Our Times in Leicestershire

Shepshed Edition

December 00


Ceri and Stephen win Hill Climb!

Dad Dee donated a trophy for the Tandem Club Family Hill Climb. This was competed for at this years AGM at Lincoln. Ceri and I entered and won, despite having the slowest time. Two other families entered, but they beat the adult Ladies and Mens teams and hence won the adults trophy leaving the family trophy for Ceri and I.

Whilst at the AGM I stood down as Non Technical Sales but remained on the committee as an ordinary member. Due to holiday and exam commitments of the new Non Tech sales person, we did not hand over the shop for over 3 months.


This Easter we did something different. We got rid of Ceri at nannies whilst Ann and I went camping at Market Bosworth to try some rides for our camping weekend later in the year. The weather was not to bad, but the campsite was waterlogged, and Ann got a bit cold so we went home a day early.

Ceri wins tidy room trophy!

Ceri went on a school trip to the Isle of Wright in May. She shared a room with her best friend Emma. The school has joined the 21st century and it was possible to catch up with the latest news on the trip on the school web site. When I found out that Ceri and Emma had won tidiest room, I emailed the teacher looking after them and demanded a recount. After years of coaching Ceri for the untidy tent award, this award came as a let down.


Ceri is now in year 6 and transferred schools this year, rather then next year as is common elsewhere in England. Ceri is now at Shepshed High School were she has settled in well and really enjoys the more adult ways of teaching.

Ceri is still very busy after school doing Community Band, Swimming, Piano, Flute; Guides.

Ann Goes Back to Skool

Ann can not keep away from Ceri’s school. She started work again this autumn term at Ceri’s new school as a lunch time as a Learning Support Assistant, she goes in for an hour at lunch time to look after five boys who have family problems. They have their own room at lunch times to play board games etc, but not Ann, she has taken in juggling balls, and table tennis, and she hasn’t been thrown out yet.

Tandem 2000

Spring Bank Holiday week we went to Cheddar for Tandem 2000. We drove down on the Friday night in pour rain and enjoyed the delights of the M5/M4 junction bottleneck such that we did not arrive until 11:30pm. The only advantage of our late arrival was it stopped raining long enough for us to put our tent up. The Saturday was very wet but the rest of the week was not to bad. They had a morning kids club in which Ann helped and Ceri attended or was it the other way round.

Ceri Breaks A Foot

On the Thursday evening whilst Ann and I had gone walkabout visiting friends on site, Ceri tripped over whilst playing and twisted her right ankle badly. Aunty Grace created a fuss because we could not be found and then rushed her off to Weston Super Mare Hospital. We eventually returned and were greeted with the news that Ceri had gone to hospital. They x-rayed Ceri’s foot and confirmed she had broken a bone in her foot were a muscle is attached. Apparently this is a common fracture which in the old days would of been treated by a plaster cast, but now is treated by elasticated support and no weight on foot for 3 weeks. Because of this we went home the next day to see our local GP who was better able to explain what Ceri had done. This curbed our activities until our camping weekend at Market Bosworth at the end of June.

A triplet is born

Whilst at Cheddar they had a display of tandems etc, this included a triplet for 3 adults, we gave it a test ride and enjoyed it. As the next day was a bit wet in the morning we visited the supplier of the Triplet as they were local and ended up ordering one. It arrived just in time for our Family Camping weekend at Market Bosworth at the end of June. Ann named it Mikado as in "three little Dees from Shepshed are we".

Market Bosworth

Our family camping weekend at Market Bosworth was a success we had 33 families this year from all over the country. The weather was not to bad and a lot drier then two years ago.

Ann Becomes Brown Owl

Ann has helped out at Ceri’s former Brownie pack since the leader walked out over a year ago. Ann decided that she would take the Guide promise and become Brown Owl. The pack reached a low point of 6 girls when Ann first started to help out and she has now grown the pack to its maximum of 24 Brownies.

Ceri runs up large phone bill

One day during the summer I tried to ring home from work and found the phone was continuously engaged. Enquiries discovered the reason for this was Ceri surfing the net. Ceri was promptly banned unless under my supervision. Because of this we changed ISP and hence our new email address in the header. In addition we have started our own Webb site, address also in the header. This will gradually grow.

