Sunday, 25 November 2012

Doha's in the news a lot at the moment...

Not only is Doha now famous for it's visit by NoVisibleLycra's co-founder, yours truly, but other luminaries are there too. Robert de Niro is one of them. He's in the Qatari capital with the Tribeca Film Festival, which he co-founded back in the early noughties. For more, click here.

De Niro was staying at Doha's Grand Hyatt, where I spent most of last week.

In fact, the Grand Hyatt is hosting this year's climate change conference. Click here for more details.

Gusty in places...

Trying to take original photography at the Tatsfield Bus Stop is getting harder
Those winds remained, but there was no rain, although it had clearly rained a lot during the night. I headed off around 7am and en route to the green nearly got knocked off the bike, the wind was that strong. I'm just glad I wasn't landing in the UK on an Emirates flight from Dubai as I'm sure it would have been bumpy.

At the green there was no sign of Andy, which was rare, but another bloke turned up on his Gary Fisher mountain bike and we chewed the fat as we both waited for our cycling pals to arrive. Andy arrived first, but prior to his arrival the other bloke and I chatted about cycling and various routes and I told him that we'd been doing this every weekend for the past six years and so on.

A field adjacent to the Tatsfield Bus Stop
Last night, or rather yesterday evening, Warlingham Green switched on it's Christmas lights and I really must get a shot of the tree because it's tiny! Still, unlike Tatsfield Village Green, at least the lights work! Last year, when Andy and I visited Tatsfield Village on Christmas Eve we were amazed to find a tree with the lights not working.

Andy turned up and we headed for the Tatsfield Bus Stop. It was a normal kind of ride. We had our tea and cereal bags, chewed the fat about this and that and headed home again.

The weather was good, if a little windy. The skies were clear blue, it wasn't too cold and a lot of the trees were bare – typical NVL weather, which we like.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Heavy winds...

Winds like those howling outside at the moment were expected on Friday, which was worrying for yours truly as I was flying into Gatwick from Qatar. Fortunately, it was a clear evening. As always, however, the weathermen often get it a day or two out and now, as I type this at 0618hrs, the wind chime is playing a vigorous tune and the trees are swaying to and fro. But is it raining? At the moment it's too dark to say, but having not riden out yesterday – through tiredness, not jet lag – there's a need to go out today, especially when you consider that all week I've been sitting down, either on a plane or in a conference hall.

This, if you like, is brief note. Hopefully, I'll be reporting back later having gone out, although I'm guessing today will be a short one to somewhere covered like the Tatsfield Bus Stop.

More images of Qatar

About to take off for Dubai from Doha with Emirates.
The Doha to Dubai flight was scheduled to leave around 0945hrs and it did. The flight was pleasant and took about an hour. Much, much better than the heavy turbulence experienced on the Dubai to Doha flight early on Monday morning.

Qatar allows drinking in hotels.
While my Best Western in Old Salata Street was dry and had no bar, the Grand Hyatt did. Here's my glass of wine to prove it.
Qatari sunrise on Friday 23 Nov 2012

Despite no early morning call, the sun woke me up in time to catch my flight from Doha to Dubai and then, of course, my connecting flight to London.

Images from Qatar

View from my 10th floor at Qatar's Best Western hotel
I spent most of my week in a conference
If I'm honest (which I am) I didn't have much time while in Qatar to do anything but work. Everyday, around 8am, I was out of my hotel, the Best Western on Old Salata Street, and in the hotel limo being ferried the 25-minute journey to the Grand Hyatt where, incidentally, Robert de Niro was staying, apparently.

My hotel was very pleasant, mainly because it was quiet and out of the way, although only ten minutes or so from the airport, which was handy on Friday as it meant that I didn't have to get up at an ungodly hour. Well, that depends on your point of view. I asked for an early morning call as my mobile phone had run out of power and I'd left my charger at home. The early morning call, however, did not materialise and it was fortunate that the early morning sun, rising over the buildings, sent a hot, white beam into my room as the curtains were drawn slightly apart.

I jumped out of bed, finished packing up my stuff and then headed downstairs to pay my bill and get a taxi to Doha International airport. I shared my taxi with an offshore engineer from Streatham (yes, it's a small world) and he too had been staying at the Best Western.

I was on the 10th floor, right at the top, in room 1001. There was a small swimming pool on the 11th floor but I had no time and no trunks, which was mildly annoying, although I knew that I wouldn't have the time or inclination. The pool was small and indoors and went I reached my room I would blog for a bit, do the news for the newsletter (and the website) and then hit the sack. I never once switched on my flatscreen television, the hotel was dry (meaning there was no bar, the nearest being at the Movenpick down the road, but a drink's not that important. Not anymore).

