Sunday, December 30, 2012

More light along Lodes Way and 2013 will soon be upon us

Thursday, 7th December 2012: There is Spam, Spam and Spamity Spam. Some of the Spam is just plain illegal or wrong trying to push drugs or receive millions – just send your name, bank account details and inside leg measurement…, Others seem like the sort of stuff that gets delivered along with the mail (well here in England at least). I don’t want assorted video clip links or double glazing or solar cells thank you. Then there is the last category, well for me anyway. Perhaps I shouldn’t give this secret away, but I do read stuff that is related to things that interest me – cycling and photography. I suppose strictly speaking that might not be SPAM,  although it still seems to fit the definition.

Anyway, one of the emails was from Wex (aka Warehouse Express), a supplier of photographic equipment, who I have used for mail order and to do a sensor clean of a camera of mine. (They have a showroom in Norwich). Here is the message – Start a year-long Photography Project in 2013. Which is an interesting idea – as I gradually catch up on my 2012 posts, mainly by not cycling I have been thinking about what I want to do in 2013 and how best to achieve them.

Certainly there are places I want to visit (by bicycle) and I would really like to do the Land’s End to John O’ Groats ride again. However, if I do I don’t want to make it a trial, I want to be fit and fast and enjoy it. Although I am thinking that it would be rather nice to do it over three weeks and cycle further as well. I suppose that is the point of having a big goal, it drives other important goals, which to make it achievable all need to be planned.

Also as we come to the end of the year it seems that the excellent Yehuda Moon is taking (another) a break. I kind of see myself as a cross between Yehuda and Joe in some odd way. This strip -  “Did you hear about the cyclist” was a reminder that whilst it is easy to get cross about the worsening safety of cyclists in the UK there are also a larger number killed in motor vehicles each year. This Christmas there seem to have been more tragic motoring “accidents” than last year. We do seem to tolerate what can only be described as carnage in the name of personalised motor transport (in 2011 a reported 1,901 people were killed in road accidents with an economic welfare cost of around £15.6billion for reported road accidents).

An interesting question is how far should we go to protect people from themselves. Well I guess the answer would be based upon what is the overall cost to society. This is not the same as assessing how dangerous an activity is. There is also an element of what is the cost of such safety measures and who should be responsible for those costs. the other issue is one of risk-compensation. We might behave less cautiously when we perceive our level of protection to be higher. In a similar vein it also appears that a car driver might be less cautious when a cyclist is perceived to be protected as demonstrated by Dr Ian Walker. This then becomes a moral hazard apparently.

Anyway back to the goals for next year, I had been thinking of my own POTD (picture of the day) project, more as a way of making my posts more timely and pithy than cutting down on pictures. Mind you I also like this sort of project where the same panoramic view was taken every month for a year of a spot in the South Downs.

Mind you how do you protect from idiocy – the bridge under the Ely railway has been hit yet again.

Now I first started this blog back in September, 2008 and it has recorded some of my more “epic” rides as well as a large number around the Lodes Way. Over that time my readership has waxed and waned and certainly over Christmas it has dropped a bit. I have also seem other Blogs come and go and wax and wane over the four years I have been Blogging. Indeed quite a few Blogs have certainly tailed off a bit over Christmas as well – although the Orange Brompton is on a roll despite the small wheels.

So the trick is to work out ways of getting the various threads of activity to positively support each other, whilst at the same time being interesting enough to read about as well as write about.  I will also think about threads I might wish to pursue – I would like to cycle a bit more of the Sustrans network.

One of the things I like about this time of year is the light in the late afternoon when I go out riding. Which is why all my Posts have been a bit samey just recently. I have always thought it interesting that you often get a cloudy sky with a thin strip of light near the horizon. It looks as if there is a layer of cloud which ends just before the horizon. I don’t think it is though – rather it is the way the sun lights up the edge of the clouds.

A Thin horizontal strip of Sunlight along Lodes Way (near Lode)

The thickness neatly coincides with the height of the trees.

A Thin horizontal strip of Sunlight along Lodes Way (near Lode)

Closer to the sun the light burns more brightly (and is more yellow)

A Thin horizontal strip of Sunlight along Lodes Way (near Lode)

As you can see I took a few pictures from the same spot – that is the problem with a versatile zoom lens – you get lazy.

A Thin horizontal strip of Sunlight along Lodes Way (near Lode)

After a few pictures I managed to get through White Fen before stopping to take a picture of the Pylons marching into the light.

