Le Tour of Britain cycle race is racing through the UK with its start in Yorkshire and then on to France (see the Le Tour website and Twitter and the twitter on the sidebar)
Some lateral thinking …even though its now almost the school holidays ….so hold on as this is a Nottingham, Midlands UK LEA Education thought process, linked to Le Tour (stages last a few hours)! Waiting for Tweets to arrive can be quite tedious when its a cycling road race!!
Thinking of Yorkshire …
It might be a time to think about some of the Historic houses on the way of Le Tour and our own link with the historic Barons Middleton who used to own the Wollaton Estate and who now reside at their other Estate in Yorkshire. The Wollaton Park Estate is now owned by the Nottingham City Council. The local Councils, English Heritage and the National Trust play a big part in preserving lots of County Estates and buildings.
Le Tour has just spent two wonderful days in the Ridings of Yorkshire and is now hurtling on it’s way on Stage 3 and will then head for France! It is a truly awesome race and we are so lucky it started in the UK this year and it does provoke thoughts other than just the super cycling sport – quite intentionally with the route plans i.e. starting in the UK in Yorkshire must have some significance.
It’s so seemlessly connected with the land, well the countryside and our european country roads anyway; those roads that aren’t much more than lanes – please remember we wouldn’t have them any other way. That’s one of the reasons why cycling is such a brilliant method of transport for the fit and healthy! It’s also about connecting and promoting regions and county towns and maybe farming too, that we don’t see properly without telly drama unless we go and visit. Le Tour is taking another boost to local economies that is often needed and shows us just how isolated some communities are.
Previously Le Tour, just in France in the early days probably brought the wine growing regions a little closer, now it’s expanding and next year starts in a different country.
Le Tour and it’s pelaton ‘thunders’ through the land with determination intent and purpose, and as a mega important organisation that’s been going for years and with the cream of the cycling sport it truly is amazing.
The spectacle of its lovely bright colours funny team names and super fit Cyclists and awsome team organisation is so very cool, it has a moving and almost out of reach level of human endeavour and in a relatively short space of time compared to a week in work (and unlike the remorseless graft that factory work was and perhaps is over a lifetime) we see the very fittest of human beans sweating up mountain roads and hurtling down the other side at breakneck speed!
Raleigh Cycle City (that’s us folk in Nottingham) have always had a special interest in Le Tour and it’s uber fit athletes and for many years it wasn’t televised and now there is the additional bonus of umpteen mobile phone photos and social media inputs. Now there are colour pictures along the route for those of us who havn’t followed Le Tour before – some people spend their summer holidays with motorhomes parked along the route – lucky people. If we havn’t spent a holiday inland in the countryside of either land England or France it could be a revelation:- all that lovely farmland and the history of the people and their buildings and county occupations. It might start us thinking just a little – like how on earth does any community live on that hill – never mind the Pyrenees!
Can you remember your European history and Geography?
As Le Tour moves on into France on Tuesday we might remember that at one time England and France were linked and the Kings and Queens were interlinked and owned both lands or part of them and ruled them together until there were a few wars that changed it all …(and that’s another link to our Robin Hood and other history stories like The Plantagenets and the Tudors not to mention the earlier Vikings!) from our school history.
Nottingham sent one or two Constables to help rule Calais and ‘our’ land the other side of the channel once upon a time!
Just following on the Religious family links as the twitter feeds tweeted pics of Fountains Abbey: it’s worth remembering everyone was Catholic in days gone by! Untill Henry viii and the King of Sweden changed all that. How do we behave when we are in a Catholic land and on holiday – obviously they don’t see the Church of England or English folk as married – hopefully it’s all ok and relationships are accepted. Wonder if it is the same in Brazil?
Thinking on those safe history lines and focusing on Nottinghamshire, there was another important family in Notts, (there were several) – the Clifton’s of Clifton Hall who were Catholic and even had a Priest hidey-hole and they were fined a mega huge sum for helping Charles I after 1649 and were connected with France! Its cool to contrast these kinds of historic times with what’s happening in the world and think a little about how Sport can break down barriers through the years.
The House of the Clifton family is still in Clifton Village next to the River Trent and if you look from the Beeston side of the River it looks like it’s a building from the French valleys. That’s another side of Le Tour – would we know about chateau’s if there weren’t telly programmes or tweet pics or instagrams? Or other peoples holiday pics, or info on Wine companies and their industry? Isn’t it lovely to have our world widened and broadened from just a cycle race!!
In competition with the tweet pic of Fountains Abbey near Rippon – of all of the huge Estates in Nottingham in the very old past, Lenton Priory was the biggest and we understand it was at Lenton near to Nottingham City. It had connections with France as it was a Cluniac Priory – Fountains in Yorkshire was connected with France too but with a different order of monks and so of course was Newstead Abbey! These huge religious orders organised the farming and the looking after of the land in days gone by before Industrialisation.
People didn’t have cars or public transport then – isn’t how Europe developed awesome? The Monks organised everything!