Outdoor pool at the Grand Hyatt.
I slept like a log although the air-con breathed cold air on my face, prompting me to turn down the fan and increase the temperature. Qatar is one of those places where it's colder inside than it is outside, although at this time of year, it's a perfect 29 to 31 deg C outside. The sun is hot, though. And people are warned not to go out walking in the morning. I had plans to stroll along the Corniche (a long promenade offering views of the sea and the huge and impressive skyscrapers across the water). I never had time.

Each morning after washing and showering I would head for the Mezzanine floor for breakfast, consisting of fresh fruit and Rice Krispies plus a cup of tea and then it was off to the Grand Hyatt to work, for the whole day. In the evening there was always something going on. Day one it was a reception (where only fruit juices were served) and on day two there was Qatari Night, an evening of Arab culture and food, which was very good fun. On Thursday night there was an Arab Culture evening: music and a tour of an amazing museum. I can't remember the details because I rarely listen to tour guides (never have, never will but why, I don't know). The museum contained the cars and various items of Arab memorabilia of a wealthy Qatari.

Matchless motorcycle in the museum

The engineer from Streatham took me by surprise. I jumped into the front seat of the cab and there he was in the back. He was a pleasant man, educated in Swansea but hailing originally from Yorkshire. His wife was a gynaecologist and he was considering applying for a job in Perth, Australia. Once we reached the airport we parted without even a goodbye, but it wasn't out of rudeness. I checked in and wandered off in search of my colleague, who I didn't see until I reached gate B33. I saw him again on the flight from Dubai to London, but only fleetingly and he didn't see me.

The Doha to Dubai flight was smooth and pleasant. The Dubai to London flight was alright, but I was getting tired of flying and sat there basically counting down the hours until we arrived at Gatwick.

Being only three hours ahead of the UK there was little, if any, jetlag, but the rain prevented a ride and I aborted anyway as I needed the lie-in.

The post contains some images taken by me using the Lumix. I couldn't post them earlier as I didn't have the magical USB lead that enables me to upload images.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

At Doha Airport...

Friday 23rd November: It's a quarter to nine in the morning and my flight is due to board in about fifteen minutes. I'm sitting in an observation lounge looking out at the runway (pics to follow) and watching the Qatar Airways planes take off.

I'm off to Dubai and then there's a bit of a wait for the flight to London. Can't wait to get home.

View from an observation lounge
Got up early, packed things up and left the Doha Best Western behind. Not a bad hotel. Met an offshore engineer in the taxi (he was sitting there when I jumped into the front seat). The engineer was from Streatham (what a small world) but he hails from Yorkshire and studied engineering in Swansea. He's married to a gynaecologist and has applied for a job in Perth, Australia. He's been in Qatar for about a fortnight.

We chatted about Qatar hosting the World Cup in 2022 and how the city needed much more infrastructure. There are no trams, no trains, the place is, in effect, a building site and you have to travel everywhere by taxi, which is fine, but the driving here is crazy – they can afford flash cars and they drive them very fast and very dangerously.

Anyway, the World Cup. How are they going to manage it? The 'dry' nature of the country might prove problematical (for England fans) and while there's a lot of hotels here, gettting from them to the footy stadium will be a problem unless they've got plans for a bus network and possibly trains too.

Who knows? I better go as I've got a plane to catch. Might blog again in Dubai.

Qatar – it's dry, meaning no alcohol, but believe me, that's good!

You know, sometimes the Brits say things about the Middle East along the lines of it being the sort of place where, if you get caught drinking they cut off your hands or something similarly ridiculous. They don't, of course, not in Qatar at any rate, or Dubai, but let's deal with this whole 'dry' thing. To be totally honest, it's alright. I feel a million times better and I haven't gotten into that whole 'let's meet for a beer' thing that happens so often in places where alcohol is available. By 'places where alcohol is available' I mean most of the rest of the world.

Doha airport. I'll be there in the morning, although we're flying Emirates.
No, it's really nice drinking fruit juices and the occasional Sprite or Coke, there's also no danger of encountering unreasonable people who have been drinking. It's great! And listen, if you want a drink, you can get one in most of  the hotels (except mine) where it's a little more civilised than a high street pub where, invariably, there's always one 'nutter'.

