The Raising Post: Issue 13


A Final Word

Our Lockdown Challenge is now almost complete…



One team is yet to make it to John O’Groats.. The PC Plodders started a day after us all, but continuing to fulfil their essential duties as Police Officers in our great county force while at the same time running /walking their share of the 938 miles.


One of their number has a child to whom he donated a kidney and his other child is a young carer. That’s why they have refused the offer of any ‘supplementary’ miles from any of the rest of us.

We applaud their commitment and effort and we will remain in John O’Groats until they arrive (but don’t tell Nicola!).
Our objectives were twofold: first to raise funds and profile for our various charitable causes and second to act as a bit of an entertaining distraction from the tedium of the media and lockdown itself.

Speaking for myself I have not had a moment to read a newspaper or pay any attention to news broadcasts. Emily Maitlis and Donald Trump have featured little in my life. I have, on the other hand, been privileged to be able to absorb on an hour by hour basis not only my experiences of the rural idyll which surrounds us here in West Norfolk but also that of others in Suffolk, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire, Surrey, Dorset, the Austrian Tirol and Zimbabwe.



I have walked walks I did not know existed. I have had casual conversations (at an appropriate distance) with others I have never met before and learned things about my own neighbourhood I never knew (which tends to be the case when you learn something!). Maintaining discipline within the teams has, I will admit, been challenging. I have been likened to a Fuhrer and worse still. My authority has been undermined by the Chief Steward who claims that the rules keep changing. Notwithstanding this I have sought to maintain resolute to our core purposes and be equally unfair to everyone!


As a group we have walked 7500 miles and biked 2000 miles …not bad in under three weeks. We have raised (with Gift Aid) in excess of £35,000 in total for four very deserving charities. Individually and collectively we had a lot of fun. We have walked, we have run, we have biked, we have sung, we have read poetry and we have shared many photographs. Behind the scenes the Steward and Anna our PR genius have worked tirelessly and, in Anna’s case, sleeplessly being the only one up to greet the Chipembere team walk in to John O’Groats barefoot at 1.30 in the morning, while she was finalising edition 12 of the Raising Post.


I have been asked ‘Who are the winners?’. I have no idea! We were all winners. After all it’s the winning that counts and not the taking part.


The real winners, we hope, are the causes for whom we walked.

The Young Carers (via Walking4Norfolk) …. those Unsung Heroes who need to know we know what heroes they are.

The Cure Parkinson’s Trust working to find a cure for Parkinson’s Disease
The Samaritans working to alleviate extreme mental stress
Imire Rhino and Wildlife Conservation run by the Travers Family in Zimbabwe and their scouts (Chipembere) working to continue the extra-ordinary conservation work started by their grandparents in really challenging conditions to preserve our wildlife heritage
Zane – Zimbabwe A National Emergency providing relief and aid to the most impoverished communities in Zimbabwe.

So, ending as I started with the philosophical refrain of Oddball (aka Donald Sutherland in Kelly’s Heroes):

Never give me negative waves…just think there will be a bridge and there will be a bridge…a great big beautiful bridge!

And one big final Thank You to everyone.

JB


W4N 02 June 2020

You can still donate to the Walking4Norfolk Lockdown Challenge Fund by visiting our fundraising page.


Those awards in full:

  • First Across the Line: Two Cranks and The Chain Gang
  • First Walkers Across the Line: Chipembere
  • Furthest Walked by a Team: Tea Bag’s Stable (1,102 miles)
  • Furthest Yet to be Walked by a Team: Mick Andrew & The PC Plodders (unknown miles)
  • Furthest Walked by an Individual: Tom Bagge – Tea Bag’s Stable (196 miles)
  • Furthest Walked by an Individual with a Full Time Job: Louisa Pratt – Qua Run Team (188 miles)
  • Furthest Biked by an Individual: Pete Ward – Two Cranks & The Chain Gang (280 miles)
  • Walking4Norfolk Special Award: Martin Forsyth – Escargatoire
  • Greatest Elevation: Erika Mott – Tea Bag’s Stable
  • Best Talent: Two Cranks & The Chain Gang
  • Furthest in a Buggy: Willoughby Richmond – Qua Run Team
  • Furthest Under 7: Martha H-P – Chipembere
  • Furthest Walked on Two Wheels: Jill Husselby – The Walky Talkies
  • Furthest Walked Barefoot: Nigel H-P – Chipembere
  • Most Corruptible Steward: Christopher Lloyd Owen
  • Most Burning of Midnight Oil: Anna Kasket
  • The Walking4Norfolk Benign Dictator Award for Ef-foot-less Charm: James Bagge – The Two Legged Tortoises


The Raising Post: Issue 12

The Raising Post: Issue 12

Day 19

It’s nearly all over, at least for most !


Two Cranks and the Chain Gang (and I will be glad when I no longer need to type all these unnecessarily long team names!) arrived promptly in J O’G yesterday. The first across the line quite comfortably, which illustrates how little I know about biking. They certainly won the biking race and while on the road produced a very classy performance of Ray Davies’s ‘Sunny Afternoon’ as part of the ‘Got Talent’ competition laid on by Tocky Fetherston-Dilke, captain of the QuaRunTeam, in an endeavour to slow the front runners up while they caught up.

Kinky…

Summer Time in Lockdown

By The Chain Gang
This covid’s taken all my fun
Keeps me in my Lockdown home
Stuck here on a sunny afternoon.
I can’t go in my car
To see my friends who live too far
All I’ve got’s this sunny afternoon

Chorus 1
Save me save me from this dread disease
Cyclin’ for Parkinson’s
Slowin my obesity
I have to live my life so quietly
Live this life in solitary
Locked down on a sunny afternoon
It’s the summer time, when I ride my bike, it’s the summer time.

Verse 2
Can’t even go a-round to play
Music with my mates all day
Humming songs in loneliness and boredom
I have to pass the time
Slurping on my ice cold wine
Locked down on this sunny afternoon

Chorus 2.
Help me, help me, help me pass the day,
Too many reasons why I have to stay
I have to live my life so quietly
Live this life obediently
Stuck here on this sunny afternoon.
In the summer time, I wanna ride my bike , in the summertime.

