20 Jan 2014

20th January 2014

Monday 20th 34F, 1C, gales, very heavy overcast. Wintry showers forecast. My hip is still painful and kept me awake last night. I also have a respiratory infection with constant clearing of my throat, burning, wetness and shortness of breath. That didn't help me sleep either. As the gales are only slowly subsiding, with snow or sleet promised, it looks like another rest day. The hip and back pain was caused by struggling to get a large and heavy object into the shed on a sack truck. It probably weighed 150 lbs but I still I haven't made a ramp to climb up over the threshold. So I had to lift the whole thing bodily including the sack truck itself. Which part of idiocy do I not understand? After a lifetime of getting away with incredibly heavy tasks I keep forgetting that I am now [officially] an old fart.

No doubt the chest problem is caused by the neighbour's continuously burning painted and varnished wood. The wind has gone around to his direction again and stayed there. It regularly stinks of burning both inside and outside the house. What a shame there is no environmental protection in Denmark. I have discovered that woodburning is a major health problem for many tens of thousands of rural inhabitants. (and even in the cities!) It is impossible to pass through many villages without noticing the stench of creosote. Or worse, from burning wet wood, demolition timber or pallets of completely unknown species of timber.

Many villages and hamlets suffer from chronic noise from chainsaws and circular saws as psychopathically selfish wood burners prepare their fuel without a thought for others. Not to mention the use of farm tractors in many rural gardens to drive hydraulic log splitters! And they wonder why the countryside is emptying as people move en masse to the cities! Leaving behind countless empty homes which are completely unsaleable. Many stand empty for literally years on end. With badly weathered sales signs merely advertising their owner's economic plight. Many are saddled with mortgages which greatly exceed the present value of these homes. Many were bought at inflated prices before the financial crisis. Over 1/3 of rural homes now end up in forced auctions. Which is destroying the property market. Instead of making an offer many buyers wait for the auction and buy the same house for peanuts. Now the lenders, who were bailed out with taxpayer's money, won't lend to anybody. Particularly the elderly.

Tuesday 21st 32F, 0C, overcast with wintry showers. Light overnight snow lying. Slept better with less pain. Woke with a chesty cold but quite not as bad as yesterday. An hour's walk in thin, wet snow. Frozen rain falling. Strong cold wind. Shopped in the car to give my hip a longer rest. Though the pain continues. My cold is becoming terminal!

Wednesday 22nd 32F, 0C, windy and heavily overcast. Another inch of overnight snow has filled in all the gaps. My cold is in the final stages of killing me off. I am having increasing difficulty reaching the keyboard over the mountain of tissues on the floor! <sniff>  If I survive you will probably hear about it before I will.<cough> Four straight rest days in a row is a new (four year) PB. <sniff> Will I still remember how to ride a trike? <cough>

Thursday 23rd 27F, -3C, very windy, heavy overcast. The DMI is warning of wind chill in the strong winds with sub-zero temperatures. Gusts to 15m/s or 35mph produce a chill factor down to well below -20C. My nose is still bunged up but not running quite so much. While my chest is wet and burning with shortness of breath but the coughing has subsided. At least I don't have that feeling of pressure in the sinuses. My hip is still painful but I will see if I can manage a reasonable walk today. Four days of rest from cycling hasn't changed the hip pain in the slightest. Suggesting that it probably isn't to blame. Not sure about a ride yet. We'll have to see how I feel later.

The 3 mile walk in an hour mostly on tarmac went well. I wore two charity shop Norwegian jumpers under one of my duvet jackets from the same source. I was perfectly comfortable apart from the crosswind chilling my face. A thick felt hat with ear flaps, visor and drop down neck flap helped. Though a balaclava would probably have provided more protection under a plain fleece hat. I sprayed my walking boots with Granger's footwear water proofer before leaving and they quickly dried as I walked in the cold, dry air.

