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The Chapel, Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge.
I have a sentimental attachment to this place, because I got married here nearly 24 years ago. At that time, it was beautifully lit with candles. But I have to admit that, most of the rest of the time, the dark oak and limited light makes it rather gloomy. It takes some careful photography to do it justice by natural light.
Click image for a larger version.
Tilly and I were surprised, when we arrived at Wimpole Hall for our morning walk, to find about three hundred people in brightly-coloured footwear also arriving at the same time. It was some kind of running event.
Though it was a gorgeous morning and location for doing it, this isn’t an activity that has ever particularly appealed to me, for two reasons. The first is that I learned at school that I couldn’t run to save my life, nor, therefore, partake effectively in any sports which depended on it. This was made clear to me through that strange Darwinian process, peculiar to the school environment, known as Humiliation of the Weakest.
But the second reason is that almost everyone I know who did much running in their youth suffered for it in later life. Running is a system for improving the health of your heart, lungs and arteries at the expense of your knees, legs and feet. This is possibly a trade-off worth making: your life will probably be longer, though you’re likely to spend more of it on an electric scooter in your later years. But unless you actually enjoy it, there are better ways to get fit, and that trade-off is only worth making, I would suggest, if swimming or hiking don’t appeal!
Still, it does appear to be the fad of the decade. On my morning dog-walks across Grantchester Meadows I encounter more joggers these days than cyclists or other walkers, something which would never have been the case a few years ago. And I think a big part of this must be the advent of phones, watches and fitness bands which bring more immediate gamification to what would otherwise be a somewhat tedious and often solitary activity. You can compete against your devices, even when there’s nobody else around, and we humans do respond well to a challenge!
Now, there may be some other reason. I don’t really watch TV, so for all I know there may be some popular ‘Celebrity Jogging’ programme that’s been topping the charts in recent years. But, if it is really down to the gadgets, then they aren’t going to vanish, so perhaps this isn’t just a current trend whose favour will ebb and flow like, say, skateboarding, but a more fundamental and long-term change in the popularity of running.
In which case, it may be time to buy shares in Nike. Or in electric mobility scooters.
My friend Jade, helping me walk Tilly this afternoon.
I tend to post quick links to Twitter (from where they’re cross-posted to Facebook), but I know from long experience that if you want to keep a record of anything and have some chance of finding it again in future, you need to keep it yourself.
So here are a few interesting things from the past week:
TheConversation is a news-analysis and opinion site where the authors are academics. Their tagline: ‘Academic rigour, journalistic flair’. If you want serendipitous news discovery with intelligent writing, but old media just isn’t doing it for you, this may be worth a try.
Old URLs don’t die, they just get reincarnated. Beware of letting your old DNS domains lapse, especially if they live on in a tangible form.
This map of the Granta Backbone Network will interest any Cambridge people wondering how the university networks connect together.
The Wolfson@50 talks continue to be interesting and informative. Andy Herbert brought his mobile computer, an Elliot 903, to his talk on Wednesday.
While he set it up, John recorded the event on his more powerful one.
While walking my dog in the fens yesterday, I saw a windmill, some miles away on the horizon.
That wasn’t unusual around here.
But its sails were turning, and that was.
I set out on a search, and found it in the little village of Wicken, where Dave, Mary Ellen and Alan kindly showed me around.
It was a thoroughly inspiring visit – a beautiful sunny day with lots of wind, and as I climbed higher and higher, the whole building thrummed, almost purred, with an energy that rose and fell with the gusts.
I also captured some quick footage on my iPhone.
(Also on Vimeo here).
Definitely recommended if you’re in the area when it’s open – usually the first weekend of the month.
© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser