20 Aug 2013

19th August 2013

Monday 19th 63F, 17C, overcast, humid and only a light breeze. No ill effects from yesterday's silliness. Off we, jolly well, go. A pleasant ride in light winds. It seems that white van man has made the genetic jump backwards to fully fledged ape. I base my thesis on a shrieking example which passed me in a village. The garden is full of butterflies, bees and hover flies again. My email service is broken to addresses in the UK. Somebody tell the NSA/CIA/GCHQ/MI5.1 (whatever) that they are only supposed to read them. Not stop them completely! 19 miles.

Tuesday 20th 56-67F, 13-19C, still, rather cloudy. A delightful ride down to the outskirts of Faaborg via the bjergevej "mountain roads" of Håstrup. I took a few pictures along the way for the blog. The countryside really is beautiful, and very hilly, on this route. The steep, heavily patched lanes make no allowance for mere mortals as the tarmac rears up and falls away again in quick succession. High hedges and dense woods give way to stunning glimpses out over the distant, glittering sea and strips of offshore islands far below. (Well, by Danish standards anyway)

Those fortunate enough to live in the area enjoy a degree of peace often missing from this crazy world in its headlong dash to be nowhere in particular. A bit of a headwind had sprung up on the way back uphill from Svanninge's famous, black-spired church. I saw fewer cars on the roads than there were harvesters in the heavily corrugated and toppling fields. Vaughan Williams would definitely have approved of today's "pastoral" scenery.

Despite my endless moaning I am incredibly grateful to be able to enjoy the quiet pleasures of the Danish countryside at such close quarters. Much of it is so unspoilt compared with the endless din and rush of traffic in Gravely Blighted. In comparison Denmark's south Fyn is still much like I remember the 1950s of rural England.

As children we cycled , walked and rollerskated the roads and lanes without fear of the hideously roaring monster which traffic has now become. No child who lived later than the early 1960s will have the slightest inkling of the utter peace which had lain over rural England for countless centuries.

The sound of a distant church clock striking. A fence post being smacked home rang clear across the gently waving fields as we watched movement without sound. A cow expressing her delight in the flower rich meadow from miles away.  Hedges full of busy birds and noisy insects enjoying the wild flowers in profusion.

Age had softly mellowed the unspoilt villages before new money laid waste to tradition in their haste to "improve their investment." Consigning centuries of quiet and passive generation change to the council estates of the city. As agriculture became a one man band and then a cooperative and finally a foreign hedge fund investment. The clatter and roar of machinery replacing bent backs and the practised toil of sinewy, chestnut brown forearms and twitching and lopsided, greasy tweed caps through the ever-changing seasons.

The old gentleman tends his decorative Box mushrooms with a ready twinkle in his eye for a passing cyclist. He too knows the futility of it all and is comfortably resigned to the inevitable.

The car brought noisy newcomers from the city and destroyed the peace forever. They had no idea how to behave with respect for those who really worked "for a living." Traffic has done far more harm to the countryside and its former society than all the wars combined. Now it has sucked the last remaining life from the villages. The thriving village shop, butchers and post office have all long gone. Along with the meeting places for all. Where every name was known and exchanged for a dollop of respect and small change and serving in a shop was a finely honed skill. Usually involving men in aprons, a well polished comedy routine, a quickness of wit and a constant twinkle in the eye.

All to be replaced by the distant supermarket staffed by indifferent teenagers on the rat-run commute "home" to the gentrified, temporary dormitory. Where the occupants without geographical roots or loyalty move steadily "upmarket" as annual bonuses, funds and the markets allow. The only time they get together is when their "property" values are threatened by an even worse menace than themselves.

Is there a village left in England where a roadside bench makes any sense at all? Where are their former occupants now? The low voices, the surprised laughter and the gesticulating of gnarled walking sticks driven back by the endlessly passing, supermarket juggernauts. Even the erratic bustle and rattle of the ubiquitous branch line railway has long deserted the village. It could never compete with the endless roar of  the traffic on the bypass. As vast fortunes of taxpayer's hard earned were poured into road building, demolition and building soul destroying concrete structures. 38 thoroughly enjoyable miles.

Wednesday 21st 55F,13C, still, bright with high cloud. Sunny and windy later. Not a good day. I still can't send emails to specific addresses in England. The moment I stuck my head out of the door it was nearly blown off by industrial strength perfume trying disguise a bouquet of pig shit with an after-taste of choking mink food and retch-worthy mink shit. I hate Danish supermarket chains for their incompetence and ignorance. Let's throw in fraudulent advertising for good measure.  At least the dog wasn't loose, this time, at the Ebberup Machine Station. 21 miles.

