18 Oct 2015

18th October 2015 Give me [smoke free] pastures new!

Sunday 18th 48F, 9C, heavy overcast, light breeze, showers or rain. Drizzled lightly for my half hour walk.

The light winds ought to inspire me to ride boldly forth. While the overcast depresses me so much I don't even want to go outside! If I stay in I'll only start scribbling my nonsense again. It is grossly unfair to be stricken with a sense of humour where only I understand and laugh at my own jokes. Perhaps it is more unfair on my readers having to put up with my silly drivel? At least you have the option of going elsewhere for greater amusement. While I'm always stuck inside me and grinning like an ape at my own words.

I have always loved writing. My school essays would run to page after page of scrawly, illegible, self-delusional drama. I could see it all quite vividly in my mind but my [poor] teachers never saw beyond my handwriting. I never had the patience to learn to write neatly. I was on the cusp of scratchy dip pens then leaky Biros or endlessly broken HB pencils. It did not go well. The words would form and flow too fast to get them all down neatly enough to satisfy those who must inevitably read them.

Now I type furiously instead. Which only makes my nonsense more obviously legible. The true meaning of the content probably remains just as obscure to all but myself. The question always comes back to why anyone would follow my diatribes and rants? What could I do to make readers more welcome or increase in numbers? More pretty pictures perhaps? Is seeking greater popularity even a good thing?

I feel I have done the technical side of tricycling to death. [For want of a better word] The Trykit trike continues to perform exactly as expected as my mileages steadily fall. It must be true that my regular "patch" has grown rather stale of late. I need new sites and sights of interest to stimulate me into riding longer and further again. To have new experiences and places to share with yet more words and many more pictures. Despite having an appalling short term memory I can recall almost every picture I have ever taken. Picasa tells me I have over 120,000 digital images on ever larger hard drives for backup. Re-posting the same images or anything closely similar always feel like cheating.

I desperately need new inspiration from pastures new. If only it were that simple! Despite the stagnation of rural property sales, even largely uninhabitable hovels remain beyond our financial grasp. Selling our present home would not help much either as many local homes have been up for sale for years before selling for pocket change at compulsory auction. Too old for a new mortgage, too poor to buy anything outright.

To make matters worse we are tormented by neighbour's stinking smoke from east or west on an almost daily basis. I can escape on my trike but still the stench lingers back at home. Where my wife's love of gardening and being outside is often sorely tried. Can you even imagine living next door to somebody who has a waste wood fire, all day and every day of the year, even in heat waves? Can you even explain it? Every member of the family owns a decent car so it can't be fuel related poverty. 

Smoke does not rise in Denmark. It is a fact because Denmark has a permanent inversion layer. Smoke always travels horizontally regardless of chimney height. You never see that picturesquely idyllic streak of smoke rising almost invisibly from a cottage chimney. That line is always thick and visible and always level with the ground. You could probably use it as an over-sized level to check your roof was straight! Which means literally hundreds of thousands of innocent Danes suffer from stinking smoke coming from their neighbour's wood burning stove. Or [very] old fashioned water jacket heater on a regular basis. Even contacts in central Copenhagen suffer from woodburning smoke! Which is completely and utterly insane!!!

Producing firewood is the Danish national hobby and one which plagues many villages and hamlets. The firewood producer is clearly a psychopath without the slightest empathy or sympathy for his neighbours. There is absolutely no other explanation. Nobody with an active conscience can subject his neighbours to the loud and repetitive racket. The firewood psychopath will use a chainsaw from morning to night without a qualm in a built up area. More often than not a saw with a piss poor silencer from abuse and over-use. The firewood psychopath will run a tractor all day, in a built up area, to provide hydraulic power to split logs or demolition timbers alike. By their own strange set of rules the tractor must be left running while the psychopathic firewood producer goes in for lunch or to watch the football. All this is happening only 6' from one's own home. Often a large circular saw literally screams all day in many a Danish village. The scream can literally be beard for miles. I know this because I can still hear hear them clearly from miles away on my forest walks! The endlessly repetitive nature of the task is a form of audible torture which is denied even to the CIA stalwarts by international law. In Denmark it is merely the everyday, rural norm.

