Friday, February 15, 2013

A Meeting on Valentines Day (lunch)

Thursday, 14th February 2013: Quite often when meeting people I tend to arrange to meet on a day rather than a date. So I will say let’s meet a week on Wednesday rather than on, say, the 21st.   On Wednesday I was thinking more about the weather, it was flipping cold, hovering around zero all day. Which got me thinking I will have to wear quite a few layers of clothing tomorrow when I cycle off to Reach to meet a friend for lunch. Come Thursday and the temperature started “rocketing” up. Although at first it was raining. I also realised that I had arranged to meet in Valentines Day – which got me wondering whether I should have booked a table at the Dyke’s End. The good news was that the temperature was so high – well around 12oC I cycled off in my shorts, along with a load of The Archers on my mp3 player to catch up.

All the shenanigans with my computer have meant that I have not been down-loading radio programs and transferring them onto my MP3 player so assiduously. I am pleased to report that the recent Patch Tuesday  went smoothly, the first time in ageeeeees. Even the re-boot just happened. I must admit my heart was in my mouth when I logged on again – but everything seems to be working (touch wood). Although for the time being I have stopped using McAfee and am using Microsoft's Security Essentials. With all the fiddling, de-installing software, cutting down the number of things that start up and also the size of my desktop the computer is faster again.

So I have started looking at Mobo (Motherboard) specs working out what I want and the right balance between decent performance and cost.

Time for a quick bit of news – the Guided Busway is still flooded (or flooded again) and there has been a collision between two buses – I think one ran into the back of another.  Three people were injured.  Whilst it is easy to get uppity about such things and blame the Busway if we are going to put humans in charge of large powerful motor vehicles then we have to be aware of human error and build systems to protect against it.

The trouble is as much as there is some effort in terms of making motor vehicles safer there is also resistance.  Yet there is a lot of electronics in cars nowadays – isn’t it about time we had tachographs – or there more modern equivalent. At a minimum I reckon cars ought to at least warn you when you speed or get too close to the vehicle in front. Apparently “over 50% of consumers would be swayed by the presence of an internet-capable device” in their vehicle. Let’s face it whilst there are laws against using a phone or texting whilst driving people still do. Even people who should know better.

Interestingly it was technology that caused the problem and came to the rescue in this case – a driver’s throttle jammed, but he was able to call for a police escort as here zoomed along a French dual-carriageway.

I am once again thinking of getting a video camera for my bike. There are loads of times that I see anti-social driving with motor vehicles wrongly parked  (close to junctions, on yellow lines, on pavements, in cycle lanes). The fact is I reckon most drivers believe that the Police don’t care about such “minor” offenses  With the result that it happens all over the place – increasing the danger to the vulnerable road users.  (Currently Living Streets promoting a campaign against it. (The law is somewhat in need of an overhaul.)

As I happens I took advantage of a CTC campaign to alert Police and Crime Commissioners to the issues of road safety, particularly for the vulnerable and the need to prioritise road safety.  I wrote to mine – in Cambridgeshire.  I was not impressed – it failed to answer my questions. If I have time I might write a post about it.

Anyway on to the ride. Out to reach and then because it was so nice I took the long way back, via Burwell and then Wicken Fen. My plan was to go around Wicken Fen, but it rained as I cycled up Factory Road so turned left on Priory drove and cycled back along the Lodes Way.

When I reached Reach the Dyke’s End was busy – with Valentines couples of all ages, fortunately there was a table free. I had a pint of the local beer and liver and bacon with mash. It was truly scrumptious. We have it at home and it amazes me how cheap a bit of liver is and yet how delicious.  Here it is, taken on my phone and nicely lit with a romantic candle.

Liver and Bacon (and mash) at the Dyke’s End, Reach - Yummy

As I mentioned, or didn’t actually, I was in my shorts it was so warm. Which is why I was a bit put out when it started to rain on my long way back. Mind you skin dries quicker than cloth. It didn’t actually last long, but I wasn’t sure whether to expect more so I shorted my long way home.

This is the view of Burwell Fen Farm from footbridge over Burwell Lode. There is a lot of water around at the moment.

Burwell Fen Farm

As I had stuff to do I didn’t have too much time to hang around taking pictures, although that has not stopped me in the past. This is the view across Burwell Fen looking back from near reach Lode Bridge. There is a footpath to the left of the ditch.  The water is definitely rising.

Burwell Fen Farm from near Reach Lode Bridge

The view alongside Reach Lode, looking northwards. The water in the lode is quite a bit higher than the water in the surround fen.

A line of Poles alongside Reach Lode

After cycling along Split Drove I reached Headlake drove, the fields are pretty soggy around here still.

Commissioners’ Drain

Flipping tossers who fly-tip.  Old mattresses are bad enough – but broken frames of glass are worse. No regard for the people who will clear this up, not the people who use this route. Walkers, with dogs, horse riders and cyclists (and cars and tractors). I hope that the fines are greater for such hazardous waste.

Fly-tipping along Headlake Drove

In case you were wondering this is the bit of Headlake Drove next to the fly-tipping.

Headlake Drove

I was a little concerned that the rays were coming down through rain clouds, they weren’t or at least not when I got there.  There has been some new planting at White Fen.

White Fen

I had thought about taking a more rural route across the fields from Horningsea (on byways and bridleways). I am glad I didn’t Harvey’s Droveway is looking pretty muddy.

Harvey’s Droveway

Bottisham Lode was flowing quite fast and was reasonably high.

Bottisham Lode – near Lode (the village)

The trees still look bare.

Well that was a delightful ride, meal and ride – roll on the Spring.  Oh yes, I caught up with the Archers, well some of it anyway. I now understand the anger reported in the press.

And finally some interesting old/new pictures of Vietnam.

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