The Essex Sections’ Annual Christmas Lunch 2010

Like Siberia but not in the interior

A bitterly cold day on 25th November but there were still a fair number of bikes leaning against the wall of the Writtle Village Hall, the venue for our annual get together so well organised by Paul & Anne Collins. I could not help but cast my mind back to similar times in La Tavena, Epping when the prolific stacks of bikes would be a problem for anyone who wanted to get away early if their bike was first in. But it is good to see the tradition of cycling to this occasion being maintained. However, I was not going to envy the riders their ride back in fading light, icy blasts and full stomachs.

Inside the busy bar staff and the hubbub of many cyclists in the foyer, Gosh so many old friends re-met and warmth of friendships forged over many miles in many places.

I was fortunate to chat to, among others, Doreen Raybould and to find out that she was indeed our newly appointed President, no chain of office and that was explained by it being at the repairers or something.

Paul Collins had a lovely idea of tinkling a bell to get us into the eating area, it reminded me of the film ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ (James Stewart) when it was said, ‘every time a bell rings an angel gets its wings’. Well we did not get wings but had a very nice meal. Even the peas and carrots were tasty and I am one who avoids that slightly plastic taste of hard carrots and warm peas that can apply to mass meals. These veggies were good, I took some more and tried to forget that there were no Brussels sprouts this year but whose complaining?

Ninety-two sitting down and all jolly soon served with our turkey and roast potatoes. Groups of friends together on tables and it must be a nightmare to get everyone in the right places so great credit to Mr & Mrs Collins and sorry for all your sleepless nights, but it was all worth while.

The raffle was the usual chaos-come-success with the booming voice of Peter Wermerling. President Doreen won the beautiful watercolour painting by Mike Pendreich, most appropriate. But all this was after stalwart Peter had been presented with his 80th birthday certificate illuminated with another lovely watercolour of a country pub this time by Steve Ebdon.

Before we knew it, it was all over and then commenced the traversing of groups of friends to get to the exit. So many farewells until the next ride, or lunch or indeed in this modern age, email.

Happy Christmas Season to all – Bill Godfrey