Sunday, 30 August 2009

They're back!

Helen and Will arrived triumphantly in Church today.

They recorded their track on most days on my GPS. I’ll post a detailed map here later in the week.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Wedding at Little Hampden

And now for something completely different: there was a wedding at Little Hampden this morning. The registers we are currently using started in 1840 – note that neither bride, nor groom nor the witnesses in marriage number 2 could write.

Today’s couple were number 69.

Lucy rang the bell – the first time it’s been rung for several years.

Friday, 28 August 2009

They've made it!

2:15 this afternoon, a text from Margaret said: ‘They’ve done it! Just in time – it’s pouring. They’re both safe but tired. 305 miles of hard cycling.’ Helen’s Facebook entry (via her mobile) said ‘Helen Biggerstaff Has finished the ride. Back to the undulations of the beautiful Chilterns! See some of you on Sunday! X’

It’s been a hard week, particularly with mixed weather, but Will and Helen have achieved their target: across the North of England from coast to coast and back. They should be back in Great Missenden on Sunday – come to St Peter & St Paul to welcome them home.

If you haven’t sponsored them yet, it’s not too late: email me on

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Thursday evening – only 30 miles to go but...

No mobile signal tonight so just a quick phone call. I think they are at Bewaldeth. They’ve had a very good day but the forecast for tomorrow is very bad: 40-50 mph head winds. They are looking at alternative ways of doing the last 30 miles without struggling against a head wind.

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Thursday - they're in good spirits

Just had a text: Having coffee in Hethersgill. Will’s got too much energy – is cycling up and down the road. Making for Carlisle

I've just looked at the profile - downhill today but a 350M climb tomorrow

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Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Wednesday update

Latest info: Difficult day. Will had a problem with his bike. A bike hire shop mended it – for only £1.50! Poor signage round Kielder – Helen was rescued by two 80-year-olds! They are staying in a Roman fort on Hadrian’s Wall. The weather hasn’t been too good today – should be better tomorrow – forecast is for sunny intervals and no rain.

Looks like a wet day

No communication yet direct from Will and Helen but facebook entries: 'had a hot shower and is looking out at Hadrians Wall- YHA at Birdoswald. Quirky but nice!' and 'Is back in mobile signal. Good ride, but got very wet and very lost out of Kielder- signage rubbish!'

Birdoswald is here

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And here is how they are doing on a larger map

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Tuesday, 25 August 2009

C2C completed – Reivers started

Will and Helen reached the coast yesterday and have set out on the return journey on the Reivers route today. Margaret reported at about 16:20 that they were making great progress and had passed Bellingham in lovely weather. The profile of the Reivers route looks tougher than the C2C – see the web site – but they are still in good spirits and can see the end of their 310 mile ride.

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Monday, 24 August 2009

15:35 Monday

Will and Helen have arrived in Sunderland. They've got to the other coast and are reported to be inhigh spirits. More later.

14:15 Monday

Txt: 'Morale high! Making final push for Sunderland. Hope to reach in a couple of hours'

Update Monday morning

I’ve just had a txt from Margaret - ‘just leaving Stanhope up another climb to top of moor. Weather clear and dry. In good spirits’

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Day 2

I’m not sure where they are – they have sent a grid ref from the GPS but must have reset the coordinates. I estimate they are near Allenheads. It’s been a tough day – lots of uphill and bad weather. Margaret reports ‘I was cold and I had 3 layers and the heater on in the car’ Both Will and Heleb were soaked at the highest point. Tomorrow looks like some hard uphill stretches but lots of downhill. I’ll try to get a better position .

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Update - noon Sunday

10:00: set off from Langwathby - in good spirits.

12:00: just reached summit 1903 feet. Tough going - windy and raining and paining, too.

Saturday, 22 August 2009

First day – 10 miles further than planned

The first section – 25 miles to Keswick was reported as ‘hard going’ however, the afternoon seems to have gone better. Will and Helen have reached Greystoke. Prompted by the weather forecast which doesn’t look too good for tomorrow, they continued beyond their planned end point.

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They’ve started

Helen and Will left Wokington at 9:45 with a tail wind. They are heading for Keswick.

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Friday, 21 August 2009

The Big Cycle Ride starts here

Will Dixon and Helen Bickerstaff are starting their 310 mile sponsored cycle ride tomorrow. They plan to cycle the C2C and Reivers Paths – from Whitehaven to Teignmouth and back – in 6 days, up to 60 miles a day. They are hoping to send me brief reports at the end of each day which I’ll relay here. The ride is in support of the proposed renewable energy projects at St Peter & St Paul, Gt Missenden: the Church is attempting to install solar panels which will enable it to generate more energy that it uses. A number of grants have already been promised towards this project.

If you haven’t sponsored Helen and Will yet, e-mail me and I’ll send you details.

More information on the cycle routes are on the web sites – links in the ‘links’ entries to the right.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Harvest at Little Hampden

Sitting out in the garden the last few evenings, we’ve had the rumble of combine harvesters in the background. Don, who farms near us, started the field just below the house yesterday.

Recording in Church

Tom and his friends recording in St Peter & St Paul yesterday

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Choir party

We had the Church Choir to a barbecue last evening. We picked the best evening of the summer so far.

Click on slideshow or here to see larger pictures.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Communications and social networking - and jam

Three Skype video calls today – one to Hare Lane, one to North Carolina and one to Georgia. Neta (my colleague Churchwarden) and I have stopped driving to meet each other for our regular updates and meet via Skype instead. It saves time and a round trip of about 9 miles. But not only is it greener, it is very effective. It’s not quite like a face-to-face meeting but we are able to see the body language. I also discovered a new web site ( that provides a whiteboard for use on conference calls. Anyone connected can draw on it. I haven’t tried it yet but it sounds fun.

The two calls to the US allowed me to meet Joe, our new Youth Worker’s husband, and to discuss the process they have to go through to get their visas. We were able to debate the relative bureaucracies of our two countries. Both have introduced new rules recently which will result in or new team member crossing the Atlantic three times.

All this positive use of technology (OK, I’m a technophile) contrasts with Archbishop Vincent Nichols’ condemnation of social networking. My rather limited experience of youngsters and these sites is that they use them to continue communications and relationships that they have made in person, not as a substitute for personal links. The comments on The Times web article are mainly anti – although I guess people who comment on a web site are not a cross section of society. I think that these communications tools, used sensibly, are a big benefit to society and to blame them or suggest banning them is no help. As some of the comments say, the problems lie elsewhere and some positive suggestions would be a help.

In contrast to this, Brenda has spent the day making jam: we picked 4½ kilos of gooseberries and 2 kilos of blackcurrants yesterday and there’s more in the garden.