White Fen – Pylons

I know, they go on a bit, bring on POTD I can hear you think.

A Thin horizontal strip of Sunlight along Lodes Way (near Reach Lode)

Now a proper photographer would have tables and charts that showed when the sun would be on the horizon and more to the right – “at the end of the road” to create a more perfect picture. Me – I just keep on taking pictures as I cycle by, wishing I could re-arrange things – but hey that’s life. This is a step forward though – I started of taking pictures and not recognising the dissonance. In this case the lines of the bridge and road lead you away from the light so your eyes don’t quite know where to look!

A Thin horizontal strip of Sunlight along Lodes Way (Reach Lode Bridge)

Oh no there has been a nuclear explosion over Cambridge – now more blog…

Sunset over Adventurers Fen (Lodes Way)

Phew I managed to dive behind these reeds on Burwell Lode and survived – the Blog (and Blogger) have survived.

Sunset through the reeds on Burwell Lode – Lodes Way

And in that post is my conundrum, I like reflecting upon the issues affecting cyclists as well as taking unrelated pictures. Talking of which – seeing these wonderful Chinese wooden bridges makes me want to check them out, with my bike of course.

Another way of doing more of what I do would be to enter Photographic competitions, I have entered two over the years and not a peep. I’ve missed the deadline for this one as well – but the images do provide food for thought.

I’ve forgotten to mention my interest and concern for the world and global warming. The West Antarctic ice sheet is warming twice as fast as previously thought. The world is more fragile than we think – and one bit of Government doesn’t seem to know what the other is doing. the Forestry Commission apparently ordered 70,4000 foreign Ash trees despite being warned of the dangers. Or perhaps they couldn’t see the wood for the trees.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Mid-week ride–not so grey skies on the Lodes Way

Wednesday, 5th December 2012: it is not unusual to see other cycling Blogs that also discuss photography. I guess to a large extent if you are going to Blog then the chances are that you will also use pictures. One that springs to mind is “My Orange Brompton” with as much passion for the cameras as the Brompton bicycle (well almost).

What I rather like about cycling and photography is that now matter how many times you visit a place there is always something new to see. The combination of weather, seasons, man, nature and time of day combine to create something new to see (and photograph). Now there are some routes that I do get a little bored of – but I still find myself taking pictures.

There are also regular routes, or perhaps areas that I don’t get bored of and there are some vistas that feature incessantly in my Posts. I don’t apologise – just suggest you scroll through the images that you find oft-repeated.

The Lodes around the Lodes way are regulars in my posts. So much so that even on days of few photographs they sneak in, like this one of the ripples on Burwell Lode as it heads towards Upware.

Burwell Lode – from the Lodes Way footbridge over Burwell Lode

The other fascinating thing about both cycling and photography – well I think it is fascinating, is how a route can look so very different depending upon which way round you cycle. I have gotten lost by cycling a route I know pretty well backwards. I couldn’t believe it when it happened – I had to resort to my GPS to work out where I had gone wrong.

This picture and the last were taken from the same spot– the footbridge over Burwell Lode along  the Lodes Way, one after the other.   Yet the elevation seems different, there are more clouds in the sky, the grass looks a different colour and the quality of the light is very different.

Ground works for planned, but unfunded Lodes Way bridge over Burwell Lode

This is a scene I have photographed quite a few times – Bakers Fen, part of Wicken Fen. These flood during the winter months and then dry off during the summer, generally. At this time of year the sun tends to be low in the sky.

Bakers Fen – Lodes Way

I like the Lodes Way area because the are many variations to the ride you can take, This time around instead of heading back along Lodes Way I headed along NCN51 from Burwell. By the time I had reached the outskirts of Bottisham the sun was pretty low – there was just time for a few pictures in the last of the remaining light.

This is a silhouette of Holy Trinity – “one of the most recognisable churches in Cambridgeshire”. I am not sure I would be able to tell apart it in a Police line-up, in fact I am pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to – but since I was cycling into Bottisham I had a pretty good idea. 

Silhouette Bottisham Holy Trinity

And the same thing again – less zoom.

Silhouette Bottisham Holy Trinity

Cycling – a great way to keep taking pictures.

