Monthly Archives: August 2013

Saturday 31st August 2013.

The wind has a bite to it this morning and it’s getting stronger. It is the last day of this year’s ‘summer’ months so, although sunny, it will probably be cooler from now on. Which will mean, for many on two wheels, the end of this year’s cycling. For those cycling to work along frozen, icy roads, that’s a safe idea. But for the cyclist out for (mainly) fun, and to actually see things, the winter months can be the best of the year. Wrap up well and stay clear of roads that are like skating rinks. Or, for the die-hards on two wheels, walk and just ride where it’s safe.
Meanwhile the local cycle-routes are fine and, this morning, quite busy with walkers and cyclists.

Friday 30th August 2013

A technical problem, for the past few days, prevented the blog and so bike-rides were done camera-less and fast. Speeds of 10 mph were attained on the old Apollo (Halfords have been informed!). So the pic is one taken a few days ago but, this morning the weather and light are similar around Radcliffe.
(For the erm, technically-minded: This site was visited ‘cloaked’, but it would have been tricky posting via multiple pages. Being able to do that suggested that the problem was not here but at the host.)
Radcliffe is, its usual half-asleep self but, nationally, a normally unheard of touch of common-sense from those governmental in the teetering parliament building, deem that war is, for the time being, averted. I’ve put me pitch-fork back in the garden shed as a result but the WW11 shell-deflectors, on the bike, aren’t in the way so I’ll leave them on.
Time to re-list a few speed-dial favourites – the cache was cleared in case I had an iffy gremlin a’lurking…

Monday 26th August 2013.

A very sunny Bank Holiday (how quaint!) Monday, around Radcliffe, and there were plenty of walkers and cyclists about earlier.
An early bike-ride, before the traffic clogs the roads, is easier and safer than a later one and, coupled with a mile or two along a local cycle-route, a circuit, to suit you, in length and difficulty, can easily be planned. Some roads, locally, are marked with cycle-lanes and these are safer than those unmarked. But watch for potholes within the lanes – they are notorious!
Initially, a daily ride of say, a mile, will seem hard work, but after a few mornings of doing the same ride, it’ll get easier and easier. Add a little distance to your circuit and carry on. This applies to walkers as well as cyclists.
For geriatrics, getting back into walking and/or cycling is a bit of a steepish learning-curve, but being able to walk a mile or so renders the bus-pass usefully cost-effective – and the car an expensive stress-burden – but it is quite possible to lose it. Not easy, but the resulting and immediate £ savings are, if you like a warm house and food, in the winter, well worth it.

Sunday August 25th 2013.

Dry and sunny for this morning’s bike-ride around Radcliffe, that included a quick foray into a local car-boot sale. There were six or seven ‘car-boots’. So the curse of the high-street isn’t, it seems, limited to fancy town-centre shops. or, of course, the car-boot-sale could be ‘double-booked’, i.e., another is held on the same day thus dividing the car numbers (and customers). Mmm…now, if it’s cost the council £100 to get a worker down to the car-boot venue in his/her trendy little car and this person takes back say £80 in pitch-rents…well, it’s the universal story of politics, isn’t it? (See yesterday’s blog!) But, at least the car-booters had a fine morning, let’s hope they pulled a few bob for their trouble.
From the smooth tarmac (hard-standing) of the car-boot car-park (the council can arrange it if they have to!) the bike-ride carried on up Bury Road, as usual for the past few weeks, and then through, at Withins, to the canal tow-path. Here the cut-throat cut and thrust of streety retail is forgotten, amid scenes of cows, sheep and horses that haven’t changed much in two or perhaps three hundred years. (Except, perhaps for the mile or so of pretty smooth pink tarmac over the rough of the tow-path – not council-funded I believe though). And, despite the efforts of a local Wild Bill Hickok, an ardent dog-walker mentioned that the pigeons (at the Red Bridge) were back. And, in an field opposite, a large flock of herbivorial Canadian ‘raptors were sat, motionless, waiting, just looking at the grassy acreage before them, ready to pounce…
perfectly happy to forage and live-off what they find.
Before going out on the bike £5.50p was taken from my change jar in case something handy was seen, and bought, at the car-boot-sale. But nothing was. No transactions or purchases were made at all. So, putting £6.07p back into the jar, upon my return, was interesting, to say the least. Mind you, I’d watched the Harry Potter film on TV last night so I put the small ‘profit’ (for that’s what it indeed was) down to magic.

Saturday 24th August 2013.

