A Day To Myself 
By Malcolm Trueman
Draycott, Derbyshire

(This letter was sent by a 'fan' to the Clifford T Ward Appreciation Society: it was subsequently published in one of the society's newsletters):
     A week's holiday from work can only mean one thing if you have not planned to go away. Yes your right! Wallpaper: painting: gardening: washing dishes: the list gets longer. It was only Tuesday and I was already looking forward to returning to work for a break !!!.

     I was a keen cyclist, I have been for some time now, the odd bit of racing here and there (not exactly Tour De France). I actually prefer touring, basically going to places of interest and stopping for the odd pint of liquid refreshment if need be. It was Tuesday evening and I was planning a days riding for Thursday, but had not as yet decided on a destination. Now, I'd always been a big fan of Clifford T Ward and his music, and suppose like yourselves collected the albums, singles, etc. However, I had one ambition left, and that was to one day meet in person, the man in question. It was then I had this brilliant idea !!! Knowing roughly the area of Worcestershire in which Clifford lived, thanks to a bit of research I had done previously? It was certainly worth a try !

     Thursday morning finally dawned, I'd packed all my gear into my hold-all complete with waterproofs just in case. I left home at around 6.30 in the morning; the sun was already shining down. It was August and we had experienced a very hot and dry summer that year, I hoped the weather would stay kind for my trek! I boarded the train in Derby finding space for the bike a bit tricky amongst all the commuters heading for Birmingham. However, I arrived in Worcester around 9.30 a.m. and my journey really began. I left the town centre not too sure where I was going, as I'd never visited this part of the county before, so I was relying on my Ordnance Survey map and a few directions from passers by, although they were few and far between as I set out into the wilderness. The beautiful Worcestershire countryside was just as I had imagined it would be, and I began to understand how maybe Clifford T Ward finds inspiration for so many of his songs from such a perfect setting. Cycling seems more pleasurable when there is so much more too see. It was now about 11.00 o'clock and the sun was really beating down on me; even melting the tar in places!!. I reached a small filling station which seemed an ideal place to fill my drinks bottle which by now was rather empty, and the assistant kindly gave me a few valuable directions which were a great help.

     I finally reached my destination at around mid-day. I must admit I was a little apprehensive about it all as I approached the front door. Was this the right place? Is this where the person whose songs I'd always listened to with great admiration really lived? Would he be offended at a total stranger knocking on his door uninvited and invading his privacy? I needn't have been so worried. It turned out to be an experience I shall never forget. As the door opened I was confronted by Pat who could not believe the journey I had undertaken (either that or she thought I was a bit mad. I am not sure which ??). The next thing I remember is sitting having a cup of coffee with Clifford T Ward, and talking about his songs and his musical career. We talked at considerable length (About 2 hours in all); but the time went too quickly and I was soon heading back to Worcester Station and my journey home.

     I arrived home at around 7.30 p.m. tired but content. It had been a memorable day for me; a bike ride with a difference. I suppose I'd actually cycled about 60 miles in total, but it was well worth the effort that's for sure. Next day it was back to the decorating, but somehow I just didn't seem to care.

Malcolm Trueman.


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