Tuesday, September 30, 2014

running man

In light of recent events, it seems appropriate to post these pickturs.

Spot the marathon man...

runningman-1


runningman-2
The second photo shows James running towards our house, with Settle and Giggleswick in the middle distance, the two metropolises have merged together into one big conurbation, like Tokyo and Yokohama. And Ingleborough hill, like Fuji-san, lies further beyond. Perhaps I was hallucinating. At this point I was in a world of pain, having fallen off my bicycle about 40 minutes earlier. I carried on riding, as I decided that, as I was going to be in pain anyway, I could distract myself with a nice bike ride in the sunshine. The worst thing about falling over on gravel is the bath afterwards where you have to scrub the dust out of the wounds. The best part is the rolling about on the loose stuff which means that many parts of the body absorb the impact. So today everything hurts, but nothing too much.

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Pen-y-ghent

Not sure whether to go backwards, forwards, or randomly in time with my backlog of unblogged photos.

This one was taken yesterday.

Sun continues unabated. Well, OK, so there is the occasional heavy rainstorm, but this is upland Britain for goodness sake... Sunday is the 3 peaks cyclocross race, traditionally a cold and rainy mudfest. After the driest September in forever, perhaps it will be a pleasant roll over the hills. This is the third peak - Pen-y-ghent - as seen yesterday, from the back of a high-speed tandem.

Pen y ghent

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Friday, August 8, 2014

High Street

Decided to go shopping so yesterday we headed for the High Street near Ullswater in Cumbria.

Getting there was a bit harder than expected, as there was no railway station, and it involved a 700m climb from the car park. Views were nice though.

Cumbria-1-3
Cumbria-2-2
Finally got there only to discover that the Vikings had torn down all the shops in the centuries after the Romans had left.
Cumbria-3
The other shoppers seemed almost as lost (see their little silhouettes on that rocky outcrop!). Germanic and Australian accents asked us if we were "doing the coast to coast". Just a day trip we answered.
Cumbria-4
It was surprisingly pleasant especially considering that this High Street is so far from those more desirable parts of the UK.
Cumbria-5
Here, James is looking for the Apple Store. Sure it was supposed to be here somewhere...
Cumbria-6
The street side planters were flowering nicely. This is heather, probably imported from the soon to be foreign country of Scotland.
Cumbria-7
We never did find Harvey Nicks, but a couple of hours later we were in Patterdale (named after St Patrick Patterdale) where there are pubs that serve food and beer all day long. hicc.
Cumbria-8
Best High Street ever.

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Friday, August 1, 2014

The Thames Valley

Londinium has, to me, always seemed alien to the rest of the UK, but the Thames Valley has become another country too. It is so polished that it seems more like a theme park than a real place.

Palaces and pleasure boating...

Goring greenery-2
Goring greenery-1

Perfect bijou gardening...
Thames-2

Hand-knitted designer bricking and flinting...
designer bricking-1
designer bricking-2

For those who don't know their UK geography, the Thames is the big river that runs right through Londinium. Thus, anywhere along its banks are the most sought after places to live, as you can easily commute in to the city.

Thames-3
Thames-1

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Londinium

We used to tell our Japanese friends that certain things were Better in Britain. One such myth we accidentally perpetuated was the value of stricter planning regulations. Japanese cities are, on the whole, an awful jumble of buildings. Not so in the UK, we told our friends. We clearly misunderstood completely. During our decade long sojourn overseas, Londinium has been reinventing itself as a poor replica of some chaotic south east asian mega-city.

Londinium-3
On the other hand, one myth the British choose to believe is that working conditions in places like Tokyo are undesirable. And yet here you can see all the little Londoners toiling away in their open plan glass skyscrapers. hmmm...
Londinium-2
This one is perhaps not quite as bad on the eye, but still, it could be anywhere... I don't see the point of all the planning people, if the result is just a boring version of one of the less exciting bits of Yokohama.
Londinium-1

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Holy Church of St Bicycles

A new religion has taken hold of the town of Skipton. It is the yellow faith of St Bicycles.

St Bicycles-1
But - could it be that one or two remain skeptical - both to the power of St Kickball and St Bicycles?!
St Bicycles-2
Despite being quite religious ourselves - we sit upon 2 unicycles, 4 single bicycles and 3 tandems - we have somehow managed to be away for the big event and tomorrow we will be heading down to the grim south, to give seminars in Reading and London!

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

ocean

seaside
Went to the seaside for the wedding anniversary. It would have been very nice had not the sellers of the house we are trying to buy pulled out of the sale the day before. The sale is, apparently, now back on again, although actually no progress at all has been made for the last month or so. Buying houses is rubbish, at least it is the way it is done in England. At the PMIP meeting I asked a few of my friends how it is done in foreign. Somehow they all seemed better than the English system where no commitment is made for months after the price is agreed. In France you have to sign a contract to agree to the sale (subject to caveats like not getting a mortgage) when the price is agreed; in Japan there are no teams of solicitors on each side - the estate agent does the whole thing; in Sydney you usually buy instantly at auction. Not sure the last one is very sensible (buy in haste repent at leisure comes to mind), but at least it is over quickly!

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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Feeding the birds #2

The question of exactly what is being fed by our garden bird feeders remains as much a live topic as ever.
The squirrel school is going very well. They have trained James to make gradually more difficult puzzles. Each new one can be completed after about a day of hard thought. Then James has to think up a new, more difficult challenge for them. This step by step progression is ideal for honing the problem solving abilities of both James and the squirrels.

squiggle-1
And here's WOL, sat waiting by the possibly squirrel proof suet ball feeder. Do WOLs eat blue tits? Alternatively he or she might have been hoping to catch the mousey thing that we have seen burrowing under the house.
WOL-1-2
Either way, I was astonished to see a wild owl only about 2 metres away (through the window).

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Friday, June 6, 2014

Forest

The forests in the UK are not quite as densely packed with trees as those in Japan. This is the Forest of Bowland.

tandem
As you can see, it is almost as densely forested as Iceland. Because it is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty it also does not have windmills growing in it, despite being a very very windy place. The rocks are interesting. They look like they were cut into blocks by people, but I am virtually certain that they were not. However, I am not sure one should feel very certain about anything in a treeless forest.

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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Fermentation


It's most important thing in Belgium. 

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