Thursday 22nd 58F, 19C, light winds, cloudy. It is supposed to brighten up.

Rant/You really have to laugh: The Bag Lady (PM of Denmark) has decided to tax those who use woodburning stoves. Apparently it would be too difficult to check if anybody actually has a stove. Despite the mandatory, annual chimney sweep's visit to every home. So she (The Bag Lady) is putting a tax on the fuel when it is purchased commercially. Logs, blocks, pellets etc. (all green energy) will now be taxed at the sales point.

The idea (allegedly) is to make the wood burner pay for their particle release into the atmosphere. Let's completely ignore the huge masses of Danish drivers who went over to chip-tuned, diesel cars when the gov't decided to meddle in fuel pricing. The result of which is an increasing smog of diesel carbon particles in every town and city. <cough-cough-cough>

The fabled Danish district heating is horribly expensive and only available in towns and cities. Denmark is mostly rural with countless detached homes and tiny scattered hamlets. All of which haven't a hope in hell of "enjoying" the expensive, gas fired (fossil CO2 releasing!) district heating. There is also a lot of imported East European timber going into the district heating systems. It's enough to make you hot under the collar! ;-)

Now here's the really funny part in all of this: Demolition contractors offer lorry loads of waste, mostly painted timber. Those daft enough to take "advantage" of this "generous free offer" can then heat their homes and water practically free of charge. This, very obviously, highly toxic mix of materials may include plywood, coated chipboard, Formica and MDF etc. As well as having heavy metal paints and plastic finishes from a time when toxicity was largely ignored and house painters died young. Presumably this ready source of woodburning fuel and highly toxic carcinogens will remain tax free? <cough>

I have just been down the drive to park the wheely dustbin so that the lorry can easily reach it. A few minutes outside the house and my clothes now stink of burning! So, Watson, how do we know your neighbours are burning these free painted planks and board materials? Because they have huge demolition contractors lorries dumping their loads in broad daylight. Their carports are full of rough and broken painted planks. AND the lucky free fuel owners still use their knackered chainsaws and circular saws to cut it all up! Cutting logs takes far longer than zipping through thin, painted planks. Even a fool can tell the difference in the sound! <cough>

So who is really as thick as two short planks? The painted wood burners? Or The Bag Lady? <cough>

I went to the local council to ask whether it was allowed to burn these highly toxic materials when our house filled repeatedly with the smell of burning paint. We are both suffering from constant coughs and endlessly clearing our throats. <cough> Nothing happened! The burning goes on uninterrupted! Black smoke still belches from their chimneys. Even in a 80+F heat wave the three car family still needs to heat its free hot water! <cough>

Y'all couldn't make it up! <cough>  LOL.<cough>

<cough> /rant. <cough>

Went for a ride through the Gelsted forest to cheer myself up and get some fresh air. A lady pheasant refused to leave the road as I passed slowly by. They have a naughty habit of crossing your path if they panic. The harvesting is still in full swing. With harvesters blowing clouds of dust and hay bails of all shapes and sizes now dotting the landscape. Tractors and trailers toil back and forth with the drivers all welded to their mobile phones. A good day for insects. The swallows were out in huge numbers today. Yellowhammers foraging on the road. The tarmac chaps were busy on some stretches. 24 miles.

Uspolerede stråtækt bindingsværk stuehus > Unspoilt, thatched and half-timbered farmhouse.

Friday 23rd 56F,13C, light breeze, sunny. I'm expecting trouble on the streets. Carlsberg has run out of stocks of fizzy sugar bombs due to a strike. If the sugar addicts can't get their heavily subsidised "gas bottles" at the supermarket it might get very ugly. People could get crushed to death! Or something.

Talking of deliberately causing your own ill health: The government has put only 3Kr (30p) on a 39DKK (£3.90) packets of fags. In a recent poll half the population want the price doubled or more. The government says that will just lead to border smuggling. Historically, large numbers of Danes have driven down to Germany to buy their fags, booze and sugar bombs in border hypermarkets. Which might suggest that it is petrol and diesel which aren't remotely expensive enough! Or they place no value on their own time as they might if they were working. I have an appointment for a hip scan today. So only 10 miles. Two choruses of; "Your leg bones are connected to your hip bone?" 

Saturday 24th 58-68F, 14-20C, windy, sunny with of a cloudless sky. It was blowing a gale by the time I escaped. Even in the forest there was a strong wind. 19 miles. Plus 8 miles later. Still a strong and gusty easterly.

Sunday 25th 70F, 21C, very windy, warm and sunny. Just a gentle, afternoon tootle for 13 miles. Lots of classic cars about in the lanes.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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