On the flats, etc

Posted on 08/07/04 | in ideas, places

1. Enjoyable cycle ride from Ely to Cambridge last month with T. – though I have to confess I don’t find the landscape round there very inspiring. The great acres of sky are fascinating – and helpful for avoiding the looming rain clouds – but the ground level is dull as fenwater. The atmosphere is so strange – and not just because of the ubiquitous smell of cabbage plantations: one expects an angry Tony Martin figure to brandish a shotgun at any moment. The countryside and villages improve towards Cambridge, with Reach very attractive, and then through Swaffham Prior with its preposterous two churches immediately next to each other. Also, a beautiful leper chapel on the edge of Cambridge – next ti the site of what is claimed to have been the largest fair in mediaeval Europe.

2. Also a very pleasant walk in Wiltshire last weekend with 7 friends, as a sort of anniversary to last year’s cycle ride. Ghastly train bureaucracy prevented us cycling this year (and, as it turned out, the weather), but on foot we enjoyed a great oub, an indifferent pub, and my favourite castle, the inevitable Old Wardour. No sign of what I hid there six years ago, but rather time to move on anyway. The best bit was throwing a frisbee around in the grounds.

3. My house is now officially on the market, so I must wean myself off the beautiful Wiltshire countryside and look for new adventures in Oxfordshire – assuming I can find a buyer.

4. Reading matters: have been consumed by James Surowiecki’s The Wisdom of Crowds – though my attempts to develop a horse-racing system inspired by it and using Google as an index of mass opinion have not led to fame and fortune alas… The book’s not perfect, but the central premise is very beguiling.

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