Home | The First Seventy Years

January 09, 2011

151 - Postcript

...Will a religionist view of the world prevail? Is it totally beyond our control to address it because whatever we do will be of little consequence? I take the view that changing our behaviour and seeking the help of science and technology is the way forward...

Eric Biddulph, approaching the conclusion of his engaging autobiography, sums up his attitude to life and the major problem facing the world.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "151 - Postcript" »

January 02, 2011

150 - Cycling For Softies

Eric Biddulph organised a cycling club for the over-50s.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "150 - Cycling For Softies" »

December 26, 2010

149 - Spain Again

...Together with a long weekend in Hull where we pedalled our tandem down to Spurn Point the year provided us with much interesting and inspired cycling. Awheel in 2003 was as enjoyable for me as it had been fifty years before....

Eric Biddulph tells of being rewarded for designing cycling routes.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "149 - Spain Again" »

December 19, 2010

148 - The Alhambra

On a cycling tour in Spain Eric Biddulph visited the Alhambra Palace in Granada.

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December 12, 2010

147 - Sierra de Guadarrama

...The Sierra de Guadarrama just north of Madrid served up some testing climbs but it was nothing that we could not handle given a bit of determination. Seven days and seven hundred kilometres later we arrived at the home of our Halifax exile...

Eric Biddulph and his companion continue their cycle tour of Spain, there to pay homage to a Yorkshireman who lay down his live in the Spanish Civil War.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

Continue reading "147 - Sierra de Guadarrama" »

December 05, 2010

146 - HMS Victory

Eric Biddulph enjoyed a bike ride through rural England before embarking for Spain.

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November 28, 2010

145 - In Memory Of Ralph Fox

Eric Biddulph went on a cycle ride in Spain to commemorate an Englishman who died fighting fascist forces.

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November 21, 2010

144 - Bow Summit

Eric Biddulph and his wife Mary conclude their bike ride through some of Canada's most picturesque scenery.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "144 - Bow Summit" »

November 14, 2010

143 - The Icefield Parkway

...On arrival we were confronted by a large notice on the door telling us that there had been a sighting of a black bear in the vicinity; 'take extra care' being the message...

Eric Biddulph and his wife Mary rode one of Canada's most famous routes on their bikes.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "143 - The Icefield Parkway" »

November 07, 2010

143 - A Unique Wilderness Experience

Eric Biddulph and his wife Mary ride their bikes along Canada's spectacular Icefield Parkway.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "143 - A Unique Wilderness Experience" »

November 02, 2010

150 - Cycling For Softies

Eric Biddulph organised a cycling club for the over-50s.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "150 - Cycling For Softies" »

October 31, 2010

142 - Hunger Knock

Wildlife was beginning to make itself visible, red squirrel, deer and black bears...

Eric Biddulph and his wife Mary biked through the Canadian Rockies.

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October 24, 2010

141 - Vancouver And Victoria

Eric Biddulph embarks on a cycling tour of Western Canada.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "141 - Vancouver And Victoria" »

October 17, 2010

140 - Blowholes

Eric Biddulph and his wife Mary saw some of the world's greatest natural wonders during their New Zealand-by-bike tour.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "140 - Blowholes" »

October 10, 2010

139 - Opunake

...The ferry trip from Wellington to Picton on the northern tip of South Island was pure magic. Gill had advised us not to take the fast ferry in order that we would be able to savour the beauty and delight of sailing through the Marlborough Sound...

Eric Biddulph and his wife Mary continue their cycle tour of New Zealand.

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October 03, 2010

138 - On The Tramp

...I was nevertheless, somewhat surprised to be told to follow the tramp leader downstream. As this was a new experience I enquired why the leader had chosen to have us treading water. I was told that the law relating to footpaths and tracks was not as liberal as in the UK. We had reached a boundary where the only option was to retrace our footprints or walk in the stream...

Eric Biddulph and his wife Mary got somewhat damp on a hike in New Zealand.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "138 - On The Tramp" »

September 26, 2010

137 - Off To New Zealand

...Auckland is renowned for its harbour and numerous boats. One in three Kiwis lives in the city. Mary joined me from the UK two days later. After a pleasant day spent at the home of our host we left them to return to the airport to build up the bikes on the specially provided facilities, an indication of the popularity of the country as a cyclist's haven....

Eric Biddulph launches into a cycle tour Down Under.

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September 19, 2010

136 - Good Bye Vietnam

...Enjoying my last breakfast in the country I moved all my baggage into the hotel foyer to await the arrival of the taxi. Spot on 8 am my appointed driver presented himself. Helpful to the n'th degree everything was carried outside prior to loading. As I followed him through the hotel entrance I immediately realised that I was about to move into 'choppy waters'...

Eric Biddulph faced a few problems when it came time to say goodbye to Vietnam.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "136 - Good Bye Vietnam" »

September 12, 2010

135 - A Driver With A Death Wish

Eric Biddulph took a bus trip to the Mekong Delta in Vietnam.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "135 - A Driver With A Death Wish" »

September 05, 2010

134 - The Summer Palace

World traveller Eric Biddulph continues an account of a tour of Vietnam.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "134 - The Summer Palace" »

August 29, 2010

133 - A Basin Filled With Ice Cubes

...Now that I had entered the southern half of the country I was beginning to find it unbearably hot riding after mid-day. The following day was no exception. I made frequent stops for drink. At one stage a Vietnamese lady provided me with a basin filled with ice cubes on which I placed my bare feet to reduce the swelling; magic. I became a new man...

Eric Biddulph was not in the best of health as he neared the end of his long bike ride in Vietnam.

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August 22, 2010

132 - My Lai

Eric Biddulph, during his cycle tour of Vietnam, visited the village which was the scene of a massacre.

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August 15, 2010

131 - Vietnamese Hospitality

Eric Biddulph tells of happy times and generous hospitality during his cycle tour of Vietnam.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "131 - Vietnamese Hospitality" »

August 01, 2010

130 - Reunification Express

...On the way back to Hue we were taken off the bus and given a conducted tour through a hill tribe village. Many of my fellow passengers started taking photographs of the inhabitants. I merely took photographs of the photographers. It was too much like a human zoo for my liking...

