On Numbers (43)

Between rain and dusk

Over the hills and back again

Pedalling fury!


n.b. Sometimes you just get lucky and the weather breaks fall perfectly. Taking advantage of this, my cycling buddy and I sped around 43 km of Norfolk countryside today in a couple of hours. It was an almost total escape from some of the nonsense found elsewhere in the media, but not quite. I had to share the photo. We chose to avoid this complete dead-end. You may notice that the sign looks like it’s been badly beaten.

Strangely we seemed to speak to more people in passing than we might have done without Lockdown 2. Norfolk is a place where people talk to each other…at a safe distance. Maybe the distancing helps conversation. What do you think? As someone brought up in England I rather find a little physical distancing to my liking. Depends who it is though.

CLP 12/11/2020

On the Broads

Sugar refinery

Unashamedly ugly

Birds seem more reserved


n.b. Groups of bird watchers wander abroad armed with binoculars, telescopes, cameras with telephoto lens extensions, all studiously seeking out the latest over-wintering migrants amongst the reeds and ponds of the Norfolk Broads.

Meanwhile the sugar beet refinery, run by British Sugar, continues to churn out more of what we should eat less of in the background.

As manufacturers reduced the amount of fat used in food production, the sugar (or energy) quotient increased. There are important debates being held about sugar consumption and the health risks of the unhealthy quantities of free sugars in processed food and how they are used in domestic food preparation.

For more information follow this link to the UK based charity for diabetics and research into diabetes.

British Sugar is doing OK. Part of Associated British Foods, precise figures about its profitability are hard to come by, but as the sole purchaser and refiner of British grown sugar beet, they are in an interesting position when it comes to setting prices it will pay to UK farmers for their produce.

If you have the appetite to explore the topic of sugar and health and the complex economics of the sugar industry and its implicit historical relationship with slavery, a good place to start is in this Guardian article.


CLP 24/10/2020

On Pleasure vii

Weary travellers

Take overdue refreshment.

Sun turns sky silver

n.b. Surlingham Ferry. The Ferry House hove into view, somehow knowing a drinks break was needed after 4 hours of an impromptu cycle ride. Interesting cloud formations and sunset too.

CLP 06/09/2020

Towny Owl

Summer’s heat, unnatural to Norwich

lingers, holds the city in a blanket,

slowly smothers dreams of sleep we long for,

laid out breathless, adrift on airless beds,

praying for the day’s end, “Please, let us be.”


Kissing the window, backlit by street lamps,

leaves of birch resemble ukiyo-e,

nature frozen in delicate block print.


The hillside wood across the way breathes out,

its cool canopy shelters waking life,

silent flitting of bats and cautious mice,

timid nocturnal snuffling of the shrew,

fearful of false movement now she has heard

the mournful call of night’s hunting bird


n.b. I was delighted to hear a tawny owl’s call in the August heat of the city, where the night is silent by comparison to the heath of Salthouse and the shifting shingle of the North Sea coast.


CLP  24th August, 2020

On Waking

Locked in combat

Fitful thoughts leave us flailing

Sleep slays our demons


n.b. This carving in Cley-next-the-sea is un-dated. It may be from the C18th, or possibly older, or more recent. It amuses me that St. George appears to be asleep on his dopey steed, whilst despatching the dragon.

A good kip can see off all manner of worries, even a monster like this one.


CLP 14/07/2020