Also, it's nice NOT to see crushed beer cans in the gutter or mildly 'down and out' people coming at you with a can of Tennants in the their hand. There's no rowdiness, just a nice and pleasant calmness, which I really enjoy.

I was told yesterday that in Qatar you need to have a license to buy alcohol and that is dependent on how much money you earn. Alright, I'm sure there are loads of arguments to be thrashed out about that, but taken at face value, the whole 'no booze' thing works because it means that all the rubbish you have to put up with that is connected to drinking, simply isn't there.

And let's not get it wrong, Qatar doesn't appear in anyway threatening. On the contrary. Because there are no unruly drunken people walking around the streets, there appears, on the surface at any rate, to be little in the way of crime. There's not much of a police presence here either. I haven't seen a police car yet and I've been here all week.

In fact, as I have to fly back tomorrow I must say that I've enjoyed my time here in Qatar and would recommend it as a holiday venue.

As for the World Cup in 2022, Qatar is taking on a game fuelled by alcohol so it'll be interesting to see how they cope with it.

Qatar is a good country with a prosperous future ahead of it, hopefully. The weather's good, the people are friendly, the food's fine and there's plenty to see and do.

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

In Qatar...

Old against new. Dhows moored in the harbour as modern skyscrapers look on.
I eventually flew out of Dubai, heading for Doha, at 0215hrs this morning. The flight was pretty hairy. I sat right at the back of the plane in a window seat, but there was little to see as it was night time.

What worried me was the pilot who said something about turbulence over Doha and how it might be a little bumpy. That was an understatement. The flight time was 45 minutes and we'd be flying at only 22,000 feet, but after 15 or 20 minutes...Wump! We hit a storm of some kind and the plane jolted and dipped and dived for what seemed like an eternity. As you can imagine I was not best pleased, but elated when we eventually landed.

I jumped into bed around 4am and set my alarm for 8am, although in reality it was 1am by my UK clock. Qatar is just three hours behind the UK, which is good from a jet lag perspective. As it was, I awoke around 0730hrs with the sun streaming into the room and, surprisingly, I wasn't feeling at all jaded. I got up, showered and shaved and had a healthy breakfast of fresh fruit, tea and a bowl of Rice Krispies. Then it was off to the Grand Hyatt, home of the conference I'm attending.

Qatar is a strange place and I can't work out whether or not I like it. It's a lovely place, there's a nice smell in the air, a mix of cinnamon and nutmeg and there are palm trees – always pleasant to see. Effectively, though, we're in the desert and that's what strange about this place. Qatar has the skyscrapers and it's building more, but there's something almost unreal about them, as if they're not really there; we are, after all in the East. We're in Arabia and this is difficult to forget as the men wear traditional costume: long, one-piece shirts down their ankles, head dress and sandals and they look cool. Not 'cool' but cool in the heat.
Qatar. Not far from anywhere, including Iran.
My taxi driver tells me there's no crime here, none at all, and I put this down to the fact that Qatar is a 'dry' country, meaning no boozing. I say 'no boozing', you can drink in the Five Star Hotels, but the general rule is that there's no drink, which is odd, but it means there's no buzzin' downtown with bars. There is the Souk (or marketplace) but this is populated with cafes selling tea and soft drinks and even the reception, pre-conference, at the Grand Hyatt was alcohol-free. I drank mango juice and pineapple juice and orange juice but didn't have to worry about mixing my drinks. And while I can honestly say that I don't miss the alcohol, the lack of it does put a dampener on Qatar, but not for the reasons you might think. It's not so much about drinking, it's about what makes up a downtown, what makes a city attractive. One thing is the bars and that's what is missing here; because the bars don't exist, there's no urge to go out and explore at night. Alright, there's the Al Corniche, which is basically a kind of promenade, a boardwalk, but somehow the buzz of bar culture is noticeable by it's absence.

Personally, I like the fact that the emphasis isn't on boozing. It's great not to see booze ads and it's even better not to see unruly people wandering around with cans of 1664 in their hands, swearing and fooling around – as they do in London. Also, it means you avoid a furry tongue in the morning, which is also good.

Crime? There isn't any according to my cabbie, who hails from India. And I reckon that's because there's not a booze culture here – the UK could learn some lessons here.

It's November, of course, but it's hot during the day, certainly in the morning, but even at night it's not cold and people wear only jeans and tee-shirts.

