I did another Nick Cotton ride yesterday. The book suggests starting and finishing in Sudbury, but since Bures is the station before Sudbury on the “Gainsborough Express”, I got out of the train there.
It’s a circular route, supposedly of 33 miles. It’s through lovely peaceful countryside with all the usual trappings (farms, smells, bits of woodland, huge expensive houses) and the villages have splendid names: Daws Cross, Countess Cross, Colne Engaine, Boose’s Green, World’s End, Byndes, the Maplesteads (Little and Great), Castle Hedingham, Delvin End, Toppesfield, Great Yeldham, Tilbury Juxta Clare, Knowl Green, Belchamp St. Paul, Belchamp Otten, Sudbury, Ballingdon, Henny Street (with its interestingly named pub the Henny Swan), Lamarsh and back to Bures again.
I would like to be able to say more, but those place names say pretty well all of it except for one thing: Sudbury. It’s a fine little town with a statue of Gainsborough in the centre. I purposely hunted this down in order to photograph the good man, and to re-acquaint myself with the Town Hall, where I occasionally used to take the children to win prize money in chess tournaments.
Sudbury can be regarded as something of a success: the local campaign group successfully fought off a massive road development which would have seen a large by-pass built but which would have trashed the water meadows. The Govt. Offices for the East of England told me that this scheme had very strong business reasons for being built, but was turned down entirely on environmental grounds. Well done Sudbury!
Instead, the Highways Dept have introduced a great way of keeping the traffic jams out of the Town Centre: make artificial bottlenecks outside the town! This they have done, all the queuing is at the pinch points elsewhere, the traffic in the town centre flows smoothly, but all the hold-ups are on the main roads.
It was while negotiating the queue out of the town that my moment happened. Having gone clipless this week, I suppose I was due one… just couldn’t release my left foot in time (I didn’t forget, and I was trying, honest) and down I went. I actually elicited some sympathy from passers by in cars & lorries, but all I did was graze my left elbow slightly. I couldn’t even find a bruise on my ample and well-padded frame.
Oh yes, and photos