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Saturday, 18 February 2017
Croix de fer


Following the n+1 rule (see rule 12) I’m in the market for a new bicycle.

This afternoon I took this bicycle for a trial ride. I did some smooth tar and some bumpy bits but it was under 20 km in total and had no climbs. It’s not the exact model of the CdF that I am looking for, but the one I have my eye on will only be available for a test ride in a week or two. The bike is heavy (it is made of steel) but the rolling resistance on the (relatively) fat tyres was good. I would have liked to try some hills though! I’m quite happy with my current (carbon) “main” bicycle, but I am looking for something I can comfortably do 300 km per day on, over multiple days.

Posted by bigblue on 18/02/2017 at 08:05 PM
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Sunday, 12 February 2017
The North Downs


A lovely wintery afternoon for a walk up Reigate and Colley Hill, and there were lots of families out enjoying the fresh air.

Posted by bigblue on 12/02/2017 at 05:33 PM
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Sunday, 05 February 2017
Magdalena Abakanowicz


Magdalena Abakanowicz (born June 20, 1930, in Falenty, Poland) is a Polish sculptor and fiber artist. She is notable for her use of textiles as a sculptural medium. She was a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Poznań, Poland from 1965 to 1990 and a visiting professor at University of California, Los Angeles in 1984. Abakanowicz currently lives and works in Warsaw.

This photograph is from the Tate Britain, who write that:

Magdalena Abakanowicz began sewing three-dimensional objects with sacking, stockings, rags and rope in the 1970s.

These cocoon-like objects reflect Abakanowicz’s interest in biological systems, organic matter and regeneration, topics she discussed with scientists in her native Poland. In response to a commission to represent Poland at the Venice Biennale in 1979, she made hundreds of soft sculptures of varying shapes and sizes, ‘rounded like bellies, or elongated like mummies,’ as she described them. Abakanowicz collected old mattresses, clothing and sacks to create this ‘invented anatomy’ of forms and installed eight hundred in Venice under the title Embryology.

Made at a time of political tension between the Soviet Union and Poland, Abakanowicz has said the work ‘could be understood as a cry from behind the Iron Curtain’. She had come to prominence in the 1960s with a series of large woven sculptures called Abakans. At the time, the Polish state would not allow her to buy or rent a studio, so she made them on a loom in a friend’s basement, using sisal from discarded ropes. Without a large space in which to work she would often see her pieces in their entirety for the first time only when they were installed in exhibitions.

Posted by bigblue on 05/02/2017 at 05:43 PM
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Saturday, 04 February 2017
St Paul’s from Tate Modern


London looking so fine today, and hardly a breath of wind.

Posted by bigblue on 04/02/2017 at 05:29 PM
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Thursday, 29 December 2016


Arriving at the Cathedral in the late (mid-afternoon) sunlight yesterday on my way to hear one of the progeny give a sermon on refugees for the Christingle Service on the Feast of the Holy Innocents.

Posted by bigblue on 29/12/2016 at 01:38 PM
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Saturday, 10 December 2016
Critical Mass London - November 2016

A ride with the Mass at the end of November 2016. It was quite a pleasant ride and the weather was mild for this time of the year.

Posted by bigblue on 10/12/2016 at 05:17 PM
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Saturday, 19 November 2016
Arlington Reservoir


It was a lovely sunny autumn day in East Sussex today. I drove down, after having scraped ice from the car, but the lovely weather made me want to drive home and cycle back. Unfortunately I had work to do.

Posted by bigblue on 19/11/2016 at 08:11 PM
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Thursday, 29 September 2016
A letter to John


Dear John*,

Do you remember me taking this photograph of you? I’m sure you do: As I pointed the camera at you, you ducked your head inside as if you were embarrassed at the way you were leaning out of your window, shouting at me. Do you remember what so annoyed you? I suggested to you that in future if you simply apologised for what you had done we could all move on. You said that you would never apologise to me, ever, and you repeated that twice more.  When I asked you why you were angry you asked me why I had shouted “hey hey hey hey” at you, and said that you had noticed me cycling down the road. You seemed offended by that. Why? If you recall I was cycling down the road and you entered the road from the right (left side of the photograph above). As I told you when you started raving at me, you drove your car directly at me, and I was concerned that you may not have seen me which is why I shouted “hey hey hey hey” at you.

So John, I had given you the benefit of the doubt: I had assumed that you failed to see me. Let’s review the situation carefully. There are two possibilities to consider: either you didn’t see me or you did see me.

If you didn’t see me (as I had assumed) then you were driving carelessly. Rule 170 of the Highway Code states:

Take extra care at junctions. You should

  • watch out for cyclists, motorcyclists, powered wheelchairs/mobility scooters and pedestrians as they are not always easy to see. Be aware that they may not have seen or heard you if you are approaching from behind
  • ...
  • Do not cross or join a road until there is a gap large enough for you to do so safely.

So failure to observe me coming down a clear road, in full daylight would indicate carelessness on your part.

If on the other hand you did see me (as you claim), but you still decided to drive your vehicle directly at me, then let me suggest that you were driving dangerously. Despite the fact that you could see me cycling down the road, you accelerated towards me in a threatening fashion. In complete knowledge of the Highway Code (presumably) and seeing me cycling down the road, you took the dangerous decision to encroach on my safety.

So John, noting that you were offended when I suggested that you might not have seen me, and said that you should apologise, I am prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt and accept that you are not merely a careless driver, but are actually a dangerous driver. As dangerous driving is a more serious offence than careless driving may I suggest that you go to your local police station and hand your drivers licence in? Alternatively take it back to the shop you bought it from. That will be the safest situation for me, for you, and for your child who was sitting in a baby seat in the back seat of your car.

It is for your child that we should all be most concerned: She** endured not only your dangerous driving but also all the verbal abuse you hurled at me (until the moment I lifted the camera to take your photo). I won’t forget the look on the face of your poor child, silently enduring your abuse without knowledge of any other possibility. I also won’t forget the youths on the far pavement throwing orange skins at your car, or the youths on the near pavement who also started scolding you for your poor driving. Your child meanwhile, looked at the back of your head and seat, and wondered why you were leaning of of the window and shouting at me. Then we parted: I cycled off down the road and you turned right at the next junction, your last words again being “I will never apologise you you. Ever”.


* Not your real name of course
** or he

The Highway Code

Posted by bigblue on 29/09/2016 at 07:23 PM
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