PHOTOS OCTOBER 2007
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Not many photos this month, folks. Well, in fact there were, but they have for the most part been pigeonholed into other websites and when I finally get around to preparing my database of places where Caliburn and I have slept, there will be even fewer in here.
I took this one in France down on my farm back in mid-October as I was packing up ready to go to the UK. It made me realise that winter was on its way, with all of the birds heading off to fly south (and the direction they were heading was almost directly south too).
The bird at the apex of the triangle has the hardest job of all. It needs to carve out a passage through the air and take the wind head-on. The birds farther behind have the benefit of the disturbed air and the slipstreaming effect which makes flying easier. Not that I know too much about these things, but I'm told that the birds rotate the lead position amongst themselves in order to spread the burden.
And you all know why birds fly south in winter, don't you? Well, the answer is that it takes too long to walk.
One of the most convenient places to stop for the night has to be the Midway Truckstop at Prees Heath, where the A49 meets the A41 just south of Whitchurch in Shropshire. There's plenty of space for parking in the two large lorry parks here so you have plenty of company. The lorry parks are actually payparks so keep out of there, but the road that you can see between one of the lorry parks and the truckstop where Caliburn is parked is a quiet little side road, so I'm sure that parking here is free and covered by the rules of the public highway.
You might be wondering why it's called the Midway. Well, I don't really know for sure but this spot just happens to be about halfway between the Black Country and the Merseyside ports. So back in the 1930s when trunk road haulage was starting to take over from railfreight and with the 30mph speed limit, this would have been a convenient place to stop for a brew.
But I'm only surmising.
Many of you know that I'm doing some reseach into the collapse of the Tay Bridge in 1879, and in October I went up there to Wormit to have a good look around and take some photos, that I'll put up on the web in due course.
I found a nice little place to park up for the night. You can see Caliburn in the distance, almost underneath the new bridge at the side of the road in a parking area used by the adjacent tennis club. It was quite quiet until everyone started making a racquet "groan"...ed at about 08:00, but even that wasn't disagreeable.
No services, so the plantpot beichstuhl is almost obligatory. And another downside to this is that the goods on sale at the local shop are ... er ... shall we say "minimal"? So bring your own breakfast.
"Minimal" isn't a word that can be lightly used about this place of repose in Dunfermline. It backs onto some kind of pub-restaurant place so an evening meal is always a possibility. In the background you can see a D-i-Y store, handy if you run out of gas or need some other useful gadget. At the other end of the car park is a huge 24-hour ASDA with absolutely everything else that you might need.
Just a little word of warning though. There is a café in the Asda, but it is managed by that company whose name shall not be uttered anywhere where I am ever likely to be. So those of you with the more refined sense of ethics might prefer to brew up the morning coffee in the comfort and privacy of your own van.