Chorus
Save me, save me from this dread disease,
Cycling for Carers is knackering my knees
And I want to live more pleasantly
Returning to normality
Lazing on a sunny afternoon…..

In the summer time x 4

When’s it gonna end?


Interestingly, and in a very sportsmanlike way, The Carefree Wheelers ‘stood back’ and left just 6 miles to complete today coming a creditable second.


The Care-free Wheelers spot some llamas en route; and Lucy reminisces about the good old days…

For the Walkers, the competition became intense and ended in dramatic fashion.

The story goes like this. The Two legged Tortoises faltered after a record breaking 103 mile journey on Sunday posting only 62 miles for what turned out to be the penultimate day. They have had a great run with Ben and Fay covering 144 miles and 132 miles respectively over the two and half weeks but as I write they have still to finish with Jenny still out on the golf course!

A generous gift of Honey for the Two Legged Tortoises from team member Ben 🙂

The Walky Talkies have remained under the radar throughout and like moles appearing at the end of a run have popped up unexpectedly at the finishing line. The Human Hares likewise have played a low but very effective and economical profile using only 966 miles actually done to complete the course.

Escargatoire like the Two Legged Tortoises (gosh I am getting tired of these long names) are still out there. Michael Gurney (182 miles) has put in some huge mileages supported by his septuagenarian team mate (and I mention that because he has asked for no handicap) Martin Forsyth (152 miles). We await their imminent arrival.

Martin

Tea Bag Stable arrived in second place at John O’Groats. They left themselves about 32 miles to do this morning after the captain Tom Bagge had walked 27 miles the day before bringing his total for the journey to a stonking 196 miles. Talk about leadership and most of it was picking litter on the way. Never has the A6 and the A9 been so devoid of detritus! Erika Mott has climbed a mountain or three and we suspect she wins the elevation prize although no doubt Hadden Paton will have something to say about Dorset topography.

Tom sent a picture querying ‘flat’ Lincolnshire – no competition with Erika’s mountains, though

Still at the back and protecting our rears are Qua Run Team who insist they are merely self-isolating and self- distancing. Tocky their leader supported by Will Richmond and their mascot and buggy champion Willoughby are keeping this show on the road – just . And finally keeping us all secure and making sure there are no casualties are our very own PC Plodders who are determined to make it on their own refusing all offers of extra mileages and alternating night duties with day walking and day duties with night walking. Heroes each and every one of them. For an English police officer to negotiate his way over the border into Sotland is also no mean feat.

Salthouse in Norfolk; Master nr John O’Groats

And talking of feet..

we now come to the climax of the Challenge. Chipembere journeying for two wonderful charitable causes in Zimbabwe failed to record their complete mileage for the penultimate day, having recorded a good 82 miles on Sunday.

On Foot Part I

Their captain had to plead with the judges to be permitted to record an extra 8 miles which his lovely daughter Polly had put in on Monday pushing a pram, such is the competitive spirit of these H-P girls.

On Foot Part II

He said his life in lockdown would not be worth living if she found out. Adding these 8 miles would leave them only 3 miles to finish today. In their mischievous wisdom the judge(s) said this would be allowed if he personally covered the last 3 miles in bare feet and this had to be on video to deliver good footage (Pun 1). Late last night here then followed a stream of appalling puns ..requiring great effoot …what a feat…will there be trouble afoot, etc. Never one to avoid such a challenge with son Harry , Nyge set off at 2 minutes past midnight and the video FOOTage tells all.

On Foot Part III

What a classic end to their journey…So well done to every one for taking part …

Nyge and Harry

But it’s not all over…

WE MUST and WE WILL stay with it to be there to welcome the Plodders even if it takes a week and like Sir Tom we will continue to applaud these members of the Norfolk Constabulary to the very end! They are the Champions . they are the Champions….!

JB



From the Stewards’ Box

By Christopher Lloyd Owen

Well, what can I say? An idler on the rails throughout, binos to hand, vermouth in hand, this whole dotty saga has been enormous fun, and I’ve laughed my way through a truly International Lockup Challenge Cup.

Apparently they asked if they could join the next one!
There will be no stewards’ enquiry because
  1. Anna, the other Steward, was on night shifts again.
  2. No notice of any infringement has been given by any Team Captain, Owner, Trainer, Jump Judge, Jockey, Course Official, or Policeman. As with all Cummings and Goings we‘re not inclined to pursue anything much either.
  3. The photofinish camera got the wrong day. The food and bubbly stall was set up by that seat on the wall. And we don’t recognise the lurkers by the finishing post.
  4. I think I missed the finish as I breezed by various watering holes including the Chief Steward in the old MG on break-out day. He proceeded successfully to pour sufficient sauce down me by way of bribing me to stay silent. Dozing in a corner, I didn’t notice the Chain Gang arriving, helping themselves to champagne, and making their own bacon butty.

Potential Infringements
  • Two Cranks and a Chain Gang sledging from the rails despite several yellow cards
  • Baggel auctioning herself off to QuaRunTeam
  • Somebody tying their iPhone to a dog
  • (Somebody tying their iPhone to a drone was a trick missed … ) (… or maybe not?)
  • Use of an exercise bike taking virtuality one pedal too far
  • Bin Bag (Tea Bag) in a grump with Bookie’s Bag (Wind Bag, Gruppenfuhrer etc) over Rest Day
  • Escargatoire trying to add tennis court miles to pedestrian miles
  • Chipembere with forty four members, also using child labour


Highlights?

The Chain Gang Gig on Rest Day – yay! – and Zola Budd-Paton’s feet of endurance to make the finish. No mean feet that. (The Stewards are divided on Jum and Tor’s “Hev yer gotta loit, boi”: one cringed, the other said cute.)

Hev yer gotta loit, boi?

And we’ll keep the champagne on ice and bacon on the grill for everybody, including the remarkable PC Plodders.

Result? Not quite sure what the Dictator has in mind yet. And he’s lost the Challenge Cup anyway. Wait for the Zoom-in on the Winner’s Enclosure is what I suggest …

BUT – fund-raising target SMASHED! Thousands raised for Norfolk Carers, Imire, Zane and others. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.

Well done everybody – we’ve loved it, and admired your grit and determination from the plains of Africa through the Alps to England and beyond. Special thanks to Anna who has worked tirelessly through the small hours at editing, design and production, as well as Social Media which is something we don’t really understand.

Finally. BRAVO JUM AND THANK YOU!

CLO

Who cares?


The Raising Post: Issue 11

The Raising Post: Issue 11

Day 16 (or 17 for some)


Just as…

…the leading teams were preparing themselves for the final sprint to the line, with the walkers with 188 miles and the bikers with 388 miles to go, the leading teams received a ‘Traced and Tracked’ (or is it ‘Tracked and Traced?’) Notice from the Department of Health telling them that at the hotels they had been staying in overnight they had been in close proximity with another who was now exhibiting covid symptoms.

They were therefore instructed to self-isolate for a day and not to walk or bike for the next twenty four hours. The back markers, namely the PC Plodders, Qua-Run Team and the Walky Talkies, were able to take advantage of this to close the gap.


There was a very mixed response from the front runners. Some welcomed the rest before the final sprint. Others were disappointed and wanted to get the job done. Well, Saturday did prove to be very warm and certainly this correspondent enjoyed his break and a large gin and tonic or two and reminisce with his wife in the garden.

Old Norfolk Song

One team failed to read the brief and walked anyway; and persuaded the judges to allow them to register those miles for the following day, but without being able to ‘run’ today.

The usual chaos ensues and the chief steward is more confused than ever.

The position at the end of Day 16 (or 17 for some)

But the Challenge goes on. Charity targets are being reached and will be smashed; and everyone seems to be enjoying themselves in this extra-ordinary weather.


Our amazing total!

Today, Sunday dawned once again with a flawless sky.
Morning has broken

The Two Legged Tortoises were out on the road early-ish and have put in a commendable team total. Ben Hughes at the end of the day’s journey presented each member of the team with a personally designed and unique memento of their joint efforts and for this correspondent the emphasis this afternoon is on the joints‘ effort!

What a lovely touch!

We are currently awaiting news from the other teams. Two ‘young ‘uns from Chipembere have run their twelve miles while their captain with grandchild aboard was recorded complaining endlessly about the contrasting topographies in which the teams compete.

The VC section of Chipembere put in a very commendable 16 miles in country which looks more like Zimbabwe than Norfolk, contributing to a total for the day of 82 miles.


Tom Bagge walked a stonking 20 miles for his team but notwithstanding that, they only managed a 71 miles. He has worn out his boots. But he has found a comfortable billet near Evanton.


We have learned another of the team is suffering as a consequence of doing 10 miles in Croks!


Of the other leading teams, Escargatoire achieved a total of only 61 but with only seven individual contributions. Their captain is still chasing the wayward member. The Human Hares completed 67 and have found a comfortable hotel in Inverness.

The Human Hares took in the view at the end of the day

Qua Run Team, the Walky Talkies and the PC Plodders continue to bring up the rear, having not taken full advantage of their extra day on the road. We are hoping Willoughby and his Dad will be out again tomorrow.

Qua Run Team opting for some R&R


But the outstanding performers of the day on feet were the Two Legged Tortoises, posting a total mileage in excess of 100, and they now lead the field and have arrived in Dornoch. Big question is whether they can maintain that pace and reach John O’Groats tomorrow; and whether it would be appropriate for the organiser’s team to win.


The bikers went wild today. The Two Cranks and A Chain Gang covered 195 miles with the two senior members of their team posting 40 miles each. I hope their batteries can charge up in time for tomorrow. While the Carefree Wheelers achieved 179 miles. They are now on the heels of Escargatoire and the Human Hares and on this form should make the finishing line tomorrow. But who knows what engine malfunctions may occur.

Half-way point for the Care-Free Wheelers, but the snack shop is closed!
It now looks likely that the Walking teams will make John O’ G on Tuesday, unless one of them puts in a spectacular performance tomorrow. We expect the back markers to get in by Thursday, when we shall all be there to applaud.

In the meantime, just three more days for our audience to give the Young Carers a symbolic round of applause as well by donating £10 or less. The more who can be seen in any small way to acknowledge their courage and tenacity, the easier the burden they carry, with our support.

Thank you, and I hope you are enjoying the blog.

JB



The Raising Post: Issue 10

The Raising Post: Issue 10


The leading Walking teams should be reaching Fort William this evening. This area of Lochaber is strongly Clan Cameron country which probably explains why some have problems finding their way about as this is truly unfamiliar territory to Clan Abbott.

Meanwhile, Clan Chipembere have been disseminating scandalous literature impugning the integrity of the editorship of this journal. As an open minded and totally impartial organisation, Walking4Norfolk will of course publish this (see below), but with a Twitter warning as to its factual accuracy….


We are also pleased to publish an account (also below) of the one who got left behind. Kit Hesketh Harvey had to remain in Cornwall for reasons he explains. But with his co-cabaret star James Mc Connell they have had time to write the latest song in their extensive repertoire: The Song of the Pangolin…’Enjoy!’


While the Walking teams fight it out…

…on the banks of Loch Linnhe, and head up the Great Glen Way to Inverness, let us have a look at how the biking teams are faring. Well, they have reeled in the PC Plodders who heroically are putting in their miles after a night on duty; and indeed, we are told one of their number recruited in as the eighth member of their team went and broke her ankle. We have asked to see photographic evidence of this but have yet to receive it.

Family… but is that more than six?

Two Cranks and the Chain Gang are bringing their family with them. This appears to be something of a pattern. We have written about Willoughby Richmond buggying from Putney to Whitehall and back. The ladies of Team Chipembere are also battling to do their mileage.

Detour?

While Lucy and her son Gus of The Carefree Wheelers appear to have been on a massive and rather unnecessary detour, Alec and Vivvi of the Chain Gang have been taking us on virtual tour of Hardy Country, but having encountered some inhospitality there, moved on to safer(?) ground at the burial place of Lawrence of Arabia.

They have also suffered the odd puncture and even attributed this to the fact that the PC Plodders are said to be carrying a sack load of tin tacks. But they appear to have struck lucky bumping in to this:

Mechanically minded

Finally, on the subject of bikes, one Walky Talkie, indeed their Captain Jill Husselby, appears to be on something of a hybrid.

