Monday, February 14, 2011

Missing Trees, Architecture and Valentine's Day

Monday 14th, February: Meetings in Cambridge again today, which was good because I meant I had no excuse for not cycling - which translates as there were more reasons to cycle than to not cycle. Cambridge is a real pain to drive around and even more of a pain to park in - it is a cycling city and despite my cynical views of the level and quality of cycling infrastructure that gets provided, even here in Cambridge it is better than many other parts of the UK. Well the parts I have visited anyway and we are continuing to get more bits added. Eventually the piecemeal will become the wholemeal - I hope.

As it was a meeting I stuck with clothes that were OK for cycling and not too bad for meeting people. Which for me means my newest least smelly gloves, a Knog bag with my stuff in it (and an aerosol tyre inflater). I cycled alongside the River Cam on my way through Cambridge and was surprised to see there has been quite a lot of tree work - trimming and felling. Including the decorated tree that used to be in this "tree enclave". You do wonder why at some stage not so long ago someone in the Council decided that the tree was worth planting and protecting with an extremely well-built fence. Then later on some (else?) decided it had to be removed. If you or I did this at home we would probably decide to live with the first tree and not waste money removing a perfectly good tree. However if for whatever reason we decided that the tree needed to go then we would have less money to spend on something else - no trip to the cinema or meal out. The trouble is in the Council context that "pain" from having made a mistake, what else can it be, is not felt by the people who make it, but by us the tax-payers. Whilst this might be a small example and not represent that much money in the total Council budget it worries me that it reflects the mentality that pervades the Council approach to spending "our money". (And many a mickle macks a muckle.)


Talking of trees a Consultation was launched on the future of the trees in Alexandra Gardens - let's hope that this doesn't waste money and does what it says on the tin. These trees are not the only ones in the news of course - there are forest-loads of them including Thetford Forest - one I cycle through. Cambridge Past, Present & Future (CPP&F) has comments on the issue, it does not make for pleasant reading. CPP&F have a farm tenant on the farm at their Coton Countryside Reserve (which I cycled through on Sunday.)

Whilst on a wildlife theme - here is a link to the NT Wicken Fen mammals page and what I can expect to see if I look more closely. Mind you it also likes like we might be getting more windfarms - one in the link is near Coveney where there are also plans for a massive new wetland.

Back to the pictures, the bridge to the right is Cutter Ferry Bridge, which used to look like this and is one of the things we have the Cambridge Cycling Campaign for in terms of their dedication to making Cambridge a better place. (Because that is what better cycling provision does, even for non-cyclists.)

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I also passed the Judge Institute Building, which used to be the Hospital - Old Addenbrookes as it became, with the building of New Addenbrookes. As you might imagine quite a lot of work (and design) was required with a Project Competition in Dec 1990 and the Official opening by HM The Queen in March 1996. Apparently the Judge has a New Director.

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These were taken with my small pocket camera (Sony DSC-W200) and I don't pay as much attention to the focus point as I should do - but unwittingly it created quite a nice picture (IMHO).


I liked the way the light made the column glow in front of the pastel colours and the light brickwork.


Oh yes - Valentine's day - when I got home there was some fridge cake (chocolate with stuff such as raisins cherries and butter mixed and then allowed to set in the fridge) it is delicious, especially after a cycle ride.


I can't finish without mentioning the 'Pedal While we work idea' reported by the BBC. Apparently sedentary lifestyles are creating a serious health problem (er is that a surprise?), so the magic solution - mini-exercise bikes that you pedal whilst sitting at your desk. Apparently the initial motivation to use them wears off after a while and new methods (cattle prods?) need to be tried. I can't help but feel the message "Get on your bike" might be more suitable. This is a bit like driving to the gym. If you do then this website points to some cycling advice in the form of a video..

Whilst I prefer not to use my car if I can help it, this report on a chap getting a parking fine although the road markings had almost faded away was a bit harsh. Apparently the chap first came up with the idea for guided buses. Perhaps next time he should get himself a Chieftain tank - a bargain at £25K, they might think twice about giving him a ticket then.

And finally the Google doodle today (15th) is to commemorate the birth of Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton. His leadership is still used to inspire business leaders. A pity too few follow his approach (particularly Council Leaders in my view).

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