Sunday, January 15, 2006

Black armbands today

Like many cyclists on the UK today, I did my Sunday ride wearing a black armband to honour the four riders from Rhyll CC killed last Sunday when a car hit them. More details here on the British Cycling website.

Cyclists are so vulnerable on the road; any idiot in a car can ruin a life in a moment without harming themself, and very often they will hardly be punished. The accident in North Wales follows too closely Zak Carr's death in Norfolk last October. These riders were experienced cyclists, not kids wobbling all over the road.

And yes, we do pay taxes to maintain the roads, like everybody else. You wouldn't believe the number of people who yell from the safety of their steel box 'you shouldn't be on the road' and 'you don't even pay road tax' as though their right to pollute the atmosphere with noise and fumes and litter chucked out the window is greater than our right to enjoy the countryside in peaceful, harmless endeavour.

Having said that, the drivers in the Suffolk lanes are noticeably more considerate towards cyclists than many in Hertfordshire, where I've done most of my cycling, and mercifully fewer in number. If you're one of the former, thanks.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Life in an English Town podcast

Podcasting: I love it; have been listening to podcasts almost incessantly since July. For ages I've been thinking about doing my own podcast, about Bury. Here's number one, and it features retired coal man Doug Theobald talking about growing up in Risby and establishing his coal business after the war.

Doug's stories include working all hours in the dark and freezing cold to make a living, how he managed with Bury's pavement coal holes, and keeping up with demand for fuel in the terrible winter of 1963 with help from Basil the poacher. There's wildlife too: a jackdaw and two pheasants meet untimely deaths in this interview, and some pigs go to market.

Download it here.

Theme tune: Walking in the Beautiful Sunshine by Pauline Taylor

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Settling down

Despite appearances this blog hasn't been abandoned, it's just been resting. Ruby over at Living in Bury St Edmunds has inspired me to start blogging again, thanks Ruby.

For the last year I've been shuttling between Bury and Hertfordshire, but have now decided to relocate full time to Bury. Am on the lookout for a small office to rent in the town centre. Preliminary research suggests I'm in for around £10 a square foot, and there seems to be a fair amount of vacant commercial property at the moment. I will have to sort out the best way to get to London for occasional meetings - last time it cost me 55 quid on the train from Stowmarket. Ugh.

And I'll need to join some clubs, meet some people. Exciting times ahead I hope.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Wheelchair training

Did the obligatory back care and 'wheelchair skills' training at the hospital today. It was good. There's more to pushing someone satisfactorily in a wheelchair than you might imagine, and it's amazing how fast ordinary walking pace seems from the passenger point of view. Anyhow, now I'll be able to wheel patients around if required. West Suffolk Hospital has about 300 volunteers doing different stuff from gardening to hand holding to neck massage to taking the lunch orders. Co-trainees in the wheelchair class were mostly retired but included four Young People - three considering careers in the NHS and one deciding what to do next after graduation.

Buddhism in Bury St Edmunds

Salut tout le monde! Back from lovely holiday in France - Chateau-land near Tours in the Loire Valley. No more hols now till next year.

Returned to the Monday night meeting of the Bury Buddhism group, in the Quaker meeting hall, St John's Street. This is an FWBO group, although there are other flavours available in Bury on occasion. The group has just commenced its Autumn programme exploring 'Aspects of Freedom'. Bury seems to be well placed for Buddhists, with a retreat centre down the road in Walsham-le-Willows and other centres in Cambridge, Ipswich, Colchester and Norwich.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Abbey News

The newsagent at the bottom of Abbeygate Street will no longer open on Sundays, because of competition from Smiths etc. Pah! But there is a new shop to report: the Hatter Street Picture House is where the sewing machine shop was. It sells framed pictures and arty greetings cards. BFP article here.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Chanced upon some more vintage cars in town this morning. The Suffolk Car Club is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a run and picnic lunch. A hundred years ago members' cars were photographed in front of the Angel Hotel, and they tried to replicate this today, causing a fair amount of good natured chaos on the car park that is Angel Hill.

Didn't have the camera with me, sadly, but saw (all pre-war) cars made by Rolls Royce, Vauxhall, Rover, Morris, Alvis (my favourite, this was lovely), Bugatti, Hispano-Suiza, Sunbeam, Austin, Amilcar.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hot news

The town was really busy today. Couldn't find a single free bench in the Abbey gardens upon which to sit and read my paper. Nice to see so many people enjoying the hot weather in such fine surroundings though.

Another Hatter Street business is closing this week - number 14, the organic sandwich bar at the Churchgate St end. It hasn't been open long. The young proprietors are selling off their jacket potato oven and other gear. Maybe it was too far from the main drag to get enough custom; certainly I couldn't fault their grub.