Very well balanced

The excuse is that they are all of an age where they should not be out at all, but they have been sorely shown up by another real hero of the Challenge, Martin Forsyth. He can also boast a certain vintage but is currently third placed on the individual leader board with 117 miles to his own name and that certainly deserves a round of applause and possibly another knighthood. Tom Bagge, now otherwise known as Bin Bagge as he never seen without his orange bag, is on 126 miles; and the leader is Michael Gurney on 130 miles, but it looks as though he and his faithful companion are nearly out for the count!


But wait…


BREAKING NEWS:

‘The brakes are off!’ No maximum daily limits . Those teams which have walked their daily quota now have 188 miles to go. The bikers have 338 miles to go. Can any team (be bothered to) get to John O’Groats in two days? The race is on.

Team Chipembere: Lockdown Challenge Latest!

Harry Bucknall writes:

Figures

Its all about Infographics and from the tumble down shed on the edge of the turkey farm that Walking4Norfolk use as their HeadQuarters, reams of propaganda are pumped out on an almost hourly basis to confuse and mislead as to the inescapable fact that Team Chipembere is now well in the lead; it may only be a kilometre but the turkeys have been left flailing in the Zaney Rhino’s wake.

As you can see, with only 338 km left to run, the infographics fall woefully short in displaying the actual disposition of the teams –  everyone likes to back a winner and, as the saying goes, (if we were able to have one) who ever remembered the runner-up in the Derby?

Precisely. 

Going 

The going of late has been arduous. To see from a beautifully narrated video clip showing the female elements of Team Chip as they valiantly battle  the harsh conditions high on the Dorset veldt, sorry, Dumfriesshire beacons, please click here.

Outbreak of Morale

Not surprisingly, given the stonking lead and thanks to Team Chip’s very own Jumping Jack Flash, George Williamson, there has been an outbreak of morale; the temptation to burst into song, however, was mercifully short lived but if you must and to see our Arts Correspondent’s exclusive footage of the only man to own a radio station that doesnt broadcast in full song, click here.

Collector’s Items

Everybody is now sporting a Team Chipembere T-Shirt – seen here modelled by Bumble Hadden-Paton, looking surprisingly coy  which is a novel development, no doubt brought on by the arduous pace being set at the front.  A little tight over the top of a dinner jacket in the evening, these sought after  designs by Kilo Kennard will be collector’s items as soon after the Challenge is over – Oxfam I know collect, and maybe Save the Children too.

Bumble
So far… 

If you happen to visit our fundraising page, you will see that we have raised a magnificent £6,495 for our causes, Imire and ZANE.

Jokes aside … 

But, jokes aside,  to remind you the reason we are going thru such virtual pain and self induced digital delirium, to understand why ZANE needs our help, to see Jean’s story, please click here. And to hear Reilly Travers sum up the situation at IMIRE, please click here.

FUNDRAISING 

We would like to raise £7,000 by the weekend. To meet that target we only need £505!

Thank you so much for your generosity and support thus far, we so appreciate it.
We know only too well that times are hard, but in Zimbabwe, times are desperate; more so now.

Please help us reach the weekend target of £7,000

THANK YOU!


As we now head North through the Highlands of Scotland, guest contributor Kit Hesketh Harvey explains why we had to leave him behind in Cornwall:

Even Dominic ‘and goings’ Cummings, whose grasp of geographical detail is evidently sketchy, would have to acknowledge one hard fact. Land’s End to John O’Groats bypasses Norfolk entirely. And another thing. I don’t possess a bike, not one that isn’t entirely immobilised by rust.

But I am glad to report that, although I am locked down here amid the tombs, I have walked my stretch. Porthcothan to Padstow, now on the North Cornish Coastal Path. Yep, walked. With feet. And all because Mrs Gammon’s gardener reversed into my wall.

The Gammons live next door to the house that I built in Constantine Bay. They own the golf course which it overlooks. That same golf course which contributes shedloads to the local economy. Yet even the Gammons, (because Nick went to Radley or something bcGd DH by were being vilified by Devolutionists, the anti-second homers, who have been hitching their wagon to the Covid emergency. Even Nick, a permanent resident, has been confronted by an irate Corn ordering him off his own land.

But … the wall was unarguably dangerous. To the locals, I mean. The locals whom my grandfather baptised. The locals whom my uncle delivered. The fact that I am more Cornish than most of them apparently doesn’t apparently count.

And so it was that I made my mercy dash down under cover of darkness, admittedly. I’d expected pitchforks and flambeaux as I crossed the Tamar. I parked deep in the escallonia hedge and scuttled into my own house clad in a balaclava.

Come dawn, and to have that unequalled beach to oneself was a treat more guilty than I dare describe. The police were prowling the lanes: (paid for out of my penalty-surcharged council tax)’and so I tried to look as Cornish as I could, my lover, my handsome. Faded shorts, surfboard, skin tanning in the fierce sun, that same sun that was boosting my Vitamin D resistance and keeping me from cluttering the hospitals, which are staffed by my Cornish cousins.

And – because driving through the tamarisk lanes would be to attract vigilante attention – from there on I walked. While scab-but-oh-so-grateful Cornish builders repaired the wall, there were the cliff paths to pass the heavenly days. Head out of the house one way and, by afternoon, you come to lowering Porthcothan. Strike out the other way and it’s Trevone. Just me, barefoot, and the peregrine falcons, the dolphins and the shout of skylarks. The silvered south, to St Ives, and the blue-ochre north, to Bude. I’ve walked this every year for half a century. It doesn’t change. It’ll still be there when all this is done.


The Raising Post: Issue 9

The Raising Post: Issue 9

As the leading teams head up towards the Clyde and the Erskine Bridge, five teams run head to head.



The weather remains fine and so there is little to test the resolve. However, it is possible that concentration is beginning to wane. Requests have been submitted to allow biking rather than walking in order to provide variety and alleviate boredom.


Rosie and Pete taking Billy and Sybi for a picnic

But where would that end, if allowed? Participants might then resort to arguments about

the reasonable exercise of discretion in exceptional cases

and then

climb into mechanised forms of transport in order to check their eyesight.


Don’t even think of it…

No!