Three go camping on a triplet

We have not done as much camping this year as last. We did manage one cycle camping trip on the triplet with our friends from Oxford. They came up to us and we cycled camped to Quorn. Not very far but it proved to us that it was possible to camp on the triplet.

Rush Hour on the Brocken

For our main holiday this year, we went to Germany for a week in the Harz mountains before going onto the Tandem Club International Rally. We camped near Nordhausen. The attraction of that part of Germany was the Harzquerbahn. Meter gauge system. We took Ann for a ride on it up to the top of the Brocken - over 900m of climbing at 1 in 30, with 2-10-2 tanks and 8 bogies (coaches not the other type). Ann was not impressed with the trip - all 8 hours of it and the over crowding on the final section up to the top of the Brocken which made rush hour in London seem like a Vicar’s tea party.

Ceri and I managed to ride the whole system except the turn round loop at Stiege. Also we travelled behind steam on the all except the Harzgerode branch.   Link to Harzquerbahn web site.

What no English

The thing we found about that part of Germany was that English was hardly spoken, at the campsite we stayed at (in the former FDR), the only person who spoke English was a Ducth lady working there for the summer. At Wernigerode (in the former DDR) we could only find Russian papers in the International section at the newsagent on the station. When Ceri and I got the little railcar from Niedersachswerfen to go to Stiege to complete our coverage of the system - we tried to explain to the driver/guard/fare collector etc (a truly OMO train) where we wanted to go and pointed to the timetable, the driver just shrugged his shoulders and Ceri and I had free trip.

What Goes Up Comes Down

Whilst in the Harz we tried one big climb on the Triplet, up to the Ski station at Bad Sachsa. At the foot of the climb we had mishap on the triplet, the front brake broke. We managed to get it repaired in Bad Sachsa and did the climb in reasonable time. However Ann was not impressed as due to running late, we had to go back by the only made up road - which was the road we just rode up. If we had time I had planned to make use of the extensive tracks which cover the Harz.  See photo on home page.

Ceri Frightens Mum

Our second week in Germany was at the TC International Rally in Kulmbach County, Bavaria. This was Ann’s first international, so Ceri and I had to behave. The organisers organised a very good Kinder programme for children of all ages. Ceri had to put up with the embarrassment of me joining the fun and games.

The first day of the Kinder programme we were informed by worried friends of Ceri’s that she had gone milk create climbing. One of the events they had kids and adults climb towers of creates which you stacked as you climbed.

One kid had managed 20 so Ceri thought she would try. In view of her recent broken foot she just did it rather then asked. Ceri managed 10 creates before falling off. (she was tied to a safety harness supported by a crane).

Ann Gets Room With a View

On the Wednesday there was a ride to a reception with the Mayor of Kulmbach. It was a hot, humid day with thunder storms.  Shortly after the formal reception it rained so Ceri and I went inside to view the Mayor’s chambers whilst Ann chattered to friends outside. The next thing we knew Ann fainted and they called an Ambulance. They took her to the local hospital and kept her in for 2 nights.  The only consolation was the view from her room which over looked the town and directly across to the castle on the opposite side of the valley.

They released Ann on the Friday with a clean bill of health. However this did put a damper on the rest of the week as Ceri and I popped into the Hospital each day to visit.

Dad Dee

Dad Dee complained of problems swallowing early this year. He eventually agreed to see the doctor about it and he was diagnosed as having a cancer of the gullet. He was admitted to Mayday hospital before being transferred to St Christopher’s Hospice where he died shortly after admission.

Dad had a good innings and had bravely continued an independent life style despite having to use a ventilator at home, due to his curvature of the spine leading to severally reduced lung capacity. Initially he used a ventilator for nigh time only, but with time this increased to almost 24 hours a day with oxygen. This did not stop him from travelling as he would take mobile ventilator with him and if he stayed overnight would arrange for a bottle of oxygen to be provided for him

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Christmas 2000 Letter Page last updated 15th December 2000