A slight breeze this morning for the early bike-ride, and, really, a cool breeze is better than the hot, humid, still air that you get now and then.
I see that there’s a car-boot-sale at Coney Green School one Sunday (might be tomorrow – not sure). This means that the council will ‘rent-out’ car pitches, to local sellers, for the morning. The problem is that this ‘regulation-free’ mode of ‘shop-rental’ is (say) £X per pitch and therefore 10 pitches ‘sold’ = £X x 10 – easy-peasy maths and money for the council with no expensive overheads like electricity and teachers wages to worry about eh? (Do the same for The High-Street and the place will boom!) So, watch-out all the other Radcliffe schools – they might turn you into car-boot-sale venues! (£X x P = G.Take. This applies at each Venue. You have to spell things logical out for the council.)(P = Pitches – get it?)(G = Gross Take)(N = Net Take (i.e. Take after Expenses.))(Therefore N = G – E) Expenses are things like Advertising in the Bury Times, so, N = G – A. Now, if N ends-up being a minus figure…
It could easily explain the national, public-sector deficit! (And not a GDP or RPI in sight – and when you’ve disproved all the possibilities, what’s left must be the truth. (After Conan-Doyle.))
(Take a break while the world’s politicians print that out and cajole Carol Vorderman into explaining it.)
Meanwhile, for the normal citizens of Radcliffe, that dislike public-sector frivolity, here’s a picture, taken this morning, of Banana Walk.
(Which complies with that old EU Direktive that bananas should be straight.)

Friday 23rd August 2013.

Warmly humid for the bike-ride, early this morning, and, as a potential Mail-Order Guru, a pump-adaptor was carried in a pocket. Luckily, the adaptor ‘orderer’, a mate down the canal, was about and, three weeks after he’d ordered, he finally got his ‘bit’. He was delighted as 1) It was exactly the right bit and 2) It wasn’t overly expensive. Really, around here, not much else matters.
Rode up Eton Hill Road and the large cracks in the tarmac, almost in the middle of the road, make it look as though the whole layer of tarmac is sliding into the gutters at each side. Spring Lane is similar but there the impression is that the left lane is sinking.
I did hear too, this morning, that the Giant Hogweeds by the Library !? are dying back! At Warth it’s the turn of the Himalayan Balsam and the plants are everywhere. A problem with these may be that there’s not much on a Himalayan Balsam plant that say, a Sparrow, or a Blackbird can eat – compared to a blackberry-laden Bramble that is. And the Balsam will out-crowd the Brambles eventually.
A Heron on the weir too at Warth, and this morning two others were spotted – unless it’s the same one following me about with an eye on an early meal…(it’s speculated that the Herons like a bit of duck(ling), hence early losses this year).
Apparently Mink (American!) like a bit of duck(ling) too, but a bit of research has shown that an Otter, or two, (entirely indigenous) might eradicate (territorially), the greedy little introduced Mink (and take an introduced Canada Goose egg perhaps?). And I’ve seen slugs and snails happily munching on Hogweed leaves, which might help with that burning problem.
The single swan and five cygnets are okay but the pigeons at the Red Bridge were very quiet (what’s left of them!).
To see all this for yourself the best way is by bike!

Thursday 22nd August 2013.

A warm sunny morning for a (serious!) ride up Radcliffe New Road to Whitefield. The old machinery was creaking a bit, going up, (but the bike was quietly smooth!) but then, shopping done, it was a mile long downhill back to Radcliffe town centre. I think I melted a couple of brake-blocks, on the toy-bike side-pulls, but the bike squealed to a stop so that I could get a picture.
The Velo ‘ergo’ handlebar grips are, especially going uphill, a boon. Not cheap, at about £20, they do stop loads of arm and finger ache when pulling against the bars. Schwalbe road tyres, used daily now for well over twelve months, show little sign of wear – and, only one puncture! And that from a half-inch bramble thorn.
It was dark by about nine last night so a few, basic, front (white) and rear (red) light sets are in at about £8 a set – clips and batteries are with them and they’ll last till it goes lighter again if used from about September. Small, basic hand-pumps – with a car-valve adaptor – are £3. Adaptors – H.P., are £1.
29″ inner-tubes can be obtained to order, but they’re a bit pricey. Most other tubes stocked but please, for any bike accessories or parts, give us a ring for a price – our main work area is bike repairs and servicing.

Wednesday 21st August 2013.

A drop of rain this morning, and it’s quite a bit cooler too, but still okay for a bike-ride around Radcliffe.
Around the canal the greenery is just about at its summer zenith and it’s a very rustic ride, at the moment, for the Radcliffe to Bury cyclist. Or walker.
You’d think, cycling or walking past all this water, that there’d be a glut of the precious stuff, but no, it’s not quite so. In fact one or two areas of Great Britain are always short of water. Particularly affected is the south-east. Mind you, the population, in those parts, is pretty thick on the ground. That’s why parliament is situated around there. With over six hundred wise-men and women attempting to run the public-sector (which directly or indirectly controls, if not runs our water) you’d think that the water system would be geared to allow for population and internal migration fluctuations with quite a bit of safe leeway. But no. Parts of our water system are still based on Victorian underground plumbing and one or two bits are actually Roman! (I first wrote that, on the ‘net, in 1996. And nothing has changed!) So, although the logo, on a water-bill, may change from time to time, our water treatment and supply system is, just about, coping with demand. Sort this out, properly, and then, when there’s enough water to use, without it being, for the general public, rationed, and I’d be prepared to give Fracking a go to bolster our gas reserves.
Cheaper gas? Oh no. That’ll never happen. Not when those governmental have an ongoing debt of £1,200,000,000,000.00p or more.
But, locally, there is apparently a little brightness at the end of the tunnel. Bury has been granted over £250,000.00p by the Heritage Lottery Fund to fund excavation ‘digs’ at Ye Olde Radcliffe Tower and surrounding areas. With money from other, local sources, the total fund will be nearly £500,000.00p. The idea is that stuff learned by the dig about Radcliffe will add to the knowledge of local teachers, students and school-children.
Which would be great, if those teachers, students and school-children of secondary age, actually had a school in Radcliffe!