The GripGrab Polaris gloves worked surprisingly well for walking today. Though I would never wear them on the trike below 40F. Which just goes to show how chilling cycling can be on the hands despite the many layers of tape on the 'bars. I never felt the wind or cold getting through the gloves while walking in today's conditions. (still -3C and 30mph winds at nearly 11am) I saw a Jay, two "buzzards" and a vast flock of Wood pigeons numbering at least a thousand all pretending to be Starlings. They snaked in dark clouds across the road and back as the traffic repeatedly disturbed them. Their white wing flashes brightening the display as they turned and alighted nervously on the fields. I shopped in the car again.

I still wasn't well enough for a ride in the cold and wind so I mended the puncture instead. The temperature in the shed was 25F, -4C.  Outside it was blowing a gale and perishing cold! I went indoors to wash the tyre off because it was covered in mud and flinty sand. When I came out again the damp on the tyre had frozen into translucent ice flakes by the time I reached the shed. I still couldn't find any flint or thorn which had pierced the tread. At least the tyre stayed up for the time it took me to clean the trike and fit new brake blocks. We shall see how the tyre looks tomorrow. The forecast is for slightly lighter winds and sunshine. I'll believe that when it happens.

Friday 24th 22-27F, -6-3C, breezy, pinkish sky in the low east with only a little cloud around the edges. The cold, easterly wind continues. It should gust to about 30mphtoday. Less than yesterday but it is much colder. Today I have a wet cough which burns my throat but at least I can breathe through my nose with only a little difficulty now.

I'll start with a walk to try and clear my sinuses. I was blowing my nose, with one finger, every hundred yards yesterday. A horrible habit which I resisted until I discovered the difficulty of using a proper handkerchief on a trike in thick winter gloves in a Danish winter. Brief glove removal for photography was enough to cause instant discomfort. Messing with cotton handkerchiefs when equipped with a beard and moustache was likely to make a far more revolting mess than achieve anything worthwhile! Talking of photography; I am badly in arrears with images again.

I wasn't so hampered by the marshy and wet bits of my route through the woods thanks to the ice. The snow had also dried to non-stick and I returned with my boots perfectly dry and clean. Normally I would be wearing huge, mud snowshoes as the soil built up all around the soles.

The tyre has stayed up so I'm going for a short ride to see if I am recovering. Well, that helped to clear out the plumbing.<spit> Bitterly cold headwind on my face going but comfortable coming back. In fact I was too warm climbing the hills on the way back thanks to being overdressed: Racing shorts over two pairs of skiing tights. Aldi rain jacket over Aesse windproof cycling jacket, over cycling cardigan over racing jersey over long sleeved vest. GripGrab medieval 'Pilot' cap over balaclava under helmet. Thick socks with knackered GripGrab overshoes and summer MTB shoes.

Dintex (Heat Pax) scooter gloves without heat packs. These gloves have been a godsend when all the expensive, winter cycling gloves proved to be complete and utter crap. I went through agonies every winter with all the other gloves I bought. Even when wearing two pairs the winter wind would go right through. The Dintex cost me £40 at a local motorcycle shop. Though they are only £25 on eBay(UK) I wonder whether theirs are the advertised size?

Best money ever spent on new clothing. They look like any other, black, nylon, winter gloves but are totally windproof without ever being sweaty. Despite being quite snug as new I can take my hands out repeatedly and they never try to turn themselves inside out. As do all the other membrane types, I've tried, at every opportunity. Including SealSkinz which were infinitely worse than £5 "skiing gloves" from the local supermarkets but cost 15 times as much!

The Dintex slowly stretch to a more comfortable fit on my huge hands but never go "out of shape" with age. I cannot recommend them highly enough if they fit. They don't have any of the fancy reinforcements of serious motorcycling gloves so can be worn for skiing, driving or winter walking. The rubber palms and fingertips remain intact too, unlike GripGrab Polaris. Which wore away to bare cloth in no time at all! Grabbing the brakes, hoods or bars while wearing Dintex is never a matter of whether they will slip. They just work. They are a bit stiffer than the GG Polaris but not unduly so for cycling use provided they fit. They do get softer with repeated wear but don't stint on size. The fingers are a good length for "piano players" too.

The uppers of the GG overshoes are fine but, as usual, GripGrab's choice of webbing is very short lived when walked on and quickly shred to useless pulp. I haven't worn the much thicker winter version yet because they haven't been necessary so far. Denmark has hardly had a decent frost until now. The trees were roaring loudly in the wind all day. Even louder and higher in the conifers. While I was heavily loaded with shopping but enjoying a tailwind on the way back. Only 10 miles in variable sunshine but it was good to get out again.

