27 Jan 2016

27th January 2016 I'm back!

Wednesday 27th 45F, 7C, very heavy overcast, raining and very windy. It could gust up to 18m/s today which is roughly 40mph. Light rain is also forecast with temperatures up to 10C, 50F. I hardly noticed my back and hip this morning but now the weather is conspiring to limit my outdoor activities. I see there is now close agreement between the reporting climate centers that 2015 was by far the warmest year globally. Not only did 10 months set new records but the increase in temperatures was also a new record.

It seems my decades of trying to reduce my impact have had a very low [er] impact. The years since I began cycling to the shops, rather than driving everywhere,  are undone by a single neighbour. Who's traffic movements are not dissimilar to Heathrow's. Well, if nothing else, the savings on fuel have helped to fund my hobbies.

I saw a beggar with a very nice mobile phone the other day. Though he was careful to hide it when shoppers were leaving the supermarket. My six year-old Nokia had a screen like a postage stamp and was only used for emergencies. Only the slow, but final death of the battery forced the purchase of another budget phone. The new Nokia isn't a patch on the old one despite all the unwanted bells and whistles. The old one could be set to start ringing quietly and then increase in volume. The new one only allows steady but deafening levels. Which are essential to ensure I can hear it above the roar of the traffic when I am out on my trike. Which means I get some funny looks in the supermarkets when Base calls to remind me to get something else on the way home. They used to call this radio control but now they just call it wireless. Which was a very old fashioned name for a radio even when  I was a child. Just an hour's walk in gale-blown drizzle.

The wind continued to roar in the trees all day with constant light rain. Another rest day.

Thursday 28th 39F, 4C, windy but quite clear. We have even been threatened with a little sunshine. Winds gusting to only 35mph today. I still hope to get out for a ride. For the first time in what seems like ages I was able to put my socks on without pain this morning. Though I had a bad night struggling to stay sleep with a headache. I think I am reacting to coming off the pain killers. At least the heartburn seems to have gone. Enjoyed my usual elliptical walk up through the woods. Everything is incredibly quaggy but just manageable. There was constant sunshine as I climbed and descended on rather soggy and slippery inclines. The wind was strong enough to make it feel rather cool.

As I exited the woods I noticed that miles of hedges have been cut down. Aren't people amazing? I discovered the culprit for the absence of vertical hedges in the shape of quite a small, tracked excavator. It had obviously been fitted with some kind of saw and jaws to grab the falling trees or bushes. The driver arrived in a van at the very bottom of the field and needed to reach his machine where he had left it at the top via the wet, rough and very bumpy track. So he effortlessly reversed the half mile up the steep hill to maintain traction with front wheel drive. His driving was really quite impressive despite the steepness and very poor surfaces. Having reached the top he stepped out and allowed his mate to drive all the way back down again. A few minutes later the machine was rolling parallel with the hedge, neatly laying the trees and bushes at right angles as he went. His speed and skill at hedge "laying"  easily matched that behind the wheel of his van.

I used to get very upset at the sudden lack of shelter from the wind when hedges were cut down. Only later did I appreciate that the leveling of a hedge meant a considerable increase in thickness, diversity and density. The tall, spindly growth was replaced by much better hedges after a couple of years. The views are slowly lost to the new growth but the shelter improves again over time. Cutting the hedges now means that active nests are not destroyed. The birds will have to find shelter elsewhere in the meantime until their terraces of accommodation are eventually returned to them. It is quite amazing how many of last year's nests can be seen in the bare roadside hedgerows. Often cantilevered out right over the traffic, one wonders how they coped with the racket from passing lorries and other traffic.  

Rode to Assens to collect my replacement buckles for my NW MTB shoes under guarantee. The headwind gale was so strong I was down to 5.5mph in a 33/36 bottom gear. It took me ages to get there compared with my usual speed. Coming home was a breeze. Though leaves were still passing me when I was doing 20mph uphill. There really seems to be an improvement in economic confidence. With "Sold" stickers appearing on house for sale signs. Even a new build going up on the Assens industrial estate. 21 miles with no ill effects whatsoever. Rumours of my imminent demise were obviously an exaggeration.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

No comments:

Post a Comment