25 Feb 2016

25th February 2016 Eight deer! What's that, dear?


Thursday 25th 30-40F, -1-4C, white frost, clear skies and bright sunshine with potential wintry showers.  The permafrost was back making progress considerably easier if a bit noisier. You should have heard the racket I made crunching through dead grass and last year's beech leaves! My usual climb was helped by the firm ground and new weed growth. I would not have expected such rapid improvement after the bare mud left by forestry vehicles. There are several springs on the climb which usually make the going almost marshy.

As I exited the woods I disturbed five deer. Three headed one way the other two quite another. A few yards later I came over a brow and disturbed three more. They trotted off across three fields, stopping regularly to stare back at me. I retaliated by staring at them through my binoculars. They seemed quite confused by the fallen hedges. Presumably they had accustomed squeezes when the hedges were still standing. This is the most deer I have ever seen on a single walk but it must be many months now since I last saw a hare. Though I do see their droppings quite regularly. So they must be temporarily nocturnal rather than merely shy. This is probably due to the complete lack of cover at this time of year. Most crops hardly manage a semblance of sparse grass over the winter.

An emergency vehicle was playing its siren as it sped along the road hundreds of yards before I reached there myself. It was fascinating to hear the effect on the sound as it approached and passed farm buildings. The westerly winds are supposed to peak at only 20mph today. I had better make the most of it!

The forest bank where the trees were thinned out is recovering from the heavy-footed forestry vehicles. This space always used to be full of birds enjoying the scrubby cover.

Rode to Assens to shop. Cold headwind going but better coming back. I was chasing a chap with white hair on a roadster and struggling to make contact. Suspecting him of concealing an electric motor, I finally caught up and overtook on a descent. We exchanged grunts of recognition in passing. I am definitely noticing my lack of miles this year. At least my back isn't aching. Climbing out of the saddle is becoming a habit to stop my quads from burning. I am torn between gracefully pulling a high gear and quickly running out of steam. Or dancing on the pedals, in a silly low gear, like a small child. The rearward saddle position is certainly helping my style. I took a chocolate muesli bar and forgot to eat it. So I felt as if I was verging on an emaciated POW inmate by the time I reached home.

I spent some time in the afternoon resetting the gear stop screws and adjusting the brakes. It was embarrassing to have the chain drop right over the 36t sprocket when I most needed it. It is impossible to lift a loaded 2WD trike or recover the chain by pedaling at a standstill. I am too mean with myself to turn around and descend just to fix such private matters. I might be overlooked!

So the clown on a tricycle quickly degenerates into a clown pushing a tricycle. I have absolutely no illusions as to my social status amongst the plebs. Satisfying myself, instead, with waves and grins from fellow cyclists to maintain the inner illusion of serious intent. Cycling suits a loner like myself.  Cycling in social groups is too tempting to the rabid competitor in me.I swear I was a bike chasing terrier mutt in a past life.

I had dropped the genial but tiny, split cable clamp on a Tektro brake and had then found only one half. Having gently worked myself towards turning a new one on the lathe the Head Gardener spotted a shiny object lying in the gravel outside the shed. What sort of fool has coarse gravel right near where he works? Don't answer that! I was going to pave the area with more slabs but the project became just another roundtoit. Everything is a catch 22 where I am concerned. You can't just have slabs without leveling [hard frozen] ground and fetching and compacting heavy sand, stabilizing/anti-weed material and all that sort of thing. If I did have slabs they would only collect birch seeds and twigs and would have to be swept regularly. The broom is on the other side of the yard. Life is short enough already and I have more than enough projects without branching out into landscape gardening. 19 miles. 


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