A nearly invisible new bridge from Battersea to Pimlico

There’s a bridge right near where I live that is wending its way through politics to the point where geography and physics and civil engineering will take over, and they will actually start building it.

I refer to the biking-and-walking-only bridge that will eventually join Battersea to Pimlico:

The bridge is at the stage where they are trying to pacify objectors to it. Hence this Canaletto-like pseudo-photo, in which the actual bridge itself is hardly to be seen at all! How could anyone possibly object to this wraith-like presence, scarcely visible through the mist rising from the river and bathing everything in obscurity? The steel struts that will eventually to be seen holding up the actual bridge are invisible in this pseudo-photo, so it’s just as well that the bridge itself, as (just about) seen here, is made by laser-beams projecting into the mist and weighs nothing at all! If you want to protest, protest about those big lumpy old boats clogging up the river and making such a rumpus, not the ghost bridge.

That’s the trouble with infrastructure. Those who will be disrupted by it know exactly who they are, or they think they do. But the far greater number of people who will have their lives somewhat improved by by this or that item of infrastructure only find out about this after it comes on stream. On in this case, on river.

My guess is: I will like this bridge, and will quite often walk across it, if only to avoid a there-and-back-the-same-way walk to and from Battersea. (Now, to avoid this, I often take the train from Battersea to Victoria, and then walk home from there, past my local supermarkets.) But that’s only a guess. Meanwhile, those who now live in the peace and quiet of Georgian Pimlico just know that their sleep will from now on be ruined by noisy bike gangs at 4am, making their way from Notting Hill (after a spot of carnival rioting) to Brixton, and if not by that then by something else equally unwelcome, perhaps originating in Battersea and walking across the river, while probably being drunk. Why take the chance? So, if they can stop the bridge, they’ll stop it, just to make sure.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Challenging a Victorian myth with Twitter

Tom Holland, agreeing with this lady, says that this thread is a perfect illustration of why the Cromwell Museum’s approach to Twitter …:

… is an absolute model of what museums can achieve with the medium …

What the Cromwell Museum was saying, quite a while back now, was this:

A myth about Oliver Cromwell seen in films & TV is that he dressed dourly in black. The idea that all Puritans did is a Victorian myth; there isn’t a single contemporary portrait of Cromwell in black. He’s always depicted instead in armour or fine clothes.

Interesting. I agree that this is a very good use of Twitter.

I am still pondering whether to bother with Twitter. Its censorious left-wing political preferences repel me, and its wearisome slagging contests seem hard to avoid. (Said he, slagging off Twitter itself.) Postings like the above make me suspect that I may persevere. They also tell me how to use Twitter myself, if I ever do this more actively than now, even though I am not a museum.

LATER: See also, this, about another “myth”, this time based on a misunderstanding of clothing evidence.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Cats – Dogs – Hitler – and Surrey don’t win

Indeed:

I encountered this on Twitter this afternoon. This is now all over the www. But, I could not discern who had first taken this photo, or what they had said about it. Twitter is bad like that. People shove up photos like this one, but never say what their provenance is. The worst offender when it comes to not linking when they should is “You Had One Job”, a gang of internet thieves, basically. Whom I will not dignify with a link.

This has been a holding operation. I have three quarters finished at least two different postings, but I don’t want to rush them.

This one, on the other hand, I do want to rush. You want a funny caption? Do your own.

You what? I’m angry, and taking it out on you people? Damn right I’m angry. Surrey amassed a stupendous 250 in their T20 innings against Kent earlier this evening, and then instead of Kent failing to chase this down (Kent would definitely have failed to chase this down), it bloody rained and the two points were shared between the two sides. There ought to be a rule that says if you make that many, and then it rains, you automatically win. But is there such a rule? Is there? Of course not.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Weird unrehearsed performance anxiety dream

This morning, I had a strange dream. What with attending a couple of recent song performances given by GodDaughter2, my subconscious somehow persuaded itself that I was also having to do some singing, in front of a similarly discerning audience. But of course I had no idea what I was supposed to be singing. Also, my singing is ridiculous, and it has been ever since my voice broke. Nobody sane would gather into an audience to hear it. Nevertheless, there I was, on a stage, waiting to perform, with three other actual singers, totally clueless. So far so ordinary. A classic unrehearsed performance anxiety nightmare.

At this point, however, a slightly more conscious layer of my subconscious deduced, in an actually quite relaxed manner, that this was an unrehearsed performance anxiety nightmare. At which point, it told me to look the audience straight in their eyes, and I said words to the following effect: “This performance may seem like it’s going to be a dream for you, but actually, it’s really a nightmare. My nightmare. And I’m not having it. I’m not going to do any performing, and I am not going to feel bad about this. I’m out of here.” And I was. I left the stage, and all those present just had to deal with it.