Eric Biddulph was shown much to remind him of warfare as he continued his tour of Vietnam.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "130 - Reunification Express" »

July 25, 2010

129 - The Wrong Bike

...The following morning two of them appeared at my breakfast table having received encouragement to practice their English with this rare English speaking visitor to their city. As they had arrived on bikes I was able to join them on an escorted ride around the city...

Eric Biddulph found himself the centre of attention as he toured Vietnam on a bike.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "129 - The Wrong Bike" »

July 18, 2010

128 - And Now Vietnam

World-traveller Eric Biddulph began the new millenium with a long bike ride in Vietnam.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "128 - And Now Vietnam" »

July 11, 2010

127 - Greyhound Bus To Chicago

...The next day I made my second trip to downtown Chicago. As it was a Saturday, the main street was closed to traffic and turned over to a range of activities; live bands; stalls of all descriptions; art exhibitions and even a mini-farm for a range of animals. The journey to the centre was made on the 100 years old overhead railway system. It is possible to run, cycle or rollerblade for long distances along the side of Lake Michigan...

Eric Biddulph was nearing the end of his 10-week cycling journey in the USA when he reached Chicago.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "127 - Greyhound Bus To Chicago" »

July 04, 2010

126 - Iron Horse Cycle Race

...I encountered a strong crosswind which was severe enough to force me to dismount and stand and watch clusters of straw and other matter being swept across the landscape in profusion...

Eric Biddulph encountered his share of problems during his long bike ride in the USA,

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "126 - Iron Horse Cycle Race" »

June 27, 2010

126 - Hanksville

...Departing Hanksville I was soon battling a headwind and a long drag. Disaster struck when my chain snapped. Having fixed it I suffered a rear wheel puncture. The combination of all these misfortunes on one day, it never rains but it pours, resulted in me reaching the only motel after all rooms had been filled for the night. Out came my tent; after battling the wind for some time in the darkness I did manage to get it pitched. A day best forgotten...

Long-distance bike riding is not easy, as Eric Biddulph reveals.

Continue reading "126 - Hanksville" »

June 20, 2010

125 - Into Utah

After a long hot day cycling through the Arizona desert Eric Biddulph rode on into Utah.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "125 - Into Utah" »

June 13, 2010

124 - The Grand Canyon

Eric Biddulph, touring the Western USA on a bike, paid a chilly visit to the Grand Canyon.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "124 - The Grand Canyon" »

June 06, 2010

123 - What A Ride!

With help fron a tailwind, Eric Biddulph enjoyed a long desert bike ride.

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May 30, 2010

122 - Highway One

Eric Biddulph tells of a bike ride down California's beautiful coast road.

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May 23, 2010

121 - The Golden Gate Bridge

Eric Biddulph goes cycling in America.

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May 16, 2010

120 - The Old Man Of Hoy

Eric Biddulph tells of cycling holidays in Scotland and France.

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May 09, 2010

119 - The Flight Is Full

...Several hours into the journey the bus suffered a rear wheel puncture. Just before it happened I banged my head on the roof of the bus on one of the many rough sections of road, suffering a bad laceration. To make matters worse we encountered a series of thunderstorms. The bus was continually exposed to severe conditions. It came as no surprise to discover that it leaked water through the roof...

Eric Biddulph tells of a nightmare bus journey to Rawalpindi.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "119 - The Flight Is Full" »

May 02, 2010

118 - Into China

...Kashgar is one of the most fascinating cities I have ever visited. Predominantly Moslem, this sets it apart from most other major Chinese cities. It is famous for its Sunday market; one of the largest in Central Asia. It attracts people from far and wide, most of them travelling by donkey cart. Congestion on the approach roads makes it almost impossible to reach except on foot....

Eric Biddulph ventures into China.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "118 - Into China" »

April 25, 2010

117 - Oppressive Heat

...We resorted to waking at 4.30am and be on the road by 5.15am just as day broke. By 9.00am it was starting to become uncomfortable as we followed the River Indus upstream. We took advantage of the many small waterfalls and pools but by 1 pm we called it a day...

Eric Biddulph continues his bike ride along the Karakoram Highway.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "117 - Oppressive Heat" »

April 11, 2010

116 - Murree

...Three girls aged between seven and twelve peeped out at us through a slightly ajar door. After five minutes of silent and cautious assessment of us they disappeared only to re-appear a few minutes later with two camp chairs which they opened up for us. The youngest girl asked us in English if we would like a drink of coffee whilst the storm passed over. A young woman then appeared with a tray containing biscuits and a pot of coffee...

Eric Biddulph found friendly hospitality while riding his bike in Pakistan.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "116 - Murree" »

April 05, 2010

115 - The Karakoram Highway

As soon as Eric Biddulph heard of a new mountain road linking north east Pakistan and western China he was filled with the desire to ride it on his bike.

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March 28, 2010

114 - Caracas

...A cement factory lay next door and another factory making I know not what occupied the other side; the hotel making a nice sandwich filling. Oh, there was also the matter of aircraft with their undercarriages visible skimming the rooftop. Yes; I was staying directly on the flight path...

Eric Biddulph's accomodation in Caracas, Venezuela, was far from satisfactory.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "114 - Caracas" »

March 21, 2010

113 - Machu Picchu

Eric Biddulph describes his visit to one of the world's leading tourist attractions.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "113 - Machu Picchu" »

March 14, 2010

112 - The Sacred Valley

Eric Biddulph cycles into the secret valley of the Incas.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "112 - The Sacred Valley" »

February 28, 2010

111 - Bolivia's Independence Day

... I arrived in the middle of Bolivia's Independence Day celebrations. In addition, I witnessed the traditional blessing of two new motor vehicles. This involved decking them with colourful garlands and pouring beer over them to the accompaniment of fire crackers...

Eric Biddulph was witness to astonishing events when he cycled in South America.

Continue reading "111 - Bolivia's Independence Day" »

February 21, 2010

110 - The Lights Of La Paz

...I was sneezing and feeling distinctly chilled. In a somewhat cold and shattered state I wheeled my bike down the steep cobbled road further into the heart of the city...