The women here are very glamorous and attractive. Some where the burka, others wear more western clothing, but the overall picture here is good, although there is one other major thing missing: infrastructure. Where are the trams and the trains? They're non-existent. The only way to get around here is by cab or car so I take the cab and the driving is, well, I won't say erratic, let's just say it's fast and furious. At times on my journey back here to the hotel I felt as if I was taking my life into my own hands, especially approaching and exiting roundabouts.

Speaking to somebody earlier, they said that it was a shame that Qatar was going the way of Dubai, with it's tall skyscrapers and so on, and the development continues apace. I'm not sure if you watch Channel Four, but you know those creative bits of film they throw in between programmes where, after a while, you spot the figure four disguised as buildings or whatever the theme might be? Well, there's one featuring buildings and that's what Qatar is all about; it has that quality about it.

What is slightly disappointing is that, while looking from a distance the buildings look pretty slick. Closer inspection reveals that they're not that hot – the tinted windows are shabbier on closer inspection – and there's an impression that Qatar is doing it's level best to be a 'big city' and will, doubtless prevail, but one is left wondering how real it all is. It's a bit like one of those western towns they create at Paramount Pictures that are propped up with wooden stilts, but are basically just facades.

Also, the hotel room is colder than it is on the streets, which can irritate. It's as if there's somebody blowing cool air on to your face at night as you try to sleep. And talking of sleep, it's 1134hrs here and time for me to go to bed.

There are photographs taken by yours truly, but I won't be able to post them until I get home.

Monday, 19 November 2012

In Dubai...

Hello from a very tired NoVisibleLycra blogger. Up this morning at 0530hrs, out of the house by 7am, on the 0722 from Sanderstead and then on to Gatwick and now, after six plus hours on the plane (Emirates) I'm here in Dubai and I'm a little cheesed off. Why? Because there was so little time to catch my connecting flight to Doha that I missed it and now, as I write this, it's 11.33pm – four hours ahead of the UK – and I've got to wait until 0215hrs to catch the next flight.

So, I'm sitting in a virtually empty restaurant within the airport eating a mushroom risotto and drinking a glass of Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon. It sounds nice, but I'd rather be in Doha, relaxing in my hotel room. Still, can't have everything.

The trouble is, I'm dog tired. All weekend has been characterised by lack of sleep, especially on Saturday night, when I stayed in the house alone and seemed to wake up at every strange knock I heard. This restaurant, by the way, is called The Hub. It's dark and woody and a bit pricey (£8.60 for a glass of wine).

I can't put my finger on it, but Dubai is a bit, I don't know, a bit flash.

I could really wish this further, sitting here like this, waiting for an early morning flight. Mainly because I had that whole 'international' thing you get once you've crossed over from civvy street to the land beyond passport control. You know what I mean, where the car to aspire to is a Ferrari, where culture always leads to The Blue Man Group and where Toblerone rules the world of chocolate.

I can't stand airport shops. Who buys stuff from them? Soft toys, tee-shirts (here with 'Dubai' written on them, although I'm guessing that, I haven't seen any yet) and expensive watches, perfume and spirits. Horrible. Anyway, I've got time to kill but I'm running out of power so I'll have to sign off.

My next post is liable to be a shot of my hotel bed, if I get there.

The flight over was fine, by the way, little in the way of turbulence, a nice lunch (roast chicken with a glass of red wine) and, well, it was good.

I'll probably say nicer things about Dubai airport when I've had some kip. Here's hoping!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Andy goes it Botley Hill

Andy's Kona Blast at Botley Hill this morning.
I had a broken night, waking virtually on the hour, so at around 0500hrs I texted Andy to abort. I must have fell asleep as I awoke at 0800hrs and the sun was shining through the curtains: it was a nice day, even if there was a frost on the grass. I sent Jon a simple text saying, 'cycle?' but he didn't respond and sent one to Andy to see if he went out – he did.

Jon never responded and because I had to check-in online for a flight to Qatar, I ended up not going out, although even now, at 1214hrs, I feel the need to get out there. We'll see.

Andy did go out and here's an image to prove it.

Tatsfield Village – and we get a soaking

The weathermen were warning of rain today, a bit like last week. Tomorrow will be clear, sunny...and cold, again like last week.

When I looked out around 6am there was no sign of any rain, although a dampness presented itself, thanks to the misty air. When I left the house at just gone 7am it was fine. There was a very mild rain, but nothing to prompt a return home. In fact, it was typical NoVisibleLycra weather: grey and overcast, mist here and there and a mild bite to the air, just as I like it.