Photography – a great way to keep cycling.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Light–sun dogs along Lodes Way

Sunday, 2nd December 2012:  Well for what seems like the first time in a while I am writing a post in the same month as the ride was ridden.  In real time it is Christmas Eve – the lull before the storm so to speak. Fortunately I had a personal shopper to help me this year (my daughter) and so presents were bought and wrapped with minimal hassle. So now we are in that quiet lull and I have time to write another post.

I have been cycling, yesterday I bumped into MikeC, who had some useful ideas on sorting out my computer. Indeed my brother-in-law also provided some useful pointers as well. \i usually open up the computer at this time of year and vacuum the dust out. You’d be surprised just how dusty they can get – but as the computer seems stable I am reluctant to meddle.

I am not sure why, since it was a while ago, but I must have set off later in the afternoon – well judging from the height of the sun in the pictures. Before leaving I did rather like the shadow cast by the sun coming through a window. I added a bit of blue as well.

Sunlight’s shadow

As for the ride it was a Lodes Way ride – this time avoiding the old railway line behind Anglesey Abbey. Although he sun was low the sky was blue. This is the view from Fen Road, on the route from Lode to White Fen.

The view from Fen Road, Lodes way

the same, more or less, picture but without the sun in it to “fool£ the camera shows that how blue the skies were.  It was pretty cold though.

The view from Fen Road, Lodes way

The evening light can generate some pastel shades – these are pylons on there way from Burwell to Cambridge.

White Fen, Lodes Way

The late afternoon must also be the time for transatlantic flights, there are often quite a few contrails high up in the sky heading north.

Contrails in the sky – Lodes Way

You can just about see some frost in the near ground in this picture – which is where Newnham Drove crosses Lodes way.

Newnham Drove/Lodes Way crossroads

At this time of year, with the amount or rain we have had the roads can get muddy pretty quickly. This bit of Lodes Way is just after the Burwell Lode foot bridge, near Priory Farm. The sun seems to have brought out quite a few walkers – although they started off as either car drivers or car passengers. You can see how low the sun is from my long shadow to the right of the picture.

Priory Drove

On the way back the sun was getting lowers in the sky – but remarkably strong despite it being the Winter months.

Low sun – Lodes Way

A little further along the Lodes Way (on the return leg) there was a Sun dog (well two actually).

Sun dog – Lodes Way

You would expect them to come in twos – I did actually take three pictures and was planning to combine them as one panorama. The trouble was the exposures were so different I couldn’t get the pictures to stich up convincingly. The Cambridge news reported one over at Cambourne later in the month.

Sun dog (#2) Lodes Way

As I headed back, a good bet for a sunset picture is of the Reach Lode bridge. As the sun sets it also gets noticeably colder. You can see in this picture that the frost was still around from the morning.

Sunset – reach Lode Bridge, Lodes Way

I tried a few variants of the picture – although at this time of year the sun sets further to the left.

Sunset – reach Lode Bridge, Lodes Way

Don’t worry this is the last attempt – lots of frost on show here.

Sunset – reach Lode Bridge, Lodes Way

Oops I lied – this is another picture of Reach lode – showing the sun dog casting the false sun.

Sun dog over Reach Lode

Every now and then other examples of sun light effects get into the news – here is a Brocken Spectre.

Here are a couple of Brocken Spectres I  have taken – the first is seen out of a plane window.

Brocken Spectre – from a plane window

This one was taken after my son and I had climbed up Huayna Picchu – next to Machu Picchu.

Brocken Spectre – near Machu Picchu

Oops – I almost forgot – a bunch of pictures – This first set combines recent pictures of derelict railway lines with older black and white pictures when they were operational. This set is of the Soviet aeroplane graveyard with a picture of Concordski.  whilst on the subject of aeroplanes – Britain’s largest four-jet model plane – I wonder if Father Christmas will be bringing me one of those.

A “Meccano” bridge – really a footbridge. A seasonal report on the perils of potholes – although the AA is taking a different tack and point out the pothole peril to pedestrians – so perhaps the shoe tax will help pay for it.

And finally Orlando Bloom carrying his bike.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Poet’s Day cycle along Lodes Way

Friday, 30th November 2012: So where to start – although I haven't been blogging for a while stuff has been happening and I have been cycling. Whereas I would normally keep a bunch of links going that interest me all the recent Sys admin has meant that I have not bothered. However I now find myself wanting to write about it.

So some of the stuff that has been happening is loads of rain and yet more flooding, although not as bad as some places.The Travelling the CGB reports that once again the cycle track is flooded. Also more worryingly a man has been seriously injured on the busway near Histon.