On his marathon bike ride in South America Eric Biddulph arrives in La Paz.

Continue reading "110 - The Lights Of La Paz" »

February 14, 2010

109 - An Explosion In The Night

...Arriving in Puno around midnight the coldness of the night air immediately struck home. The relatively small effort involved in lifting my bike out of the guardsvan left me gasping for air...

Eric Biddulph experienced one of the world's greatest rail journeys.

Continue reading "109 - An Explosion In The Night" »

February 07, 2010

108 - In Peru

Eric Biddulph spent an unforgettable week in the high Andes in Peru.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "108 - In Peru" »

January 31, 2010

107 - Off To South America

...After spending a few days seeing the sights of Lima I set off cycling southwards down the Pan-American Highway. Some 300 kilometres of riding through the Atacama Desert, albeit with an ever present dull and damp sky...

Eric Biddulph embarks on a long bike ride in South America.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.


Continue reading "107 - Off To South America" »

January 24, 2010

106 - Huddersfield Star Wheelers

Eric Biddulph joins a cycling club which produced champions.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "106 - Huddersfield Star Wheelers" »

January 17, 2010

105 - Olympic Riders

Eric Biddulph continues his autobiography with an account of his involvment in competitive cycling in Malawi.

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January 10, 2010

104 - An Olympic Team For Malawi

Eric Biddulph becomes involved in sending a team from Malawi to compete in the Munich Olympics.

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January 03, 2010

103 - Cycling In Malawi

Eric Biddulph tells of organising cycle races in Malawi.

Continue reading "103 - Cycling In Malawi" »

December 27, 2009

102 - A Cycling Holidays

Eric Biddulph tells of cycling holidays in England, Scotland and on the Continent.

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December 20, 2009

101 - Track League Competition

...I set off on a cycling holiday just across the Channel in Belgium during July 1960. On the second day, riding on a minor road between Brugge and Ghent I got my front wheel caught in a railway line. Hitting the ground with a wallop I found my right wrist very painful...

Eric Biddulph tells of further cycling adventures and misadventures.

Continue reading "101 - Track League Competition" »

December 13, 2009

100 - Over The Brenner Pass

Eric Biddulph tells of a continental bike tour.

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December 06, 2009

99 - National Service Cycling

Eric Biddulph tells of competitive cyling during his national service in the Royal Air Force.

Continue reading "99 - National Service Cycling" »

November 29, 2009

98 - Time Trialling

...It was a bitterly cold morning. Not knowing how I should present myself on the start line I turned up in clothing more suited to a hot day in the south of France. I shivered all the way round the course...

Eric Biddulph tests his legs as a time-trialler and becomes a "Duke''.

Continue reading "98 - Time Trialling" »

November 22, 2009

97 - No Greater Feeling Of Joy

...I found it exhilarating to be bounding along on the open road. There was no greater feeling of joy and wellbeing than when I was rolling along on a bright, warm and dry day. Of course, there were plenty of days when this was not one's experience but they are exceeded by the good ones...

Eric Biddulph recalls joyous cycling holidays.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "97 - No Greater Feeling Of Joy" »

November 15, 2009

96 - The Christmas Ride

...One memorable event occurred on that tour. Stopping at a pub in Hope on Christmas Day two of our party got absolutely paralytic. Norman Steemson and Ted Smart, both only a little older than myself, had been drinking Barley Wine for some time. By the time we left the pub both were incapable of standing never mind riding their bikes. As it was still several miles a relay party had to be organised to carry them to the youth hostel in Edale...

Eric Biddulph tells of a Christmas cycling tour.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "96 - The Christmas Ride" »

November 08, 2009

95 - Boots And Spurs

...The immediate post Second World War austerity had contributed to the continued presence of 1930s styles of cycling clothes. Most middle-aged and elderly men turned out in 'plus-fours'; a form of trouser with a buckle on the end to enable them to be held up below the knee. This had the advantage of keeping the right leg of the trouser from fouling the chain...

Eric Biddulph continues his account of his days as a keen cyclist.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "95 - Boots And Spurs" »

November 01, 2009

94 - East Midlands Clarion Cycling And Athletics Club

...In the October of '51 I took it into my head to ride to Sheffield and back. Although the trip was long and undulating it was uneventful until I was within 800 metres of home. Descending Sherwood Rise at a fair rate of knots I swept right into Berridge Road only to find myself some moments later in a big heap in the gutter with a motorcyclist and his BSA Bantam machine for company...

Eric Biddulph continues his account of his cycling adventures and misadventures.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "94 - East Midlands Clarion Cycling And Athletics Club" »

October 25, 2009

93 - The Central Part Of My Life

In 1951 Eric Biddulph bought a bike with his earnings as a newspaper delivery boy - and from then on he was hooked on cycling.

To read earlier chapters of Eric's autobiography please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "93 - The Central Part Of My Life" »

October 18, 2009

Chapter 92 - Passionate About Africa

...Our last morning saw us board our Kenyan Airways flight to Nairobi. As the Boeing 727 climbed away from the runway the view of Table Mountain and the magnificent Bay faded from view. I was left wondering if I would ever again set foot on the continent that had, more than any other influenced my life so dramatically. Yes; I am still passionate about Africa; its landscapes; its wildlife but above all its people...

Eric Biddulph tells of the conclusion of a wonderful holiday touring in Africa.

To read earlier chapters of Eric's autobiography please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading " Chapter 92 - Passionate About Africa" »

October 11, 2009

Chapter 91 - Cape Town

...The following morning, Armistice Day, revealed the sheer splendour of this magical city. Blessed with a bright, clear sunny day, our hotel room looked directly on to the full majesty of Table Mountain....

Eric Biddulph was overwhelmed by the beauty and splendour of the city of Cape Town.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "Chapter 91 - Cape Town" »

October 04, 2009

Chapter 90 - Smash And Grab

Eric Biddulph's wife Mary a smash and grab robbery during his tour of South Africa.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting
mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "Chapter 90 - Smash And Grab" »

September 27, 2009

Chapter 89 - The Little Karoo

During an eventful day in The Little Karoo Eric Biddulph visited a town which has a long association with the ostrich industry.