Tuesday 20th August 2013.

There was before me, as I cycled the cool dullness of this morning, a very wide, slow-moving, road-sweeper vehicle that was, to some extent, holding-back the traffic. And me. Being trapped, at a speed even lower that I ride at, gave me chance to observe the superbly equipped machine trundling in front. Circular brushes whirled, and, here’s the good bit, some of the gutter crap was indeed Hoovered up to disappear up (or was it down?) the tubes (of the machine) while some of it was brushed about a bit and then redistributed, broadly, across the road! So it was obviously a machine designed for and by someone governmental!
But that was by the way. Being behind this behemoth was a drag and, seeing a left-turn side street off the main road, I darted left and cycled on.
Over the years of geriatric, vintage cycling, I’ve often wondered why folk spend fortunes on mudguardless bikes with huge, heavy, suspension systems that they ride along modern roads.
Today, down those side-streets, I found out!
The side streets are a patchwork-quilt of old and new botched-up repairs. In some areas putting the above road-sweeper to work would simply mean the removal of what’s left of the ‘road’.
Yet, a few days ago, I cycled the newly tarmac’d Sculpture Trail, out of Radcliffe, and it was as smooth as silk.
Surely, if the council ask nicely, the boys from the black stuff would oblige, with the bit they always have left over.
For some reason I can’t get excited about HS2. I’ve seen, and heard, all of this clap-trap many times before. Those governmental propose something colossal and the public rants either way. The initial cost ‘estimates’, carefully leaked, (?) show a doubling, or later, a trebling, of the original cost figures. The public veer to a NO opinion. Those governmental, shaking their heads, eventually agree, against their better judgement, not to fund and build the said colossus.
A few years later, when the railways are no more than old Cortina-engined cattle-trucks, (erm, like now you mean?)(hey!! an old Cortina engine will run anything!) the public will be screaming for something better for their money. ‘But,’ those governmental will say, ”Tis your own fault, ’twas you lot that refused the offer of the HS2!’
So, as always, rather than trot meekly into a designated ‘pen’, I simply prefer to ignore.
Not to mention that by far the best railway system I’ve come across is the one run by fans and volunteers and, of course customers, up at Bury. This steam train route was first developed by pitching the freezing, wattle and daub housed peasants, that were in the way, into nice, warm, council-houses. No ‘anti’s’ there – in fact many got well-paid coal-shifting or wheel-tapping jobs on or around the old railways.This system too provided a travel mode that the public enjoy to this day. Therefore cost and speed are secondary.

Monday 19th August 2013.

Quite a bit cooler this morning, around Radcliffe, which was okay. It has been, at times lately, almost too hot and humid for (simple) bike-riding.
It’s been wet too. But that’s also good; around the lanes and tow-paths the wild-flowers are many and varied, and, yesterday, Mrs Condor was short on spuds (potato’s doh!) but there were several plants in the back-yard a-flowering, and four of them yielded plenty of (literally free) tubers for our needs. Fresh spuds too cook and eat far better than those stored for months, and they ‘peel’ by just washing and rubbing.
(Yesterday too, after browsing a few other blogs about nationwide financial economics, I discovered that a veritable guru on the subject is having sales-volume problems with lengthy books, that he’s written, on that very topic. Mind you, where could even he learn how to obviate, rather than attempt a cure for the problem, by growing acres of free spuds – not to mention automatic sales returns for the globally(!) interesting pamphlet(!) that sells, seasonally well, to explain the simple method!)
Meself I’d rather be out on the bike (sound economics again?) than be attempting near-impossible book-sales online – for in this entrepreneurial climate – a touch of sound economic Randism (as in Atlas S.) saves loads of grief!
And you get to see trees and things – like this hidden, orange-berried, Mountain-Ash (Rowan).
On the economic digital communications and media front, the new Elementary OS looks and works pretty well.
Scribus, a (Linux) desktop publishing programme, is a good, fairly simple but lighter, MS Publisher ‘re-placement’ – once you get into it.
And, like the spuds, it’s all free.
Now that’s economics entrepreneur level!