1 Nov 2015

1st November 2015 Rant-adoodle-dooo!

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Sunday 1st 48F, 9C, a light breeze, but heavy overcast and a bit misty. Light winds promised all day. A quiet rural walk. Thousands of gulls rose in a huge cloud and settled again. A large bird of prey took umbrage at my presence from some hundreds of yards away and mewed angrily all the way to a village tree.

I had a good laugh at the Danish DR News channel's website today. DR is the Danish version of the UK's BBC with a similar obsession with national politics. The piece was talking about home-owner's legal responsibilities. Once upon a time, children, there was a legend that homeowners were and still are required by law to keep the pavement outside their properties clear and clean, This is and was to avoid putting pedestrians in danger! Remember, children, that many older people can no longer afford a car nor even want one. So they must risk their brittle bones by traversing the mountainous lateral moraines and icy ridges on their way to the village shop. Not the the car owners sop there because that would involve paying a penny extra on everything which would be better spent on fuel. So the pavements should bekept clear for those less fortunate than the commuting homeowner. Ho-ho-ho. Tee-hee-hee. This requirement really is hilarious! Are we talking about Denmark here? Tell that to the homeowners who drag moraines of gravel onto the pavements and cycle paths from their drives for literally decades on end. The news page reported that autumn leaves are included along with snow and ice and gravel clearing. Hee-hee-hee-hee! Woohoo! You couldn't make this up! There are trees and weeds and even crops like oil seed rape growing in the compost from decades of leaf fall outside some houses.

Many proud homeowners use a ride-on tractor with a wide rake fitted behind to make their vast areas of parking area gravel into neat lines. But they don't give a toss for all the gravel they rake so regularly and enthusiastically onto the pavements, cycle paths and verges. This law really is the stuff of children's make-believe. A ride through any village will show that by far the vast majority don't give a shit about clearing deep snow from "their" bit of pavement! They drive in and out through the high banks of snow made by the snow plows without a thought for the condition of "their" pavement.

The number who clear leaves in any village chosen at random can probably be counted on one knuckle of one finger of one hand. Never mind fingers! What a sick joke! The Council can't even clean up outside their own offices! Leaves, gravel, litter and glass are the norm. What a perfect example! Are they going to prosecute themselves and then pay the fine with rate payer's money? How will they afford their designer furniture and original artworks then?

A hedgerow Spindle tree [Euonymous europaeus] packed with its pretty but poisonous fruits. The wood takes a sharp point so was once used for making spindles.

I rode down to the Heln├Žs Peninsula looped around the quiet lanes and then back by a different route once on the mainland. Another rather grey and sad day but the wind stayed very light. Light winds make a huge difference to my speed and I regularly glance down to read 18-20mph on the flat.

The hedgerows are stuffed with wild fruit at the moment. Even to the point where a woman had stopped on a busy road, with double white lines for miles, to pick rose hips. The traffic was having to pause for oncoming traffic to clear before they could pass her car. No, I couldn't believe it either. My deaf left ear had stopped whistling until I ate my second sandwich. Then the deafening whistle suddenly returned with a vengeance! It looks like another visit to the quack is required. I am fairly sure that the whistle is only a symptom of my temporary deafness. Surely it can't be due to riding and walking in the cold? I have been doing that for decades. I had my ears syringed and it was reported they were clear. It took a week to get normal hearing back in the left ear but it was very short lived before I could only hear high pitched sounds on that side.

The whistle is so loud it is exhausting. It reminds me of the VHF shriek of a lathe cutting stainless steel. I measured 110dB at several meters distance on my SPL meter but could not go any closer despite wearing professional, headphone-type, ear defenders. The operator was standing there with no ear protection [at all] right beside the machine. By law he should never have been exposed to that sound pressure for mere seconds let alone a full 10 hour shift without lawful meal breaks. No, they don't have "health and safety at work" in Denmark either. So watch out for those filthy pavements outside the Council offices! :-) 38 miles. Just passed 5000 miles for the year. Tragic on so many levels!

Click on any image for an enlargement.


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