Random routing

We have been in Nottingham since yesterday afternoon. We visited with Hilke Kurzke on our arrival and again in the evening. She suggested a bike shop for us (we needed new brake calipers installed after the day’s rain and mud finished off the wear from going downhill in the Pennines) and the Nottingham Contemporary art gallery. (These were both excellent recommendations.) We set off this morning to Aladdin’s Bikes armed with our sat nav (GPS) pre-programmed with a route provided by cycle.travel.

We have occasionally encountered what we refer to as tandem traps on major cycle routes. These are barriers constructed to prevent motorcycles from using bridle ways/bike paths. Sometimes difficult for solo bikes, these can be a major nightmare for us with the tandem bike’s greater length.

Today’s route offered this option:

The picture shows the bottom section of a steep flight of stairs at the end of a narrow alley. The flight of stairs does, indeed, come out onto the street right next the cycle shop. 

We walked around the end of the block on the sidewalk.

I mentioned the route to Ben, owner of Aladdin’s Bikes, and he laughed. “I’ll give you a fiver if you can get your tandem either up or down those!”

When the brakes were done we walked back round the end of the block.

I assume that someone once carried their mountain bike down the stairs while recording their route on OpenStreetMap.

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Sign Post Two

Two posts in two days! It’s because I found some entertaining signs today. 




The last one will, unfortunately, be all too accurate tomorrow.

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There’s a famous seaside place called Blackpool

that’s known for its fun and fresh air,

and David and Cathryn (on tandem)

went there with young Beeston, their bear.

It is actually several days since we spent the day in Blackpool, but we have either been without an Internet connection or been visiting people so I haven’t posted about it.

 We didn’t try any Blackpool rock. David photographed some and I photographed some signs.



We didn’t go up the tower (Tim Burton was shooting a movie there) but we did have fish and chips at Harry Ramsden’s and I took pictures of the wonderful typographic piece on the promenade. The quotations are all famous excerpts or catch phrases from comedy routines.





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Friday Night Flicks: Yorkshire Dialect

One of the things about travelling around England, by bicycle or otherwise, is that one encounters a wide variety of accents. Since we arrived relatively early in Mexborough, Yorkshire (it was raining, so we weren’t wasting any time looking at the views or taking photos) I thought I would find a video with some Yorkshire dialect.

Best wishes for a dry and sunny weekend!

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If this is Thursday, it must be Lincoln

It has been many miles and many days since my last post. We have seen places and been things, including wet. One of the features of the trip since I last posted has been Book Arts. We attended the Turn The Page Artist’s Book Fair in Norwich, where we met Hilke Kurzke, who I knew previously only through the Internet and email. 
Hilke and I even made the Turn The Page Facebook page. 


The above photo is taken from there (my apologies to the unidentified photographer) and shows us discussing the featured work of Brian DettmerThe fair was smallish, but the calibre of work being shown was excellent. You can find out more about the fair at the website and the Facebook page. We will be connecting with Hilke again later in the trip (she came by train to the fair) when we go to Nottingham.

In King’s Lynn we met Christopher Skinner, another Internet acquaintance. Chris gave us a small tour including a view of the town from West Lynn where he lives, coffee at his house, and a wonderful show and tell of some of the artist’s books he has made or traded. You can see some of them by going back through his blog. It was a delight to see and handle some of the books that I had admired on screen via the Internet. This is my favourite:

We arrived in Lincoln yesterday after cycling through wind and rain. We had planned to see the castle and the cathedral, but on a short walk through town this morning found art in the street. Free art tabloids were being handed out.

One of the pages caught my eye because it showed an altered book.

I commented on it to one of the people who seemed to be peripherally involved. It turned out that she (Kate Buckley) had work in an exhibition at The Collection/Museum which related to altered books as well, so we went to see it. Here’s a picture and some text from The Collection Museum website:

“Misc. Don. is a collaborative exhibition with Lincolnshire Archives and artists, hosted at The Collection’s Courtyard Gallery.
The exhibition explores the intriguing relationship between how an archive is defined, how it is categorised, how it is used by a multitude of people, and how artists respond to archives and archiving.”

