18 Mar 2018

18th March 2018 Ever onwards!


Sunday 18th 25F, -4C, overcast, windy with snow flurries. Gusts are supposed to have dropped from 20m/s to about 13m/s. Possible threat of sunshine later. We'll see, when the snow stops falling. I may be suffering from undiagnosed hypothermia because I'm getting a bit clumsy and forgetful. Or perhaps it's something in the water?

Denmark gets all its drinking water from deep bore holes. Now these are having to be abandoned in droves after decades of pouring pesticides onto the land. In the absence of ass's milk I suppose it's another excuse to give up winter bathing. The bathroom is below zero anyway and the black slime on the walls has turned to catching insects for protein. It's lucky we have no pets! Pass the bottled water, please? I seem to have a chronic deficit of plastic in my diet.

Well, I'm back from my first winter attempt to reach the local village in new Ecco boots unsupported by a backup team or even an official GBR observer. I had resolutely refused to wear odd coloured socks just to gain a new <cough> 2018 GuinessWorldRecord. So they had told the newspapers I had abandoned my futile attempt! Not even a hovering helicopter, with emergency medical staff and copious supplies of blood bags, bothered to trail my faltering gait.

A small gaggle of international "Outdoor Wear" journalists sheltered in their smart 4WDs to avoid the boredom of watching me struggle against the odds. They had to make do with their SUHD8K600FPS "wearable" wrist monitors to watch me though their whining, SUHD8K600FPS drone cameras. Which were diving and ducking in aerial combat overhead. As I staggered, ever onwards, step by agonizing step. Warm blood oozed to the top of  my boots to run down the oh-so-recently pristine, Taiwanese, yak leather. I glanced back briefly, to see I had etched a weaving, comic-tragic trail of pointless and bloody devastation in the thin layer of freshly fallen snow. I expect the evidence will soon be washed away by the road salting lorries.

It was a Sunday, after all, so my torment seemed somehow, hideously appropriate. Not that the solitary churchgoer cared as he roared into the knee-deep, church car park gravel in an immaculate, metallic gold, Volvo, people carrier, without even bothering to indicate. Perhaps it was just the bishop come to check the takings to see if he could upgrade from his late, last year's model? The accessories do seem to quickly become out-dated and it's only taxpayer's compulsory deductions after all. Global warming threatens but all the churches have their heating on regardless of [non]attendances. I was quite tempted to go in for a warm up but I might have been seen as an unwanted vagrant and turfed out. 

Now I'm safely back to the 54F, 12C of our cosy, open-plan cottage, after an overnight low of 48F, 9C indoors. The wood stove is consuming prodigious quantities of imported, commercial, compressed sawdust blocks but failing to dent the miserably cold conditions.

We are lucky to actually have the stove working at all! After a faceless bureaucrat slapped an immediate ban on we two septuagenarians daring to even think about lighting our stove. This, in the middle of one of the coldest winters in recent memory. We have no other heating system!

The oil fired central heating was already dying when we bought this shabby hovel on our arrival in chilly Denmark. So I stripped it all out so we could cross the internal thresholds without having to step over 1" iron pipes running literally everywhere. It's lucky they fitted joints in the piping. They never bothered when they did the drains from the toilet out to the septic tank. Just two bare pipe ends arranged near each other on the subsoil under the bathroom floor.

It's not surprising really. There are no home improvement grants in Denmark. The rich can get a tax break when they employ Eastern European labour, "on the black"  to have wine cellars, indoor swimming pools or a fourth garage put in. But that's about it, really.

Our crime against humanity which warranted our deliberately slow, official execution by hypothermia? We had refused to let a tyrannical, racist sweep into our home to do any further vandalism. The one [commercial] sweep, who enjoys a complete monopoly on council mandated, chimney sweeping over a vast area had a nice line going in bullying the elderly. There were letters to the paper but the council didn't care. They didn't care when a rash of chimney fires followed him around the hamlet after his annual sweeping. More like polishing chimney tar with his brush but let's not be picky.

Our foul breach of Jante's Law required we be severely punished without leave to appeal. We are [Western European] immigrants after all and benign socialism counts for bugger all where strict rules must always be observed.

Unless you are Danish, of course and want to illegally burn lorry loads of demolition timber. Which has to be sawn with a screaming circular saw and chainsaws. Then split using a roaring tractor with its hydraulic implement, right outside "Johnny foreigner's" living room windows for two whole decades. The tractor was left running three meters from our windows even while they went in to watch football. The inhalation of toxic smoke counts for nothing under Jante's Law. Not when trailer loads of firewood have to satisfy the local black market.

Fortunately I was able to persuade a kind and wonderfully polite sweep, to visit us from outside his usual territorial borders. He came and did a proper job for the first time in many years. He wasn't half thorough too! Despite the rain and gales up there on the roof he left us feeling all snugly and warm inside! What a true gentleman! He didn't even try to trash our ridge tiles while he was up there.

Instead of filling our home with soot and denting the furniture with his filthy brush, the new sweep seemed more determined to give our chimney a really good clean. Strangely enough we weren't even berated for being unemployed scroungers at 70. When, in fact, I had worked for a vast, Danish conglomerate for nearly a decade before forced, early retirement. Our Danish owned factory, like so many others, was exported to China in exchange for a new Audi A4 with all the extras.

So, the ban on our wood stove was finally lifted on appeal by our wonderful new sweep. The local bureaucrat officially lifted our imminent execution after several terrifying weeks on death row. 😰

Click on any image for an enlargement.