8 Dec 2014

8th December 2014

Monday 8th 35-37F, 2-3C, light breeze, heavy, pinky-orange clouds lumbering cross a pale, turquoise sky. Occasional showers. The forecast is sunshine and odd showers. We may have to wait for the sunshine. Let us hope that the oddness remains within bounds. Bounds? Perhaps that is the wrong word as well. A half hour walk under a raggedy sky. No sharp edges and great, long rolls of dirty cotton wool coming from the SW. Wind too cold to take my hands out of my pockets for more than a few seconds. A string of seven Hooper swans passed over honking occasionally. I should have taken gloves but hadn't planned on going far. Only a short afternoon ride due to occasional showers all morning. 7 miles.

A Serbian living in Denmark has fallen foul of the Janteloven. He was denied an application to apply for a Danish passport after passing the citizenship test with a perfect 40/40 score. His "un-Danish" crime? A speeding offence shortly after passing his test in 2012. He was given a 3000 DKK fine. Which is about £300. Given the average [illegal] speed of Danes behind the wheel one can only assume that they hate competition from "outsiders."

Janteloven is a series of rather similar rules for "foreigners" living in Denmark. Which include; "You are not better than us! Do not consider yourself superior, etc." The irony behind the story will not be lost on many Danes. And, those they host. The police recorded 200,000 vehicles speeding past just one point in one year. Given the relatively small number of Serbs in the country I think one can safely discount their being entirely to blame for these worrying statistics.

Tuesday 9th 32-35F, 0-2C, white overnight frost, quite still, small, dark, splodgy clouds in long strips. The sky cleared completely before becoming overcast with patchy mist. Enjoyed a longer walk up through the woods and back along the road. Saw a Blackcap foraging and several birds of prey. Hardly a noticeable breeze despite the windmills turning steadily. Sounds were much louder than usual. I could hear aircraft high overhead and lorries from miles away. Probably caused by an inversion layer. The frost was already thawing as I returned. I took off my fleece cap and gloves to cool down on the way back. What a weird day! It has completely misted over since I returned. The usual rural views have disappeared. It is lucky I have modern LED lights to combat lunatic drivers' normal behaviour in thick fog! I had better wear the fluorescent, Aldi rain jacket as back-up.

The mist had cleared a little after lunch but it had become windy. Cruising at 18-19 mph going. More like 10 mph coming back towards dusk. Drivers were mostly well behaved. Giving my mobile, Xmas tree impression a nice, wide berth. Only 13 miles.

Wednesday 10th 38F, 4C, gales, overcast. A storm has moved close to Western Europe overnight. Winds have gusted to 20m/s or 45mph locally on a 20mph base. It might brighten up later. A repeat with another deep low is expected on Friday.

There was a story in the Danish press about achieving "robust citizens." Supposedly those being able to cope with 72 hours without electricity and water during a severe weather crisis. That would be "the Danish storm of the century" of 1999, no doubt. With the power and water off for several days in a cold December we could not even run our wood stove. This has a water heating chamber which would have required hot water being drawn off regularly to avoid overheating the system. The pump could not work without power either. That would make a similarly huge dent in all the popular "green and efficient" heating systems of today. Pellets, solar, heat pumps, etc, would be utterly worthless without power.

The morning after the storm, village supermarket shelves were rapidly cleared and there were long queues at the petrol stations. With unbelievably selfish morons wasting time and causing frayed tempers by slowly filling their tanks to the very brim. Even filling several plastic fuel cans at the same time! Meanwhile, most of the waiting cars had their engines running to keep the driver warm!

The only stock of bottled water at one supermarket was all bought up by a couple in a large Mercedes. Who wheeled it out in two, very over-full trolleys. Fortunately I was able to reach more distant outlets with my quickly vanishing reserve of petrol. These areas had seemingly escaped the worst of the storm and things seemed quite normal.

A fresh gas cylinder for our small picnic stove [for cooking] was our only heat for several days. Candles, our light through the long, incredibly boring and very cold evenings. Unable to flush the toilet normally, we had the luxury of a garden well for obtaining as much water as we needed. Though not for drinking due to toxic, farm run off. How would families in blocks of flats cope without water, I wonder?

The complete blackout of information was extremely irritating. We had absolutely no idea when absolute necessities, like water and electricity, would return. Houses and farms near us were literally demolished or ripped apart by the storm. Tens of thousands of roofs were damaged. [And later replaced entirely for cosmetic reasons to get rid of the ugly new patches.]

It was several years before the most obvious damage was finally erased. Though there are still loads of drooping, long-outdated, TV aerials. We lost quite an area of roof ourselves but had to fend for ourselves. A telegraph pole supporting old TV aerials had been erected right against our house by a previous owner. It was felled by the wind and broke our mains water pipe on which it had sat for years! Lots of digging in wet clay and then trying to find a matching compression joint at the DIY stores! I was even ripped off by a DIY store for the remaining half of a wind-damaged ladder. How else was I to reach the roof myself to make repairs?

The insurance company generously offered a once-only payout to make repairs. A clever idea for those without the funds for making their homes quickly safe again. Though the degree of damage obviously varied widely. As would the cost. For those with only a few roofing tiles smashed on the ground it made for a quick and painless process.

When the power finally came back on, several days later, there was nothing about it on Copenhagen-centric, Danish TV. Nothing! It never happened!

It was rather like the self-importance of London to the British news. A large, nuclear bomb going off just beyond London's filthy [out]skirts would hardly get a mention. Not unless the fallout might concern London celebs. Certainly no outside broadcast cameras could possibly be spared of London tourist attractions could be shown completely undamaged by some storm which had laid waste to the rest of the country.

While a broken finger nail of a London based celeb would be endlessly covered. With in-depth interviews with both experts, tame scientists, surgeons and breathless witnesses alike. No doubt leading to normal programming being rearranged to stress the importance of the terrifying disfigurement and how it will affect their career!!

I wonder when the rain will stop so I can do something else? ;ΓΈ)

The morning has been punctuated by sunshine and showers. Almost pitch darkness and bright sunshine at quick but random intervals. Though the noisy, overnight wind has now much reduced to a completely normal breeze. I might even venture forth after lunch. But didn't. Another rest day.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


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