|Andy on the ride out of Tatsfield village, Sunday 11th February 2018|
|My Specialized Rockhopper on Warlingham Green, Saturday 10th February|
|A new World War One memorial at Tatsfield village|
One thing I can't stand, however, is blind faith. Blind faith in anything is troublesome. I know somebody who has blind faith in technology; he's always banging on about driverless cars as if they're the Holy Grail; they're not! Let's be honest here, driverless cars, when they become commonplace – if they become commonplace – are going to be run by big business, people like Branson, and furthermore it's another way that freedom is being taken away from the individual: no longer will we drive ourselves to our destination, we'll have to pay 'Virgin Cars' in order to get anywhere. Slowly, the world is becoming a Philip K Dick novel – big corporations running everything (think Elon Musk, a potential Bond villain if ever there was one).
|A scruffy-looking yours truly on the 269 passing a frozen pond on Saturday's ride|
It was a question that the panel debated for some time and while nobody really came out and agreed, my view is that the driverless car will curtail individual freedoms and should be avoided at all costs. Surely driverless trains first.
And with 'blind faith' comes the hypocrisy of the idealogues. There's nothing worse than ideology. It leads to blind faith, oddly enough. We all believe that Russia is the big, bad wolf. Everything the Russians do is supposed to be wrong, they're influencing our elections (are they?), and they're up to no good on many levels (really?), but ultimately, even if they're not up to no good, the governments of the West want their people (you and me) to always believe that the Russians have no good intentions whatsoever. It's all rubbish. I know a few Russians. I spent some time in Moscow not that long ago and I found all the Russians I met there to be fantastic people. I walked from one side of the city to the other late at night and never encountered a single problem. But it's never the people who are fault, it's the governments behind them.
|Jacob Rees-Mogg on the front cover of Private Eye's latest issue|
|Lycra monkeys – you don't see many of them when the weather's cold...|
From noon on Saturday it rained non-stop and didn't really stop until the early hours of Sunday morning. When I woke up and peered outside the roads were dry and the car windscreens were clear, no sign of any ice. But when I found myself outside, wearing many layers and the balaclava and scarf, I realised that the clear bright skies and the crescent moon were a disguise – yes, even the weather wasn't to be trusted – perhaps the Russians had something to do with it. It was better than Saturday, but there was still a cold breeze and one we didn't notice on the outward ride to Tatsfield village (a change is as good as a rest).
|Warlingham Green, 10 February 2018|
The ride home was fine, but there was a strong head wind as we rode towards Botley Hill and a very cold breeze as we rode along the 269 towards the green, where we parted. All the way home I found myself wondering about Elon Musk and his Falcon Heavy rocket that lifted off from earth last week carrying one of Musk's Tesla sports cars. Can you really trust a businessman who is capable of launching a rocket into space? Apparently, the aforementioned Tesla is orbiting the planet playing David Bowie's Space Oddity on continuous loop and I found myself wondering, as I sang the lyrics to myself, whether or not I had synched up with the recording playing at that very moment on board the Tesla. I'll never know, of course. "Planet earth is blue and there's nothing I can do," I sang as I passed Warlingham Sainsbury's en route to the green.
Next week we WILL have breakfast at the Tudor Rose.