A Wagtail was as startled as I was as it popped out of its high-rise accommodation in a longstanding stack of logs. The marsh was alive with birdsong as I traveled both ways. I enjoyed the unique recognition of my own, giant footsteps in the dew still clinging to the rough and tumble of tussocky grass. It is very rare that I cover the same ground twice. The heavily cambered track was decorated at intervals with far too many or rather fewer molehills. One or more thrushes teased in being largely heard but never seen. Falling to silence every time I paused in an attempt to try and locate them, or it. This despite my laser-honed, visual and auditory, locatory senses from years of [very] relaxed bird spotting.
Titter, ye may, but bird watching greatly improves one's native skill at seeing the completely invisible against an impossibly complex background. The hobby also teaches one to point binoculars instantly and faultlessly at any desired object. Not easily done when the subject is a tiny silhouette set against the spreading branches of a large, concealing tree. Or worse, a small bird ascending rapidly into the heavens.
Did you know that Yellowhammers knew, exactly, how the ball bearings of those Newton's pendulum, executive toys would sound millions of years before they were invented? The avenue of Hornbeams is increasingly showing its decrepitude. Lining, as they do, the last section of a hilly lane running between two great houses. It must be over a hundred years since the nearest estate reached its peak of affluence with a new stately home. Tragically, the experimental use of concrete had resulted in damp and unhealthy living conditions and the building eventually had to be demolished after refusing to dry out. Both houses still sport extraordinarily large ranges of attractive farm buildings. I must admit to an over-romanticized fondness for stately homes. While they may have been built and maintained with semi-slave labour they do have a wonderful atmosphere and much to admire in their extensive buildings and grounds.
Half an hour into my ride it started raining. Lightly at first but gathering momentum. I had nothing in my legs except aches and pains so I did a lot of climbing out of the saddle. Guess who decided to take a risk and wear his normal MTB shoes instead of his waterproof MTB winter boots? It hardly mattered in the grand scheme of things because it wasn't long before I was wet all over. Thankfully the gear indexing was back to normal and the front changer had completely lost its former stiffness. So changing the cables was well worth the effort. It could be sheer coincidence but I'm wondering whether somebody with clout in Denmark is reading my blog. I shan't say anything more about it today in case I merely confirm it. Unlikely coincidences do happen, however beneficial. 21 mostly soggy miles.