Despite accusations of behaving like the Führer, this Challenge referee remains firm in his resolve. Overcoming monotony is something he experienced two years ago almost to the day crossing Les Landes, south of Bordeaux.

Uncanny


This agony has to be endured in order to enjoy that sense of achievement at the end. Arguments around ‘This is supposed to be fun’ don’t cut it with him!

This is NOT supposed to be fun. (Ummm…. )


So we shall see in the following days whether the leaders can keep control of their teams . ..or be cut loose like Captain Bligh as mutineers ride off on their bikes.

Meantime, the legitimate bikers are heading up to “Preston”. The Care-free Wheelers are a little slow with the daily submissions and appear to be a little off the pace but once again, late night travelling seems to get them back on par with the Two Cranks and a Chain Gang.

The Care-free Wheelers are playing catch-up


The PC Plodders are on night duty and heroically doing what they can during the day; and as a consequence, they may well soon be in the sights of the bikers. The bikers’ next target will be Qua-Run-Team, another group who get distracted by the day job.

Willoughby

Having said that, consideration is now being given to allowing Willoughby to book miles as well. I cannot think of anything more uncomfortable than be pushed in a buggy from Putney to Westminster and back equalled only in heroism by Will doing the pushing.

Go Willoughby!

Buggy Dash


Not far in front of Qua-Run-Team are the Walky Talkies, who would likely be with the Peloton if only they could get their mileages in on time. Given that they have been allowed a largish handicap, the referee cannot afford to be too sympathetic. Both these teams will now be in Scotland (Don’t tell Nicola again).

Demob fever seems to be emerging as more and more are bursting into song and there is now a proposal that there be a Walking4Norfolk’s Got Talent.

Competition

The Raising Post will be watching this closely.


Many readers will now be familiar with the rules, even if the teams are not. Walking teams are confined to a maximum of 50 miles a day. This was to ensure that the competition remained close and one team did not streak out of sight. As it turns out, the majority now remain neck and neck; and so there will come a point very soon when the referee decides to let the brake off and no maximum will apply. This should lead to a challenging finale. If the calculations are right, this should also make the competition between biker and walker well balanced.

While the team’s maximum mileage is confined. that is not true of individuals. Currently the individual leader board looks like this

  • Michael Gurney Escargatoire 109 miles
  • Tom Bagge Tea Bag Stable 104 miles
  • Jude Olesen Tea Bag Stable 101 miles
  • Anne /Livie Chipembere 114 miles (but they are a pair)

This too may also lead to a little rivalry!


Thank you, the readers, so much for your support and your generosity.

There is lots of activity on all social media (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram), and so please spread the word.

All the causes are doing well, but let’s see how much more we can achieve for all of them.
Donate to the Walking4Norfolk Lockdown Challenge Fund
Donate to ZANE – Zimbabwe A National Emergency
Donate to IMIRE Rhino & Conservation Trust
Donate to the Cure Parkinson’s Trust
Donate to the Samaritans Emergency Appeal

Buen Camino!

( I am off now to catch those men at the top of that list.)

JB



The Raising Post: Issue 8

The Raising Post: Issue 8

It is Day 11 for the Walkers and don’t tell Nicola but we are in “Scotland”!

Close to the border

Tom Bagge, who is rarely photographed without his litter bag – and we are now thinking the Tea Bag Stable should be renamed the Trash Bag Stable – has picked up a dressing gown and a pair of pants. Someone is suggesting that they belong to Dominic Cummings. Tom has passed them to the Durham Police.

Tea Bag’s views


Murphy’s law is as true as ever. Rarely can we have had such an amazing May Bank Holiday and we are all discouraged (probably/possibly, as that is about as precise the science is), quite rightly, from taking advantage of it. Having said that, I have found this Challenge to have been a wonderful distraction whilst at the same time appreciating the huge privilege we enjoy being in the country at this time.

Issy’s view

Blessed with this glorious weather I have discovered walks and corners of neighbouring parishes which I have never previously experienced and we have been able to share with one another through social media happy experiences and beautiful sights. Let’s stay POSITIVE

Qua Run Team meets Chipembere

But we do need some rain and that’s hard to say, after February and early March. Of course, if you have been following the weather forecasts you will know that in virtual terms we have been enduring some pretty inclement conditions up North, but this has made no difference to the resolve and determination of our stalwart walking teams who are regularly achieving maximum mileage every day and in some cases well exceeding it.

Can you spot the hidden message?


It is neck and neck as we go into the final week; and thought is now being given as to how to split these teams up. The organisers having been looking at deploying the Scottish Police; we have been researching the rules of ‘Snakes and Ladders’ and we have been thumbing through the Chance cards of Monopoly to identify why players are sent to jail, told not to pass Go and not to collect £100. We are confident a solution will arise during the week.

High spirits, laughter and song

All quiet today on the Bikers front. No doubt Headmaster (Michael) Groff, in character, has done his bit on the exercise bike, while dispatching his son Gus and his wife Lucy out to do the real miles on their bikes. I am told there is a shortage of bikes in the Petrie family.

A word of caution though …when you look at the photographs don’t confuse that Michael G on the bike with the Michael G the walker who constantly parades himself in front of stately homes, wherever they may be and however named.

In front of Blickling… I mean Felbrigg Hall

That’s enough from me today. Keep track of our progress on the website and the wonderful Anna will keep pushing out the photographs and commentary on social media .

Now give the Young Carers a symbolic round of applause. Hit the Donate button and give a fiver!

JB


…and more song! A Scottish reel?


The Raising Post: Issue 7

The Raising Post: Issue 7

We are more than half way to John O’Groats!

For the ‘unsung heroes’

Why are we doing this? Well we’re doing it for those whom I entitle the unsung heroes. They’re essential workers; they don’t get paid; they never have a break; they don’t get clapped on a Thursday evening; and their cause is not championed by the media.
Their responsibilities will endure long after Lockdown. They’re just schoolchildren upon whom huge responsibilities devolve, which they fulfil with love and devotion.
These are the young carers. They ask for nothing – but they do need support. But most of all, they need recognition – your recognition. So what I’m asking today is that you give them a symbol of your appreciation – give them a clap by going to our fundraising page and hitting the donate button, and giving £10 or less.
Any small amount will do, because it will serve to show them that the work that they’re doing is appreciated by everybody. Thank you so much for your help.
Jum.

