Monday, July 20, 2009

Paths and Clouds and Storms

One thing is for certain the weather has become much more uncertain recently. I have been writing a lecture that I am due to give shortly. The challenge I have is that I find it quite easy to create far more than I need and then spend ages agonising about what to cut out and how to sharpen the talk. As usual I also had to send the material over ahead of time so that the students can review it and be prepared. When I was ready to send my slides I realised that at 50Mb the file was too large for my email gateway - yes I know you think I would have realised sooner! Then we had some massive Thunderstorms and had a long power cut (about 5 hours). It is not unusual as quite a few of the power transmission lines in the Fens run overground and so are prone to lightening strikes. What made it worse was the fact that the storm seemed to hang around. Apparently the equipment can cope with a strike - but when several strikes occur in a short space of time it is almost impossible to deal with. We had several power glitches and then the power cut completely. Fortunately I had saved my presentation and my machine was backed up - but when power was restored I had problems getting it up and running again. Modern operating systems are a bit more resilient though and I was able to revert to a previous good state. Then I had to go through the recent Microsoft update again and of course re-update my anti-virus software.

The good thing was that I converted my slides to PDF which got the file size down to 6Mb which I was able to email.

In order to force myself to complete the slide set I have had to use the prospect of cycling as a treat to look forward on completion of the lecture and so have not been out much. The weather has changed quite a lot and heavy showers seem to be quite frequent - certainly there are more clouds in the sky and I have not had to bother with sun-tan lotion recently

When I did go out I headed for the Fens to get some peace and quiet. At first I thought this car was parked - but no it had broken down and obviously it just would not do to block the path of other cars on the road - much better to invade the foot/cycle path and leave a small gap.


Moaning over - I have been impressed with the signage and forewarning on White Fen Drove, one of the news paths through the Fens courtesy of the Millennium Fund. There is nothing like regressive taxation - but at least this is more accessible than Opera! This drove is a road that passes one farm and heads towards fields. Advance notice of roadworks were given well in advance and here are the before and after pictures. This one is actually a during picture - they pulverised the existing road.


This is the after picture. Not only did they lay a super smooth surface - just the sort of thing that cyclists love, they also apologised for the inconvenience.


Look at that for a great surface and see the Power Transmission pylons in the distance. Just before I took this picture I had to swerve to avoid a snake basking on the road in the sun. I was too busy avoiding it to notice what it was and by the time I stopped it had disappeared into the grass verge. I would guess either a slow worm or grass snake.


This is a view of the National Trust land that the White Fen Drove leads to. The cycle/waling path is to the right of the picture. They had been busy here as the grass had been cut short. .


My eye was caught by these balloons - which I had to check out in case there was a prize - no.


Not all the pictures were taken on the same day - but you get the picture - quite changeable weather.


The crops will soon be ready for harvesting. My son is currently on standby for weekend combining (as in Combine Harvester) duties although it has been a bit too wet of late.


Same bridge as before - just different clouds.


Every now and then the blue skies peep through - in this case over Ely Cathedral


But in the other direction they look just as menacing


On the way back I got caught in a torrential (for these parts) downpour. I passed quite a few cyclists in the same boat, metaphorically speaking that is. fortunately the rain was not cold and apart from washing sweat into my eyes, which makes them sting, it was quite refreshing cycling in the rain.

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