It seems that Policing has become more political with the Police launching major operation to tackle anti-social cycling in Cambridge. It makes me wonder why, are there loads of serious injuries or accidents caused – or is it because a small group of people have turned up at one of the meetings which decides this sort of thing to promote their own agenda? The trouble is that whilst some might argue this is democracy in action it can also turn into a small number of busy-bodies, who have time on their hands, pursuing their pet hates.

Humans have developed fairly extensive abilities to see patterns in nature and life, for the most part it works really well. However that same ability can also lead to us seeing false patterns.  Recently there has been a lot of interest in evidence-based policies for deciding what decisions to make when governing the country. However it isn’t always that easy. Look at the disagreements regarding whether cyclists should wear helmets or not. There is quite a lot of evidence concerning the rights or wrong yet many choose to ignore it.

I reckon  that by forcing cyclists to wear helmets it shifts the blame from motorists to cyclists for all aspects of the cyclists safety. Even worse it almost becomes a token of permission. The “drivers” won’t allow cyclists on the roads unless they wear a protective helmet. It is the first step along the lines of roads are dangerous and accidents happen and we shouldn’t punish motorists too much and roads are really only for motorised vehicles (Lorry driver cleared (of dangerous driving) in cyclist Mary Bowers case and Driver ’killed cyclist by recklessly opening door’ . To date 122 cyclists killed in the UK in 2012 – a five year high.

So back to Cambridge here is a thoughtful post from the Cottenham Cyclist, with Road Safety Statistics for Cambridge (2009-2011). Whilst some might feel that cyclists on pavements and/or without lights is anti-social what is more anti-social (and injurious to life and limb) is the design of roads (particularly junctions) and the behaviour of motorists. The other morning when cycling down to fetch my morning paper I had a white van pass me with about 30cm to spare at around 40mph. Was he trying to frighten me – no I don’t think so, but he did.

So the conundrum is that a lot of dangerous driving is more through incompetence, whilst a cyclist might take to the pavement because it is safer – but it is a deliberate act. So which is worse the deliberate act, which doesn’t really create that much danger to others or the careless act that really does.

Such is the furore concerning “errant cyclists” Plain-clothes officers are being deployed. The result – 54 cyclists were caught in one night. Is it the right outcome though – does it really make our lives safer? Strangely enough, in one of those anecdotal, non-scientific surveys that get carried out on my way through Cambridge the other day I saw no cyclists jumping red lights, I did see three motor vehicles jump red lights though and loads of cars illegally use the bus lanes along Newmarket Road.

Strangely the leader of the County Council (Nick Clarke) has also criticised the Cambridge Cycling Campaign for supporting naughty cyclists, which they don’t and called for “balance”. Balance is not a bad thing – but needs to recognise that cyclists and pedestrians are vulnerable – the current lack of balance has driven many cyclists of the roads.

The Council also seems to have a strange idea of what safety is all about . The cycle lane on Batemen Street is getting a £16,000 facelift to make it smoother and safer. Forgive me if I find the idea that a bit of red paint on a small back street will make all the difference to my cycling safety is a bit offensive. Don’t get me wrong a bit of red paint isn’t bad but we have to do far more than that,

One of the things that I think Councils fail to realise is that the haphazard way in which some pavements are designated as shared-use along with poor signage and many being not fit for purpose is perhaps why some cyclists switch to pavements.  Although I would imagine that many cyclists are perhaps feeling frustrated that they are being urged not to use the Regent’s Canal towpath for “rushing to work”. Cyclists – piggies in the middle.

To be fair I think that the issue is not caused by the Police but by the way they are directed and so I should also congratulate them for catching a Huntingdon Rail Station bike thief – working with CCTV and the public.

I suppose the good news is that some money is going towards more cycling facilities in Cambridge – but whilst £2million is a lot of money, it is peanuts in the general scheme of transport costs and it comes from developers S106 funding. Please don’t spread it so thinly that it creates a bunch of sub-standard facilities. At the same time one car park is getting £1.6m to extend it with 500 extra car spaces (and 80 sheltered cycle spaces). The good news it will reduce pollution in historic Cambridge City – stuff those living near the Park and ride though.