To read earlier chapters of Eric's autobiography please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "Chapter 89 - The Little Karoo" »

September 21, 2009

90 - A Baby Girl

Gladys Schofield tells of the foggy night on which she gave birth to a girl.

To read earlier chapters of Gladys's autobiography please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_day_before_yesterday/

Continue reading "90 - A Baby Girl" »

September 20, 2009

Chapter 88 - A Canoe Journey

...The highlight of the visit was the 67km vintage steam train trip to the town of George. A scenic loop around the lagoon was followed by a long climb through lush forests where the engine carries the sounds of extreme effort until the summit of the Phantom Pass has been successfully reached. Dropping down towards the coast Wilderness National Park can be seen stretching away to the north whilst the beautiful coastline of the small town of Wilderness can be admired from the train...

Eric Biddulph and his wfe Mary continue their travels in South Africa.

To read earlier chapter's of Eric's wonderfully-detailed autobiography please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "Chapter 88 - A Canoe Journey" »

September 13, 2009

87 - The Transkei

...The highlight of the visit to Port St John was the four kilometres canoeing journey up the river. I was paired with an experienced South African guy whilst Mary shared a canoe with the Canadian dogsbody. This was a 'first' for both of us and although we both got pretty wet owing to our inability to use the paddles properly it remains a memorable experience...

Eric Biddulph and his wife Mary were enchanted by the glorious landscape and coastline in parts of South Africa.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "87 - The Transkei" »

September 06, 2009

Chapter 86 - Waterfalls And Rolling Hills

...he had recently acquired a talking parrot from his brother. It had already learned the sound of the car engine. Constantly recreating it I was frequently fooled into thinking Franklin's car was coming up the driveway...

During their tour of Africa Eric Biddulph and his wife stayed with a friendly couple in Pietermariizburg, South Africa.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "Chapter 86 - Waterfalls And Rolling Hills" »

August 30, 2009

Chapter 85 - Into South Africa

...We were dropped off at Pretoria Backpackers in the centre of South Africa's capital city. The streets were filled with jacaranda trees in their full glory. It was delightful to experience post-apartheid life...

Eric Biddulph liked what he saw of the "new'' South Africa.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "Chapter 85 - Into South Africa" »

August 23, 2009

Chapter 84 - A Vivid City

Eric Biddulph samples life in Swaziland.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "Chapter 84 - A Vivid City" »

August 16, 2009

Chapter 83 - Onwards By Ferry

...Superb views of the Indian Ocean. Three days was spent enjoying the fine beach walks and the food served up by the newly trained Mozambiquean chef. Her fruit pancakes were out of this world...

Eric Shackle tells of his experiences in Mozambique.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "Chapter 83 - Onwards By Ferry" »

August 09, 2009

Chapter 82 - Trial By Bus

...Any obstacle receiving advance notice by means of him maintaining one hand on the horn, humans and animals swiftly moving out of harms way. Occasionally goats were a little late moving and a group of small piglets did fail to get out of the way. There followed the distressing sounds of banging and bumping underneath us...

Eric Biddulph tells of the trials of long bus journies in Africa.

To read earlier chapters of Eric's account of vivid experiences around the world please click on
http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "Chapter 82 - Trial By Bus" »

August 02, 2009

Chapter 81 - A Small World

When Eric Biddulph and his wife Mary paid a return visit to Malawi two chance encounters persuaded them that the world is indeed a small place.

To read earlier chapters of Eric's engaging autobiography please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "Chapter 81 - A Small World" »

July 26, 2009

Chapter 80 - 'Only'

Eric Biddulph tells of a driver called 'Only' who took them on a mountain trip during their return visit to Malwai.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "Chapter 80 - 'Only'" »

July 19, 2009

Chapter 79 - Kamuzu Stadium

...We wanted to meander through the area we had known so well. My, how it had changed. Where we had only known wasteland was now occupied by a range of different types of businesses. Where I had regularly ridden on a cycle track transversing a vast open space was now completely covered by a shopping complex...

Eric Biddulph and his wife Mary found major changes when they returned to Malawi.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "Chapter 79 - Kamuzu Stadium" »

July 12, 2009

Chapter 78 - A Precious Commodity

...Rose must have felt somewhat uneasy about the washing facilities. As darkness fell on the first night she motioned us to follow her on the walk to Enoch's house. She lifted a pail of water on to her head and led the way. I did not at first appreciate the effort she was making to provide us with better washing facilities. As water is a precious commodity in this environment she felt obliged to take some to her brother's house...

During their return visit to Malawi Eric Biddulph and his wife Mary stayed with an friend from earlier years.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "Chapter 78 - A Precious Commodity" »

July 05, 2009

Chapter 77 - Hitching A Ride

Eric Biddulph, on holiday in Malawi, hitches a ride to Mzuzu.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "Chapter 77 - Hitching A Ride" »

June 28, 2009

Chapter 76 - Lake Malawi

Eric Biddulph and his wife Mary, revisiting the land in whiuch they lived and worked some thirty years ago, stay on the shores of Lake Malawi.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting http://mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "Chapter 76 - Lake Malawi" »

June 21, 2009

Chapter 75 - Teachers Wanted

...Mary, having secured a seat at the rear of the bus found herself squeezed between a mother and her young child together with a live chicken secured within a plastic shopping bag, its head poking out of the opening. On her other side sat a Presbyterian minister. He was keen to strike up a conversation. He told her that deforestation was a major concern in many parts of the country...

Eric Biddulph and his wife Mary go travelling in Malawi, visiting places where they lived and worked decades earlier.

Ericís book The First Seventy Years can be obtained for £10 by contacting mary@bike2.wanadoo.co.uk or telephoning 01484-658175.

All the cash raised by the book goes to a water aid project in Malawi.

Continue reading "Chapter 75 - Teachers Wanted" »

June 14, 2009

Chapter 73 - Return To Africa

After an interval of more than 30 years, Eric Biddulph returns to Malawi where he once worked and sees many changes.

Continue reading "Chapter 73 - Return To Africa" »

Chapter 74 - Breakfast Chips

Eric Biddulph stays with an old friend while paying a return visit to Malawi.

