Archives for April 2014

Previously: Invest~Protest~Exercise~Your Last Day~Fast Cats~Stagnant Politics~Ugly~ Nero~Tasting Dust~The Horse Index

Last year and a stranger gave me a stark reality check about investing in Britain, UKIP were in the news then as now as people tried to protest, however ill-advisedly, and Charli’s lungs gave us a lesson in the importance of exercise. This time in 2012 it was all about Mayflies and last days; fast cats racing me down the lane; stagnant politics and ugly, ugly life. The year before that I was thinking that we’re fiddling while the countryside burns; tasting dust though climate change wasn’t on anyone’s agenda – and the horse index – an impression of recession – came to mind.

Invest? Pull The Other One
Exercise It
This Day Is Your Last
Fast Cats
Stagnant Politics
Ugly Day
Tasting Dust
The Horse Index

You Don’t Need A Weatherman …

… to know which way the wind blows. Maybe not, but a forecast worth the name can sometimes be useful.

It’s April. In April we have April Showers in the UK. This is not news. April showers are hard to predict – fair enough. Britain’s weather is hard to forecast because of its position on the planet – fair enough. What’s galling is

a) my own stupidity, after all these years, as I still look at weather forecasts for information that I then rely on and which then proves wrong, and

b) in most cases, the fact that these forecasts even exist.

Granted, they’re not all as culpable, but the majority of them present what’s little more than guess work as certainty, and present it with a confidence that still fools me – and any number of other people.

(I’m not even going to be begin to ponder the wisdom of all the expenditure on national weather forecasting when it seems it’s essentially a lost cause.)

If we accept that I’m not a complete fool, I guess there’s a lesson there about how anyone can be suckered if the person doing the suckering is convincing enough.

And then you see photos of the damage caused by the latest lethal tornadoes in the US and a soaking from an unexpectedly-early-in-the-day April thunder storm is placed firmly in an appropriate context.

Wet handlebars and brake hood

No, that is not gloss black handlebar tape


Sitting down outside – again. I’ve been noticing outdoor seats ever since I first did back in 2012.

This one caught my eye in Shurlock Row for the perfect way the hedge was engulfing it. It’s a short leap to imagine someone sitting there just a bit too long, ne’er to be seen again.

A bench being engulfed by a hedge

Don’t stay still too long

Previously: Wake Up~Reclaim Yourself~Sell-By-Date~Knowledge~Worlds~Exceptional~Going Wrong

Just last year I was lacking in miles ridden, feeling old and wondering what to do in the light of that fact. And pondering the absurdity of news led to the absurdity of so much else about our lives – and the need to reclaim ourselves from it. A year earlier and I was feeling old then too – and realizing I should be pleased to just be alive, on a similar theme to the news question of last year, the problem of knowing too much was making me wonder, as was our place in a Red Kite’s world. Back in 2011, I was appreciating the familiar, including English lanes, while thorns were making a mockery of anti-puncture measures.

Week 17, 2013: Wake-Up And?
Week 17, 2013: Reclaim Yourself
Week 17, 2012: Past The Sell-By Date
Week 17, 2012: Knowledge And Corruption
Week 17, 2012: Disturbing Another’s World
Week 17, 2011: Exceptional English Lanes
Week 17, 2011: When It Goes Wrong

Woodland Genitalia

Now that I have your attention … a return to plant spotting while out walking and riding, and two bits of information about plants to be found out and about at the moment that were news to me.

Firstly, Cowslips. It was only after reading about this native plant that I remembered I’d heard of Cowslip Wine. It seems they’re so popular for this very purpose that they’ve become relatively rare. And you thought a little rustic wine-making was an innocent past-time …

Cowslips: good for a drop

Cowslips: good for a drop

And secondly, ‘Lords and Ladies’, a fairly common woodland plant, is so named because of the plant’s likeness to male and female genitalia – suggesting copulation. (It’s known by other male-female names such as Adam and Eve, but there are plenty of other options too – snakeshead, adder’s root, cuckoo-pint – which I’d heard of – and so on.) And on top of all that ribaldry, the berries are poisonous. Arum maculatum is just a whole heap of fun.

Lords and Ladies: oo er missus

Lords and Ladies: oo er missus

Native Triumph

Rapeseed plants may be native but rapeseed as a cash crop is a relatively new development – and hence so too is the overpowering and fairly unpleasant smell the fields of it are generating at the moment.

So, it’s been pleasing to find the scent of native (as opposed to Spanish) bluebells dominating a few times this week – out cycling near Waltham St Lawrence for example or, as in photo below, during a walk on the Mapledurham estate. Whatever else the recent wet winter and, so far, warm spring has given us, it’s certainly created ideal conditions for bluebells – I’ve rarely seen so many.

Bluebells in woods

A Blue Jungle