Mind you drivers will probably complain that Pay as you drive is back on the agenda. To me this seems like a fudge to pay for a few more roads without it appearing on the UK balance sheet. Complicated taxes are bad taxes, we already seem to have problems with working out which train company should run various routes. Why are we further complicating the way roads are built and paid for – yet more bureaucracy I reckon. Talking of bureaucracy apparently they got the shape of the numbers wrong on some motorway warning signs – so  speeding motorists weren’t (speeding that is- well not so as the law would stick).

At this point I probably also ought to come clean and admit that I have togged up, well to the point that I have stopped cycling in shorts – or rather I wear some bib tights as well as shorts and I have been wearing my Altura Night Vision Waterproof Gloves.  There are brilliant, mine are fluorescent yellow and have an inner glove as well as an outer glove. They keep my fingers warm and when I want to take pictures I can just slip of the outer glove, fiddle with the camera and take then picture whilst my hand stays warm, because of the inner glove. For the avoidance of doubt I am not getting any kickback or discount for recommending these gloves. The other good thing is that they don’t tend to get as smelly as my usual gloves.

This ride was a bit of a Poets ride – although when I set out I resolved not to cycle on any rough tracks by the time I got to Quy I thought I would give the old railway line behind Anglesey Abbey a go. (Cambridge to Mildenhall) It was a bit of a mistake. Mind you I managed to cycle along it – with a lot of wheel slip and Maisie Marin got very muddy. You can also see that there was still frost on the ground in this picture.

Old Cambridge to Mildenhall Railway Line: Quy to Lode

At the end of the old track is the site of the Quy railway station.

Old Cambridge to Mildenhall Railway Line: Quy to Lode

After that muddy trek I reckoned I would stay away from the mud and carried on Lodes Way. It seems that the Scouts were going to be using the wild camping facility for the weekend. This was the rendezvous.

Scout Wild Camping Rendezvous point – Near White Fen

Here is Maisie having a rest near Split Drove on the bridge over Commissioners’ Drain – a tidy drain it was too.

Commissioners’ drain near Split Drove

The view back down the drain in the Cambridge direction.

Commissioners’ drain near Split Drove

A little further along Lodes Way I wondered whether the horse gates had been half-inched (pinched) from the crossing near Newnham Drove.

Lodes Way, near Newnham Drove

It turns out that the gates were removed to make it easier for horse riders, whilst the area is not used to graze the cows. Here is John’s Blog.

Lodes Way, near Newnham Drove

The ground works for the new, but unfunded bridge over Burwell Lode seem to have reached a temporary stop.

Lodes Way – ground works for the planned, but unfunded Burwell Lode bridge

There is a path from the low level track up the bank though now – a welcome site – the previous grass/mud track up the bank could be a bit daunting for some cyclists.

The electric bridge seems to be getting smaller and smaller as it is dismantled, presumably for its refurbishment.

Lodes Way – ground works for the planned, but unfunded Burwell Lode bridge

After a loop of Wicken Fen I noticed some cycles locked up to the cattle grid lock in the path between Wicken Fen and Priory Farm.

There was a bit of water lying around as well.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Tis the Season for Sys Admin

A couple of weeks ago Patch Tuesday came up with a bunch of updates for my Desktop PC, which seemed to be an update too far.  One update failed and I also got the Blue Screen of Death (BSOD), not once or twice but repeatedly. Now I tend to use my Desktop computer as the centre of the universe my computing, email, work, blogging, photography, records and as a hobby. The latter point means that it is not quite the computer is was when I first bought it.

The of the patch I couldn’t get loaded was rather oddly: KB2779562 – which is a time zone update! Sill the machine was working and I thought no more until a day or so later I noticed that the computer had logged me out, or so I thought.  I logged in again, there was no message so I wondered if some piece of software had updated and forced a re-boot. Then as I was doing something I got a BSOD. It re-booted, I logged on and a short while later a BSOD.

It got to the point when I began to wonder whether it might be an underlying hardware fault rather than a software problem. I still reckoned it was the software, but after a re-boot I could log in and then as all the stuff initialised it would crash – with a Blue Screen and then do a crash dump and re-boot.

At some time in my misspent youth I was responsible for the Sys admin for a bunch of Unix computers. This was in the day when they cost tens of thousands of pounds (£) and it was necessary to have a service contract as they went wrong fairly very frequently. One of them was the size of a washing machine with massive circuit boards and fixing sometimes seemed to entail randomly swapping boards until a combination that worked was found. Indeed such was the regularity of problems I used to keep a written log of the problems (and so did the users) to aid with fixing them.