Continue reading "Chapter 74 - Breakfast Chips" »

May 31, 2009

Chapter 72 - Dylan

Eric Biddulph tells of parting with Dylan, a faithful and most lovable dog.

To read earlier chapters of Eric's autobiography please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Continue reading "Chapter 72 - Dylan" »

May 24, 2009

Chapter 71 - A Matter Of Conscience

Eric Biddulph resigns from an amateur dramatic society because of a line in the play Educating Rita.

Continue reading "Chapter 71 - A Matter Of Conscience" »

May 17, 2009

Chapter 70 - Two Heart Attacks

Eric Biddulph tells of personal medical problems, and of the death of a close friend.

Continue reading "Chapter 70 - Two Heart Attacks" »

May 10, 2009

Chapter 69 - U3A And Citizens' Advice

Eric Biddulph becomes deeply involved in Huddersfield University of the Third Age activities.

Continue reading "Chapter 69 - U3A And Citizens' Advice" »

May 03, 2009

Chapter 68 - Agony

...I began to suffer pain in my lower back and it became difficult for me to get on and off my bike...

Continuing his life story Eric Biddulph tells of a medical problem which threatened to end his cycling days.

Continue reading "Chapter 68 - Agony" »

April 26, 2009

Chapter 67 - Samaritans

Eric Biddulph becomes the treasurer of a Samaritans branch.

Continue reading "Chapter 67 - Samaritans" »

April 19, 2009

Chapter 66 - An Exit Strategy

Eric Biddulph's career as a college teacher comes to an end.

Continue reading "Chapter 66 - An Exit Strategy" »

April 12, 2009

Chapter 65 - Confrontation

Eric Biddulph finds himself in conflict with his college authorities.

Continue reading "Chapter 65 - Confrontation" »

April 05, 2009

Chapter 64 - Early Retirement

Eric Biddulph decides to take early retirement from his job as a college lecturer.

Continue reading "Chapter 64 - Early Retirement" »

March 29, 2009

Chapter 63 - Headaches

...A car driven by a teenage girl turned right across my path outside the County Court on Huddersfield Road. I was lifted over the bonnet of her car shattering her windscreen. Braking sharply she threw me into the road where my head made contact with the road...


Eric Biddulph
suffers the cyclist's worst nightmare.

Continue reading "Chapter 63 - Headaches" »

March 22, 2009

Chapter 62 - The Hammer

Eric Biddulph becomes involved in the launch of a monthly magazine, The Huddersfield Hammer.

Continue reading "Chapter 62 - The Hammer" »

March 15, 2009

Chapter 61 - A Holiday To Forget

...Mary had to drive back to Huddersfield with me lying on the back seat. Whenever she made a stop I put my legs out of the nearside window in an attempt to ease the pain...

Eric Biddulph recalls a painful time in Wales.

Continue reading "Chapter 61 - A Holiday To Forget" »

March 08, 2009

Chapter 60 - Dentdale And Brithdir

Eric Biddulph tells of the death of his mother.

To read earlier chapters of Ericís autobiography please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Continue reading "Chapter 60 - Dentdale And Brithdir" »

March 01, 2009

Chapter 59 - The Anti-Apartheid Movement

Eric Biddulph becomes involved in the Anti-Apartheid Movement.

Continue reading "Chapter 59 - The Anti-Apartheid Movement" »

February 22, 2009

58 - A House In Kirklees

...The house had a jungle for a garden when we moved in. Having been a repossessed property the previous owner had left a trail of debt in addition to money owed to his building society. The society had changed the door locks to halt his unauthorised visits. Most of the remaining contents were taken away by the estate agent but a few continue to be used by us to this day...

Eric Biddulph buys a house in West Yorkshire.

Continue reading "58 - A House In Kirklees" »

February 15, 2009

Chapter 57 - A Huge Culture Shock

Returning to England after three-and-and-a-half years in Africa Eric Biddulph went looking for teaching work and landed a job at a college in Halifax.

Continue reading "Chapter 57 - A Huge Culture Shock" »

February 08, 2009

Chapter 56 - Home Again

Eric Biddulph and his family arrive back in Britain after the road trip of a lifetime.

Continue reading "Chapter 56 - Home Again" »

February 01, 2009

Chapter 55 - Iran

...Tehran was a nightmare. Driving was an experience I was anxious to forego as soon as we could find a campsite. Traffic light signals were ignored; green meant it was your right of way; red meant you had better accelerate across a junction to reduce the chance of being hit by those exercising a right of passage...

Eric Biddulph and his family continue their long land journey home to Britain.

To read earlier chapters of Eric's engaging autobiography please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Continue reading "Chapter 55 - Iran" »

January 25, 2009

Chapter 54 - In Kabul

Eric Biddulph was fascinated by the Afghans - their dress code, their mosques, their life style.

To read earlier chapters of Eric's autobiography please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Continue reading "Chapter 54 - In Kabul" »

January 18, 2009

53 - The Khyber Pass

...The Pathans who live in the inhospitable north west region of Pakistan rule the roost. The remit of the Pakistani police and army does not run here. Men walked around town with Kalashnikovs slung over their shoulders...

Eric Biddulph and his family continue their long journey in an old car.

Continue reading "53 - The Khyber Pass" »

January 11, 2009

Chapter 52 - In India

...Placing an orange cloth on our heads Mary, the children and myself were now ready to be admitted into the grounds of the Golden Temple but not before removing our shoes...

Eric Biddulph and his family go touring in India.

Continue reading "Chapter 52 - In India" »

January 04, 2009

Chapter 51 - The Trauma Of Being Robbed

Eric Biddulph found himself accused of being a law-breaker when his camera was stolen in Kenya.

Continue reading "Chapter 51 - The Trauma Of Being Robbed" »

December 28, 2008

50 - Travelling Home

Eric Biddulph and his family set out to tavel overland from Malawi to England in an old Ford car.

Continue reading "50 - Travelling Home" »

December 21, 2008

Chapter 49 - Mealie-Meal

Eric Biddulph tells of family life in Africa.

