Friday, January 29, 2021

Tony's local ride

For this ride I decided to head over to Ewell in search of the Horton Light Railway 🚃 line. On the way I stopped to view the Ewell Watch House which held prisoners and later housed the Fire Engine 🚒 and then continued to follow the old railway lines (where possible) but all I could find of the railway line was part of the Road Bridge which crossed over the railway line in the grounds of Horton Golf Club. I continued to the Wells Estate where the old Spa Well is situated.


Next I cycled up to Epsom Downs via Langley Vale, passing the NHS COVID vaccination centre in the Grandstand, through Banstead and stopped for a coffee at Oaks Park, then I headed for home. A fine day for January.

~ Tony


Thursday, January 28, 2021

Cycling and Football - Seven Tiers Tour.

I'm into football - as much as cycling. Covid has constrained both. I wondered how I could re-connect?

I was inspired by non-League amateur club Marine's FA Cup recent heroics against Spurs. Based in Crosby*, north Liverpool, (around the corner where I grew-up), they are eight tiers below Premiership football clubs. Could I explore in a bike ride where south-west London teams in different levels of football's pyramid are based?

Knowing where clubs are located helped to pinpoint places on my cycle route. Especially the minows. ( I aimed for a broadly circular route of around 40 miles, in-line with lockdown local, with some scenic off-road riding. I ended-up with clubs from 7 tiers of English football, not eight, spread evenly around 7 adjoining London boroughs. My route.

First-up was Wimbledon AFC, League 1, reached from the Wandle Trail. The old Plough Lane ground was a dump. but a well-loved dump! The new stadium, opened last year, further along Plough Lane on the old dog-track, is unfortunately hidden behind high-rise housing, still being constructed.

The Dons new stadium entrance.
         From Plough Lane, the Wandle Trial is well-surfaced to Colliers     Wood, but after Merton Abbey Mills it's a bit of a mud-bath. Cycling south of Morden Park I passed through swarms of tiny insects - likely brought about by the sudden mild weather. 

Then it was to Tooting and Mitcham's ground - grandly named TM United Campus Society Stadium, located next to the Wandle Trail. (T&M are in the eighth tier of the Football League).

Tooting and Mitcham, Bishopsford Road.

Into Sutton, via St Hellier, and along the cycle path in Collingwood Road Rec. is the home of Sutton United, established in 1898, and in the 5th tier of the English Football League. I left along Gander Goose Lane.
The modest entrance to Sutton United F.C.

Entering Kingston, Kingsmeadow is on the A2043 Kingston Road, and home to Kingstonian of the Isthmian League, (7th tier) as well as Chelsea Ladies. (Liverpool played AFC Wimbledon there in 2015 when Wimbledon were homeless!). 

Kingsmeadow - home to Kingstonian.

My route then led me through Kingston town centre, and a very quiet market place, over the bridge, and past Hampton Court on the way to Hampton. First, needing a coffee, I nipped across the Thames to the Molesey Lock cafe, before returning back into London, and following the Thames west.

Station Road, a residential backwater in Hampton, is home to Hampton and Richmond FC. They play in the 6th tier, National League South, in the neat Chris Sweet Bevervee Stadium.

The Covid-mothballed Bevervee Stadium.

Cycling into Twickenham I was on my way to two better known football clubs, like Wimbledon, both undergoing major change and redevelopment. These were Brentford and Fulham.

Through Isleworth and into Syon Park, I bumped into Tony Hopkins, returning from a cycling errand. It was then into Brentford, and Griffin Park, the old ground of Brentford F.C. Hidden away, surrounded by dense terraced housing, its difficult to find, (but over the next few years it will be redeveloped to emerge as an eco-village).

Brentford's splendid new Community Stadium, is very visible when crossing Kew Bridge or from the west along the elevated Great West Road. It also has dedicated cycle access, from the Ealing to Kew cycle route, and even covered bike racks! It's also right next to Kew Bridge Station - very sustainable. Hopefully Brentford will escape the Championship (second tier) to the top-flight Premier League next season and justify this new home.

