24 February 2011

A last lap of Skarbimierz

It is my last scheduled day in Skarbimierz - time for a little jog round the block - it is 4.3km - mostly on taxi-ways and runways with a dangerous section on public road - when you see an oncoming car (lorries are well behaved) the technique is to gradually run further and further from the kerb. Sometimes the car will move to avoid you and at the same instant you nip back in close to the edge of the road - this means you have generated a buffer of 1.05 metres - as opposed to the 0.05 metres the driver will have normally left you - that is if they have seen you at all and care at all. It is best to try to make eye contact and to assess whether they are entirely engaged in their non-hands-free conversation, rooting around in the glove compartment, eating/drinking, barely awake or engaging private Kubica/F1 fantasy.

Out of the gate and turn left, eyes peeled - this is where a motorcyclist had his arm ripped off last summer

View across the potato field

Turn left at the end of the spud field and look back toward the factory

The runway is being slowly dug up - in places making "ponds" (like at Greenham Common) and in others to compensate for the loss of drainage as factories are constructed.

(Facebook users - there is a video here in the original blog)

It was very cold.  Here is what used to happen

Hill training - the berm does not stop them landing planes - small ones still use the remaining 1/3 runway - larger planes land on the taxiway - and crash.

Another km into the wind

When I worked at the Gum factory this was my 4.0km point

Ulica Smaków means "Street of Tastes"! - or possibly "Tasty Street". 
Ulica Parkowa is not understood by Google Translate

The chocolate factory

Stansilaw paces me for the last 1km - calling out "15 kilometers per hour"

About here I was hit by a colleague from the Gum Factory - tried to turn in front of me to save 5 seconds in getting into the car park.

4.3km in 19:15 - I have gone faster but it was cold!

This is Darek - or "Captain Slow" - smooth and safe - if you travel in or around Wroclaw only take a trip with one of Marcin Zimny's drivers

Changed and ready to leave for the last time

...into the sunset

11 February 2011

Return to Albert Hall (after 17 years)

The last time I went to to a show at the Albert Hall it was for the Star Trek "Generations" Convention in 1994, this time it was Erik's Xmas present to the Family: Circue Du Soleil - Erik and Joce saw an early show at Disneyland back in  the 1980's.

By planning ahead I got my Birmingham Moor Street to London Marylebone rail ticket for £5 and then walked to The Albert Hall (Transport for London website showed it was going to be faster). 

Down the Edgeware Road - a little bit of the Middle East in West London - cars driving up and down, horns blowing, Egyptian flags waving - it was the day Mubarak stood down, then across a very dark but still safe Hyde Park (where cyclists stop for pedestrians to cross the cycleway - oh how I don't miss that aspect of Poland) to South Kensington.

A very nice (and swiftly served) meal at the theatre - but what prices - I am seriously out of date - the dessert was about £7.50 and gone in two mouthfuls

You are NOT allowed to take pictures during the performance - not least to avoid any flash distracting the performers - so I snuck one before it all started:

If you have never seen a C-du-S performance - go see one - it was great.

06 February 2011

Breakneck Bank

Two days in the woods organising ARDF  5 Tx on 2m and 5 on 80m.   There are lots of steep slopes and narrow stream valleys - one competitor took over 12km to complete the 5 2m Tx - straight line - about 4.5km

"2. The serious 'trap' was the brilliant placing of 2m TX 4. All but one of the competitors opted to go for TXs 1 and/or 5 first along the southern boundary of the area. The position of TX4 made it sound much further away as one turned northwards to locate TXs 2, 3 and 4. As a result a number of high profile competitors ran straight past it and had to trail back later to find it."

All I did was replicate a Tx placement that did for me in Serbia! 

I have been orienteering here for over 30 years - spent a spring/summer mapping in 1989 - you do need permission to visit this wood as there is a lot of shooting going on - it is my favourite.

This "yew and platform" combination is associated with charcoal production - There are many yew trees all through the Wyre Forest - timber was stacked under the yew to dry.  I am not sure if the platforms were constructed and then the tree planted - or whether the platform was earthworked next to a pre-existing tree.

Mr Terry Foxton does not like platforms - he will never put them on a map - and he described (in his map assessment) my interpretation of the contours at Breakneck Bank as "two dimensional" - grrrr - after 20 years that comment still grates.

What do you think made this?

Excellent Present

Yes, I know, I am nearly 50 and an Uncle...

A short visit to Blakedown to exchange (very late) Xmas presents with my lovely cousins...

Three pairs of black socks, one bottle of Sanatogen* and Paul Smith "Extreme"  Eau de Toilette for men


Currently I am wearing 33% of the socks and a short squirt of the perfume and trying to decide whether you are meant to gargle with or quaff the tonic wine (I am getting a hint of cherry cough syrup crossed with TCP)

*For those not of Anglic extraction, this is a beverage associated in jest and in reality with the "over 60's" - Grandma's Tipple - unlike Buckfast Tonic Wine which is linked with Scottish Youth at the other end of the age spectrum (see also Rab C Nesbitt)

05 February 2011

Do badgers collect golf balls?

In the middle of the wood, next to a large badger set - a golf ball?  I have seen magpies and crows making off with golf balls but are badgers ovivorous?  I don't think Old Brock is much of a tree climber but suppose the eggs of ground nesting birds are fair game.

Then a 100 metres or so further on and...

Some one has been using the Elan Valley Aqueduct wayleave as a driving range.  From Rhayadr to Frankley must be about a par 1000.