Continue reading "Chapter 49 - Mealie-Meal" »

December 14, 2008

Chapter 48 - Satisfying Swings

...I ventured up to the Forestry Commission depot part way up Ndirande Mountain. I acquired some tree trunks about 500 millimetres diameter. I also got hold of two old car tyres and some strong rope and some nails. Borrowing a spade from the Polytechnic I took out sufficient earth into which I could sink the tree trunks.

Over a period of a few weeks I succeeded in getting the swings up and derived great satisfaction from watching the children enjoying themselves....

Eric Biddulph dedicated himself to helping others while working in Malawi.

To read earlier chapters of Eric's lifed story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Continue reading "Chapter 48 - Satisfying Swings" »

December 07, 2008

47 - African Politics

Eric Biddulph outlines the tangled nature of African politics at the time of his working in Malawi some decades ago.

To read earlier chapters of Eric's autobiography please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Continue reading "47 - African Politics" »

November 30, 2008

46 - Three Hours Of Purgatory

Eric Biddulph tells of boredom at a meeting of Malawi's Parliament.

To read earlier chapters of Eric's life story please click on
http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Continue reading "46 - Three Hours Of Purgatory" »

November 23, 2008

45 - Deportations

Eric Biddulph tells of the deportation of ex-pats from Malawi in the early 1970s.

To read earlier chapters of Ericís life story please click on
http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Continue reading "45 - Deportations" »

November 16, 2008

44 Ė First-hand Experiences

....We spent two fascinating days in Mikumi Game Park. Our night under canvas did not provide much comfort for us during our attempts to get to sleep amongst the sounds of African wildlife ringing in our ears. Despite our sleepless night the experience of seeing so many animals in their natural habitat was magical.
Watching a pride of lions laze around under the shade of a tree was one of the highlights of my whole African experience....

Eric Biddulph goes exploring in Africa.

To read earlier chapters of Ericís life story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Continue reading "44 Ė First-hand Experiences" »

November 09, 2008

43 Ė Finding a Gem

...As I came up to the mini-summit I caught a glimpse of a large hole just over the brow. Although I quickly applied my brakes it was too late. One of the front wheels went straight into it, causing the car to be brought to a sudden halt. We all shot forward in our seats causing a few collective bruises and bumps. The heavily laden roof-rack took off like a jet propelled missile, landing several metres in front of the car...

Eric Biddulph encounters disaster on the road to and from a holiday in Zambia.

To read earlier chapters of Ericís story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Continue reading "43 Ė Finding a Gem" »

November 02, 2008

42 Ė On Rocky Roads

...My repeat encounter with this stretch of what passed for a Mozambique road was to become a nightmare. Again my engine revved loudly at the same time as the car ceased to move forward in a consistent manner. Trouble soon set in when no amount of coaxing would persuade the car to move...

Eric Biddulph recalls experiences on a rocky African road.

To read earlier chapters of Ericís life story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Continue reading "42 Ė On Rocky Roads" »

October 26, 2008

41 Ė The Olympic And Commonwealth Games Committee

...Wherever I drove in Malawi I would see numerous people walking or cycling. Many would be transporting goods to market; some would be making their way to a town in search of work. Women would carry goods on their heads and babies on their backs. Such scenes would be replicated throughout Africa.

One characteristic distinguished Malawi from other nations. Almost everyone would be walking barefoot. In other countries they would at the very least be seen wearing flip-flops...

Eric Biddulph and his family settle into their new life in Africa.

To read earlier chapters of Ericís autobiography please click on
http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Continue reading "41 Ė The Olympic And Commonwealth Games Committee" »

October 19, 2008

40 Ė Engrossed In Work

Eric Biddulph begins the stressful business of teaching business law in Malawi.

Continue reading "40 Ė Engrossed In Work" »

October 12, 2008

39 Ė My Ambition Achieved

Eric Biddulph begin a new life in Malawi.

To read earlier chapters of Ericís autobiography please click on
http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Continue reading "39 Ė My Ambition Achieved" »

October 05, 2008

38 - An Eye-catching Advertisement

Eric Biddulph, having decided on a career change, attends a teacher training college then is offered a job in Malawi.

To read earlier chapters of Ericís autobiography please click on
http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Continue reading "38 - An Eye-catching Advertisement" »

September 28, 2008

37 Ė Mother Knew Best

...I continued to be disenchanted with my lot. I passionately wanted to go overseas, preferably Africa. I knew I would never achieve my ambition if I remained with the Midland Bank. I increasingly began to realise I did not conform to the stuffy and conservative values of the banking world...

Eric Biddulph branches off in a different direction.

To read earlier chapters of Ericís life story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Continue reading "37 Ė Mother Knew Best" »

September 21, 2008

36 Ė A Difficult Decision

Eric Biddulphís plans to work in the banking industry in Nigeria are thwarted by a civil war.

Continue reading "36 Ė A Difficult Decision" »

September 14, 2008

35 Ė Drama In The Basement

Continuing his life story Eric Biddulph tells of the day when cash remained locked in the bank strongroom.

Continue reading "35 Ė Drama In The Basement" »

September 07, 2008

34 Ė A Rough Passage

...I never could accept the ethos and values that formed the cornerstones of the banking world...

Eric Biddulph was not at home in the stuffy world of banking in the 1960s.

To read earlier chapters of Ericís autobiography please click on
http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Continue reading "34 Ė A Rough Passage" »

August 31, 2008

33 Ė A Threat To Wedding Plans

...Soon after leaving the suburbs of Nottingham we hit a huge blanket of fog. We found ourselves riding past the cars. We were soon riding at the front of a long column of vehicles and continued to do so until reaching Southwell. What it did to our lungs is anybodyís guess...

Eric Biddulph goes on a bike ride with his bride-to-be.

To read earlier chapters of Ericís autobiography please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Continue reading "33 Ė A Threat To Wedding Plans" »

August 24, 2008

32 Ė The Watchword

Eric Biddulph discovers that his bankís dress code threatens to interfere with his training as a racing cyclist.

To read earlier chapters of Ericís autobiography please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Continue reading "32 Ė The Watchword" »

August 17, 2008

31 Ė A Tense Relationship

Eric Biddulph tells of strained relationships in the bank.

