Sunday, October 28, 2012

Twenty Five Years On

Wikipedia tells me that the BBC TV series Blackadder III aired from 17 September to 22 October 1987, Thursdays at 9.30. It was one of the very few programs airing I felt inclined to watch that year -- and even so, I forgot to turn the box on for about half the episodes, being on late enough that either we would have already been doing something else after supper, or maybe even thinking about retiring for the night. Or, given that we'd taken a somewhat suspect tree down in the garden of the new house -- fortunately ahead of the not-a-hurricane a few days before the last episode -- it's quite likely that I might been in the garden feeding the smaller branches and twigs (not suitable for firewood) into an incinerator.

And so it would have been about this time, shortly after the series had ended, and I calculated that we'd spent more per program (taking the then current license fee pro-rata) that year than the two of us going to the cinema instead would have cost, that we gave the box the heave-ho.

And that was before home computers of any note, and four years before I even got on the internet at work. As Tim Worstall pointed out today, its opportunity costs like this that, trading off one form of leisure activity against another, that are going to be contributing to an observed trend away from the original idiot box.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

End of season cycling

At the end of daylight savings, I've clocked up to 5378.7 miles on my own bike, and thus going over the 270 miles I needed in the quarter to match miles done that way in the whole of last year -- 5500 miles has to be the stretch goal for the year. And a last cycling holiday with CycleBreaks put in 98 miles more, which is going to make for a good total, despite the dreadful first half of the year.

View 25-Oct in a larger map
Shingle Street low tide

Shingle Street low tide

On the first day, cool, cloudy, but dry, I aimed for the King's Head at Orford for lunch -- which meant a lot of meandering to delay my arrival until decently after noon. Fortified by sausages and mash, and a couple of pints of Ghost Ship, I then got to Shingle Street soon after 3, and made my way to the water's edge to get my feet wet, before heading back. At ten past four, it was a bit late to stop at Sutton Hoo, but by the time I got back to the point where I could make a quick dash across the A12 to the hotel, it was still too early to want to stop for the day, so I got the OS map out (instead of the custom A4 sheets, folded back about half an inch at the ends to fit in the map cover designed for an OS map to be open in, that I'd been using to that point) for a quick off-piste run through Martlesham and the Bealings.

So, having done almost 60 miles, I felt a bit creaky when getting up from the seat in the bar to go to table, but nowhere as much as after doing 45 miles back in March from the same base. And now with winter closing in, I just have to face losing condition again.

View 26-Oct in a larger map
Sitting in the GAR seat

Sitting in the GAR seat

Friday, rain started while I was at breakfast, and I nearly called it a wash; but by ten, the rain had just about stopped, so I aimed for Framlingham for lunch, with a lesser amount of meandering (accompanied by drizzle for the last few miles) to arrive after the Lemon Tree Bistro would have opened. Sustained by lentil soup, a lamb burger, and a Black Forest sundae, I then headed back to stop at Sutton Hoo for a brief visit, before heading back through Woodbridge -- where I managed to foul up a gear-change on an uphill, taking a while to disentangle the chain from where it caught on the inside of the front chainwheel. So this time I did take the shortcut across the main road.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Too many distractions and too much to do at work to blog much at the moment, let alone explore recondite bits of software, alas.

Strong winds last week -- though not as strong as 25 years earlier -- blew down the second-flush plums, most of which were perfectly ripe and very tasty.

It was also Jemima's annual trip to the vet -- for which she prepared by catching and eating a pigeon. I'd certainly put the fact that she weighed ~100g more than a year ago onto having a tummy full.

And though it ended up with me lucking out on Friday afternoon on the supposed 20% chance of rain (according to the Met Office forecast that morning), I cycled to the office every relevant day last week, as well as out to dinner on Wednesday evening, and managing 260 miles so far this month, putting all my distance goals in reach by the end of the month, not the end of the year.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Nature notes

Despite blackberries in the hedgerows really having come on stream at the end of last month, yesterday, while out picking, I found a patch where buds were still bursting, even this late in the season.

A few nights ago, looking out late at night to check the weather, I noticed movement in the garden below, something shaggy moving in the shadows, not looking like any of the fluffy cats in the neighbourhood, and definitely not a fox (which we do get from time to time out here in the countryside). Then it moved its head into the streetlight, and revealed itself to be a (probably juvenile) badger.