Tatsfield Village Green in sunnier times.
Warlingham Green was looking wet when I arrived, but then, so did everything else – except Andy who, like me, was still relatively dry considering the mild drizzle. I bought some milk from the shop as we'd run out at home and then we headed off for Tatsfield Village. Neither of us fancied travelling too far and now that I'm home and dry, I'm glad we didn't.

I think the last time we visited Tatsfield Village was Christmas Eve 2011 – see the post entitled Let's Talk About Dogs in the side panel to the right of the page.

Today, there were a few dogs around. One was tethered to a post and kept barking at us. Another was wearing a coat and then we saw a woman with two dogs. Tatsfield must have a fair amount of dog owners.

It's mid-November so we didn't expect to see the Tatsfield Village Green Christmas Tree, although I'm assuming it will appear soon and perhaps this time there might be some decent lights on it. Last year it looked a bit miserable so we didn't take any photographs.

On the way home, Andy branched off and took the track through Woldingham and towards Wapses Roundabout. I carried on along the B269 and, as I circumnavigated Warlingham Green, it began to rain.

I got home, wet but not too cold, showered and had some Weetabix. I would have made porridge, but all of the saucepans had been used and I didn't fancy washing up somebody else's dried porridge or dried tomato soup from the day before, so I made do with a couple of cold Weetabix and a cup of tea, plus a few slices of bread and marmalade.

We're meeting at the normal time tomorrow on the Green for a run to somewhere. The weather will be cold but dry and sunny – and no rain, so hopefully all will be well.

In the news:-

• Dave Lee Travis, DLT, aka 'the hairy cornflake' was questioned by police last week as part of investigations surrounding the whole Jimmy Savile affair. He's denying any wrongdoing, quite vehemently and I don't think he has any case to answer.
• Israel's throwing it's weight around in Gaza and looks as if it's planning a ground offensive.
• Voting for Police Commissioners has been and gone and nobody knew much about it, hence a very low turn-out at the polling booths. Having police commissioners means that everything will be like a scene from Batman. "Okay, Commissioner Gordon...". It also means that the Government can distance itself from police cuts and refer people to their police commissioner. Clever! But we're not stupid.
• The BBC's Children in Need Appeal raised just under £27 million, although I found it all a bit hypocritical after the Savile scandal.
• A meningitis jab has been given the go-ahead in the UK.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Remembrance Sunday 2012: to Westerham

Churchill on Remembrance Sunday 2012. Wearing a hat for some reason
Remembrance Sunday to be precise as many signs pointed out en route. Saturday had been a complete wash-out but, as predicted by the weathermen, Sunday was lovely. Not a cloud in the sky and the sun was shining, but it wasn't warm. In fact, when out of the sun it was cold, but bearable cold.
We opted for flapjacks rather than the Full English

We met at the Green at 0730hrs and noted that somebody – the council – had been busy tending the flowerbeds and mowing the lawns.

There were a few riders out and some runners and, as we headed out onto the B269, beyond the bus stop that signifies the end of the climb from Knight's Garden Centre, we saw low mists in the valley.

We'd decided to aim for Westerham, having not been there for a while and, if we're honest, we were getting a little fed up with the Tatsfield Bus Stop, which has played host for the last few weeks. The fact that we hadn't gone riding at all last week also meant that a longer ride was needed to balance the books.

When we got there, Churchill was wearing a hat and there was a lot of dew on the benches, so we stood up to drink our tea. I'd suggested the Tudor Tea Rooms, which was open for breakfast (now, that's pretty good considering it was Sunday) and there was a brief flirtation with a Full English, but having made (and carried) the flask of hot water all the way from Sanderstead, we decided to drink our own tea. And besides, Andy had the cereal bars too and my initial thought was powered by the closeness of a cashpoint machine – until I realised that I didn't have my cards on me.

In the end Andy stumped up for two flapjacks (giving me an excuse to 'use the facilities') and we munched them in the sun, watching a rather nice Harley Davidson park up. Our 'bike shop' was still up for rent, ever since Barclays vacated the premises some months ago (you'll find reference to this in past posts).
Andy just prior to heading home

Suitably refreshed, we packed up our stuff and headed for home, up Westerham Hill, past the Tatsfield Bus Stop and down the B269. Andy branched off on the track halfway along and I carried on towards the green, then the Limpsfield Road and home. I got back around 1015hrs.

Later in the day I took the family to Kingston for a wander around town. We bought some Cath Kidson mugs and came home. Very busy in Kingston and the car parks cost a fortune, but it's a nice enough place. We went down to the river, bought some wine for evening meal and then watched the Strictly Come Dancing results show.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Way to go, Obama!

