Saturday 6 November 2010

The World's Most Inefficient Meeting

So, yeah, yesterday I went to a meeting (well, really more of a project launch) in a stone building, in the middle of a field, in a town called Hope. Well, actually, it seemed a bit hopeless, at least to begin. I woke at the ungodly hour of 445, made my bacon, eggs and beans, and pedalled rather wearily towards St Pancras station. The train, the 637 to Sheffield, was delayed by about 20 minutes, for some unknown reason. Unknown for a while, anyway. Pulling out into the gradually brightening northern suburbs, we crept along and eventually stopped. Then started. Then stopped again. Ah, signalling problems. Or perhaps the wrong kind of air. You just never know. Fortunately, to make up for the late departure, the conductor announced that the train was actually going to end at Derby ("Darby"), about 40 miles south of Sheffield. This meant we could take the next scheduled service to Sheffield, which was running on time, and therefore arrive at our destination on time. Cool trick - I should try that when I'm running late! This also had the unfortunate effect of making me miss my connecting train to Hope, the result being that I was over an hour late to the 2.5 hour long meeting.

Now, me being me, I brought my bike along on this trip, knowing that I could make use of the rest of the afternoon to poodle around on my bike, in the Peak District, on company time. Also a good trick. The bike was also quite handy, as the company hosting the meeting was about 1.5 miles from the train station, up this absurdly steep road, in the aforementioned stone building in the middle of a field. Very pretty - not hugely efficient though travelling what turned out to be over four hours north for what then turned out to be a 1.5 hour meeting (as I missed the first hour). Again though, on the fortunate for me front, I got to the thing just as the guy was actually getting around to talking about the product, which, as it turns out, isn't something I think we'd want. So, one coffee, a few cookies and several questions later, I was freed to cycle off into the gathering grey.

I had this great plan to cycle back to Derby, about 45 miles, then get the train back. All tickets were bought and collected, and the ride was planned out on my Garmin. I didn't, however, take into account the rather large hills (it's not called the Peak District for nothing, you know...). Anyway, I didn't make it far - too many places to stop and admire the view, not to mention that I kept having to stop and piddle around with my gears - turns out the indexing was off - always a good thing to find out when one has to shift every 3 seconds. Decided on a loop ride back to Sheffield, which meant I had to buy another ticket back to London. £59.50. Ouch. Work, however, is going to pay. They sent me off to the ends of the Earth for this silly meeting for a useless product they won't buy. Anyway, I need to head back to the Peak District on a day when I have a lot more time - it's the perfect cycling place - tiny little empty roads, climbing, for no apparent reason, up and over ridiculously steep hills. Might pick a day with slightly better weather as well - weather that doesn't test the GoreTex in my new jacket (which actually works pretty well). Anyway, ride was lovely, and pics to follow. The train ride back though was almost as lovely as the ride up. Sheffield Station was heaving with students, heading off for the weekend. The train was packed and I got yelled at for putting my bike into the disabled space (because of all the nonexistent disabled people on the train). We sat for a good 40 minutes, unmoving, south of Sheffield, b/c some dumbass had pushed something onto the tracks. So, that made about seven hours of travel for 90 minutes of sitting in an overheated room with a bunch of other nerdy types, listening to a rambling presentation about a buggy, not-yet-completed piece of software that costs more money than the department has to spend. Nice bike ride though, and, as we all know, that's what matters... :-)

Anyway, David and I spent the day today talking to a bathroom designer, who managed to sell us a complete new bathroom for a giant amount of money. Looks very pretty on CAD. Read some bad reviews about the company though, so, of course, not I'm worrying. Sigh - I'll be very happy once we're moved and settled. Tomorrow we're off to the furniture store to look at sofas. Wee!

Ooh, pretty field and hill, just to the south of Hope.

Almost the Grand Canyon - just give it a few more years (and fewer sheep).

The first of many climbs.

Stone walls in fields - I have no idea how old those are, but they are old enough to be covered in lichen - must have been a lot of random slate lying around these parts!

Aww, it's the town of something-or-other - very scenic, anyway!

Larch plantation - there are quite a lot of replanted areas around here, but, like the rest of Britain, the original forests were felled years and years ago for fuel, ships, etc.

It's the town of Chewandswallow (I might have made that up) again. Fantastic long (though unfortunately bumpy) hill heading down towards the town.

Beech trees - one of my faves.

Ah yes - rain. Wouldn't be a British autumn ride without rain.

Looking east across the moors. All we need is some Sherlock Holmes mist and we're good to go!

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