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England

Tuesday, 21 August 2018
Queen Elizabeth II

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This is my more usual view from the Eurostar train, of this bridge over the Thames. My least usual view of the bridge is here.

Posted by bigblue on 21/08/2018 at 05:05 PM
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Tuesday, 31 July 2018
Where you going to sleep tonight?

Weird to think that a year ago I was engaged in the most epic bicycle ride of my life: London Edinburgh London. My soundtrack to that ride was Amy McDonald, with this song. It was largely in my head, but occasionally belted out on a long empty road when I needed to pick my spirits up.  There is something adventurous and exciting in this song that brought it to mind while I was on this most adventurous of rides.

The best part of having a soundtrack in your head is that you can mash it up with other songs. Strangely, I mashed up the chorus of This is the Life with the chorus of the Cranberries song Zombie.  It somehow worked.

So what are my long term reflections on London-Edinburgh-London?  I remember in the immediate aftermath of the ride, discussing with friends that I had no desire to do it again. I remember saying that it was a brilliant ride that was spoiled by the time-limit which added constant pressure to keep pushing on, night and day. There were large sections of the ride where the natural beauty of the country couldn’t be appreciated because we were riding through it at night. And there was the physical pain obviously in various parts of the body.  Even then, I had a notion in the back of my mind that I could change my mind. A year later, only the romantic memories have stuck: I know the ride had ups and downs but I am 100% certain I will do the ride again, if possible.

Here is an overview of the route, from my live tracker:
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Stats:
1,441 km
11,128 metres of climbing
73.5 hours of cycling
114 hours elapsed time

Posted by bigblue on 31/07/2018 at 03:49 PM
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Sunday, 29 July 2018
Wildfire

I love Gideon Conn, and have seen him perform live a few times. With recent news of wildfires raging across Europe as well as in California this song came to mind. Gideon is often a very ‘literal’ artist: the songs often appear to be exactly as described on the tin.  Witness for example: The Man Who Drives Around Selling Fish, and Pylons and Wires.  On the other hand, Wildfire is not so literal. Released in 2007 (at the time of the global financial economic crash), it examines the role of money and debt and it’s impact on society and individuals. The video above provides a ‘nostalgic’ look-back at a middle-class family in a family crisis (presumably financial), with Conn as some kind of observer and participant. One wonders what the relationship is between him and the family. I’m not sure whether nostalgic is the correct word here, due to the unease that Conn generates in the song and that is captured so well in the video.

Gideon Conn’s art and music is available on his website, and you can follow him on Facebook.

Posted by bigblue on 29/07/2018 at 09:11 AM
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Thursday, 07 December 2017
Oxford Street

This an interesting short documentary on the history and future of Oxford Street, London. I think it illustrates the stupidity of many city streets where we dedicate 30% of space to 60% of road users. It also highlights the problem of sending vast numbers of busses (near-empty at most times) down a busy shopping street.

Posted by bigblue on 07/12/2017 at 03:15 PM
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Thursday, 23 November 2017
Hip-hopspital

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I’m at the East Surrey hospital, maternity wing. It’s a hipster!

Posted by bigblue on 23/11/2017 at 06:22 PM
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Tuesday, 14 November 2017
Street furniture

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Camden Council seems to have taken the concept of street furniture quite literally on Byng Place outside the Church of Christ the King.

Posted by bigblue on 14/11/2017 at 10:53 PM
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Monday, 30 October 2017
Ebbsfleet International Station

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A dark start to the morning, despite the clocks having gone back on Sunday.

Posted by bigblue on 30/10/2017 at 06:03 AM
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Sunday, 30 July 2017
I’m off!

The moment has come that I depart on London-Edinburgh-London. This 870 mile (1440 km) cycle ride is the longest I have ever done, and I have 117 hours to complete it. Assuming I won’t be writing much for the next five days, I thought I would leave you with this video of some fantastic images from the 2013 edition of the ride.

Posted by bigblue on 30/07/2017 at 01:45 PM
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