A flat Berkshire ride, thirty-odd miles in the familiar region between Reading and Windsor, with a noticeable easterly wind blowing. Still, while it made for a noticeable headwind at times, it’s not ‘thick air’ yet so it wasn’t so bad.

Seeing the smoke from a fire near White Waltham made me think of Biggles. Yes, Biggles – in particular,the First World War stories. I am pretty sure that somewhere in those books the author (Capt. W.E. Johns) talks about judging wind speed by how long and how close smoke stays to the ground – which is pretty obvious when you think about it, but you have to think about it.

Now, I’ve not read those books for years and I can’t remember the plots of the stories or much else, which begs the question: why did that snippet about smoke come to mind today of all days? That in turn brings up questions about the degree to which you’re really in control of yourself, given that you are your brain. And that is intriguingly scary.

Smoke blowing low over a field

Capt. W.E. Johns says …