Titbits from February 2004

The Herald of Rye

Over 100 years ago “The Herald of Rye”, a magazine very similar in it’s aims to “Rye Own”, was published by Harry Davis who lived at ‘Watlands’ Udimore Road. Harry was involved in many Rye Clubs and Committees. He was Secretary of Rye Cycling Club and Rye Sports Day Committee, so was the ideal chap to edit the local magazine. The following competitions were announced in an 1897 issue of The Herald. The Herald of Rye offers a Prize, Value 10/- (winners choice from the stock of any local tradesman advertising in these pages for the best Street Snap-Shot of M– —– —-, whose name will only be furnished (in confidence) to Competitors who intimate in writing their desire to compete, and who above their signature write the words: “I agree not to divulge the name given me to any other person.” Coupon No.3 must be attached to the communication. It must have been quite a puzzle to the ‘victim’ having all these photographers taking snap-shooting him in the street. I don’t think “Rye’s Own” will want to copy this particular idea of Harry Davis, in this day and age there might be arrests for ‘stalking’ if we did! Another competition Harry organised in The Herald of Rye was for :-

“Window Gardening” To encourage the extension of this most important item in the town’s attractiveness The Herald offers a prize, value one guinea, (winners choice from advertisers stock) for the best pot plant (flowering) shown at the August Show of the Rye & District Gardeners Society on condition that the plant shown has been for a month previously in the window of the competitor’s home and visible to the public passing. The winner of this competition will get a copy of The Herald of Rye Free for Six Months. Now this is an event that “Rye’s Own” could revive, especially in this year of 2004 when Rye has qualified for “Britain in Bloom”. We will have words with Lorna Hall the Rye in Bloom Chairman and find out in what form the competition should take but it will be open to anyone within the Rye boundary. “Rye’s Own” will put up the prize and full details will appear the March Issue.

Tai Chi Comes to Rye

Stuart Innes first became aware of Tai Chi when he was involved with oil exploration in China in the early 80s. On his return to London he studied the Chen Man Ch’ing style of Tai Chi with a pupil of Nigel Sutton the world-renowned teacher. He was soon invited to join Nigel’s own association; Zhong-Ding and has studied various Tai Chi subjects; Broad Sword, Push hands, Short Staff, Da Lu, etc., Now based in East Sussex. Stuart runs classes in Hastings and in Rye. What is Tai Chi Ch’uan? To most people Tai Chi is a slow moving form of gentle exercise that has become associated with relaxation, stress relief and health improvement.

Some people will also have heard that it is a martial art. All of this is true. Tai Chi promotes natural correct posture. Throughout the exercise the cardiovascular system is gently exercised. Because of the positions the student adopts throughout the movements, strength is gradually increased, especially in the legs. By holding the spine in correct alignment and turning and moving the waist, the student stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system that results in a decrease in heart rate and dilation of the blood vessels resulting in improvement in the circulation. This is the body’s restraint on the flight or fight syndrome and is of vital importance in lessoning the effects of negative stress. The practise of Tai Chi not only benefits the body, but also the mind. The form that is learnt consists of many different movements. The mind is so absorbed by this that day-to-day worries are left aside. This results in a perceptible increase in mental sharpness and self-confidence as the student becomes more proficient. Every posture that is learnt by the student has martial application. Those students who wish to learn the self-defence aspect of the art will learn how to apply the principle of the art in order to divert an aggressor’s attack and counter attack. When asked “What is the most important reason to study Tai Chi?”, Master Cheng Man Ch’ing replied, “The most important reason is that when you finally reach the place where you understand what life is about, you’ll have the health to enjoy it.” You can learn the Cheng Man Ch’ing style of Tai Chi here in Rye on Thursday evenings at the Rye Sports Centre, Grove Road (7:15 – 8.45). It is suitable for all ages and all levels of fitness.

Goodbye to a Fine Gentleman of the Road

Jim Catt
Jim Catt

Gentleman Jim Catt, who was one of the Club’s few surviving prewar members has died. Jim, who moved away from the town when his job as mechanic to Odell the Cycleman in Market Road came to an end with the closure of the business in the sixties. He was in his nineties and cycled, albeit on a battery assisted tricycle, until very recently. He was one of a squad of six tandem riders from the Club who relayed a flaming torch, that had been ignited by the Mayor of Westminster, from London Bridge to Rye. They ran on time and the flame was used to light the 1946 Bonfire on The Salts.

Jim Catt (right) with Jim Sergent at a change point in the epic 1946
Jim Catt (right) with Jim Sergent at a change point in the epic 1946

Jim was in contact with the Club up to last year. He will be sadly missed in Kent and Sussex cycling circles.

