17 Apr 2015

17th April 2015 L'eau de swill!

Friday 17th 51F, 11C, breezy with sunny periods. The morning was spent tidying the garden. Becoming cloudier in the afternoon. My brother has kindly sent me Beryl Burton's autobiography "Personal Best". Which I shall greatly enjoy. Having exhausted myself on tidying up I took a rest day.

The naked beech woods resplendent in a fresh coat of morning sunshine.

Saturday 18th 41F, 5C, bright with high, feather-edged cloud and light northerly winds. I'd better have a walk to sort out my muscles from yesterday's foolishness. Rapidly approaching seventy and I still have a penchant for moving the impossible. This time it was a huge, concrete drainage pipe which we inherited. Probably a yard in diameter and two inches thick the monstrosity stands chest high. I levered it up to 15 degrees before losing patience. Then lifted and manhandled it upright and backwards to cast slightly less of a blight on our private landscape. [Google Earth permitting!]

A thin bluish mist hung over the gently rising ground to the ridge where the woods clung to the wettest and most uneven ground. A Blackcap worked the litter on the forest floor before a Great tit descended. Stirring a flurry of leaves as it flared out to begin its own methodical search. It wore the more pastel hues of a younger bird. Mature birds are more colourful with  more contrast until their plumage tires from a year of intense activity.

An explosion of spring leaf growth vies to shade the fossils of fallen ancestors.

The air was quite still as I exited the woods to descend the track to the road. A goose cranked out a monologue as it complained endlessly about the meaning of life until well out of sight. Vast 7 axle tankers plied back and forth along the muddied ribbon between traffic blighted villages. Passing and re-passing each other as they toiled to carry pig slurry from farm A to farm B, C & D. Some glistered in as pristine condition as the day they left the factory. Others besmirched by multiple saddles of their foul cargo running thickly down their stainless steel flanks. All of them dragging the nauseous, unmistakeable stench of ammonia, pig faeces and urine at the cost of yet another weekend ruined for more rural families. No wonder they routinely file out to the car and head for the numbing delights of the city shopping malls!

I rode north straight into the wind. It was much more comfortable riding back at 18-22mph. The indexing has gone to hell on the lower gears! I presume through cable friction. Possibly as a result of adding the brake noodles. I have wound the adjusters in and out and oiled everything but it doesn't help for long. 12 miles. There was something I could not find so I'll have to go out again. Plus 6 miles more for 18 today. It is weird how quiet Saturday afternoons are in Denmark. In Gravely Blighted it was the busiest time of the week! Many Danish villages with multiple shops and supermarkets are deserted.

Sunday 19th 40-55F, 4-13C, overcast, light breeze. Sunshine with easterly gusts to "only" 20mph are forecast. It was cool walking directly into the wind but hardly noticeable once I had turned north towards the woods. I watched as a "colossal squid" spread more pig's muck on the fields. One tankful lasted only 100 yards! A Plover was following an absolutely lunatic flight path. With violent twists and turns which would make any pilot or racing car driver look feeble. I startled a small hare which rose from invisibility in the short, grassy crop and dashed off to find better cover. It needn't have bothered because I never saw it until it started running. Quite warm towards the end in bright sunshine under a cloudless sky. A glittering glider drew our attention after we had watched a Red Kite hunting almost overhead back at home. A wonderfully impressive bird in the air. With long, slender wings and graceful flying skills.

I found the niggling, slow puncture had gone down much further than usual. So I checked the tyre carefully and removed the inner tube before finally fitting a new tube. I found three holes in the tyre tread. Two with tiny flints eating away and one quite large hole where the puncture was situated. There was a time you could buy rubber solution for filling holes in tyres. More useful for tubs. The Duranos have only done 2100 miles so far with two flint punctures. Either there are more flints about or I have been unlucky. The other tyres are in better condition.

The gears were fine up on the work stand. Misbehaved as soon as I rode the trike. Another slight adjustment and they performed far better. The wind was quite variable in strength and direction on a short ride to collect the essentials. The wind turbines were standing still which is highly unusual.  I was going quite well today but still only did 10 miles. A poor week at only 70 miles total mostly due to the high winds! I should have gone for a longer ride today but was busy at home. Lazy git!

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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