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Heartbreaking beauty, everywhere 
Greetings from the road outside...
I know it’s not Friday, but I only have a rough idea where I’ll be tomorrow so I’m sending this now.
My bag is packed and the chain on my Brompton oiled. Over the last few days my glove and sock tests have shown I might be able to pedal at speed without getting frostbite. I have also ditched the lycra for some stretch jeans and thermals. This might prove to be a mistake, but this is not some long distance tour. This is a jolly round the Isle of Wight on folding bikes, where every open pub is a potential pitstop and every fireplace somewhere to thaw and refuel.
Amongst the certainties are cold, fatigue and ale. In that order. There will also be time spent with an old friend. But first the uncertainties. Like whether my train ticket works. The app Train Pal delivered me an impossible journey. A ten stop day-return instead of an open return. I tried to change it but the app bot entered an infinite loop and blanked me. So I rode to see a human in a train station and he told me he could not make the impossible possible. Let’s hope my skills in finding unstaffed trains are better than the train staff’s skills at changing tickets.
Fascinating night. The British library put on the event at the Shaw Theatre. From the second row it was great to hear the guy behind the character chat about his political beliefs and how he finally managed to make his acting career work. It sounded like he’d only just got over his imposter syndrome and openly talked about some of the most controversial points in his career. Things like working for RT and his continued support for freedom of speech. Even when right wing comedians were being particularly dark and horrible.
He chose his words carefully and came across well. I managed to get the last question of the night in and asked if he was a one man show on YouTube. He commented he still set up on a tripod and hit record before getting back into position. But while he used to memorise his script and spend hours doing multiple takes, he still memorises the words, but now has the added benefit of an autocue. This enables him to relax and do far fewer takes.
A great night out. Must do more of these things.
You may remember when I had a go at working with stained glass. It was quite an eyeopener taking that experience and then immersing myself in some wonderful examples spanning hundreds of years.
I contemplated what kind of exhibition I might put on if I had the skill and patience to create my own panels. Then I remembered that I don’t need skill and patience to create a mock up. All I need is a machine learning tool that can render images from prompts.
Been dipping into Louie Theroux’s series of interviews on iPlayer. Also watched the box office flop Annihilation and really enjoyed it.
An alternative Christmas advert.
I’m slowly working my way through a pile of books. At the moment I’m engrossed in Desert Solitaire - a season in the Wilderness by Edward Abbey. This was a recommendation from my friend Alan Williams.
This book is older than me and yet I feel a kindred spirit with Edward. He sees things as I do, but has phenomenal skill in passing on those observations. I envy his well crafted prose which is finer than anything I’m able to aspire to.
I don’t think many cared for the book when it came out in 1968. Or Edward Abbey’s opinionated take on government policies and environmentalism. It still divides people today. Especially those who can’t see the passion through the ego. Something that of course we all possess.
If there was a button in front of me right now, that could transport me to the time and place of which he writes, I’d already be there.
“One final paragraph of advice: do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am - a reluctant enthusiast....a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it’s still here. So get out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, climb the mountains, bag the peaks, run the rivers, breathe deep of that yet sweet and lucid air, sit quietly for a while and contemplate the precious stillness, the lovely, mysterious, and awesome space. Enjoy yourselves, keep your brain in your head and your head firmly attached to the body, the body active and alive, and I promise you this much; I promise you this one sweet victory over our enemies, over those desk-bound men and women with their hearts in a safe deposit box, and their eyes hypnotized by desk calculators. I promise you this; You will outlive the bastards.” ~ Edward Abbey
It might be you can find this book second hand. If not here are a few formats on Amazon.
While in Ely we used the app TooGoodToGo and for £4.50 booked a ‘Magic Bag’ from a Starbucks.
I know it’s a popular haunt for many but i’m not normally a patron as we have so many great independents round my way.
At 4pm we popped in and I ordered a couple of drinks and collected the bag.
Emptying the contents on the table, we had three cakes, some apple and blackberry overnight oats and a pot of oatmeal. A mostly sweet collection and having not eaten there for a while I was surprised to hear this lot might cost you around £14. The lady clearing the tables was new to the job but told me as a student she would have these bags regularly and they’d contain goods costing around £16.
I’m thinking cyclists could make the most of this app by searching a town they are headed through and booking a bag to collect while passing. Especially if all this ‘energy food’ is on the cards. Here is the app on iOS and the Play Store.
I’ve been riding motorbikes for around thirty one years but this will be the first time in twenty where I’ve not owned one. It’s the end of an era. Or at least of the three and a half year stint where I’ve been the proud owner of a Triumph Tiger 800XCx. Yesterday the new owner rode it away.
I can’t really justify owning this hulking beast over the winter months when it’s not going to be used that much. Plus the money from selling it could be put to good use elsewhere. It’s been a fantastic bike. The only thing going against it was that it only just fit in our half garage. I shall enjoy having a little extra space in there, but not as much as i’ll miss having this extraordinary bike. I’m already contemplating what I might replace it with.
If I can’t afford something electric, I’d like something insanely fuel efficient. Maybe in the spring though. I contemplated a cargo bike but there are times I need to travel across the country. I wish we had a national transport system we could be proud of. Or just something everyone can afford.
[Last night I found myself wanting one of these.]
Thank you to those able to pay the $5/month to get all the content I share into this feed. I’ll only have my phone over the next however many days but might be able to post something of this trip into the subscriber feed. If you are able, please upgrade. Either way… Thank you for being a part of the community.
A $100 Billion Lesson In Why Building Public Transportation Is So Expensive in the US
I’m guessing you are already on the Documentally community map
If you are still unsure as to what Mastodon is the EFF have a good explainer here
I’m now at the mercy of icy roads and rails. Some of you will soon know if the planets align and I make it to the island. I’ll update the rest of you next week. Wish me luck.
Thanks for reading. Take care of yourselves, and those around you.
“There is beauty, heartbreaking beauty, everywhere.” ~ Edward Abbey
See you out there.