How nice when commonsense prevails! Obama wins a second term! How nice to wake up and hear the   phrase, "'s been a disappointing night for the Republicans." Thank God we don't have Mitt in the White House. How the hell could he hope of winning the prize on the ticket of repealing Obama's healthcare plans? Imagine a Tory over here going into a General Election on the ticket of closing down the NHS?

But it's more than that; Mitt Romney would have ushered back that George 'Dubya' Bush thing: throwing his weight around in the Middle East, he's already had a go at the Palestinians. This world just don't need that square-jawed, National Rifle Association gung-ho! thing any more, nobody wants it.

Now, how about a cool leader over here in the UK? If it's not Clegg and it's DEFINITELY not Cameron, then who is it? Is it the mild-mannered janitor? Nope. Is it Grant Shapps? No way!!!! Just because he's related to Mick Jones, former lead guitarist of The Clash, doesn't mean he's cool. Far from it! I'm amazed that Mick hasn't run off and hidden in the woods. Being linked to Shapps takes away any 'cool' he might have possessed. What about Michael Gove? Nope! They're all horrible! And let's be fair here, it's not Ed Miliband either...but it could be his brother David.

Anyway, enough politics. It's good news all round for the Americans.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Heavy rain means no ride...

Well, yesterday was a bit of a strange one. It was raining over Caterham way but didn't really happen over here. Having said that, when it rains in Caterham, it normally hits here half an hour later, so the ride was aborted and guess what? It turned out to be a really pleasant, albeit cold, day.

So, Andy and I vowed to go today and head out to Chevening early. But when I woke up at just gone five in the morning, ready to spring out of bed at five thirty, I heard rain. Heavy rain. And then it stopped and when I peered out around six, all was dry. I was keeping in radio contact with Andy via text and the general feeling was to see how it developed. The rain stopped. Then it started again and I've just sent a 'definitely abort' text, meaning the ride is off. It's raining now. Heavily. Its thirteen past seven and there's no chance of a ride now.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Photograph of the Week

Is a caption necessary?
This shot was taken on last week's ride along the Sanderstead end of the Limpsfield Road.

Rain stops ride...

Well, I say rain, looking out now it's grey and overcast and looks a bit threatening, but I can't see any rain. Earlier this morning, it was too dark to see anything, although when I checked one of the streetlights out front, I couldn't see even a speck of rain. Hold on while I check the birdbath (it's nearly 7am and fairly light out there), I think we've missed a trick, it looks quite pleasant. The skies were grey but the clouds are moving fast in a westerly direction, there's a mild breeze, but no, not a sign of rain. It was wet out there, though, and then, of course, there's always that Caterham/Sanderstead thing where it rains in Caterham and then it starts over here too, so I might be acting a little 'previous', if you get my drift.

I'm dressed and ready to go as I write this, having agreed to an 'abort' about half an hour ago, so I guess I could just nip out there and take a run round the block on the bike, but no, it's cosy here and there's always the chance that it will rain. And besides, there are things to do this morning. We've agreed to head out to Westerham tomorrow, weather permitting, so let's see what develops.

Time for a quick update on the news here in the UK.

Come on, Obama, we don't want some square
jawed Republican in the White House.
In the ongoing investigations into child abuse surrounding the late Jimmy Savile, comedian Freddy Starr has been hauled in by the police. He protests his innocence, but if he's found guilty, he'll bring a whole new meaning to the headline, 'Freddy Starr ate my hamster'.
• There's a lot of child abuse around at the moment. Now there's a case in North Wales. Apparently two people have contacted Newsnight (the programme at the centre of the Jimmy Savile scandal with the BBC) and said that a Thatcher-era Tory politician is involved in something seedy. I wonder who that is? Mind you, Wales is a bit of a dodgy place. Lots of things have been happening there of late.
After Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast of the USA, crashing into New York City, the death toll mounts and they've had to cancel the New York Marathon.
• We're getting to the moment when America votes on a new president: Obama or Romney. Surely we can't have a President Mitt? Here's hoping Obama wins a second term.
Over here in the UK, the electrical goods retailer Comet has called in the administrators.

And, as I gaze out the window again, no sign of rain. Yes, it's one of those mornings when I feel a bit disappointed that I haven't got out there and taken a ride. I still could, but I just know that I won't. Here's hoping tomorrow will be rain-free.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Tatsfield Bus Stop...

Andy at the top of White Lane last Sunday. Note the Tatsfield Bus Stop
in the background.