30 Apr 2015

30th April 2015 Just another [soggy] Thursday"

Thursday 30th 41-50F, 5-10C, calm at first, light showers with a heavy overcast. It was so dark this morning I couldn't see the wall clock at 6.45 am. I was terrified the Head Gardener would notice me glaring at the clock and find it was only 5.45! Variable cloud, sunny periods and showers possible all day.

I was just reading that the German and Danish governments are actually discussing means to limit the annual mass migration of Danes to German supermarkets to buy cheap[er] booze and the ever-popular, sugar, gas and water, [tooth] soft[ening] drinks. The German's have resisted past Danish overtures to reduce the cross border smuggling shopping sprees. Usually claiming they fear job losses at the border supermarkets. I just think petrol must be far, far, far, far too cheap if the Danes can actually afford to drive all the way to the border and back, towing a trailer, just to buy cheaper, unhealthy crap products. Instead of staying at home and paying the highest prices and taxes in the EU for the same crap products.

My walk started with a hare lolloping away for a few yards before it stopped to sit up and watch me with one eye. Then I saw and heard my first warblers of the year. There is a constant background of wheezing greenfinches, see-saw cheeping Great tits and hammering woodpeckers in the woods.

A Shelduck hiding under a very large red arrow. The Danish landscape is very reminiscent of desert sand dunes.

As I emerged from the woods into a cold wind a large, snow-white bird of prey rose from a hedge. It opened its wings, made a few turns and had gained hundreds of feet in no time at all. After that it seemed content to circle gently as it followed me home with two large eyes on its wing undersides staring down at me. I had imagined it was something slightly more exotic than a white form of the common Buzzard but it seems not. Plover's and Shelduck were flying around or settling on a vast prairie of finely raked, dry soil. I love the plaintiff call of the Plover and enjoy watching their amazingly acrobatic flight. What the Shelducks get from a vast, undulating plain of bare soil is beyond me. They stand out like a sore thumb from miles away! Perhaps they have no enemies? Or, at least none that can sneak up on them without cover.

I left after morning coffee with instructions to find something unlikely and returned empty-handed at 4pm. The wind hardly bothered me all day. Towards the end of the outward leg the sky ahead was simulating Quink's blue-black ink. There were a few threatening rumbles and a few spots of rain but I managed to retreat from out-under unscathed. It wouldn't last. As I  packed away the essentials in my saddlebag outside the last supermarket it hailed. Then went off again. I set off for home only for it to hail some more. It was stinging my eyes like a sandstorm! Then it turned to rain and tipped down until I reached within a mile of home. The wind was sideways-on and the roads were awash. Every vehicle added its own plume of spray to my own.

Wild cowslips defending the entrance to the woods.

Then, within sight of home, it promptly stopped raining and the sun came out bright and warm. Too late! I was thoroughly soaked over anything not actively covered by my cheapo, supermarket-purchased, X-Rage, cycling rain jacket. My bare legs were bright red from my ankles to my other bits. My hands were cold and wet from wearing the GripGrab 'Masochist [WC] Blotting Paper MkI' gloves. The WC might suggest I wanted to flush them away somewhere but really stands for "Wind Chill" in capitals. As soon as I was indoors I jumped straight into the shower to warm my extremities up again. Though "jumping" is probably a bit of an overstatement even for me.

So, that was April finished with. Some bright spark obviously thought it would be fun to concentrate all of April's showers into one final deluge. But, thankfully, I'm not paranoid. My GPS plotted route looked like several tattered paper kites on a string lying out on wet grass after a storm. Which seemed highly appropriate. Only 34 miles today.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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