Saturday, June 30, 2012


This event  in London a couple of days has finally brought some semi official recognition of the sacrifices made by the aircrew of RAF bomber command, after they were shunned at the the end of the war by a government trying to distance itself from the outcomes of it's own strategy. It brought to mind this graphic, which I came across a wee while ago (I can't remember where), and was saving for use one day. It shows in a way that numbers can't the sheer scale at which World War 2 was fought (click to enlarge).
Each Lancaster had a crew of seven, each Mosquito two, with thousands more needed to service, arm and organise the aircraft, and thousands more on the other side trying to stop them. On this raid losses among the attackers were light at only 9 aircraft, but on one occasion (Nuremberg in 1944) 96 bombers were downed in the space of a few hours. On the ground thousands were killed or de-housed.

It's a distraction that the particular raid chosen for the graphic was the notorious one on Dresden, since it might suggest that was a special effort. In fact the horrific result at Dresden was the atypical aspect; the resources used to achieve it were not. By the mid to latter stages of the war raids of this size were sent against Germany most nights practicable, with the USAAF doing the same by day. And this was only one aspect of one theatre of the war.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Mug Tray Jenga

Slight interruption in the regular blogging thing at the moment, due to a combination of being busy with off-line stuff, and coming up with all kinds of stuff to post but ending up like that scene in The Matrix where Neo can only sit and stare at his computer screen when it comes to posting it. I need to coincide the inspiration with the times I can get it down on pixel. In the meantime, today some colleagues and I came up with a new game to play at work, after noticing that once the top tray of mugs empties people just go for the next one down without placing the empty tray to one side. We call it Mug Tray Jenga :)

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Thoughts from the saddle

The hip problem that dogged my autumn has mostly gone away now, enough for me to carefully resume regular riding*. Just in time for winter.

Here is my gear drying out after riding home in the rain last night.
It has occurred to me that I must be turning into a 'true' cyclist or something, in that weather becomes less and less of a concern. As long as I have somewhere at the end of my ride to get changed and/or dry out as required I'm not bothered by the elements. Last evening was forecast for gale force winds and heavy rain and I didn't bat an eye before heading into the fray. I missed the wind but got the rain. Once you're acclimatised it can be kind of pleasant. Only my hands and legs wind up getting really wet, and at times I quite like being out in the rain.

After overnight heavy rain and thunderstorms, by dawn this morning local weather picture looked like this for my ride to work. This was about as warm as it got all day.

My stream of thought on this morning's ride went something like this (not untypically):

Wow it’s a bit bitter this morning. Lucky I’m riding a bike to keep me warm. Apart from my hands and feet.

The waterproofing I put on my jacket the other day seems to be holding up well.

Go on clouds, hail, I dare you.

Why is this song stuck in my head? Worst song they ever released.

Some more thunder and lightning would be fun right now.

Polypro's keep you warm even when they are wet. I’m not getting as wet as I thought I would be though.

Weather like this is great for thinning out traffic on the trails (unless you're an earthworm, in which case it seems to encourage you to rise from the depths and see if the grass is greener on the other side of the trail).

I must be getting fitter, since I’m not working as hard as I thought I would be.

Two lane roundabouts utterly do not work for bikes

You can sit in your cars and laugh but I’m having more fun than you are.

Why is it every time I ride over this narrow two lane bridge with no shoulder it coincides with a truck going the same direction?

Gas heated mains-pressure showers at work are ace

* as well as my other physical activities. Not quite back to normal yet ability wise but getting there. I seem to have lost a little bit of speed and power, but the fitness is coming back steadily.