Introducing the Bikers!

As they complete their first day out on the road or at least all bar one was on the road of which more in a moment , let me introduce you to the two biking teams: Two Cranks and a Chain and the CareFree Wheelers.


Two Cranks and a Chain are led by Alec Armitage, supported by his wife, Vivvi, daughter Rosie and her husband Pete, together with two friends who wish to remain ‘under the radar’.

Rosie and children

If I said that when they volunteered for this, Pete and Rosie thought they were being asked to do 100 miles a day each, you might get some idea of how craftily Alec has chosen his team.

Alec and Vivvi are themselves veteran bikers, albeit aided by the odd battery or two, having ridden most of the way around Southern Europe. It’s a strong team riding for Cure Parkinson’s and we wish them well with their fundraising. The PC Plodders have been tasked with ensuring that Pete breaks no speed limits.



The Carefree Wheelers – or are they the Carefree Free-Wheelers? – are led by my niece Lucy Petrie, who is no stranger to a challenge. She has swum the Channel once in a team and just missed out on doing it as an individual; and she competes and wins in international swimming races in the Arctic, where they cut the race lane out of the ice!

She has ridden this route before, but a while ago, as is evident from the fashion statement below.

En vogue

She is supported by her son Gus and her husband Al. Al plays the part of Michael Groff , the devilish headmaster, in the Netflix blockbuster Sex Education and in character we see that he has opted for an exercise bike, perhaps learning his lines for the next series.

The stewards are looking into this. Is this taking virtual biking a crank too far? Certainly he looks agonised but remember he is quite an accomplished performer.

Also part of The Free-wheelers, more like ‘Downhill and with the Wind’, is Tom Paton Smith, a cousin-in-law and no doubt volunteered by his wife Vic, but he looks as though he has done a few miles.

He is biking around Suffolk and, showing total commitment to his marriage and the cause, went and bought himself a bike to take part. Ruth Mullender, a swimming friend of Lucy’s (and she must be, to volunteer for this), makes up the team.


It looks as though they have all completed the first leg of 100 miles (that is, the aggregated sum of the miles each has contributed), and are therefore well on track to be at the finishing line at about the same time as the walkers. It should make for an exciting finish, assuming no punctures and the Armitages’ batteries don’t run out!

It’s called juggling…

LEJOG 1979 – Part Two

By Tom Bagge

More from Tom Bagge on his ride north a while ago. Some B&B suggestions for the two teams and one or two other tips..

The agony of getting back into the saddle on the second morning remains a vivid and painful memory.

By the afternoon of Day 2, I had a problem with my knee but it recovered overnight, staying near Exeter with the Lockwood family – John was on our course at Cirencester.

Exeter

1979 was pre mobiles and we failed to let Julia X know that my knee was better so she drove passed the agreed meeting point at speed; she had been expecting to see us on our bikes, not lying in the grass. I am embarrassed to admit that I left Jonathan on point duty while I slipped off to swim chez the Maitlands – Andrew, who was also at Cirencester; he had appeared out of the blue doing a 200m road test on his bike. Luckily Julia forgave us; she was even kind enough to house the excess baggage, including sleeping bags, which we decided to abandon with her.

Warrington

Night 4 we stayed with Jonathan’s parents where we were spoilt in every way including having our washing done. It was then a long hard slog on the roads and in B&Bs. I recall the Warrington area as being especially tedious. I was disappointed not to take the opportunity to visit Blackpool but the thought of a return detour of 20 miles was too much.

Armathwaite

For Night 6 we walked into David & Annabel Stapleton’s house at Armathwaite to find their house party watching the Wimbledon finals. They were very kind hosts and we set off with invigorated spirits to head into Scotland, where Jonathan decided to raise the saddle on his bike – oh, the joy as it made biking much for him …. this demonstrated what real amateurs we were.

Night 7 was spent in a dreadful B&B at Blair Atholl from where we escaped in the early morning to bike in a head wind on the A9 through the Cairngorns. On reaching Dalwhinnie I waited for Jonathan before heading to the nearest cafe where I ordered two full English breakfasts – having devoured both, I asked a lorry driver if he had seen a cyclist … the answer was yes, to the north of Dalwhinnie! We met again in Aviemore where the unhappy Jonathan was sitting on the grass with a can of coke and a mars bar!

Cairngorm Mountains (Image By David Clyne)

Night 8 saw us in a B&B at Bonar Bridge. The following morning we had not been going for long on the A9 when I heard a crash and looked back to see Jonathan had hit the deck for no obvious reason.

The last day to John O’Groats and back to Wick was about 120 miles with a lot of ups and downs as we crossed the various rivers. While waiting for Jonathan within sight of the end, I had a conversation with a crofter who told me a cyclist was trying to break the record for the same route we had covered and he had been caught for speeding in Penzance!

Return to Norfolk – From the train window near Perth I saw the ‘speeding’ cyclist pass; he completed the 870 miles in 1 day and 23 hours – it took us 9 days! …… the current record is 1 day 19 hours and 25 minutes. On arriving at Peterborough station in the early morning I decided to bike back to Stradsett.

I wish our two biking teams the best of luck. I hope they have jelly in the seat of the lycra shorts and the seat at the right height.

The Raising Post: Issue 6

The Raising Post: Issue 6
In his recent publication ‘The Way under Foot’ authored by Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich, he records an account given by a leading orthopaedic surgeon Charlie Docker on the mechanics of walking.

The thing is that gravity is continually pulling us down…


We have to lean slightly to one side. This lets us lift one leg off the floor using the muscles around our hip and it’s those muscles that swing the leg forward…a pendulum that carries us forward as we slightly lean forward. Having a good foot arch is important. It absorbs energy as we land and releases it as we push off. While the ankle is pushing backwards on the stationary foot, the other foot propels the body forwards until it comes into contact with the ground and the body’s weight moves forward onto it.

In order to walk, our feet rely on friction so that the foot that is not moving stays in place as the other foot moves forward. …repeat these instructions and you catch yourself from falling again and again and that’s walking.

