Saturday, August 26, 2017

ships - Harwich to Hook of Holland

shipping

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So much more civilised than flying... especially when transporting a tandem.

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Pond

Hornby Castle belongs to someone who I was at primary school with for a few years before he went to Eeeeton. I probably only remember this because his grandmother joked about having to take out a second mortgage on the castle in order to afford the uniform. Oliver won't remember me, of course, especially as he is a few years younger, but he sometimes opens his castle gardens up to visitors. Luckily, there was time to walk round most of the garden before the rain started, and just as it got going, his aunt gave a talk about the history of the castle, which was quite an achievement as she started in the 11th century and used no notes.


Hornby Castle

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Sunday, April 9, 2017

The morning after the night before

If you let them keep your contact details then, as well as sending you news on their latest fundraising scheme, your Oxbridge college will invite you back for din dins every decade or so. These days it isn't entirely free, but still a good deal considering the liver damage they try to cause you. Maybe the college is hoping the experience will make us all feel more mortal and rush home and make generous legacies in our wills. Although I matriculated at two Oxbridge colleges, I've managed to miss all these college din dins, due to being in foreign, and so last night's was my first. I only really went because I hadn't been to one before, but it exceeded expectation. Twenty five years on and it was very interesting to find out about the paths people had taken. Everyone I spoke to seems to be making good use of their talents, although ... how can a country need that many corporate lawyers? 

The dinner was dark and drunk so no decent pics, and we start this morning after the night before with breakfast at Corpus. The real sign that quarter of a century has passed is that several of the dead people on the walls are people we knew in life!
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Then off for a little walk to try and sober up some more.
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On the first corner is Corpus's special toy, Clocky McClock Face
 
 
King's Parade is just next door to Corpus.
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Here's King's Chapel
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Then to the river where the early punter catches the tourists
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Later in the day, people were lazing in the warmth  
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And the blossom were in full bloom 
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But back home, James was left holding the baby...
Fluffy

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Saturday, February 18, 2017

Skipton

Blogging while drinking coffee, on another foggy morning in Settle. 

When in Japan we liked to boast about the high humidity. My Dad was unimpressed, pointing out that British humidity is often well over 100% -when it is foggy. Our Japanese friends didn't seem to understand the concept of ground level cloud, and I wondered if this explained the low-level cloud problems in MIROC climate model. After a couple of dodgy experiences recently, I have decided that fog, spectacles, and mountain biking (or fell running) are a dangerous cocktail, but the internets told me that contact lenses now cater to most types of eyesight. So, on Thursday I headed to Skipton, our local megalopolis. As well as hosting about 5 opticians, there are too many charity shops to count, a Poundland(!), and the rest of the town is occupied by coffee shops. Oh, and a canal.

Appointment at 8:30am, the day started at "Bean Loved".


Optician appointment completed and two hours until the train home it was time to count coffee beans, all within about 3 minutes walk... not very exciting pictures, but photographic evidence is required...



TripAdvisor suggests I only found about half of them - perhaps the others are down side-streets - and I didn't even start on the tea shops, as that's a whole other world (although they also sell coffee, of course).

A little further away, but worth the extra 2 minutes walk is the one we call the Upcycled Bean - because it has foolishly upcycled decor... it is actually the cafe attached to Coffee Care, a coffee supplier...



And finally, the Canal!!!


To be fair, there are other shops in Skipton, but you have to seek them out. We have had good fish and chips, bought a good bed, and I even found a fabric shop (although it was mostly selling upholstery fabric). 



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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Blackpool

Blackpool
Blackpool, located out on a pointless bump on the west coast of England, remained a little village until the Victorians invented tourism. Later on, tourists discovered that there are beaches in other countries that are warm and sunny, and Blackpool has been in relative decline ever since. However, despite being 50 miles away, it contains the local violin shop so all the violiners in Settle orchestra have to go there some time (my last visit to the shop was in about 1987 when Kevin had recently taken over the shopwork from his Dad.). We were kind of dreading having to spend a day there, but the violin and both bows needed a bit of work, so eventually we went this week. It was nothing like as bad as expected. In fact it was fun. All doors have a lot of locks on in Blackpool, but once we gained entry to the violin shop everything went very well. The violin jobs were done in a few hours, Starbucks was clean and shiny, the Chinese buffet lunch was very relaxing, and we pretty much bought up Poundland. And there were blue skies! It is a bit like San Francisco. Lots of ethnic restaurants, some tourist traps, trams, and a sea front, but the police cars are much prettier (we saw this beauty right away as the only car park that our van could get into was next to the police station - all the others have a 6'3" limit to stop people staying in camper vans instead of the local B&Bs).

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Winter Wonderland

Yesterday it was cold, grey and snowing so we stayed at home a fought bitterly about climate sensitivity all day and then enjoyed the cultural experience of attending our Condominium Management Meeting. That was fun. Today it's back to business as usual, only the landscape has changed colour, and it is freezing cold outside instead of boiling hot.


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NCAR
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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The probably actually last day of summer

If the forecasts are correct then summer ends today. So, we took the morning off and did an MTB trail near Boulder, called Dirty Bismark.  

Bismark

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It was a lovely ride and we finished it off by riding to the nearest pretentious cafe to NCAR where we enjoyed coffee and pastries. The only problem was that then we had to ride up the hill to NCAR, in the hot sun after already having done 2:30h of bone shaking cycling. 

 Strava trace here.

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Last days of summer

Summer isn't supposed to last this long in Boulder. Snow usually falls in October, but the first snow is expected tomorrow. Am very excited, as the temperature is max 26C today and expected to reach only 6C tomorrow. Anyway, forecasts seem to be easier in this part of the world, with tomorrow's precipitation already being predicted this time last week! So, to make the most of the dry weather, last Friday we cycled via Magnolia Drive to Nederland, stayed overnight in a luxury hotel, did a bit of mountain biking and then freewheeled down the hill home.

Naturally the adventure started at a pretentious Boulder cafe.
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Packed lunch stop was near the top of the road section of Magnolia Drive
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After which the views opened out
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And the sky was very blue
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Luxury hotel was the Boulder Creek Lodge, 1st of 1 hotel in Nederland!
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Ate own weight in pizza
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Mountain biking the next morning was tough on our rigid all-rounder bikes, while carrying overnight gear at even higher altitude than Boulder (2600m). But we made it round the West Magnolia loop and then had brunch at the conveniently located Sundance Cafe.
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And then it was back down Magnolia Road (including just a couple of easy MTB trails).
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The reason I am looking so happy in this pic is that the Magnolia Drive ride has been a long time coming. Nineteen years ago we came to Boulder for a couple of weeks on the way back from a conference in San Francisco with the idea of doing some cycling. One ride that James had planned was the Magnolia Drive dirt road. But, unfortunately, we got knocked off our bicycles by a motorbike on one of our first rides, on our way back from Ward, and that was the end of the cycling for that trip, although we got to experience lots of other interesting Boulder things, like ambulances, dentists, surgeons, hospitals, state troopers and lawyers.

No problems with traffic on this ride...
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Strava traces here and here.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Autumn in Boulder County

Normally when in foreign, one can send emails to other continents and not expect a reply for a day. Not so today - all the Britishes are still awake, but not just to send me emails. They are waiting to see if the USA takes our crown of most idiot electorate evs

Had better supply some soothing pix.


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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

BlueSkies, GreenTrees, YellowGrass

The BlueSkiesResearch is going awfully well.

NCAR - blue skies, green trees and yellow grass

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