Saturday 25th 19-22F, -7-6C, thin overcast, weak sunshine, windy. I dressed up warmly again for my walk. Four miles in an hour and a half with lots of stops for photography and admiring the view. I still haven't solved the problem of my face getting cold. The balaclava doesn't cover enough skin but I'd look rather odd wandering the lanes in a full "bank robbers" ski mask. My face is windburnt now even before my trike ride.

The GripGrab Arctic overshoes proved to be massively undersized! XXXL but they took 10 minutes to put on over my EU46 NorthWave MTB shoes! The labels say they will fit EU48-50! What utter nonsense!  I managed it in the end but talk about a struggle! They didn't actually hurt but they were so tight they were restricting my circulation. So my feet were actually cold despite the extra thickness. While the very thin, GG, soft rubber overshoes weren't at all cold and were actually too big in a smaller marked size. 400DKK is over £44.40 (in Gravely Blighted quids) and I've worn them now. So they'll have to earn their keep! Hopefully the damned things will stretch or I'll be very, very cross. My toes are stinging now an hour after I have returned. This never happened with the thin ones.

It didn't get any warmer as I fought a cross headwind to the shops. I wore two winter jackets, instead of the Aldi on top, plus two pairs of skiing tights under my shorts again. The effect was much the same. Completely windproof but a bit sweaty on my back towards the end. I really need a pair of windproof goggles or foam rimmed glasses. I can't see where I'm going for tears most of the time wearing 'ordinary' cycling glasses. The cheapo supermarket one's don't last a week before the foam falls off. Plus, the lenses are usually far too dark- Probably intended for skiing in bright sunshine at high altitude. (Or whatever) A goodly wodge of shopping to bring back today though I hardly noticed my cold. Only 15 miles.

Sunday 26th 18-21F, -8-6C, windy from SSE, clear but rather a lot of cloud. Some sunshine promised. Still bunged up from my cold but improving. I'll start with a walk while trying to dodge the hunters. There were shots fired in the woods yesterday despite the cold and wind. Hardly a day passes without shooting heard from somewhere nearby. I walked 3.3 miles in one hour in bright sunshine. A brisk, cold wind, but I was warm enough to keep the extremities reasonably comfortable.

Lies, damned lies and Eurospar! I thought to take advantage of the special organic offers emblazoned across the front cover of their own newspaper.(More like a comic really since it is mostly fictitious and the pictures are hardly believable.)

So I rode for miles in the opposite direction from home, up and down hill, in a gale and horribly cold conditions. Only to find the shelves empty as I clomped around breaking large chunks of ice out of my beard.. Eurospar is a relatively new name in supermarket.monopolymoney.dk. Though they are obvious fast learners because they have seen that the short list of alternative supermarkets never have any stock of their special offers either. Eurospar had no bread nor another item from their comic. So I left completely empty handed.

What a shame that there is no consumer protection in Denmark You'd think the EU Circus Raffia Bosses would at least demand lip service to the consumer, wouldn't you? Perhaps appoint one of the local Danish Raffia bosses to a token head of gummint department at outrageous taxpayer's expense, or something. Daft suggestion really. Since they can't even protect the poor bløødy farm animals from institutionalised cruelty and OD'ing on antibiotics. Let alone protect the chumps who keep voting as they are bled white by the world's highest taxation. Just to subsidise economic immigrants, the non-tax paying elite and obscenely wealthy multi-nationals.

After that I carefully avoided a second run in with the Ebberup Maskinstations aggressive golden retriever. So I had no choice but to take a very long alternative route straight into the bitterly cold wind to get back to what passes for civilisation in rural Janteloven. Where I was able to break yet more large chunks of ice out of my beard as I clomped around yet more monopoly supermarkets looking for more, non-existent organic bargains in my undersized Dintex gloves and grossly undersized GripGrab 'Arctic" [infant's] overshoes. 19 miles. Am I having fun yet? You will let me know when we get there?

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