The old Griffin Park

The new Brentford Community Stadium.

It was a bit tricky navigating the temporary cycle lanes through Chiswick and Turnham Green to Hammersmith, but once on the Thames Path it was an easy ride to my last football ground, Premiership Fulham's Craven Cottage. A massive new stand is emerging, looming over the Thames and surrounding affluent housing, like a crane from a Clyde shipyard. Let's hope Fulham can continue in the Premiership and fill this new Riverside Stand.

The new Riverside Stand, Craven Cottage, from Bishops Park.

Wednesday's ride was rather different - and somewhat slower, than an normal A Wayfarer outing. But in these abnormal times why not mix cycling with football.

* (Crosby is a smart suburb of Liverpool, which has Carlo Ancelotti, manager of a lesser known club, acting as an unofficial Minister of Tourism,

Invitation to all Sou'Westers to receive the Covid-19 Vaccine

Have you had your jab yet? If you get an email like this, be very suspicious:

Notice who it was sent from:

From: NHS - National Health Service <>

Not an NHS email address.

The links below don't work, but notice that they don't take you to an website

The website will ask for your personal details, and might ask for financial details.

This is a scam.

Subject: important Book an appointment using the NHS e-Referral Service NHSVaccination

Coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination - NHS

Dear ,

The NHS is performing selections for coronavirus vaccination on the basis of family genetics and medical history.

You have been selected to receive a coronavirus vaccination.

NOTE: The coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine is safe and effective. It gives you the best protection against coronavirus.

Use this service to confirm your coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination.

You will need to:

  • have 2 doses of the coronavirus vaccination at 2 appointments
  • book both appointments at the same time
  • get the 2nd dose 3 to 4 weeks after getting your 1st dose

Who can use this service

You can only use this service if you have received an /SMS regarding this invitation. You can not use this service for anyone other than yourself.

You are also free to reject this invitation, your appointment will be issued to the next person in line in that case.

Please confirm or reject your invitation by selecting an option below.

>> N H S - ACCEPT Invitation

>> N H S - Decline Invitation

You are required to reply to this invitation within 12 hours of this notification.

Important Notice:

Vaccines work by (blah, blah, blah...)

2021 NHS Crown Copyright  (yeah, right!)

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

A Message from Mike Morley's son, Tim

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Mike Morley on 19th January 2021 in Epsom Hospital. 

He left us after a valiant battle with an infection and subsequent Covid and will be sorely missed by his family. 

Mike once described himself as tight, mean and controversial. Whilst the latter is wonderfully true, we vehemently disagree with the first two. His generosity and thoughtfulness for others less fortunate than he was well known and acknowledged in his continuous charity support and fund raising, through the Hilly 50km to name just one. I hope we can continue this in memory of Mike and the amazing effort he put into this during the years he organised the event, which he loved so much. 

He had a passion and mischievousness for life that was infectious. Never afraid to say what he thought, he was quick to forgive and enjoyed nothing more than being on the open road, on one of his beloved bikes, with his peers. 

Once met, never forgotten. 

His funeral will be attended by family only, given current circumstances, however if you'd like to log in and pay your respects, we are hoping to be able to provide a link which will be posted so you can attend virtually on Thursday 18th February 2021.

We hope to be able to hold a celebration of his life once Covid Restrictions are lifted so that we can all raise a glass to him as he wanted. 
Tim Morley

Saturday, January 23, 2021

Life in the third Lockdown

Jennie Jackson invited the women in the group to offer their observations on life during Lockdown.

This is how Francoise and Carolyn responded...............

From Francoise Humphrey

So instead of a formal contribution, may I put a few remarks on the effect of our successive confinements.... I am fortunate that I was in France for first confinement and that I am in England for the November and the current confinement. I now look at the first lockdown as some shock to the system... as in France we were abruptly barred from the great rides we normally enjoy on the pretty Brittany roads. For 6 weeks we could go no further than a 1 km radius from home, and that was after completing a very administrative looking form asking at what time we had left the house, what our address was and why we were outside of the house. Failure to carry the said form would entail people to a substantial fine.... This was harsh but it put us in a good stead for English style lockdown in November and now as we have not felt so restricted here.

