Thursday, 16 March 2017



Having been brought up in Lincolnshire one would have thought that I would have visited Leicester – just 50 odd miles from my home town before I was 52 years old. In fact, I never had the need to go there until last October when my father was in the city’s hospital. I was then back just 2 months later for as my son was representing the Open University at a ‘Moot’ at Leicester University.

Richard's Tomb


I don’t know when I shall next be back but I did enjoy 2 short visits to the town. On the 1st I took the opportunity to visit the Cathedral where in 2015 Richard III was laid to rest, after the discovery of his body in a car park nearby in 2012. The Cathedral is actually rather small as it was in fact originally just a parish church and consecrated as a Cathedral only in 1927. Having said that it is a delightful building with very helpful volunteers willing to answer questions. The highlight of course is the tomb of the King – polished Swaledale Limestone containing many fossilised sea creatures - but there is also plenty of interest around the whole building including the shroud that covered the kings coffin during the re-interment. Nearby there is a visitor centre but I shall have to leave this for another visit – mum was with me and no way was she entertaining the ‘steep’ (actually very reasonable) entry fee.

Cover used at re-interment


Firstly, there was the graveyard, which has a visitor centre though as the site is well signposted this is superfluous for most visitors. I wandered around here for a while. One particularly interesting feature was the site of a church -now gone but where the memorial stones within had once been were place metal replacements that marked the outline of the church. The characters memorialised were a distinguished bunch indeed but I was particularly interested to see the memorial to Albert Walter Harris (1874-97) who must have been one of the 1st professional racing cyclists. 

Albert Walter Harris - Pro Cyclist Memorial


After wandering around the graveyard for some time I tramped over to the War Memorial behind the University and then to nearby streets which provided some very interesting building and ghost adverts from years gone by.

War Memorial - Surely Lutyens?


I would say that although Leicester is not really a tourist destination it is definitely worth stopping by for a look around there was certainly plenty of interest on my 2 visits.

Street Views


Tuesday, 14 February 2017

I wouldn't have gone unless Adrian had pre-planned it

Monday dawned cold - just 3C and very overcast.  Snow level was down to 400 or so feet and visibility wasn't great - a fairly typical dreich February morning.  Adrian Stewart had suggested we do a ride over the Suie and then through the Lord's Throat, suggesting he would cycle from Inverurie to meet me in Insch.  Well I am glad he suggested it as with the weather as it was I would not have bothered on my own, in the end we had a good ride with Adrian leaving me to return to Inverurie at the end of the Lord's Throat whilst I headed north towards the Chapel of Garioch and then home.  A good 45 miler but not a day for photographs.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Still early in the year but managed a ride after work

Last night was a race home from work to beat sunset.  Finishing work 10 miles nearer to home after a meeting the opportunity to get a ride in before darkness was tantalising especially as the thermometer in the car was reading 12C (even if there was a strong SW wind).  A check of the weather app on my phone gave a sunset time of  1710, I could just squeeze something in.  Needless to say I was in a rush on getting home so left the house without cycle computer and GPS watch but didn't have time to search for them.  I did get out and of course ended up returning well past dusk but it didn't matter the daylight portion of the ride was a joy to achieve this early in the year - its a joy to think the lighter nights are returning even if only just.  Here's my route for the ride.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Best Podcasts of 2016 (IMHO)

This selection is somewhat limited as it applies to those podcast to which I was listening last year , there may well be better ones out there and I certainly know of some good ones that I didn’t get time to appreciate last year but are on my list for the future.  So in no particular order here is my listening list for 2016:

The Outdoors Station Podcast -

Bob Cartwright has really got his mojo back this year and is turning out some excellent outdoors based podcasts.  Bob has recently moved house and it seems this has been a spur to get after the podcasts once again with new enthusiasm.  Recent episodes have included interviews with Chris Townsend, Alex Roddie (Outdoors Writer and Blogger) and Ellie Bingham (7000 kms on a shoestring cycling across S America without spending money).  Bob has also spent time on a couple of shows introducing other worthy listening podcast for outdoors enthusiasts so I plan to give these a listen also.  I have really enjoyed having Bob back but one of the great things about his podcasts is its extensive back catalogue which has a number of items worth going over again and again – in particular the TGO challenge and 3 men in the Cairngorms episodes.  Great to have you back Bob.

The Bike Show from Resonance FM ‘Podcast and blog of the world's most popular bicycling radio show, rolling since 2004’

This is another podcast with an extensive and excellent back catalogue that is well worth downloading (despite originally being London Based, the articles are, for the mostpart, by no means London-centric ).  Jack Thurston is an excellent host , who now lives in Abergavenny so I’m not sure if the show is still broadcast on Resonance FM but that doesn’t matter as the podcast is still live and kept up to date .  Recent episodes have been particularly interesting for anyone interested in long bike rides – I particularly enjoyed the 3 episodes on the 2016 Transcontinental race (58 mins ; 40 mins and 54 mins in length respectively.) Not just for cyclists this but if you’re interested in Sport, the Outdoors or Cycling you will love this podcast.

This is the podcast of the BBC’s History magazine and like those above again as an extensive archive. Nowadays it is released weekly so its hard to keep up with, but for anyone with an interest in the subject it is a must listen podcast.  Unlike the magazine, the podcast has time to explore, usually with recently published authors or TV documentary producers, the latest thinking on a huge range of historical topics.  IN the last year, I have listened to Jonathon Dimbleby talking about the ‘Battle of the Atlantic’, to Marc Morris talking on te Norman Conquest and Tony Robinson talking about historical TV programmes to name just a few.  In the archive there are some real gems and I urge anyone to go and have a listen.  A couple of other BBC podcasts worth a mention are In Our Time – weekly with Melvyn Bragg and usually 3 academics discussing a variety of Historical , Cultural, Scientific or Religious ideas – I haven’t had time to listen in this year but have always thoroughly enjoyed this show.  For me the BBC’s podcast output alone is worth the licence fee!