. Craghoppers did the job (available from Blacks and lots of outdoor shops). They have plenty of pockets though the stitching on the thigh pocket took a battering from having my phone with its ‘armoured’ case on it and I was lucky to find it quite quickly by the road when it slipped through in Dorset. I got silk longjohns from Patra to go underneath.
My plan was to dismount and lead for 20 to 25 percent of the time which would give Strider’s back a break and help my hips, knees and ankles. That would be 500 to 600 miles over the whole journey so I investigated light walking boots as an alternative to riding boots and got endurance type deep plastic stirrups to give me a platform for a boot that did not have the stiffer sole of a riding boot. Cotswold Outdoor checked my foot size very carefully and suggested Scarpa walking boots. They did me pretty well though if the original plan had been to walk over half of the eventual 2,700 miles I might have gone for a heavier boot. I wore out one pair and bruised the soles of my feet with so much work on roads and hard tracks.
Thankyou Great Uncle Guy.
Ar Helmsley Art Centre on 12 June
For BHS Suffolk on 9 September
For Mid Sussex Bridleways Group on 22 October
Please tell others about these dates, and if you are within 40 miles of any of these places and would like a talk for your organisation or at your venue on a day before or after, then please get in touch and I can add it to the plans. Ring 07798 935100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
And wherever you are, if you would like to hear and see how Strider and I managed 2,700 miles to four corners of England via 30 cathedrals, contact me and we can make a plan!
The donation total has crept up past £70,000 which I am pleased about. It should keep on moving up as I have talks booked well into 2015. Dates include:
19 January, Toddington village WI
20 January, Evesham Rotary Club
3 February, at Shepton Mallet for MBBA
28 February, at Bere Heath Chapel, Bere Regis
4 March, for Three Counties Bridleway Group, near Kilmington on the A35
19 March, Woodmancote WI
7 April, Bishops Cleeve Ladies’ Probus
21 May, Edge WI
8 June, Leonard Stanley WI
12 June, at Helmsley Art Centre
9 September, for Suffolk BHS Branch
If anyone would like a talk up in Yorkshire around 12 June, or in East Anglia around 9 September, or on the way between Cheltenham and those places, PLEASE get in touch and lets fit it in!
Here are dates for talks over the next two weeks. Sorry I have not posted them earlier.
Wednesday 5 November for BHS Manchester at the Packhorse Inn, BL9 7TU. The talk is at their Annual Meeting which starts at 7.00pm. Non-members are welcome for the talk.
At The Hearth, Horsely, NE15 0NT for Corbridge and District Riding Club at their AGM which starts at 7.30pm on Tuesday 11 November. Non-members are welcome for the talk.
At Holy Cross Anglican Church, Haltwhistle, NE49 0BL for ‘Haltwhistle Churches Together’ at 7.00pm on Wednesday 12 November.
At Stannington Village Hall, NE61 6EL, at the BHS Northumberland Annual Meeting which starts at 7.00pm on Thursday 13 November. Non-members are welcome for the talk.
Near Penrith at the AGM of Cumbria Bridleways Society which starts at 7.30pm on Friday 14 November. Non-members are welcome for the talk.
A pile of bits of maps, small and large, has been waiting to be put back in order. Now all the bits I used for the journey have been sorted back to the 125 different maps they came from. This is 95% of the task done. Getting them correctly refolded was often hard as they had been mutilated to fit conveniently into a map case and then refolded on the road, sometimes in wind and rain.