Walking is interrupted falling!

But tell that to Tom Bagge whose forward motion was interrupted yesterday by an errant and protruding root.


Warning: not for the squeamish!


Nine days in and the Walkers are reaching the halfway point.. or at least most of us are. The PC Plodders, having started a day behind are making valiant efforts to maintain the pace. We are relying on them now to make sure that the Bikers, who start tomorrow (Sunday), obey all social distancing requirements and do not exceed speed limits.


Qua-Run-Team are also slightly off the pace but have been active in the ‘mid season transfer market’ and have secured the recruitment of one of the most formidable UK walking talents, Alexandra Bagge (Baggel) veteran of many pilgrimage routes in Europe, Japan and South America.


…She joins a number of other talented and conscientious team members: Tocky the team captain has been putting in a steady stream of 9 miler days. Louisa Pratt is doing walks morning noon and night whilst pinning down a full time job and then Will Richmond who is running into Whitehall from Putney pushing his two year old son Willoughby and the team have not even been counting Willoughby’s miles. Willoughby is considering an appeal and his mother is nursing his bruises!


We are in awe of the commitment of friends in Zimbabwe…

…who are not only submitting some impressive scores but are also treating us to some ‘moving’ (in more ways than one) clips of the wonderful beasts for whom they care.


It is a great cause and we have also heard from ZANE, an emergency fund providing relief to some of the most impoverished communities in Zim, and reminds us in these difficult times how important it is for us to remember those not so close to home.

More about ZANE

Rhinos and Young carers are an interesting but noble mix and let’s not forget the other charities teams and individuals in the Lockdown Challenge are supporting; The Samaritans and Cure Parkinson’s, neither of which need any introduction.


The Walky Talkies have finally made an appearance, emerging like meerkats blinking in the bright sunlight.


I understand Team Escargatoire have put an end to their leader’s early morning photographs delivered before their alarms have even thought of chiming. He remains indomitable and seemingly ‘indormitable’ as well!

Felbrigg Hall in Lockdown – by Michael G of Team Escargatoire

The two Biking teams, Two Cranks and a Chain led by Alec Armitage and the Petrifying Petries (unless they choose to give me another name) led by the lovely Lucy Petrie (nee Scott) are now heading to the start line at Land’s End. They leave tomorrow (Sunday 24th) and it remains to be seen if they can catch the Walkers accumulated daily mileage they can submit is 107.

Watch this space!



Finally, and thanks very much to your generosity. Walking4Norfolk has so far raised approaching £6,000 for Young Carers. This is hugely motivating and re-assuring for them for them knowing you are all out there ‘rooting’ for them.

The running total as of May 23

And so, while we are all enjoying ourselves in the amazing weather and enjoying the beauties of the world around us, wherever we may be, please pause for a moment and read what it is like to be a seventeen year old Young Carer in Lockdown……


Molly’s Story

Molly is 17, lives in West Norfolk, and cares for multiple members of her family who are shielding…

…including ones who do not live with her, so she has to balance her time between her house and other family members.

She cares for her dad who has various physical health issues including lung problems and a lack of circulation to his legs. She also helps to care for her grandad who is 88, has COPD and is unstable on his feet, and her uncle who has various physical health issues. Molly also has a brother who has a tic disorder so she has to help him if he has a tic attack.

She supports her mum with physical care for her dad, including helping to get him dressed, applying compression bandages, supporting with medication, making food, helping him with mobility and providing emotional support. Molly’s day starts at 4am where she gets up to make sure her dad has taken his first tablets of the day and getting him something to eat. Her uncle has a number of care workers going in each day to provide him with much-needed physical support, but Molly also assists if they are not around and provides emotional support – something which is particularly important at the moment because he hadn’t been able to get out of the house.

In addition to trying to balance her various caring responsibilities with keeping up with college work, Molly has been constantly worrying about the risk to her family if they were to catch Covid-19 because of their health conditions. One of the family members she cares for has recently been diagnosed with Covid-19 so Molly is feeling more scared now and doesn’t know what that will mean next for her and her family or if she might have already caught it because of how long she has been spending with him helping out and what will happen now they are having to self-isolate.

In addition, Molly’s caring role has increased because of her family members shielding and she feels she has had to take on more responsibilities to help out so is feeling increasingly tired.

Molly gets support from Caring Together as a member of Norfolk Young Carers Forum and so has been receiving regular telephone calls to check on how she is doing and taking part in virtual groups so she can keep in touch with other young carers in her area. She is also being linked in with Carers Matter Norfolk to help get her access to practical support such as shopping, something which is vital now that she is needing to self-isolate.”

Thank you to Andy McGowan for Molly’s story.


Swans on the Ouse

The Raising Post: Issue 5

The Raising Post: Issue 5

Days Six and Seven on the Road

It is now the evening of the sixth day and if anyone thought that this was time for a rest then I am afraid they will be disappointed.

After all, our Creator did a lot more in six days than just walk a few miles.


The front runners or rather walkers are now through Shrewsbury and look as though they will be spending the night in Whitchurch. Chipembere had a bad day yesterday, at least by time of posting, although they appear to have done a lot overnight. We think this is due to the Captain paying more attention to his beautiful daughter-in-law reading poetry than he was to his figure(s).


Qua-Run-Team are a little behind and we are unsure of their strategy. The Walky Talkies have suddenly started to do more of the former than the latter but we look forward to seeing some photographic evidence of this.


A watchful eye for one so young

The Human Hares have been avoiding fox cubs.

The Escargatoires waiting hopefully at deserted railway stations and certainly social distancing.


Tor of the Two Legged Tortoises found herself confronting an adder while relieving her ….er! The PC Plodders are now beginning to warm up and they have recruited the final member of their team, Jason B. We expect to see them join the leaders soon.

Keep it up, Tom!

Finally, Tom Bagge leading the TeaBag Stable is rarely without his litter-picking kit and has now resorted to writing and singing his own compositions (when not reliving his school days):

Nostalgia


But now for the Important Announcement…:

It is time that there be full disclosure of the rules of the challenge in order that the reader of this great journal, and indeed most of those taking part, can begin to make sense of what these brave volunteers are trying to do and how it all might end apart from tears.