Wheelers in Party Mood

Where do the Wheelers go in winter? To parties of course and judging by the look of these well known faces they have a very good time! No doubt they will all be seen out on their bikes during the next few weeks working off the holiday surplus. Tuesday Afternoon Runs The new short runs on Tuesday afternoons have proved a great success. Rides to Winchelsea (via Rye Harbour and Winchelsea Beach) on 6 January and Stone on 13 January, kicked off this new regular Wheelers innovation and was enjoyed by the riders, especially the stops for beverages. The weather was kind and new members Kevin Hall and Rita Thomson found cycling an enjoyable discipline to get off those extra pounds gained over the Christmas period. Anyone with a bike is invited to join the Tuesday runs. they are ridden at the speed of the slowest rider. Join us any Tuesday at 1 pm. in the Riverhaven Car Park. Wheelers Plan to Help Rye St. John Ambulance There are plans in hand to run a Sponsored 24 Hours Indoor Cycle Marathon to raise cash for Rye St. John Ambulance. A similar event last year raised £750 and helped former member Richard Mwangi with his education in Nairobi. Full discussion and early planning for this event will take place at the Annual General Meeting on Thursday 12 February at the Riverhaven.

The Town Manager’s Report

Town Manager Yolanda Laybourne
Town Manager Yolanda Laybourne

Since it’s a little while since “Rye’s Own” had an update on my activities, I thought I’d give readers a potted version of my last three monthly report, for the February Issue. We got the 2004 Rye Guide out in record time this year (published just before Christmas). 25,000 copies will be kept at the Rye T.I.C, and 95,000 will be distributed throughout the South-East. We re-vamped all the accommodation lay-out to make it easier to read for the visitor. (And please note the “star picture” again on Page 13 is the “Rye’s Own dog Astie) Work is starting now on a multi-lingual guide for Rye (French, German and Dutch). We have re-joined “Sussex Top Attractions” again for Rye, after a lapse of some years. “STA” prints 1,000,000 copies of its annual brochure, and also makes sure that it attends the major tourism events and fairs on our behalf. We have also joined “Assn. of Tourist Attractions in Kent” or “ATAK”. We will also benefit from both these Association’s websites. Our own, official, www.visitrye received a staggering 1,000,000 “hits” between January and November, 2003; and we have invested substantially in this site, both in its search-engine performance, and in adding more “key words”. Joanna Arkley does sterling work on this for us. “Sussex Life” did a terrific article about the town “Catching up with Rye” in its December, 2003 edition. Our Schedule of Empty Shops registered 12 vacant premises in September, 2003, compared to 22 empty premises in August, 2002.

We assisted Rye Chamber of Commerce’s Christmas Committee by commissioning and erecting two “Shop in Rye for Christmas” boards on the A259 to the East and West of the town; and also paid for four “Christmassy-style” advertisements in the  on the run-up to Christmas, encouraging its readers to come to Rye for Christmas shopping and Christmas Fayre.  I assisted East Sussex County Council Highways Dept. in their “Rye Steps Forward” Exhibition in November at the F.E. Centre – and we continued carrying the exhibition material and comments forms here at the Partnership offices until Christmas. Hopefully, this will lead to some much-need -mainly pedestrian – improvements to our town. Working with ESCC and The Highways Agency, we also finalised the sites for the four new “Welcome to Rye” road-signs, which will hopefully be in place in the Spring; and we also finalised 12 sites within the town for proposed new cycle-racks.

ESCC Responsible for Gibbet Marsh Car Park

ESCC has now also formally adopted the Gibbet Marsh car-park lighting – and so I now actually have a number to ring whenever the lights fail! We are also working on the many necessary details to have Gibbet Marsh designated as the “official” visitor car-park for Rye – we still have a little way to go on this. Your readers may well remember our “Pride in Rye” week which took place in July last year. In 2004, it will take place again, but in the week of 26th April. Because Rye has been invited to enter the prestigious “Britain in Bloom” competition after its success in the South East in Bloom in 2003, I know that our Pride in Rye Committee is keen to give every support to the Rye in Bloom Committee in the Britain in Bloom competition.

The Tourist  –  by Maud Boreham

He explored the town above the sea, so steeped in it’s antiquity Filmed it’s narrow winding streets and cursed the cobbles ‘neath his feet where red roofs tumbled, leaned and lurched and whispered secrets to the church. That patriach of timeless grace with clock inscribed above it’s face… It told how quickly time did pass, like shadows fleeting over grass. With camera shutter down – he left – quite sure he’d ‘done’ the town. Poor misguided fool was he to think he knew it’s history Perhaps ’twas wise that he should go – maybe some things he shouldn’t know characters he’d best not meet when strolling down through Watchbell Street. The shadows of the Mermaid Inn might have sheltered Dr. Syn disguised with muffler round his throat – the Good Book hidden in his coat. Or smugglers of the Hawkhurst Gang – villians all condemmed to hang. In the hush of Turkey Lane he might have met with ghosts again

Heard Cantator’s anguished cry as poor Amanda flitted by. If he turned another page, upon the church – yard’s moonlit stage He’d see John Breeds raise butchers knife to take poor Alan Grebel’s life.

No. Better that he makes for home and leave the old town ghosts alone… Smugglers – lovers – let them be, and go home with your pottery.

“Rye’s Own” February 2004

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