Once must inevitably ask oneself, again and again over the long years, whether there is any economic sense in private firewood production. Just think of countless hours wasted in felling and fetching and sawing and stacking and bringing it all indoors in dribs and drabs, in all weathers, just to burn up the chimney. Such unpaid activity must surely make a complete mockery of any minimum wage? How can it possibly save them any money [at all] over any other form of fuel or heating? They pay the driver for a lorry load of mixed [and illegal] demolition timber to be dumped on their front lawn. The stuff still has to be made into stove-sized lumps which takes them days or weeks of chainsawing. Which consumes several kinds of oil and petrol and usually electricity. Are all firewood producers registered as unemployed or [merely] mentally ill? How else can they possibly find the time to work at it all day and every day? Nothing else makes any sense and absolutely no sense at all! And if it is for private consumption why are so many trailers leaving the "wood yard?"

If only one could subtract the loss of home values in the area from their supposed woodburning "savings". What about the psychological suffering from their maddeningly repetitive noise? Don't even get me started on the soot particle inhalation and toxins from burning illegal timber sources! Imagine the torture of knowing that they are receiving regular lorry loads of [illegal] painted chipboard, painted plywood, painted hardboard and painted ceiling beams from a highly toxic era with substances now completely banned from use! The woodburning psychopath will cheerfully feed their stoves with this crap. All day and every day [and night] of the year. And if they burn it then their neighbours must inevitably "enjoy" it too! Where's the choice? There is none. [At all.]

Did I mention how many villages literally stink of creosote from burning wet wood? Or that the private, but annually compulsory, visits from sweeps have almost no effect. They use round brushes on long steel strips to "polish" the treacle inside the chimney, by hand, from above. Resulting in several chimney fires locally immediately after the sweep's visit! One of these homes was thatched! Despite having to pay for the service, through the rates, these private sweeps seem to have absolutely no organization at all. Since they work only during the day the occupants of almost every home are usually out at work. The majority of women in Denmark work and their children are in day care [all day, every day] from a very early age. [Think baby.] You'd think the sweeps would have a proper contact system by now. Instead of which they drop a card through the door after several attempts at sitting around for endless hours in their vans hoping to spot any movement in the area. A "nice little earner" if ever there was one!

The sweeps had a nice scam going selling costly rungs to be fitted permanently to the roof. Just so they didn't have to get their own ladders off their van roof! Disfiguring rungs on the roof all year round for a ten minute annual visit just to save themselves the effort of using their own bløødy ladders? The papers carried stories of the bullying of pensioners into having these rungs fitted. Given the price of the rungs it would have been cheaper for many pensioner to buy their own, professional roof ladder and set it aside for the sweep's use only once a year! Our own sweep, over whom we had absolutely no choice [as they won't cover other sweep's fixed patches even when bribed] was a racist, bullying and very deliberate vandal! They say power corrupts. It certainly corrupted our very own Master Sweep!

After demanding to know, on several previous annual visits, where I worked [and not believing me] he went straight up onto the roof. Where I had already prepared a professional quality roof ladder tied to a tradesman quality, builders ladders down to the ground. He had not even checked indoors to see if the access plates were in place and the stove vents safely closed. Then this Master Sweep [I kid you not] thrust his polishing brush down the chimney so hard that he knocked the indoor access plate right off the wall! Which he then followed up with a thorough brushing of our living room furniture with his filthy brush as it extended two meters from the broken hatch out into the room! You are now left to imagine the layer of soot on every surface. Professional to a fault, eh? Despite his unbelievable behaviour we still have absolutely no choice of cowboy sweep! Welcome to environmentally friendly, compulsory everything, including annual bullying, Denmark, at our own £34 [equiv.] annual expense!

Meanwhile, back at the ranch: I rode south to the coast on mostly wet roads with plenty of puddles. It tried to spit with rain a few times but quickly lost interest. There are some quite fierce hills down there including some fun switchbacks if a trifle bumpy. Having a bad day with straps! One of my original, leather, saddle bag straps broke from old age. Then the shoulder strap of my sports bag gave way at the stitching and dropped my shopping from chest height at the checkout! Aaargh! Two dented cans but no other obvious damage. I'll have to find two, matching, heavy leather belts with roller buckles as the second saddle bag strap looks just as tired. Black leather, 30 wide x 3mm thick shouldn't be too hard to find online. Needing a matching pair, with nickle plated, roller buckles, makes them a very unlikely find in any charity shop. 26 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


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