30 May 2015

28th May 2015 Silent Spring?

Thursday 28th 51F, 11C, windy, heavy overcast, showers. Showers possible for most of the day. Brightening later pm but with 35mph gusts. Mid afternoon and I was being buffeted by vicious crosswind gusts on the main road. Ripped off by yet another supermarket change of name. Exactly the same shop owners, the same items, the same special offers but coming a week later than last week's pre-change of shop name! So I paid full price at the checkout. Crooks, damned crooks and supermarket musical chairs!

They ought to be joining their mutual parasites in the politic-ooze. All the election posters are up. Promising more money in your pockets, more jobs, lower taxes, greater freedom, etc,etc. Same damned lies whichever country is holding an election to the local gravy train. Same damned lies as last time and the next. Same damned lies regardless of party. Still the highest taxes in the world and the highest prices in Europe.

Came back along the lanes to avoid the exposed main road and speeding commuter nutters. Thought I'd managed an excellent, hilly detour for at least couple of extra miles but was ripped off again! One extra mile for only 15 miles total. I don't know why I bother. Brain the size of a minor planet... and she sends me shopping!  (;ø))

Friday 29th 55F, 13C, bright but very breezy. Rain forecast for next 24 hours! My usual walk took exactly an hour thanks to a brisk pace and no dawdling for photography. Half an hour of bright sunshine before the sky lid slid over. Followed by a quarter of windy overcast. Then a quarter of an hour of light rain. Which seems like quite good value, I suppose. Several hares scampered about in the low crops as a buzzard soared effortlessly overhead. Hares seem to like following tracks even a line of soil left by a tractor implement. One smaller hare trotted right up to me, stopped dead and stared, then carried on right past me only a few feet away. It wasn't until I turned round to see where it had gone that it finally took off at a diagonal.

Quite windy but not as fierce as yesterday. Managed the wind direction quite well as I wallowed in gorgeous, spring countryside in a balloon-shaped ride. Birds of prey hunted over the fields and woods as smaller birds encouraged me from the hedgerows. The last leg had more wind resistance as I pressed on to avoid the blackening sky up ahead. It just started raining in the last couple of miles but not enough to dampen my spirits. And, only just enough to produce that wonderful smell of fresh rain on dry roads. I arrived home, put the trike away and there was really nasty, squally downpour! Perfect timing! The 30kph school sign was lit up with bright white LEDS again. It might as well have had a bin bag over its head for all the difference it made to passing traffic. 21 miles.

Saturday 30th 50F, 10C, windy, overcast, showers. It is supposed to brighten up later but gusting to 30mph again. I seem to have recovered from the weird dizziness, weakness, constant headaches, bunged up chest and feeling of being generally unwell. Whether it was being sprayed half a dozen times within a week, or some kind of virus, I will probably never know.

I still haven't developed a useful strategy for when I find myself on a road with a farm  machine spraying right up to the verge. Should I turn and ride as fast possible in the opposite direction? What if that takes me downwind and increases the contamination? Should I hold my breath as I ride past? What about when I am already breathless from climbing a steep hill going right past a sprayer? As happened quite recently.

Is the massive load of pig's excrement and urine dumped repeatedly into my environment a further stressor to my health? It must be saturated with airborne bacteria and viruses even if the heavy concentration of ammonia doesn't directly impact on my system. If a local factory was releasing viruses, toxins and an awful smell there would be a public outcry. When farmers repeat the same offence on the general public, time after time, there is complete silence. The only recourse is to flee to the city. Just as many Danes have done already and increasingly do so despite the very much higher property prices there.

Denmark's very own Silent Spring. Except that it wasn't the birds which were silenced but the Dane's very own offspring. The excited cries from the rural, village school playgrounds have become but a distant, race memory. Perhaps closing them was a subconscious desire by the authorities to protect their own children from the toxic countryside? As is already well documented; few farmers can be trusted to follow the [always voluntary] rules. So the only way to keep future generations of Dane's safe was to banish them from the countryside. Leaving villages to die as only the elderly inhabitants clung on. Increasingly unable to thrive or even survive without the most basic facilities they move into unaffordable old people's homes. To be steadily robbed of their possessions, their health and their humanity. Or to take up a short, residence in some bleak, impersonal city hospital.

With no new blood to replace them the sense of powerless impoverishment and rural isolation is further compounded. With the economic pressures on the remaining small farmers to invest ever more deeply into debt they must give up and sell their land off to ever-larger units. Which strip off the remaining trees and hedges in the name of big-machine efficiency of scale. Leaving thousands of rural homes unsaleable and unsold amongst the uniform, monoculture prairies. Spotted at frequent intervals with automated, industrialised pig factories run by sorely underpaid, foreign workers.

Many rural villages fall steadily into quiet disrepair amidst the silent, unspoken menace and constant threat of forced auction. There is no work in the countryside. The once proud, sprawling lawns of large farmhouses sport nettles, brambles and thickets of self-seeded trees. While the carefully manicured vegetable rows of a few short decades ago have given way to a shelf full of toxic residue. Brought from the other side of the world to the ever more distant, city supermarket, monopoly chain.

A strong and variable crosswind going there under massive, scudding banks of clouds. I stayed dry until almost home again as I dashed for the shelter of the last supermarket. Dark, compressed folds of leaden sky threatened at intervals but I arrived safely home heavily loaded but unscathed. I waved enthusiastically to one driver who was overtaking a string of speeding cars in a 40kph/35mph limit at [probably] 70mph. Well, he had to be Danish royalty, didn't he? Only 15 miles.

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