The works included range from artist’s books to videos. We enjoyed it, and even managed to get someone on staff to fix Kate’s video piece so that all three videos were showing properly.

We looked at some other exhibits in the museum, had some lunch in the cafe, and avoided a rain shower by going to look at displays in The Collections Gallery just up the street.

We did climb Steep Hill and go to the castle and the cathedral and got thoroughly soaked on the way to retrieve our tandem from the bike shop where she had been getting a new drive chain. (Preventive maintenance.)

And tomorrow we are off again, with the prospect of light winds but a wet afternoon.


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Around and About Cambridge

We have spent the last three days in Cambridge and area. Here are some of the highlights.

We went to a print exhibition at the Museum of Archeology and Anthropology.  The first work I spotted was by Robert Davidson. We have been to his studio and shop at Massett in Haida Gwaii.

It is a wonderful show. I highly recommend it if you are in the Cambridge area before December 6th this year.

We also went to The Fitzwilliam Museum where we saw some of the exhibits. Beeston was particularly interested in the work of David Kindersley.

We picked up a walking guide and spent a good part of yesterday afternoon finding as many of the pieces as we could. David has taken photographs, so I will do a longer post on this when I get home. 

Today was another mostly sunny, if chilly, day. We rode out into the countryside and visited some churches. I found a place that would be perfect for the wishing star labyrinth.   

 The Church of St. Cyriac and St. Julitta in Swaffham Prior is a Redundant Church. Although it is still consecrated and maintained, it is no longer used for services. It is a lovely space, full of light. 

Tomorrow we are headed for Ely, 14.7 miles as the crow flies, but we will be pedalling 40 to 45, depending on the weather.

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Oxford to Cambridge by indirect routes

I have been collecting images here and there along the route so far. Some of them will end up in proper posts later on, but I thought I would share a few in the meantime.

Here is our tandem having a rest while we viewed St. James Church in Somerton.


 Some lovely calligraphy which I could only photograph from an angle because if I stood directly in front all that showed was the reflection of a stained glass window on the glass covering the piece.


Beeston admiring a view that reminded him of July in Saskatchewan (but with more up and down). 


The bowl inside the baptismal font in St. Mary Magdalene, Ickleton. Perhaps the vicar is dyslexic?


And, finally, some book related things: the name of the house next to our B&B in Thaxted

 and a business sign in Cambridge.



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A is for Alderney

We are in Oxford, England now, but we spent the first week of our holiday on Alderney in the Channel Islands. 


We have visited twice before. The first visit resulted in an alphabet book featuring our travelling companion, Beeston.




Beeston and I might have chosen some different images for the book if we had been taking the pictures this time. For instance, “Y is for Yellow” might have featured the bright yellow call box next to the vivid blue letter box outside the museum.


And the “P is for Puffin” would definitely have been this picture instead of Beeston with a painted puffin.


The weather was wonderful, with enough mist on one of the days to make things interesting, but most of the time we had sunshine.


Beeston and David and I will be setting off on our tandem bicycle tomorrow. I will try to post from time to time, now that I seem to have figured out how to do so from an iPad mini!


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Friday Night Flicks: Geri’s Game

This will be my last post for a while, unless I can figure out how to post from an iPad Mini, as we will be travelling. We get on a plane later today and like magic (18 hours later) we will be on Alderney in the Channel Islands. We then hop over to England to travel around East Anglia, the Midlands, and the North. Keep an eye out for us on our blue tandem bicycle. I hope our elderly, deaf, and possibly demented cat doesn’t drive the house sitters crazy while we are gone. I promise to bring back bookish stories and pictures.

This video doesn’t have anything to do with books, or stop motion, or alphabets, but it is a lovely short example of the work of Pixar.


Play nicely while I am away.   ; ]

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Sign Post

If you have been reading this blog, you will know that I have a tendency to collect things. The most convenient collection I have — not being a dust accumulater or taking up a lot of space — is my entirely digital collection of signs. I don’t photograph the commercially produced, intentionally cute ones. There is no need. The world is full of signs that are funny unintentionally. Sometimes the humour comes from juxtaposition.

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