Fortunately modern electronics has become very much more reliable, although not infallible. The only trouble is that the software and hardware has also become a lot more complex. So trying to diagnose problems can be tricky, in fact trying to find information on how to diagnose problems can be tricky.  There is an awful lot of advice along the lines of reboot you computer ending up with re-load the operating system. Which seems a pretty drastic step.

So my my plan was first to understand what might be happening and get the computer stable, then to do some backups and then to run various diagnostics. I was also wondering whether I would have to replace the computer. It is around 5 or so years old and is both a hobby computer, which means I play with it and change cards and software on it regularly as well as a work and home computer.I did wonder whether to separate the hobby from the rest – but then I would have yet another computer to look after.

So after re-booting in safe mode I had a “play”. It turns out that my anti-virus software was updated on the day it started BSODing with a vengeance.  I also found some information about BSOD codes along with some advice on fixing things along with this link from Microsoft – Resolving stop (blue screen) errors in Windows 7. Unfortunately my error was:


STOP error 0x7F means that the Intel CPU generated a trap and the kernel failed to catch this trap. STOP code 0x0000007F may also display "UNEXPECTED_KERNEL_MODE_TRAP" on the same STOP message.

Which points to either a hardware error or a double fault. So despite my hoping it was software the case against the hardware was looking stronger. Even more so when I found this page: General causes of “STOP 0x0000007F” errors.  At this point I decided to read this link – lots of helpful stuff on BSODs

Still in safe mode using the System restore facility I decided to restore to the point before the Virus Checker update. The good news was that in safe mode the computer seemed stable – co-incidentally the Virus checker was not running. So I started the system restore, this took ages several hours, to the point I began to winder if the computer had crashed without telling me when it asked for a reboot. I did and was told that it couldn’t do a System restore.

So then I did a bit of checking on System restore issues here and here. As the machine had re-booted in normal mode I was surprised but relieved that it had stopped crashing. So at this point I figured I’d better do some backups. The first step was to organise the various USB disks I have got plugged into my machine, The computer has 2Tb of RAID organised as a RAID 1 in which there are actually 2 x 2Tb disks and one mirrors the other.

The trouble is my external drives come in a variety of sizes. The desktop holds around 1Tb of info with just under 400Gb of music and picture information. So using SyncToy, some Microsoft freeware I created a copy of the music and picture data on one USB drive and then my work directories and email on another USB drive. SyncToy is basically a super copier and is straightforward, fast and shows you what it is doing. However with the relatively large amounts of data it still took a fair bit of time. (Around 4 hours – for the picture and music stuff).

The next step was to run a complete system back up, I used Acronis software (2010) – this is slightly less transparent than SyncToy but in theory enables a more complete backup of the system stuff as well. I say in theory because unless you have had to retrieve data from a backup you can’t really be sure how good it is -  or indeed whether it works at all.

This backup took hours, around 8 hours. They do say that unless you don’t have x copies off is data your data you don’t really care about it – where x can be 1, 2 or 3. In this case with a machine that had become suspect I figured the more the merrier. So I also cloned my system disk. This is something I have used Acronis for in the past and been very impressed with its capability. I converted my computer from a a RAID 0 configuration to a RAID 1 using the cloning facility. (In RAID 0 the data is spread across two drives for speed.)

So I knew it would work and it would give me a disk from which I could boot up the system as if it were the original. The only trouble is that each level of additional complexity takes even longer. The ghost software runs after a re-boot before handing control back to windows – this took around 12 or so hours. (Note I only needed a spare 2Tb disk as my computer will reboot from a single disk if two aren’t present.)

The good news was that my Desktop seemed to have gotten over its crashing habit so the next step was to see what I could do about System Restore – in the end give the number of backups I turned it of and on – this apparently deletes all of the check points and then you start again. One of the problems can be a previous checkpoint has been corrupted. The trouble is ‘cos I have quite a lot of data even these sorts of take seem to take ages. As you wait you tend to think the worst and assume something has crashed. In my experience a crash when doing deeper system stuff always creates trouble. It all held up and I created a check point. Now for completeness I should have then checked to see if I could properly go back to that restore point – but life is too short.

Then I ran a System File Checker – which promised to take a long time, but was over quicker than I had expected and slightly surprisingly reported no problems. The next stage of my plan was to “repair the Windows 7 Installation”. it is billed as a last resort – so in the end I didn’t do it. I am thinking about doing a Disk check though.

