Saturday, September 27, 2014

Time travel–an old plane, an old ride–and people aren’t parking and riding!

Thursday, 25th September 2014: I knew that the the last surviving Vulcan bomber, XH558 was expected to fly over Cambridge, but wasn’t sure when and I wasn’t planning to go looking for it in the skies.  I have been to the Mildenhall airshow with my family, when it was running. It was quite a spectacle – with a lot on display.  Apparently the last one was in 2001.

So as I cycled I heard rather than saw a load aeroplane in the sky – which form a distance looked rather like a bit fighter jet. At this point I looked around for a decent place to stop and frantically pulled my camera out of its bag, turned it on, checked the settings and took a few pictures. I wished I stuck on my 100-300mm lens (200mm to 600mm in 35mm terms). Unfortunately there were trees, lampposts and pylons all around. I did manage to get a few pictures though. Here is the route it took with a larger view of the map.

Even better it came around again so I got pictures of the distinctive delta-wing. It is a surprisingly manoeuvrable aircraft as well loud. Apparently it cost £7m to get this one flying, the last one and relies on donations. Which compared to the cost of the latest F-35C Lightning at US$142.6M is a bargain, although I am not sure if that includes the powerplant in the F-35C. (Here is a BBC article on costs and support costs of Britain’s initial order.)

Vulcan – XH558 above Cambridge

The plan makes quite an old school noise as it flies, which can be heard on this You Tube video.   The Vulcan is best known for its deployment during the Falklands war (well to me anyway.) Here is a program – 47 minutes – on the “longest bombing raid in history”.

Vulcan – XH558 above Cambridge

Before moving on to what will be a short post, two recent news items caught my eye. The first was a crash involving a cyclist. It was on the B1102 between Swaffham Prior and Burwell. A cyclist suffered serious injuries in a crash involving a car and led to a road closure for more than three hours.

It is not a pleasant road to cycle along, especially during the rush hour. It is not the widest of roads, but straight and motor vehicles seem to be in a hurry and you don’t always get much space as a cyclist. The alternative is a rather narrow shared-use path. Here is a Streetview look at the scene from eh Burwell end.  Strangely as you get closer to Swaffham Prior it goes dark and the Streetview map seems to be in some sort of suit.  I have tried two different computers, at first I thought it was a problem with Chrome 64 beta. ere is the Street view from Rogers Road, just before Swaffham Prior. It makes me wonder whether Google has instituted a black out because of the accident?

Scrap Park and Ride charges

The second item that caught my eye was “Cambridge park and ride: Calls to scrap £1 parking charge grown as passenger numbers fall”. As reported before there has been a 15% drop in passenger numbers. Apparently the new parking charge system cost £321,000 to put in and was expected to raise an extra £920,000 per year.

It seems that in the Internet age when most organisations seek to make money by making their customers’ lives easier our Transport chiefs don’t get it and feel that they are entitled to do what they want without regard to their “customers”.  I have seen the same effect when my daughter came home for a week during the Summer, she decided it would be easier to park in the back streets of Cambridge than go through the palaver when she wanted to pop into town.  Whilst the powers that be might think that the net increase to customers was relatively small most people see a system that has wasted money on charging (£300,000+) and increased the cost of parking from £0 to £1 an infinite increase.

Wednesday, 18th June 2014:

Now I generally always cycle into Cambridge (and now back in time) I had to be in the centre of Cambridge during the afternoon so I took a great circle route to get in a bit of pedalling. I didn’t have enough time to get out to Wicken Fen  so I did a circle of the Wilbrahams/Fulbourn loop.

I was a little surprised, to hear the skirl of the pipes after crossing over the A14,  but not too surprised. I had seen this chap before and had a chat with him about his pipe practice.

Bagpiper  next the to A14 – Wilbraham Road

In Cambridge I parked under the Grand Arcade and walked to my destination.  I saw this sign – I hadn’t realised that School Lane was in prison, this must be a protest trying to get it free.

Free School Lane

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