Over the year what I have noticed amongst my non-cycling ladies friends, is how short tempered or snappy some of them are becoming, very much out of character for them... It is true that it is tedious to stay in, not to be able to go browsing in the shops, not to meet the grand-children, etc... What I have further noticed, is that it is usually those without a hobby of some sorts who are suffering the most. Perhaps cyclists fare better even though long-distance cycling is not an option at the moment. Am I reading too much in the benefits of cycling? Perhaps .... do I miss our summer rides in Brittany or in the depth of Surrey, most certainly.... do I miss seeing Grand-son Lewis (3) who lives in border-locked Indonesia, most definitely... but I am compensating with all sorts of long overdue DIY jobs (overdue no doubt because of the number of hours spent on a saddle in the past 15 years!) not too brood too much about our current situation. These lockdowns are not good but it could be worse as 20th century history can teach us!

From Carolyn Beer

I'm staying home watching the "Night Manager" on TV again and reminiscing our Cycle Holidays in Mallorca.  I am so pleased to have cycled in Mallorca (and John in his youth used to go on the Spring Cycle Training Camps).   I remember and visualise that I'm climbing up to the Monastery of Santuari de Lluc, stopping for coffee and visiting the Geology Museum at the top.  Dropping down to Port de sa Calobra, then realising I need to cycle back up that 6 / 7/ 10 percent mountain. Meandering round the Serra De Tramuntana, along to the "Orient", my favourite cycle tour.    In the evening, sharing a Meal in a Restaurant with marvellous cycle mates, chatting about our cycle endeavours of the day and drinking Margarita's.  My hairdresser is a mate of Stuart Hall the last time he heard from him, his family had relocated to Palma for the Winter to return to Pollenca during summer. 

New Year - New Lockdown - New Local

The New Local is the New Normal.  Unfortunately, not that kind of "local".   I'm referring to my interpretation of Stay Local, which is explained by the Government as meaning "your village, your town or your part of the city".   My interpretation of this is to stay inside Richmond Borough, which is quite restrictive.  Previously, in the absence of clear guidance, I was staying within a 5-10 mile radius of home, depending on the weather, in case I had a mechanical and had to walk home. 

Old Local

New Local

Richmond is long and thin, going from Hampton in the south west to Barnes in the north east, and includes Bushy & Richmond Parks plus lots of towpath, but these are often too crowded on a nice day.  Richmond Park hasn't been so busy during the week so I have ventured out there.

How to find new routes in a smallish area, in a longish lockdown?  Well, I thought I might try riding every road.  Starting with Barnes.

Streets of Barnes

It is surprisingly time-consuming; reasonable exercise with a lot of stopping and starting, and a workout for the brain too, to visit everywhere without too much repetition.  As you can see, there are bits I missed.

Along the way, I found a couple of nice views, and in a pond just north of the Wetland Centre, a difficult-to-identify bird that just might be a Bittern.


Harrods village, Barnes

Meanwhile, back home, spring is coming...

Friday, January 22, 2021

In which Tony explores some local history

At last a bright morning so I cycled to Merton in search of where Viscount Horatio Nelson had lived and found in Nelson Gardens a memorial to him; various roads and a Pub in the area are associated with his name.


I then took a slight detour to Morden Park for some refreshments and for a wheel change 😉

Time for a new chainring
My next call was to check out the Merton Priory Ruins most of which are under Sainsbury’s Super Store in Colliers Wood. The access to the chapter house ruins was obviously closed but you could view some of the stone work through the windows; close by are what is left of the Priory Flint Walls.

Following the River Wandle to where it joins the Thames I cycled on the Thames Path to Putney, through a busy Richmond Park to Kingston, where I viewed the Coronation Stone which dates back to Saxon Times, and the Clattern Bridge where the Hogsmill joins the River Thames.

Next I followed the Hogsmill back to its source at Ewell Springs, having missed the muddy places along the way.

~ Tony