To read earlier chapters of Ericís life story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_first_seventy_years/

Continue reading "31 Ė A Tense Relationship" »

August 10, 2008

30 Ė The Birthday Conspiracy

Eric Biddulph tells of a satisfactory ďpunishmentíí meted out to a verbal bully,

To read earlier chapters of Ericís life story please click on The First Seventy Years in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "30 Ė The Birthday Conspiracy" »

August 03, 2008

29 - A Hand-bound Ledger

...My job was to enter by hand all rate payments in a hand-bound ledger about six inches thick and weighing several kilos. All the addresses of properties in one area of the city were contained within it....

On completing his national service in the RAF Eric Biddulph goes to work in the City Treasurerís Department in Nottingham.

To read earlier chapters of Ericís life story please click on The First Seventy Years in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "29 - A Hand-bound Ledger" »

July 27, 2008

28 Ė On The Wrong Side Of The Road

Twenty-year-old Eric Biddulph goes on a cycling holiday in France.

To read earlier chapters of Ericís autobiography please click on The First Seventy Years in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "28 Ė On The Wrong Side Of The Road" »

July 20, 2008

27 Ė A Little Adventure

Eric Biddulph tells of the night he raided an RAF guardroom.

Continue reading "27 Ė A Little Adventure" »

July 13, 2008

26 Ė A Shattered Mug

...There was the occasional purge in our billet which resulted in a concentrated evening of bulling. Our kit would sometimes have to be laid out on our beds for inspection.

I recall that on one such occasion the officer conducting it looked at my drinking mug with its tea stains much in evidence and promptly smashed it against the end of my steel framed bed causing it to shatter into many pieces...

Eric Biddulph recalls RAF kit insepctions.

Continue reading "26 Ė A Shattered Mug" »

July 06, 2008

25 Ė Learning Lessons

While serving in the Air Force Eric Biddulph experienced the "delights'' of jankers - being confined to barracks for a midemeanour.

Continue reading "25 Ė Learning Lessons" »

June 29, 2008

24 Ė Work And Recreation

...I decided early on in my service life that I was going to make the RAF work for me as much as possible. I embarked on a twin track strategy. Firstly, to get as much time off as possible to pursue my cycling, both touring and racing. Secondly, to enrol for educational courses...

Eric Biddulph ensures that his national service is not a waste of two years.

To read earlier chapters of Ericís story please click on The First 70 years in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "24 Ė Work And Recreation" »

June 22, 2008

23 - Lucky Breaks

Eric Biddulph goes flying in an Avro Anson Ė the first time he took to the skies.

Continue reading "23 - Lucky Breaks" »

June 15, 2008

22 - From Too Much Heat To None At All

...The bed of the guy next to me was only about a metre away from one of the braziers. In the early hours of the morning he kicked one of his many blankets off his bed onto the brazier. I was only half asleep as the blanket was ignited with the intense heat and flames quickly travelled on to his other blankets...

Eric Biddulph became a life-saver while doing RAF basic training at Bridgenorth.

Continue reading "22 - From Too Much Heat To None At All" »

June 08, 2008

21 - Drill and Bull

Eric Biddulph recalls days of drill and marching as a Royal Air Force national serviceman.

Continue reading "21 - Drill and Bull" »

June 01, 2008

20 - Square Bashing Before Entering The Promised Land

...Wobetide any airman who failed to vacate the billet quickly enough to get on to the parade ground for square bashing. One of my companions was persistently found wanting, entering the parade ground with his clothing in disarray. Despite his best efforts he never managed to achieve an acceptable turn of speed. He came to be nicknamed Speedy...

Eric Biddulph recalls the "joys'' of square bashing during RAF basic training.

Continue reading "20 - Square Bashing Before Entering The Promised Land" »

May 25, 2008

19 - Goodbye to Civvies

...Cardington was where it all began. Boys to be turned into men, men into tough men, the tough into even tougher men. At this stage there was no distinguishing between those destined for the RAF Regiment, a kind of RAF army, clerks, radar operators, firemen, cooks, policemen or airframe mechanics...

Eric Biddulph is called up for national service in the Royal Air Force.

To read earlier chapters of Eric's autobiography please click on The First Seventy Years in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "19 - Goodbye to Civvies" »

May 18, 2008

18 - In A Different Social Set

...This was a world in which one's peers may well converse about time spent as an officer in the Grenadier Guards or some other prominent regiment, chat about experiences whilst at Eton or some other leading public school. Such exchanges would be openly and frankly discussed without a hint of boastfulness. These were, after all, mere comment on the normality of their experiences...

Eric Biddulph joins the hallowed world of chartered accountants.

Continue reading "18 - In A Different Social Set" »

May 11, 2008

17 - My Mentor's Plan

...On 15 June, 1953, resplendent in a new suit, I walked up to the reception desk at Mellors, Basden & Mellors: Chartered Accountants. My first real taste of the world of work was about to begin...

Eric Biddulph joins the world of work.

To read earlier chapters of Eric's autobiography please click on The First Seventy Years in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "17 - My Mentor's Plan" »

May 04, 2008

16 - A Somewhat Inhospitable Environment

Eric Biddulph pictures his Aunty Gerty's home in Nottingham. "There were two features of her house I vividly recall. Her budgie, with whom she had regular conversations, and her grandfather clock which boomed out the chimes on the hour and the half-hour. It had a man in the moon face which swayed as it chimed. She lived in a finely built rented terrace house on Hucknall Road not so far from our first house in Sherwood. Like most houses of the time it had a coal fireplace with a side oven and a stand to place pans over the open fire, a scullery and an outside toilet....''

To read earlier chapters of Eric's life story please click on The First Seventy Years in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "16 - A Somewhat Inhospitable Environment" »

April 27, 2008

15 - Strong Individualism

...Although my interest in motorcycling began to wane towards the end of 1952, I still travelled extensively on our reliable and faithful combination with my parents on day trips and holidays. On one particular holiday in Devon and Cornwall I was rude to my mother. She told me father to stop. She did no more than get out of the sidecar and walk away without saying a word. My father's response was to put me in the sidecar and travel the 300 miles journey back to Nottingham, most of it during the night. Around five pm the following day my mother walked through the door of our house as if she had just returned from a visit to the shops. The following morning we set off again on holiday, this time to North Wales...

