Most councils use conflict-based ‘traffic calming’ schemes as speed reduction measures and to discourage drivers from using certain roads. They call roads like these - the roads people use to get to work, to go shopping and home to their families - ‘rat runs’. In my own village in West Oxfordshire we have had ‘calming’ imposed on each... Continue Reading →
Say what you mean
Councils and the public sector are very careful about how they use language. This is no bad thing. It demonstrates an understanding that language is massively, foundationally important. The National Council of Teachers of English rightly says "language plays a central role in the way human beings behave and think." But language can be used to obscure as... Continue Reading →
Three wheels on my wagon
Bikes have been part of my life since I first tried a friend's 50cc Monkeybike at the age of 11. I couldn't wait to get a licence. In Frome, there was an independent BMW dealer, Difazio's. I'd walk the 3 miles from home to stand and gawp at the unfeasibly swoopy-faired R100RSes, RTs and -... Continue Reading →
Dolores Umbridge. Now in charge of speed limit policy.
Speeding fines handed out by courts are hitting a new high. In 2013, nearly 115,000 drivers waited while a magistrate looked down, wagged a reproving finger and dished out an average £169 fine and three points. In 2012, failing to match the number on the stick to the number on the dial accounted for 56% of the 730,000 fixed... Continue Reading →
The more you ride an old bike, the more its quirks and wrinkles become normal. I realised this today after spending most of it tinkering with the Ural. Urals are possibly the exemplar of quirks and wrinkles. I went to retrieve it from its new garage on the other side of the village and, of... Continue Reading →
None of the gear…
I was lucky enough to be 550 meters up, at the top of Bozburun Tepesi. It was just before sunset and the resin from the pine forests mixed with the Land Rover's diesely, oily, metallic tang. The old thing had had a tough climb up the gravel track, dotted with rocks big enough to take... Continue Reading →
There’s not been a lot of time for two or three-wheeled ambling recently. Instead, a pretty solid wall of work-borne rush, stress and frustration has kept me off the bikes. So, with an unaccustomed free Sunday afternoon and some sun, I decided to stop beating my head against it, hoiked the keys off the peg... Continue Reading →
MMC Musings in Cotswold Life
When I popped an e-mail over to Cotswold Life offering them a few snaps and some airfieldy musings, I didn't really think they'd publish them. But they have. May edition and a whole double page spread too. I'm delighted. It's so good to see some of these old WWII bases getting the sort of recognition... Continue Reading →
A spring evening’s bimble, being scared and perspective.
I fancied a ride this evening. It's spring. It's light. It's Wednesday. It's been a bitch of a day in the office. That's good enough for me. I had to drop our entry fee for the Village Quiz in at a neighbour's house so thought I'd call by on the Ural. As I set off,... Continue Reading →
It’s not Urals that are unreliable. It’s their owners.
It was the rain that did it. That, and me buggering off for Christmas, leaving the Ural alone, outside under its cover. By the time I’d got back, half the UK’s annual rainfall had found its way into the carburettors. The Ural has two, one for each cylinder. Most of the water was, of course,... Continue Reading →