7 May 2016

7th May 2016. Early summer?


Saturday 7th 54-67F, 12C, bright and sunny with a light breeze. Forecast to be windier later with
plenty of sunshine and possibly up to 20C, 68F again. A gorgeous morning for a walk. It is just before 10am and it has already reached 67F. I had to find my coolest walking clothes before setting off. Fortunately a warm wind kept things comfortable as the swallows darted about the sky between the endlessly singing Skylarks. Great tits squeaked from the hedges, as much in need of a drop of oil on their axles, as ever.

The oil seed rape continues to dominate. Its modest height concealing and softening the landscape. I must admit to rather liking the colour and its bold effects after a shaky start. It certainly seems to get sprayed and muck-spread more than its fair share. The sickly sweet smell can be rather oppressive on a warm evening.

A large, hose-fed, muck spreader was out of the fields but seemed to be having mechanical problems. A long hose, nearly 15cm, or 6" in diameter, stretched all the way back to the storage tanks at the pig farm. I measured it on Google Earth as being at least 1000 yards. It must take one hell of a pump to feed the machine at that distance and over that change in altitude!

Full zoom on the Panasonic TZ7. The huge machine will completely disappear in the fold in the land below as it descends. The pair of Shelducks, resting beside a field puddle in the dip, took off at the noisy approach of the machine and shot away complaining loudly above the din from the diesel engine.

The beeches are beginning to find their leaves though it will take some time yet before the mature trees are at their best. Beech woods really are beautiful with their cliff-like faces and wonderfully bright foliage. Then they outshine themselves in autumn to leave a carpet of warm orange leaves to cheer up the darker days of winter.

The stacks of felled hedges are already being turned into wood chips. Which will almost certainly confuse all the birds which thought they were safe from further disturbance. Many kinds of birds have been attracted to the dense cover the jumbled stacks provided.

I shall be going shopping after morning coffee. There will be headwind all the way there. And there was. I seemed to be going well today and find myself climbing out of the saddle more and more. Riding the first leg with a cross-headwind went well enough but the middle 7 miles was directly into the wind. The final leg was a tailwind. I missed not having something to drink as the temperate rose to a rather foolish 71F, 22C for early May. I had removed the bottle cage for the winter and found that breathing heavily on a climb in warmer conditions dries the mouth out far more than in cooler temperatures. My face is beginning to look like a spaceman who's visor broke. Leaving a smaller red square from solar radiation inside the usual edges. 24 miles.

Sunday 8th 58F, 15C, bright sunshine from a cloudless sky. Light breeze becoming windier later. The early summer continues unabated. The Head Gardener is complaining about all the watering needed. After spending most of the day outside I needed watering to cool the sunburn on my arms. What a silly billy! Rest day.

Click on any image for an enlargement. 

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