Eric Biddulph continues his remarkable and compellingly readable autobiography.

To catch up on earlier chapters please click on The First Seventy Years in the menu on this page.

Continue reading "15 - Strong Individualism" »

April 20, 2008

14 - To The Mine And The Factory

...Music lessons were also a traumatic experience for me. I was tone deaf. During one music lesson I was called out to the front of the class by Mr Bilson and instructed to sing a particular section of a song. Almost as soon as I had started he ordered me to stop. Addressing the class he told them, as if they needed telling, that I did not have a tune in my body and would never make a singer...

Eric Biddulph recalls his days at a Nottingham Comprehensive School. To read earlier chapters of Eric's autobiography please click on The First Seventy Years in the menu on this page.

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April 13, 2008

13 - Encountering A Violent Cat

...Mr Bilson, the music teacher and Mr Chapman who sometimes taught maths, or more correctly arithmetic, are particularly remembered for their sadistic tendencies with the 'cat of three tails', a leather strap which they were both apt to turn to with some relish...

Eric Biddulph recalls painful secondary school experiences.

To read earlier chapters of Eric's life story please click on The First Seventy Years in the menu on this page.

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April 06, 2008

12 - Dreaming the Dream

Eric Biddulph recalls the days when he rode the Nottingham buses driven by his father.

For earlier chapters of Eric's autobiography please click on The First Seventy Years in the menu on this page.

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March 30, 2008

11 - Fantasy And Reality

...I discovered the reality soon after I arrived at secondary school. I was aiming my pee as high up the concrete wall as possible in the freezing outdoor Victorian lavatory. Standing next to me, similarly engaged was Keith Price, an accomplice of Gordon Sandford. I started to tell him something about Santa Claus's visit to our house. Keith, as quick as a flash responded, "It's your dad." His revelation breaking the magical spell for ever...

Eric Biddulph's illusions are shattered.

To read earlier chapters of Eric's wonderfully detailed life story please click on The First Seventy Years in the menu on this page.

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March 23, 2008

10 An Exhilarating Experience

...I got carried away by the exhilaration of the experience. "I'm riding a boy's bike," I must have been saying to myself. This was a new experience quite unlike anything else I had ever had before. It was sheer magic. I kept on riding. I was loving it. Before you could say "bicycle clips" I was riding into Sherwood some two miles distance.

It began to rain. I didn't care. I had no waterproofs. I wasn't even wearing a jacket. There I was, in shirt and short trousers soon to become sodden. Did I care? I wasn't even aware that my clothes were wet. I kept on peddling; taking me even further away from home and, more importantly, the owner of the bike...

Eric Biddulph recalls the day he became a keen cyclist.

To read earlier chapters of Eric's life story please click on The First Seventy Years in the menu on this page.

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March 16, 2008

9 - A Mustard Cure

Eric Biddulph recalls an unusual but highly effective "cure'' for nail biting.

To read earlier chapters of Eric's life story please click on The First Seventy Years in the menu on this page.

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March 09, 2008

8 - Home Fires

...One of the abiding pleasures of these open fires was the smell and taste of bread toasted on a long fork which had been held in front of them. Toast out of a modern digital toaster just does not compare...

Eric Biddulph continues the story of his boyhood in Nottingham. To read earlier chapters please click on The First Seventy Years in the menu on this page.

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March 02, 2008

7 - The Neighbourhood

...The wireless, or radio as it is called today, was frequently a source of conflict. Ours stood on the sideboard which backed on to the adjoining wall. My father was very fond of the comedy programmes, ITMA being a particular favourite. The combination of the radio transmission and laughter invariably resulted in a wall-tapping spell of activity until my father had subdued his laughter and turned down the sound volume. Peace once again being restored...

Eric Biddulph recalls the neighbours who lived near his boyhood home in Nottingham.

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February 24, 2008

6 - Rupert And The Shire Horses

Eric Biddulph recalls the games, the books, the comics which he enjoyed as a boy.

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February 17, 2008

5 - A Mystery Explained

...Around this time my father began arranging homework for me in English and arithmetic. I was forbidden to go out to play until I had completed the work set by him. I recall some of the lads on the street, teasingly tapping on the front lounge window whilst I laboured away...

Not until he was much older did Eric Biddulph learn why his parents had confined him to the house and refused to let him visit the local cinema.

To read earlier chapters of Eric's autbiography please click on The First Seventy Years in the menu on this page.

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February 10, 2008

4 - Excitement and Trepidation

...My mother along with ninety nine percent of other mothers did not have any electrical appliances to help her make the family wash day a less onerous event. One day a week, usually a Monday, all the dirty clothes and linen were thrown into a tub of hot water where they were left to soak for a period of time. She would then pound them with an appliance called a 'ponch'. The constant bashing with the ponch would loosen the dirt...

Eric Biddulph recalls the time when washday meant hard labour.

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February 03, 2008

3 - A Flawed System

...I remember clearly that some displays of disobedience or academic incompetence would attract some form of physical contact between teacher and pupil. This quite often took the form of what today is euphemistically called 'a clip round the ear'. In reality, it constituted a somewhat heavy blow to the head which sometimes left a pupil dazed...

Eric Biddulph tells of a time when physical punishment was commonplace in schools.

To read earlier chapters of Eric's entertaining autobiography please click on The First Seventy Years in the menu on this page.

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January 27, 2008

2 - Explosive Language

...My mother, somewhat shocked that my literary repertoire contained such a word, allegedly marched me out of the room...

Eric Biddulph, continuing his wonderfully detailed and frank life story, tells of a childish outburst at a birthday party.

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January 20, 2008

1 - My Early Life

Today we begin to serialise the autobiography of Eric Biddulph, a man who has ridden thousands of miles on a bike in countries around the world.

Eric now runs a cycling group for older riders, Cycling For Softies. He is the publicity officer and a committee member of Huddersfield University of the Third Age.

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