13 Jul 2015

13th July 2015 No [long] rest for the wicked!

Monday 13th 59F, 15C, still, overcast. The forecast is for fairly light winds and a mixture of cloud and sunny periods. Rain is possible but yesterday's forecast showers did not arrive until 19.30 and then lasted only seconds.

I was just reading the Danish headlines about the class inequality of human survival in Denmark. Those who lack a higher education live on average until they are 72. Qualified professionals usually last until they are 82. The "working classes" [for want of a better term] have much earlier onset of debilitating diseases and are much poorer survivors. My own experience is that smoking is still very commonplace amongst the unskilled/ unqualified workforce. When the indoor smoking ban arrived factories had to provide smoking shelters. They were very well used indeed! So much so that management had to insist that they clock out to smoke and clock in when they returned to work. So many smokers took [illegally] to the toilets. Leaving the non-smokers in a stinking, breathless fog. Excessive drinking and alcoholism were rather too visible in a factory workforce of some seventy people over a decade. Obesity was not really much of a problem except for a small minority who never stopped eating or drinking junk. Perhaps they should have been made to clock-out too?

Early retirement seems to be readily available to the sedentary occupations in Denmark. While those with heavy physical work usually have to wait until they finally reach the official retirement age. Probably suffering from long term ill health and injury by that time. Plans to raise the retirement age seem grossly unfair on those whose work takes a heavy, physical toll. Raising the retirement age to 67 means the working classes may only enjoy 5 years of threatening, ill-health before they expire from the requirement to receive their pension. While the banker and office worker can usually look forward to years of comfortable retirement.

Conversely, my wife and I try to delay the onset of ill health as much as we can by avoiding the most obvious threats. We avoid smoky atmospheres and eat organic produce when we can get it. Avoidance of sugars, meat and toxic fats is the norm. Wholegrain bread, lots of fish and home-mixed, organic muesli. Salad, fruit and vegetables coming out of our ears. Lots of physical exercise. Low, non-regular, beer consumption with only very occasional organic wine. Living in the countryside should have offered health benefits were it not for neighbours routinely burning demolition firewood year round. [Literally 365/yr even during heatwaves.] Then there are the toxins from arable and industrial pig farming. Spraying the fields goes on even in gales and one cannot always be aware that it is happening.

Will we buck the trend and survive beyond our allotted 72 years? Better ask the drunk drivers and sociopaths who think their seconds saved greatly outweigh our right to our few, remaining years. I do my best by constantly monitoring my rear view mirror while  out on the trike. Or jumping [routinely] into the verge when necessary while walking rural roads where there is no pavement. The drunks, the senile, the drug addled, the registered blind and psychopathic drivers may be remarkably commonplace on the Danish roads. But we are determined not to let them deprive us of our last few years.

What they don't constantly remind you of as a child is that time constantly accelerates throughout one's life. It can seem like a decade between birthdays in childhood. While whole months can flash past unnoticed as you grow old[er.] Habits in youth can curtail all pleasure of living to a ripe old age. I want to rage at kids I see smoking because they already smell like stale ashtrays and can't run a few yards without becoming breathless. I want to prod the chronically obese as they suck constantly on their baby bottles of sugar and gas. Many are quite literally making themselves physically handicapped by their sheer bulk. Many can't even move their flabby thighs past each to walk like normal, human beings. Their feet make small arcs as they waddle like ducks.

I want to break the bottles over the heads of young, habitual drunks before they kill somebody, or themselves. Drug abusers are fools without imagination. Unable to see how life can be interesting and even quite tolerable without their chemical smog. Even the most basic wisdom and young shoulder are often mutually incompatible. They think their "harmless" habits are their own highly individualistic signs of rebellion. Exactly as we did, as teenagers, of course.

The second and last of my Ventus G730 GPS dongles has finally died. I believe the problem is the limited life of the internal Lipo battery. With nothing to lose, I took a chance and pulled on the blue end of the dongle with beaked pliers where the lanyard usually fits. The end of the dongle popped open without damage showing the contents. The battery was fixed with double sided tape but finally responded to a push on the USB plug pressed down gently on a piece of wood. A bulge formed in the front of case which I relieved with a small screwdriver. This was just the case doing what it was designed to do in resisting pressure as the USB was plugged in for recharging.

After a further struggle I finally found the correct sized battery online [from eBay] and have ordered it. Amazon[UK] was a complete and utter waste of [considerable] time as every dealer refused to send to Denmark after all the rigmarole of putting it in the basket and going to the checkout.

These GPS loggers have been amazing and have allowed me to very accurately record my routes on Google Earth using the supplied software. Stats about speed altitude and distance are also displayed beside the aerial view. I only paid about £20 each for the dongles at a supermarket chain and the first one lasted for years. Later ones obviously suffered from ageing of the same batch of LiPo batteries. The GPS logger distances were very similar to my bike computers. Which was nice confirmation that each was getting it right. Or both were completely wrong but somehow agreeing with each other to within a mile or so.

I rode north with a fairly strong crosswind on the main road. Rather short of breath and had to keep clearing my [thick] throat. Perhaps it's toxic plywood sawdust from another, unfinished project? Only 12 miles.

Tuesday 14th 64-71F, 18-22C, a bright start with a light breeze. The five Coot chicks are growing fast and even making short dives. A patch of parallel lines of cloud went over. Difficult to capture, I have darkened the image to improve contrast. Probably a pressure wave effect, but what do I know?

A warm and sunny ride to the shops. Headwind coming back. I heard a cry and  glanced up between two villages to see six buzzards soaring overhead. Presumably a family made up from this year's brood. I doubt that adults would tolerate each other in their territory.

Sun block cream and insects don't go well together. I always end up looking like a long strip of  mobile flypaper! The cream ran down into my eyes on the way home. So I had to ride the rest of the way with both eyes closed! It's lucky I was wearing my dark glasses. Or drivers might have been afraid of the clown on the tricycle! Only 16 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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