The siting of an enormous broadband mast close to our garden boundary has interested our local MP, Julian Sturdy. As a consequence he’s written asking them to move it. Quite a splendid and supportive letter given our anger. I’d written to the Managing Director (MD) of the network operator and the Chief Executive Officer of the parent company; I’ve not had the courtesy of a reply. I also rang the MD’s office to no avail. Cowboys come to mind. In addition I attempted to get the local residents interested and circulated widely any correspondence I received or generated. I also kept contacting the Council asking ‘supplementary’ questions following their initial advice that there was nothing they or I could do. Eventually the Council’s patience was tested and in the end I got a terse email advising the ‘matter is closed’!
I’m convinced we’re stuck with this monstrosity but if there is any comfort in knowing that I pushed it as far as I could then I know I have. The change in recent legislation that allowed network operators to put up 15 metre high masts without seeking Planning Permission is the problem. The argument for doing this was that delays were being experienced by involving planning permission. I can’t believe that the relaxation of this part of the Town and Communities Act was to upset residents and for network operators to stick up these things where they pleased.
I don’t think I’ve really complained about all the heat that I’ve cycled through this year? Last summer saw me cycle every day in France in temperatures of 35°C (95°F). There are challenges of avoiding getting sun burnt, sun stroke, running out of water and forever seeking shade when on the road. However there is no comparison to riding in the cold.
I went out this week for a 50 mile spin and the forecast said it was around 5°C (40°F) but it turned out to be 1C (34°F) falling beneath freezing on several occasions. Not only does this become very slippy on the road but being the UK I set off in soaking drizzle.
I was well ‘sealed’ apart from my leggings/tights and gloves. Both these got sodden and I got progressively colder despite cycling continuously and regular climbing. About an hour from home I was losing the feeling in my hands which made changing gear and braking difficult. Blissfully I got home and whipped off the gloves. The pain was excruciating as blood returned to the hands. Even after this interlude there wasn’t sufficient feeling or strength to undo my overshoes or shoes. I suppose the upside was eating like a pig to replace the carbs and to warm up before a soaking hot bath. Roll on warmer weather.
On the grey matter front I bowled up to the University Of York for a Saturday course: “The History Of Jazz”. I know a lot about jazz but how all the different styles and eras fit together was an interesting thing to discover. So for over around six hours with the help of Spotify we went through 70 years of jazz. All the way from The Original Dixieland Jazz Band to Glenn Miller and on to Miles Davis. Fabulous and yet another long list of stuff to hear or buy.
This time using my hands more than brains I took a bicycle to the outskirts of York for another Saturday course to be taught how to expertly adjust or fit various gears, bottom brackets and headsets. This time it was a Council run course. The guy running the course spent some time as a professional bike rider, running a bike shop and now has an IT business. Apparently he still turns his hand to being a bike mechanic on some of the professional tours. This year he’s been in the Gulf working at the Tour of Abu Dhabi. These races are used by the professional teams to get fit and limber up for the European season.
Truth to be told I think a couple of people on the course were hoping to get some free maintenance on their own bikes. He illustrated the techniques by taking your bike and dismantling it before re-assembly. On one bike he simply couldn’t remove the pedals such was the corrosion. As regards the gears he did a demonstration on my bike before de-tuning it all so that I could practise my skills putting it right. Frankly I’d prefer if he’d left mine alone as it was working well before I went!