Saturday, February 18, 2017

Skipton

Blogging while drinking coffee, on another foggy morning in Settle. 

When in Japan we liked to boast about the high humidity. My Dad was unimpressed, pointing out that British humidity is often well over 100% -when it is foggy. Our Japanese friends didn't seem to understand the concept of ground level cloud, and I wondered if this explained the low-level cloud problems in MIROC climate model. After a couple of dodgy experiences recently, I have decided that fog, spectacles, and mountain biking (or fell running) are a dangerous cocktail, but the internets told me that contact lenses now cater to most types of eyesight. So, on Thursday I headed to Skipton, our local megalopolis. As well as hosting about 5 opticians, there are too many charity shops to count, a Poundland(!), and the rest of the town is occupied by coffee shops. Oh, and a canal.

Appointment at 8:30am, the day started at "Bean Loved".


Optician appointment completed and two hours until the train home it was time to count coffee beans, all within about 3 minutes walk... not very exciting pictures, but photographic evidence is required...



TripAdvisor suggests I only found about half of them - perhaps the others are down side-streets - and I didn't even start on the tea shops, as that's a whole other world (although they also sell coffee, of course).

A little further away, but worth the extra 2 minutes walk is the one we call the Upcycled Bean - because it has foolishly upcycled decor... it is actually the cafe attached to Coffee Care, a coffee supplier...



And finally, the Canal!!!


To be fair, there are other shops in Skipton, but you have to seek them out. We have had good fish and chips, bought a good bed, and I even found a fabric shop (although it was mostly selling upholstery fabric). 



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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Blackpool

Blackpool
Blackpool, located out on a pointless bump on the west coast of England, remained a little village until the Victorians invented tourism. Later on, tourists discovered that there are beaches in other countries that are warm and sunny, and Blackpool has been in relative decline ever since. However, despite being 50 miles away, it contains the local violin shop so all the violiners in Settle orchestra have to go there some time (my last visit to the shop was in about 1987 when Kevin had recently taken over the shopwork from his Dad.). We were kind of dreading having to spend a day there, but the violin and both bows needed a bit of work, so eventually we went this week. It was nothing like as bad as expected. In fact it was fun. All doors have a lot of locks on in Blackpool, but once we gained entry to the violin shop everything went very well. The violin jobs were done in a few hours, Starbucks was clean and shiny, the Chinese buffet lunch was very relaxing, and we pretty much bought up Poundland. And there were blue skies! It is a bit like San Francisco. Lots of ethnic restaurants, some tourist traps, trams, and a sea front, but the police cars are much prettier (we saw this beauty right away as the only car park that our van could get into was next to the police station - all the others have a 6'3" limit to stop people staying in camper vans instead of the local B&Bs).

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Winter Wonderland

Yesterday it was cold, grey and snowing so we stayed at home a fought bitterly about climate sensitivity all day and then enjoyed the cultural experience of attending our Condominium Management Meeting. That was fun. Today it's back to business as usual, only the landscape has changed colour, and it is freezing cold outside instead of boiling hot.


winterwonderland

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NCAR
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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The probably actually last day of summer

If the forecasts are correct then summer ends today. So, we took the morning off and did an MTB trail near Boulder, called Dirty Bismark.  

Bismark

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It was a lovely ride and we finished it off by riding to the nearest pretentious cafe to NCAR where we enjoyed coffee and pastries. The only problem was that then we had to ride up the hill to NCAR, in the hot sun after already having done 2:30h of bone shaking cycling. 

 Strava trace here.

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Last days of summer

Summer isn't supposed to last this long in Boulder. Snow usually falls in October, but the first snow is expected tomorrow. Am very excited, as the temperature is max 26C today and expected to reach only 6C tomorrow. Anyway, forecasts seem to be easier in this part of the world, with tomorrow's precipitation already being predicted this time last week! So, to make the most of the dry weather, last Friday we cycled via Magnolia Drive to Nederland, stayed overnight in a luxury hotel, did a bit of mountain biking and then freewheeled down the hill home.

