Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Juneathon Day 13 - A heron and an airship

Juneathon Day 13 - A heron and an airship
Cycle - 16 miles, Time - 1hr 14min, Weather - some blue sky and clouds
My normal practise in Juneathon is to post a photo taken on the day but today is different. I needed a picture of a heron the latest one I have is this from a month ago. Nevermind, it will have to do.
On a single-track, country lane, around a bend I saw a heron standing in the middle of the road. As I approached he flew off a few yards further down the road and again stood in the middle. I slowed down and with as little movement as possible approached to see how close I could get. Close but not very close, then he flew away again and the game was repeated. After 3 or 4 goes he flew away over the fields but it left me with a smile.  Already this was a good ride and it showed the difference between what I do and training: I am happy with gentle diversions and am paying no heed to the clock.
After the heron there was another lull as I watched a proper airship moving slowly across the sky. I looked lovely, floating, almost still. Aeroplanes may rule the sky but they do not have the visual splendour of a blimp, gently moving at its own slow pace. They are also a reminder of a time, in the 1920s and 30s, when airships were seen as a vehicle for lang haul flights. The R101 was designed to link the distant parts of the Empire, such as India and Australia, and was huge. If you are ever travelling south of Bedford you will see the two Cardington airship hangers built to house the R101, loom up out of the flat landscape (a sense of their scale can by looking at the satellite view on Google Maps and compare the size of the village to the two hangers in the south west corner). For metal sheds they are awe inspiring.
There is a link between the two sightings: one of the reasons I find heron fascinating is that their gaunt shape makes it very easy to see how birds evolved out of dinosaurs, as for airships I think of them as mechanical dinosaurs of the sky.

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