So with Fountains Abbey in Yorkshire near Ripon en route yesterday (and it’s a super building and estate and survived everything that history threw at us and world war I and II), our own Lenton Priory did not, it didn’t even survive Henry viii and his dissolution of all the monasteries and here’s an alternative thought; what if the land at Clifton was where the old Lenton (name change?) Cluniac Priory stood and the Church in Lenton is just a small part of the huge estate? see the next post…
Le Tour can provoke lots of thoughts and European focus, and cycling in Europe has so many awesome trails and routes with so many followers who understand a little or alot about our neighbour France and other parts of Europe. Perhaps we should all learn French now – or pick up on at least one other European language and keep learning until we are fluent!
Just wish we could hop on a tour bus and follow the super cyclists – or a virtual tour bus …
There are photo’s online and websites with pics and info on visiting these lovely historic houses in Yorkshire and around the land and in Europe. Le Tour gives a glimpse of how we are connected with our land and weather communications and time being essentially the same. Europe isn’t so bad after all!
In Peace time communications and farming have just evolved and in war time (there have been lots of European struggles and lots of boundary changes over the years) maybe armies moved around just the same with horses instead of cycles! The Pelaton certainly doesn’t stop for anyone or anything its a creature in itself with lots of individual parts – maybe its the human equivalent of a buzzy bee hive!
If there are lots of Religious houses and Castles in both countries thats a cool focus for exploring the interior of a country instead of just the coast. More need for a virtual Le Tour bus with local interviews and lots of local adverts … a community around and about. Of course our Farming communities are still linked in lots of ways. There are lots of Estates and beautiful countryside especially river valleys in our lovely Europe!
We think of France as mostly wine growing and we learn something of about the lives of our neighbouring country folk from their specialisms! Breaking down barriers! We share a history, and a Geography – Europe is real, we have evidence from Le Tour!
Then the differences start to emerge – all the families of the North of England have been involved in struggles over the years, some terratorial, some religious. Their history is interesting and they aren’t too ‘Establishment English’ being north of Watford Gap, more ‘by eck’ lovely folk –
If we don’t think too much of how things went in some countries around 1848 and the consequences (lots of revolutions), maybe we can just think away the concept of the UK still having an ‘upper class’ or even strict ‘believer’ families in the same way other Europeans have class or religious structures.
This is getting a bit deep even for the Culture heritage of Europe – perhaps not a virtual tour bus to follow Le Tour – but a real holiday trip to go and see them all along the route!! There must be quite a few team supporters arrived in the UK to follow their teams – dedicated to the last to the cycling athletes!
If you are interested in these European Cultural exchanges and information, the history and geography of Europe, Religious changes and the Beautuful churches in the parishes and Abbeys and Cathedrals: those landmarks that are distinctive and timeless and all over Europe and linked to communities then following the cycling tours might be a good place to start rather than the traditional beach holiday – especially after the kids have left home or taken off to the Disco Island Paradise!
Combine the idea of futuristic fitness, sport, school learning, local info and the media with the historians and along with the archaeology people and there is so much we can learn. Perhaps we could even pick a few grapes!!
Would we ever think of the reality of living in a completely Catholic land with a revolution history that had removed the ‘upper’ classes if it wasn’t for sport and possibly Le Tour itself – possibly not. It’s so brilliant that a sport can bring out such questions and reflections and why have we in the UK been through those historical processes and changed back again … would we choose that option in future – is it here already in the minds of us ordinary folk who just want a healthy happy educated future orientated lifestyle without the old ‘demons’ wafting around.
Just imagine the days before huge Cities and agrarian populations all across Europe – and how Le Tour allows a different kind of insight as well as a tremendous sport and how this could also be a link to a sustainable future! Cycles on trams aka Switzerland?
Back to the olden day links (just love our European history and Geography)! So pleased we aren’t still buying relics (Chaucer and Shakespeare) unless the new sport merchsndise satisfys a similar need – we too could be super fit with lots hard physical effort and the right t-shirt!
Halfway to the finish in London …
Another thought …
Lewes in in Sussex on the S coast doesn’t have anything to do with Le Tour but it is an old link with France just across the channel and is kind of halfway from Yorkshire to Paris. It has a Priory like the awsome Fountains en route.
Our Lenton Priory may have looked like Fountains or Lewes.
And that hasn’t hardly touched on the Geography …
And Sheffy Steel City is such an beautiful and awsome City.
And no mention of the Archers, Soaps or Movies, maybe a music group or two with the Celebrations.
Some media studies as they are televising, but thats not a National Curriculum subject.
Maths – we dont have to work out petrol consumption … Biology and Sports Science for the Sport and athletes of course …
Certainly an incentive to learn French!
So pleased a reasonable education and healthy attitude to the world allows a logical (a little uk biased) thought process – inclusive and most of us can cycle somewhere even if its just on the flat.
Local Community Info
Nearest cycle hire placs, Nottingham City, Sherwood Pines and Clumber Park. Also the Ladybower Reservoir for longer rides. Trails at Tissington
Try the Big Wheel info theres a link on their page.
Now where were we with the World Cup? BRICs the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China!
Now what about the washing up …