24 Feb 2016

24th February 2016 White van man joins the club.

Wednesday 24th 32-37F, 0-3C, breezy, skies clearing to bright sunshine. Showers possible. A Greater spotted woodpecker was battering one of our birch trees as I donned my walking boots. I soon had my jacket fastened up around my chin in the bitterly cold wind. A thin skin of ice on the ponds and puddles, with white frost in the shadows. Though the permafrost was gone today and I son had muddy boots the size of snowshoes. It, or rather I, had warmed up by the last leg in bright and breezy sunshine.

Wind-powered church? Well, surely it's better than being natural gas powered? Don't even get me started on the fact that they centrally heat churches even when they are empty from one month to the next. In Denmark the poor can claim money from charity to pay for confirmation parties, evening dresses and limos. No, I didn't believe it either. Aside from burials, weddings and confirmation most churches are so little used that one spokesperson suggested knocking them down to stop them falling into the wrong hands! I presume he meant nightclubs and strip joints. Many rural churches date back to 1200 or even earlier. They were probably sites of pagan ritual or burial mounds before that. Perhaps they should resurrect the standing stones instead? It would be churlish to suggest they be turned into the now absent, village shops. One hundred years ago many villages had a score or more of local businesses. Now even the Coops have gone to the spread of discount supermarket chains. Some of which are in serious financial trouble! What goes around, comes around. 

I rode off after morning coffee and rolls straight into the wind. It was eye and snot-wateringly cold! I got a bit fed up fighting for 12mph as it started raining. So I took the hilly detour through the forest for some shelter. Coming back, a huge cloud came up over the horizon and started spraying me with sharp hail. I was chasing waves of bouncing fine hail on the road at 20-23mph as it was coming at me from all directions. I felt sorry for an old lady walking the lane with her Zimmer frame as hail bounced all around her. She seemed to be leaving the village so may have had to do a quick U-turn. A pause for shopping at 15 miles allowed the first, big, wet cloud to pass over.

Then, as I climbed my way back home another vast cloud covered half the sky ahead of me. The distant scenery disappeared under a grey mist of falling hail as it crossed the sky in checkerboard sheets. Fortunately I never quite managed to get under it though the roads were soon sopping wet.

A moron in a white van blasted an old chap in his car for pulling out of a crossroads in front of him. The poor old devil in the car was so shocked he pulled straight into the opposite lane to avoid being rear-ended! Fortunately there was only myself approaching uphill in that lane. Had the van been doing the 30mph, legal speed limit there would have been no problem at all. He was in good company. Over 90% of all drivers completely ignore the speed limit signs on the descent to a dangerous, staggered, steeply sloping crossroads with a sharp, blind corner into a village. So commonplace was speeding in the following village that they actually had to increase the speed limit to avoid 98-99% of drivers breaking the law. Now, almost nobody sticks to the 60kph [37mph] speed limit but add the compulsory [in Denmark] 15-40mph extra according to personal taste. Fortunately, for them,  there is nowhere to hide for the police camera vans. 22 miles, not quite out.


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