13 Oct 2014

13th October 2014

Monday 13th, 52F, 11C. Windy with rain from a heavy, grey overcast. It's not looking promising with all-day rain forecast.

A fascinating mix of traditional, half-timbered and thatched, agricultural building combined with a large glasshouse. Unfortunately, all my images of the greenhouse section were spoilt by a pile of scrap in the yard.

I took a gentle walk for a couple of miles between showers. Then it rained steadily as I rode to the shops. Had a nice, warm but smelly shower from a double tanker lorry and trailer. Almost brushed off the road by a lunatic/drunk/registered blind/drug addicted retard with dementia. I was wearing the very bright Aldi rain jacket so probably made a good target. Perhaps they were temporarily blinded by the brightness of my cloth? There was no oncoming traffic. The GripGrab overshoes did not keep my socks dry from the front tyre spray but at least my feet stayed warm. Remind self to refit the front mudguard ASAP. A useful cross-tailwind on the way back. Still only 12 miles but who's counting?

Tuesday 14th 50-51F, 10-11C, breezy, heavy grey overcast, slightly misty. Showers and rain are forecast. A 2 mile walk. There was a stranger on my track to the woods! So I just looped around the village and back home again. I'm taking  a baseball bat for protection tomorrow! More seriously, I haven't had to share my walking routes with anyone since I started. Apart from a couple of  forestry workers. I have seen the solitary walker twice now and hope the miscreant gets bored and desists. Hopefully sooner rather than later. I miss the sense of absolute peace and being at one with the intensely reared, industrialized pheasants.

It was already raining when I left on the Trykit and it continued largely unabated. Sadly, I managed just over a mile before Ground Control called me back for something I'd forgotten. It always feels completely wrong to cover the same ground twice. More like doing it four times. Well, anyway, I took advantage of returning for the baton change and put my TA cap on. Having a peak is a tremendous advantage in rain. It keeps the sunglasses clear and visibility remains optimal. It is also a lot warmer not to be continuously water cooled on the forehead. I was glad of my tights and proper gloves today. The mudguard is back on so I didn't really need the leaky-soled overshoes. Still only 9 miles.

Wednesday 15th 53F, 12C, overcast, raining, almost still. The forecast is a bit mixed. With showers and light winds. A four mile walk through some other woods and back along the busy road. No fun having to jump onto the verge every time a vehicle came along. Tyre spray falls like rain for several seconds after a van or lorry goes past. Otherwise it, and I, stayed mostly dry. Amongst all the more common birds I saw Bullfinches, Yellowhammers and a Tree creeper. I watched a dark squirrel as it watched me from the safety of a large beech tree. Don't you hate it when they show off like that?

I took lots of photos in the soft, misty, even light. Sunshine adds sparkle but loses out on contrast. The Lumix TZ7 just doesn't have the range to cope with both light and dark in the same scene. I have deliberately darkened these forest images slightly [one stop of -gamma] to avoid the highlights being bleached out. The woods are exceedingly beautiful in this light. If you miss the cycling context you can always pretend I'm propped up on a trike with big, fat, knobbly tires. Now there's an idea! Cycling is allowed on the forest trails. Though that is hardly the point of my perambulations.

I see Amsterdam is going to trial solar powered, pedal trikes to deliver produce to the inner city. They hope, thereby, to reduce pollution. Meanwhile, back at the unhealthy pig ranch: Denmark uses 6-axle, 40' container lorries to deliver to the supermarkets. Often bringing traffic to a complete standstill. As the massive lorry repeatedly reverses back and forth across the road and the supermarket's car park to finally line up on the goods inwards ramp.

I don't know why they don't cut out the middle man and get rid of some of the Danish discount supermarkets altogether. Just have a neat row of lorry containers in the car park. Then provide hand torches or candles to the customers. This will help them select from the stocks of fizzy drinks, fags, sweets, crisps, pork burgers and booze. Each item stacked up in one clearly marked container. So you'd really need only 6 containers.

The staff can even help their "big boned" customers back into their cars with fork lift trucks. Or, the customers can remain seated all the while and just place an order with the staff. This will avoid them having to lean breathlessly on a trolley handle for a quarter of an hour at the checkout. While some 9-10 year old, child slave pushes the crap off one deliberately short belt and onto the next. It's no wonder 33% of Danes take happy pills to ensure Denmark remains safely at the top of the "happiest place on earth" list!

I became extremely perplexed the other day. As one does under eerily strange circumstances. The elderly customer in front of me was not only huge in girth and infirm in the legs but absolutely reeked of fags. I can attest to severe toxic hazard level 9 even at 6'. I sneezed several times and my eyes were watering continuously as I waited in line. I was standing back as far as I dared without risking some other bumpkin pushing in front of me. [Only to need emergency resuscitation]

The elderly woman bought fifty squid's worth of lottery tickets and some fags and then left. I wondered what she was going to do if she won? Buy lots more fags? Or employ a personal trainer to rid her of her many vices before it was too late? Gambling is a sin in some circles. Unless you win big, of course. Then you don't care what people think of you.

I rode a shopping loop in both rain and dry. Back to bare knees for extra coolth but using the TA cap with a peak for extra shelter from the decided inclemency. It was very strange rain. Like drizzle but heavier. Very odd. And very wet. As were the roads.

I caught up with a young, blonde, Rapunzel wannabe going quite well on a Bianchi racing bike in the forest. She was pedaling far too slowly and lost all her speed on every single hill. Of which there are many of the short and steep variety in this particular wood. Which is the only reason it remains a forest rather than adding to the corn mountain and oil seed rape lake.

I was seriously thinking of telling her to drop a few gears and learn to twiddle but then thought better of it. Nobody wants some breathless old nutter, on a tricycle, giving advice to a young girl in the isolation of a forest. One mistake in my dodgy Danish and I could end up on some register, or other. Best avoided even with the best of intentions. So I shot past on the brow of a fierce little hill at 120 rpm to show her how it should really be done by personal example. Hopefully somebody helpful will put her right on her low pedaling speed in safer surroundings. Preferably before she loses all hope of ever mastering hills with greater ease.

I keep asking myself, as I ride along, whether I should contact the Guinness Book of Records if I ever see a lorry, tractor or van driver without a mobile phone welded permanently to their ear while at the wheel. A difficult one that. How could I ever prove such an unlikely event in a skeptical world? Nobody is ever going to take the word of a single eye witness. Even if I managed a photo, or even an HD video, they'd say I had digitally faked it for YouTube. Another non-starter in my endless quest for greater fame and fortune. I'd better stick to [shakily] filming all these aliens landing on my lawn in broad daylight. You get a far more receptive audience with those. 22 miles [and counting].

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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