Whatever it was that the teams and their captains understood to be the rules as published may not of course be the case.

Rules are made to be amended.

Following Consultation with NOBODY, Rule Changes are now going to be made.

This will happen in a STAGED PROCESS, following SCIENTIFIC ADVICE and in order to ensure that the T (Team Tolerance) measure remains below 100 (degrees).

It is of course anticipated that there will be letters to the Editor about this decision, to which the Stewards will respond “following the science”.

I CAN NOW REVEAL that this first Adjustment, which should meet with short-lived relief for some of the bikers, is that they will only now be expected to complete – or rather, that they will be restricted to – a maximum of 90 MILES A DAY until further notice.

For the time being, all other Rules will remain the same.

We will be taking NO QUESTIONS and that concludes today’s Press Conference.


Geese

Update from the Stewards’ Box

The Great Convenor and Chief Steward – or the Bookie’s Bag (hereinafter “BB”) is now a worry. (I’ve gone legal – it’ll become clear).

Firstly, he persuades a bunch of Coppers to join as a late-entry team by calling the Lockdown Challenge the Lockup Challenge in all conversations with their Captain Mick, putting the fear of God into everybody, except the yet-to-start cycling teams still sledging from the boundary. Then BB indulges in an orgy of distasteful puns (“nick of time”, “undercover” etc).

Jude on the Beach

Secondly, he rings me up from somewhere in the far south west on his daily amble saying he thinks he’s going to change the rules at some stage. [What?]

Erika looking composed on the mountainside

Thirdly, he declares he wants to publish the original rules in a Raising Post. Has he gone mad? The fewer people that get their head round them the better as far as we poor Stewards are concerned. And I want these PC Plodders onside. The Law, you know. I am also actively trying to engage solicitors for us, but they keep putting the telephone down in fits of laughter. And professional indemnity insurance is proving impossible to get as well.


Finally the Bookie’s Bag let rip with an excruciating, syrupy, broken-tenor rendition of “Some Enchanted Evening“ which had us scrabbling for the ear plugs. Team Chipembere have improved our sanity with poetry. Others appear to be equally and rightly concerned with the inner man amidst much talk of cakes, doughnuts, scones, pubs etc. The Human Hares and Walky Talkies continue in their graceful and stately radio silence, which we treat with some suspicion.

Qua Run Team going for the Loop Formation

No longer concerned that some are going in the wrong direction, some round in amphetamine-induced circles, or some even (Escargatoire?) following the wrong coastline, we are however concerned by this:

A cunning plan: dog-tired but impressive on the clock

Our only explanation is that this Strava device was attached to a dog. Clever. Very clever, but we might be barking up the wrong tree, and worry about copycat infringements.

And the professional African runner business has gone very quiet. A small dossier is in preparation, though. The PC Plodders might be following up the lead in more ways than one.

CLO



The Raising Post: Issue 4

The Raising Post: Issue 4

The editor/rule-maker/organiser went to bed at end of day 3 in a relatively agitated mood…

…having had to deal with a number of tricky issues, including complaints about teams being located in the Bristol Channel (for which there is a perfectly reasonable explanation with which I shall not trouble you).
In the Sea

But this also gives me a chance to herald the amazing work of Anna Kasket and Chrissie (L-O), the indomitable support team: Anna Kasket, who regularly sends us emails with Journal final copies at 2am, having fuelled the social media all day; and Chrissie, who resurrected and now nurses the website. Three cheers for them! If you have not discovered it yet, the Journal ‘Raising Post’ is available online here on the website, and also in a downloadable flip book version.

A merry tune

What, then, of the teams’ progress on days 3 and 4?

Most of them, those keeping up with pace and marked collectively on the map as ‘the Peloton’, are now well into Somerset and will be passing through Bristol and across the Severn Bridge today.

“Somerset” (or possibly Norfolk – the River Mun, to be precise)


One is never quite certain how the back markers, the PC Plodders and the Walky Talkies, are doing, as they tend to do a lot overnight and after the day’s returns have been submitted; and so don’t be fooled by their relative positions on the map. The Walky Talkie returns, when they come in, are unerringly consistent and one can only assume (with profuse apologies to their leader) they have learned the art of ‘cut and paste’. The same must apply to the Human Hares.


Chipembere have issues with connectivity as a number of them are in Zim and spend a more of their time rounding up rhinos and elephant…

…But they have sent a wonderful album of clips, and what a contrast to Norfolk or Dorset – or perhaps not, if this weather holds.

Meanwhile, the rest of their team – namely the houseparty in Dorset – are posting relatively respectable mileages and not far off the pace. If your name is Kate or Katie, you can be sure to do 6.2 miles, although they must have realised this was spotted because one did 10 yesterday and the other only 4!

Gardens looking good


The weather of course has made for wonderful walking conditions. More inclement weather might spread the field a little.

Kitty’s view


Escargatoire continue to send in coastline views and it now has to be the case that they are taking the western coastal path north; although their leader Michael does embark on sorties inland on occasion, Martin Forsyth is putting in some consistent mileage and Caroline Everard the rock climber is no doubt doing all hers vertically!


The TeaBag Stable are living up to their name and are permanently to be seen milling around the village pump consuming scones and cakes.

Although a little apart and submitting some very impressive mountain miles, Erika is clearly enjoying great spring sunshine in the Tirol.

One of Erika’s daily returns – I had to telephone to check she was not stuck on top of a mountain!

Lermoos, in the Tyrol (South-East of Devon)
…and Norfolk’s reply


The PC Plodders have gone under cover.

The PC’s dog, but it would appear no PC


Ben of the Two-Legged Tortoises seems to be rid of his headache – represented by some erratic routes plotted on his app – but given it to Trish, who went for a very wobbly walk on Monday.

Another wobbly walker for the Two Legged Tortoises

Fay has been troubled by seeing zebras in Norfolk and may have been taking the same anti-malarial stuff Trump is medicating with.

Tor and the author think they have discovered where all the PPE has got to!


The banter between teams is very active. Fay, she of the Fen, offered the following: ‘Tea Bags [Stable] should be hung out to dry!’ The immediate riposte of course was ‘Is it that bad in the Fen?’

Gin and song


Buen Camino! as they say in Spain