Thursday, November 24, 2005

Moments not to forget your camera ...

So, I was cycling to the train station today. As anyone who has ever visited Cambridge would know, it's famous for its rising bollards.

Yes, yes, centuries of tradition, punting on the Cam, Harry Potter gowns, what really freaks people out are the rising bollards.

The edges of the down-town pedestrian area, and certain taxi-and-busses only points in the one-way system, are guarded by these stout metal poles about 3 feet high that rise out of the ground. There has been much debate about how they work, but a cabbie informed me vehicles that are allowed to pass are fitted with transponders.

anyway, the bollards at the edge of the pedestrian area rise at 10 am and lower at 4 pm, Monday through Saturday.

Today, as I passed the set near august St John's college, there was what looked like a roadwork crew milling about and a car parked in front of the bollards.

All I thought was: "Do they expect me to get off and walk, or can I just duck round the side here and carry on?"

As I did just that, I glanced back.

A gorgeous, new model silver VW Beetle was precariously astraddle two semi-risen bollards: one under each tire. The left one had come about two-thirds of the way up, the right only about a foot. The Vee-Dub's bumper sloped forlornly left-to-right.

Someone must've tried to slip past at 10. Or not know of their existence. Or had their clock set wrong.

And I didn't have my camera, dammit.

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