Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Meeting at the White Swan Lode–yes an excuse to cycle

Wednesday, 15th June: I was meeting an old colleague for lunch and despite my inability to agree a day until late in the proceedings because of Computer glitches we settled on the White Swan in Quy. He was due to visit Fulbourn after our meeting and although there are some fine pubs in Fulbourn that’s the place that sprang to mind.

The good thing about setting up these sorts of meetings is that they give me a chance to cycle even if I have stuff to do. Working from home is definitely to be recommended, but there are downsides. For me work has been a social activity as well as a career/pay the bills/business activity and one thing I miss is those chance discussions in the kitchen. Some of which are actually very helpful for the company. You know those things along the lines of:

Them:  “how’s it going?” 

Me: “oh not so bad but I am having a problem with this bit of code”

Them: “Oh I had that problem there is a workaround I’ll ping it over to you”

Me: “Thanks, the Canadian Grand Prix was really good wasn’t it?”

And in one fell swoop a bunch of time is saved and only a little bit of time is wasted talking about the Canadian GP.  Working from home doesn’t give you that chance discussion opportunity, which is why it is good to get out from time to time. Mind you what I would really like to be able to do is have a few computer screens around me “skyped” up to colleagues and have virtual coffee meetings as and when the mood arose.

So I set off with only the slightest of detours, I cycled along NCN51 out of Cambridge and then through Bottisham along the Lode Road to Lode. (It seems that Google has changed the way in which Google Maps works, I have just done a search for Lode using and got Lodi in Italy.  I am sure that it brought up Lode (in England) the last time. If I search for Lode Cambridge it works – oh well that’s progress for you. (I was looking up the name of the road as it happens).

I cycled through Lode, Cambridge and then back through along the route of the old Cambridge to Mildenhall railway line and then down to Station Road, Quy  via the  bridleway and then over to The White Swan.

In one of those masterstrokes of timing I got there on time. One of the unsung benefits of cycling is that your journey times are predictable.  I do recommend checking the wind direction a little while before setting off though, as that can and does have an impact, well on me anyway.

On the way through I did stop to take a few pictures of the flax growing – I am more convinced that it seems to come out when it is cloudy. Although my wife pointed out that it might just be that the flowers last less long in the bright sun, especially since we have not had much rain recently.

The line of the old railway track is on the left of the picture, as you can see it was quite gloomy. I was cycling in shorts and a short-sleeved shirt and was quite warm enough. I did have a rain jacket with me though just in case.

The same view but taken a little lower down to emphasise the way in which the blue flowers head of into the distance. 

As you can see whilst the flowers are perhaps not as dense as oilseed rape flowers there was a fair few of them.

Although I got to the pub on time my colleague wasn’t to be seen.  So I ordered a pint, normally I tend to go for local beers, but they had a West country beer on offer, so I had that instead – delicious.

After a while I did wonder whether I had got the date and/or time wrong so I checked my email, or rather I tried to.  The signal coverage in Quy is not that brilliant, at least not for Vodafone in the White Swan. Eventually I managed to get my email by holding up the phone to the window and waiting. Once I had a signal I also got a text. It was from the person I was meeting. The A14 was jammed solid.  I replied to let him know I was still there and after another session of holding my phone to the window the message got sent.

Mind you before I get too smug you can get held up even on a bike by level crossing failures.

They ought to get themselves a femtocell is what I suggested to the landlady who was watching my cellular antics. I have one at home, where I also got dodgy coverage and it is great, 5 bars of signal. It is a Vodafone Suresignal and after a little bit of fiddling to get it to talk with my Broadband router it has been really great. A friend of mine recently switched from one of the other carriers because of the really poor coverage where he lives. He chose Vodafone and they also provided him with one of their boxes – problem solved.

The problem turned out to be a three-vehicle crash just near the Quy junction at 11.40am.  The article does not suggest what caused the crash between a van and two cars however there is a comment about speed limits.  The average speed cameras have recently been extended down from Bar Hill to Milton, the site of the crash was beyond the average speed check zone – coincidence or cause? What was it I was saying about cycling having more predictable timing?  Mind you it does take longer on a bicycle – I’ll give you that, but think of the benefits of exercise and how much time you can save by not going to the gym.

Winking smile 


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