I have been thinking about loading Windows 8 onto my computer – but if the hardware is flaky then it would me more hassle and if I have to buy another machine then I can dream about multiple screens and flash drives and loads of ram. still here I am a week later and things are holding up so back to Blogging I go. But I will up the frequency of my back ups for a while though.

Sorry no pictures – but there will be some in the next post.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Traffic congestion and aeroplane noise on the Lodes Way

Monday, 26th November: I generally try to cycle when I can – because there are quite a few times when things don’t work out. Some of those things include how I feel, the weather and what else I am supposed to be doing.

I certainly notice that my fitness levels drop in the Winter months, I blame the weather and the shorter days (hours of daylight), but of course the real issue is how I feel.  My default ride is some variation of Lodes Way, which is both rural, quiet (usually) and can be lengthened or shortened depending on circumstances.

When I have ridden the route fairly frequently I try not to take too many pictures. Although there is always something to see.

Where the Lodes Way passes along Headlake drove after the crossroads the little used road is looking pretty wet and muddy. I try to follow a line more or less through the middle to avoid having to go into any deep puddles. You never know what you might find in them. The mud along the road also needs a bit of care – mainly because I don’t have a rear mudguard on my bike at the moment and it gets thrown up.

The only traffic tends to be cyclists, tractors and bird watchers.

Headlake Drove – Lodes Way – wet and muddy

The weather is quite changeable at the moment and there were both blue skies and clouds around.

View from Split Drove (Lodes Way)

And this is Split Drove heading towards Reach Lode – which is the slightly raised bank running from left to right on the horizon. The water levels are above the fields in there parts.

Split Drove (Lodes Way)

This is Reach Lode – I find it easier to pop out for an impromptu ride when there isn’t much wind.

A Tree reflecting in Reach Lode (Lodes Way)

It doesn’t happen that often but every now and then we get fast jets doing large circles, slowly in the sky at what seems like full blast. Although it isn’t really because their after burners aren’t glowing.

I am not really that good at telling planes apart. My interest in such things stopped when I gave up making Airfix models in my early teens. We often used to go to Scotland for our Summer hols and an Airfix model was an ideal way for us to wile away our time on rainy days. As I grew older my interests turned to putting bangers in them – a misspent youth.

This is an F-15 Eagle or maybe a Strike Eagle. Apparently although the first version of the plane entered service in 1976 the final variants are expected to be in service (with the US Air Force) past 2025. There were a couple at least and maybe more in the skies.

F-15 Cruising the Skies over Lodes Way

After the noise in the air I also had to stop for traffic. To be fair they would have let me go. This is where Lodes Way crosses Newnham Drove. This might have been working on the new Burwell lode bridge footings or perhaps at the top, where Reach Lode and Burwell Lode meet and there is supposed to be a source of water to flood the bund area.

Congestion – Lodes Way/ Newnham Drove

I am not sure quite what this truck was there for – it looks as it it carried the diesel supplies.

Congestion – Lodes Way/ Newnham Drove

As I got closers to Burwell Lode the skies got darker.

Dark Skies above Burwell Fen

There was certainly plenty of water in the newly re-routed drain at the site of the Burwell Bridge Works.

Burwell Bridge Ground Works

A full drain there – well not full exactly – but carrying a decent bit of water.

Burwell Bridge Ground Works

One of the attractions of the new bridge will be a ski and mountain bike jump – it will take a fair bit of speed to leap the Lode.

Burwell Bridge Ground Works

It would seem that the Environment Agency are feeling a bit left out and have been doing some bridge work of their own on the electrically operated bridge just down from the footbridge.

Electrically Operated Bridge on Burwell Lode

A view of the “ski-jump from the foot bridge.

Burwell Bridge Ground Works

There was also what looked like a huge clump of week in the Lode.

Burwell Lode

Although without the aid of the zoom lens it was further away than it looked it the previous picture.  The water surface was remarkably still though.

Burwell Lode

The other bridge seems to be having a thorough overhaul – although I have not actually seen any of the work taking place.

Electrically Operated Bridge on Burwell Lode

Although the skies darkened I managed to avoid any rain. I also think I saw a shot-eared owl – although it was too fast to even think about taking a picture. On the way back through White Fen I took a picture of the information board – showing what sort of birds to look out for.

White Fen – Information Board