At this point it got strange. Instead of me waking up, the dream carried right on. The media decided to take an interest. There were TV crews interviewing the other performers, the ones who had actually been doing some rehearsing. What was that about? Who was that bloke? It was quite a drama. As it would be, if a performer made a speech like the one my subconscious and I had just made. I tried to hide behind a door in the room where all this media frenzy was unfolding, but the media spotted me and advanced towards me. Only then did I wake up.

What did this mean? What was my subconscious telling me? The usual unrehearsed performance anxiety nightmare seems to say: rehearse better. This revised version seemed to say: relax. But relax about what, exactly?

They say that if you have a weird dream, then if you just write it down, as best you can, or, if you are the picture-drawing sort, if you draw yourself a picture, then whatever message your brain was trying to get noticed in another part of itself is from then on regarded as having been noticed, and the weird dream does not return. What matters is not the accuracy and quality of what you write or draw. Simply making the effort is enough.

It feels to me like this was something to do with getting old. Getting old means that you just get less bothered about things generally, and unrehearsed performance anxiety nightmares in particular. Time was when you worried about such things. Now, you just bugger off out of there. If others object, that’s their problem.

Also, if you think this is a bizarre blog posting, … well, you know, ditto.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

I came for bridges but mostly what I got was leaves

The pattern with all my best photo-expeditions is that there is an Official Designated Destination, and then there is all the other stuff I get to discover. The principle purpose of the ODD is to get me out of my snug little home and into the big wide world that is Outdoors, to see both the ODD and whatever else I bump into in the vicinity of the ODD.

And the ODD for my recent trip to Brittany via Paris was the top of Quimper Cathedral, from which I hoped to photo the numerous bridges across the river that flows through the middle of Quimper, past the Cathedral. Civilians are only allowed to climb to the top of Quimper Cathedral on very particular and rare days, and you have to book in advance. April 29th was such a day, which is why I journeyed to Quimper on April 28th. (I could not leave home earlier than that because on April 27th I had one of my Last Friday of the Month meetings.)

My Hostess (GodDaughter 2’s Mother) journeyed with me from London to Quimper, via Paris, and my Host (GodDaughter 2’s Father) and I duly presented ourselves at the big front door of the Cathedral, at the appointed hour of 4pm.

As we approached, we had already seen from below where we were presumably headed:

And so it proved.

So, how would all those bridges look?

Until this moment, the best picture of the bridges of Quimper that I had been able to take was this, which I found in a Quimper shop, way back in 2006:

But alas, in April 2018, the trees of Quimper were all covered in leaves, and when I pointed my camera at the bridges, leaves was pretty much all I got:

This was about the best I got of any of those bridges:

I see four bridges there. There are a lot more than four bridges in the middle of Quimper. Trees I like. But, I hate leaves on trees.

Was I upset about this, having come all that way? Not really. I’ve always wanted to see this view, and now I have seen it, along with lots of other things to be viewed from the same spot. This spot turned out, bridge-wise, not to be nearly as good as I had hoped, but at least I now know this. I’m not going to die wondering.

Besides which, the Official Designated Destination is not justified only by how good the thing itself is. At least as important is what else it causes me to encounter, and I encountered plenty. If the ODD is a disappointment, the trip as a whole can still be great, as this one was.

Now that I am home, I did a little further image googling, and in among a mass of photos of the bridges of Quimper from ground level, with the nearest bridge almost entirely blocking the view of all the others, I found this one aerial shot:

I can tell you from the scaffolding that this photo, even though this is the first time I’ve ever seen it, was probably taken in 2006, because all my Quimper Cathedral photos when I went there in 2006 also had one of the Cathedral towers smothered in scaffolding. That was in September. My guess is that the above aerial photo was taken earlier that summer.

Tourisme Bretagne needs to get in touch with 6k. If he’s not free to photo those bridges from above, maybe he could recommend someone. Or maybe they could find a place towards the top of a building closer to the bridges whose owner would be willing to allow bridgists to come and photo all the bridges. Those bridges are a huge tourist asset, and they need to get them seen, and photoed by visitors, in all their glory.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog

Yet more photoers

Yes, I don’t think I’ll ever get totally tired to taking photos of photoers, like the ones below, all taken during a recent walk with my friend Tony (who is GodDaughter2’s Dad) along Victoria Street, past Westminster Abbey and Parliament, and then on over the River and past the Wheel.

Lots of woolly hats and gloves and furry clothes, and hair. I especially like how the hair of the lady in 2.2 is lit up green, and also a bit of red.

Click and enjoy:

Seven smartphones. Two old school cameras, like my one. Smartphones have totally swallowed the dedicated-but-little camera market, although you do still see them around.

Originally posted at Brian Micklethwait’s Old Blog