Naturally the adventure started at a pretentious Boulder cafe.
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Packed lunch stop was near the top of the road section of Magnolia Drive
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After which the views opened out
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And the sky was very blue
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Luxury hotel was the Boulder Creek Lodge, 1st of 1 hotel in Nederland!
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Ate own weight in pizza
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Mountain biking the next morning was tough on our rigid all-rounder bikes, while carrying overnight gear at even higher altitude than Boulder (2600m). But we made it round the West Magnolia loop and then had brunch at the conveniently located Sundance Cafe.
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And then it was back down Magnolia Road (including just a couple of easy MTB trails).
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The reason I am looking so happy in this pic is that the Magnolia Drive ride has been a long time coming. Nineteen years ago we came to Boulder for a couple of weeks on the way back from a conference in San Francisco with the idea of doing some cycling. One ride that James had planned was the Magnolia Drive dirt road. But, unfortunately, we got knocked off our bicycles by a motorbike on one of our first rides, on our way back from Ward, and that was the end of the cycling for that trip, although we got to experience lots of other interesting Boulder things, like ambulances, dentists, surgeons, hospitals, state troopers and lawyers.

No problems with traffic on this ride...
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Strava traces here and here.

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Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Autumn in Boulder County

Normally when in foreign, one can send emails to other continents and not expect a reply for a day. Not so today - all the Britishes are still awake, but not just to send me emails. They are waiting to see if the USA takes our crown of most idiot electorate evs

Had better supply some soothing pix.


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pix-17

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

BlueSkies, GreenTrees, YellowGrass

The BlueSkiesResearch is going awfully well.

NCAR - blue skies, green trees and yellow grass

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Friday, September 30, 2016

via Dent

Ever since we moved to Settle 2 years ago we have been meaning to cycle to somewhere, via Dent. Last time we visited Dent by bicycle was probably the mid 1990s, and all I really remember is a heron flying alongside us down the narrow valley in the cloud and rain. These days we like to think we don't have to do the ride in the rain, which is probably why it has taken to long to get around to it. Here's the trace on Strava.

First Ribblesdale to Ribblehead viaduct.

Ribblehead Viaduct

Then up and down to Dent viaduct.
Dent Viaduct

All the tea shops shut in Dent so brushed the dust off our feet and carried on to Kirkby Lonsdale via Barbondale
Barbondale

After a delicious luncheon, back to Settle via nowhere in particular.
Ingleborough

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Via Berkshire

Uncle In Law expects to see pictures of our recent visit down south. Problem is I was really in transit from the Holiday Inn Express at Munich Airport where I'd attended an exciting and somewhat sleepless (aeroplanes are noisy!) meeting so wasn't really concentrating on picture taking.

The inside of one of the many churches in Wallingford was atmospheric.

Wallingford church



But apart from that all I really have are some portraits of the locals
James

Berkshire Show Llama

Berkshire Show cow

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Three Peaks Cyclocross

The Three Peaks Cyclocross - the bizarre sport of riding an unsuitable bicycle in an unsuitable place in unsuitable conditions - was this morning. James and I (and two other members of the Settle Wheelers) were marshalling at "Little Ingleborough", an important junction in the paths, at 630m. It wasn't cold. At least not until one had been stood in the howling wind on "Little Ingleborough" for an hour. We must have had it easier than some of the other marshals however, as Ingleborough is the first peak of the three so the field would be much more spread out later on. There were about 550 competitors with finish times ranging from 2h 58m to 6h 24m. 31 retired, mostly because their unsuitable bicycles were not suitable for the unsuitable conditions. At our relatively early stage in the race, we saw just one with what looked like a broken collar bone although a quite a few others that were still riding were bleeding from their shins.


The first two through finished the other way round. Not sure what happened as Rob Jebb was more than 2 minutes in the lead at this stage.
Rob Jebb
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Paul Oldham
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239 - that's a Settle Harrier (i.e. member of the Settle fell running club), Paul Lambert. Finished 122nd in 3h 56m.

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woof!
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606 - Joanne Jebb finished 502nd in 5h31mins

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