Monday, December 12, 2011

Plans, Mice, Men and meetings in London

Tuesday, 6th December: I had to head down to London on for a meeting at the end of the day. So  my plan was to get some work done in the morning and then cycle off to the Railway Station and look forward to a pleasant cycle home later that evening.

I much prefer to cycle if I can although I could claim mileage if I drive my car, but nothing if I cycle. I was pleased to see that Cambridgeshire clerics will be able to claim 20p mileage rate for cycling now though. It always annoy me that many companies are quite happy to pay 25-40p for people using their cars for business trips but seem to feel that a cycle should be free. Perhaps they feel that the exercise is all the reward that should be due. In reality it does cost money to cycle, albeit somewhat less. More seriously a company can save money by being generous with the cycle mileage rate. (Or in this case the Church can save money and…)

Whilst on the subject of cars there is more pressure than ever to reduce the reliance on the biggest liability in the car – the driver – In “How close are we to a crash-proof car” a BBC reporter explores the work on making cars even safer. It gives the statistic that 1.3million people are killed and 50 million injured on the world's roads. How is it that such an horrific statistic seems to sit below the radar. I just hope that the systems also make the roads safer for the other users.

In one of those interesting bits of law a Drunk women was banned from driving after being caught riding (an electric) scooter over the limit. Hover she can still continue to use her electric scooter – and on  shared-use paths. I have passed electric scooters a few times on shard use paths – at first, from a distance I thought they were mopeds and not allowed – but the ones I  have seen have been late-middle age ladies. I can’t help feel that they are necessary because our public bus system doesn’t meet the needs of a chunk of the public.

Last Tuesday they weren’t running, but now that the new central platform at Cambridge Railway Station is open longer commuter trains (now) on track from Cambridge. Twelve carriage trains can now use the new platforms – 7 and 8. I wonder if this means they will reduce the peak period time during which the fares are higher?  No I don’t really wonder that at all. Whilst it might have been introduced to cut peak time congestion I can’t see them giving up the extra revenue.

Back to my journey – I got a phone call, the person I was meeting had a change of plan and could I get there sooner. Well there went my plans. I plucked up my stuff hopped into the car and set off for the station. Whenever I cycle I struggle to find a space for my bike but see quite a few empty car spaces. Whenever I drive there are no empty car space. Today was no exception – fortunately I did manage to park on the street around the corner.

My haste to catch the train also caused me to forget my camera, so I had to go with my camera of last resort, the camera on my phone. Now I am not an iPhone or Android phone user my principle requirement for my phone is a decent battery life. So the following pictures only have three million pixies  still you get the picture.

Now it was close to lunchtime, so I decided to multi-task; travel and eat. Really it was an excuse to have a pasty.  Here it is, is it me or are they not quite as good as they were.  Although the best pasties I have eaten have both been associated with exercise. Once, when I was a boy, we had a family holiday at a place called Budleigh Salterton. A friend also came along and my brother and our friend would have an evening swim in the sea. We swam out to a float and then as it got dark swam back to the streetlights. Then we would buy some pasties and eat them as we walked back to the house we (well my Mum and Dad really) had rented.

The other memorable pasties were ones I bought when cycling in the first two counties of my Land’s End to John O’ Groats ride.

As I walked through London I was slightly jealous of this chap on a Boris bike. Mind you there is no reason why I shouldn’t use one when down in London. Except that it would require a bit of up-front planning, including some form of map as I don’t really don’t know my way around London.

After my meeting as I was walking along Whitehall there appeared to be some serious trouble. There were loads of police, several ambulances, a police helicopter and at least one person on a stretcher.  When I got home I struggled to find anything on the web about it. (It was a demonstration related to elections in the Democratic Republic of Columbia.

When I catch the train home from London I tend to find the journey unpleasant, I feel tired but can’t settle in a comfortable position, so a cycle home is really exhilarating. except of course this time around there was no cycle ride home.

I forgot to mention that over the weekend my wife and I reserved our Christmas tree, ready for us to pick up later on in the month. Here it is waiting.

Ah well there was some good news, at one point it looked as if I would have to go to London on the following two days as well, but my early visit saved me.

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