Sunday, February 25

Musings whilst out and about

A busy few days, with a horrendous trip to the Midlands involving two sets of roadworks on the A34, that I had to pass through both on the up and down journey. Doubled the trip time; And I'm due back that way for the Outdoors Show in March.

Hope they're gone by then or its the scenic route via the Cotswolds for me!

Just one moan. Why have so many drivers chosen to mount their Satnavs (xmas presents?) directly in their field of vision on the windscreen. Any why oh why not turn down the bloody screen brightness?

I've a GPS speed camera monitor (for safety reasons only of course - oh yeh) and its mounted alongside my other dashboard controls with the background display turned down to match the other vehicle instrumentation. I like to keep my night sight for safe driving. Seems I stay alive longer that way. At least its worked so far

On far too many occasions I drove up behind cars showing what appeared to be 2 red and one white rear lights. The white light turned out to be their Satnav display that was bright enough for me to read as I drove past and off into the night.

Slaves to technology some people. And frankly a bit stupid at times. Especially the van driver who'd mounted it straight infront of his face. That and cruise control should make him largely redundant, or dead.

Humph! Give it a couple of months and you'll see one of the newspapers run a campaign on this as the mobile phone/licence points hits and attention turns elsewhere.

And before I leave this topic.........How can you tell the driver in front of you on the motorway has a Satnav? The buggers just wandered across all three lanes in front of you cos he can't read and drive and the same time.

So Saturday. Back to reality and away from the crowds, with a strong northerly wind blowing, off for a local walk along part of the Avon Valley Footpath.

The attraction of this stretch is the stream and woodland, special at this time of the year as bird nesting activity starts to increase with plenty to watch out for.

I'd not thought that there had been much rain on the preceeding days, but on this trip the stream seemed to be just within its banks, the first time I can remember this being the case. At the time I put it down to recent rainfall, but as I write these words I've just remembered the new gravel digging (or is it a new coarse fish lake?) further upstream. Now I wonder where the run off from that is going now? And construction is still not finished.

I think that's a trip for another day to get to the bottom of that little mystery. But not this Saturday. Far too gusty so best to stick to the lee of the hedgerows starting to show signs of life, and thick enough to keep the worst of the wind off me.

And on Sunday the wind was still here, requiring the specially modified bush hat (aka shoelace attachment tied under chin) to come into full utilisation. Yes - off for a short walk in the New Forest with my hat tied down to stop it blowing away. To help pass the time on a heathland wander I've done many times before, I was listening to the Radio 4 Classic Serial - Caesar.

There's something special about walking and listening to a radio play. Concentration can be so drawn into the story, if the format is well presented - and this one is a return to the BBC's high standards. Far too many of their recent productions have been 9 parter serialisation of Russian or Victorian classics. Even if you are interested in the story (and I'm usually not) miss one episode and you're stuffed. Ok it can always be heard on the repeat or BBC Listen Again facility, but it's never quite the same as when the concentration is there, given whilst travelling through familiar english countryside and listening to the machinations of ancient Rome.

Stolen pleasures. Simple and succint.

And whilst I'm in a suitably chilled mood it's time for a snapshot of what we've to look foward to as we now romp towards Spring.
But then all you TGO Challengers out there can just bask in the surity you'll definitely be getting that serious backpack trip in sooner than the rest of us lazier planners. But better just ignore the blue bits at the top of the picture -they're probably not applicable.

Ullswater from St Sunday Crag during the July '06 heatwave

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