27 Jun 2016

27th June 2016 The vultures have landed.


Monday 27th 61F, 16C, breezy and cloudy with bright sunshine. In an unprecedented arrival, the Danes are shocked by a large flock of 34 meat eating vultures landing in the north. Only a few single birds have ever been seen since 1858. I would have thought that London was a far more fitting site for such visitors but it seems Denmark was chosen instead. It may simply have been a GPS error from all those whirling windmills. While cynics might have suggested that norther Denmark presently lacks dead bodies in the streets so they were definitely lost. Though it is possible they were looking for corpses from the gangland tit-for-tat killings? 

The birds may just have been eying the feeding potential of a whole continent in crisis. No doubt the posh Danish restaurants will already have paid volunteers to bring back an example from the flock. To add to their tasteless, shark's fin and endangered mushroom soup. Or perhaps, the birds had heard the rumours of the catastrophic death toll in the Danish pig sheds. It seems the birds with a 9' wingspan have yet to be informed of the giant plastic 'woodlice' parked outside most pig farms. Where the adult pig carcasses are routinely laid for out collection by the meat rendering lorries. It seems the vultures will soon have had their Danish bacon. [With added sugar.] So they will soon return to gorge themselves on the packed tourist beaches of Spain.

Meanwhile I have had to make do with a small, almost black bird of prey being mobbed by tiny birds over the front fields. Did I mention that there seems to be an acute shortage of Magpies this year? I have hardly seen any at all! Just a walk down to the village facing the traffic. With the wind roaring in my ears on my return. Half a dozen House Martins were clinging to the tiles of the church roof and being fed at frequent intervals by adults on the wing. It was fun to watch the young being buffeted by the wind. They seemed to be perfectly synchronized and would all flap their wings briefly in unison. Some of them had a beautiful sheen on their plumage when they caught the sun.

Showers on and off all day. Rest day.

Tuesday 28th 63F, 17C, bright but cloudy. Only odd showers forecast for today with rather light winds. Despite some grey moments it stayed dry. No walk but a short, hilly ride for 10 miles.

Wednesday 29th 57-65F, 14-18C, heavy overcast, raining and rather windy. The rain is expected to clear to sunshine and showers later. It brightened up in the afternoon so I went off into the wind. The plush fields were full to the brim with grain crops in all their variety. There were several flooded roads where this morning's rain had not found a safe exit. Coming back with a tailwind via the tiny, hilly lanes was as close to perfection as cycling can get. In warm, bright sunshine, with fluffy clouds decorating the blue sky I wallowed in the beauty of the countryside. With no traffic to speak of and the wind providing a free motor I arrived home happy and relaxed. 18 miles for only 3001km so far this year. What a slacker! 

Thursday 30th 57F, 14C, overcast, windy and cool. It is supposed to rain for the next 36 hours. June was not remotely the warm May which went down in the record books. Except for record rainfall in Horsens it was a bit of  damp squib. It is odd how little rain usually features in my cycling exploits. I have even been carrying the sweaty but lightweight 'supermarket' rain jacket in the bag. If only the designer had added arm pit vents it could have been far more comfortable. Every time I thought there was a brighter widow to go out it tipped down again.


25 Jun 2016

25th June 2016 Burp!


Saturday 25th 65F, 18C, heavy overcast with light winds. Rain or showers forecast with a light garnish of thunder. After yesterday's heavy Brexit I'd better keep my head down. Probably between my knees is best to avoid unexpected nose bleeds. The Danish press talks of Britain waking up to a hangover.  With London and Scotland hoping to stay in the EU.

After Horsen's once in 500 years downpour the US has rallied with a once in a 1000 years downpour.  Friendly international competition has its place, but really? If this is what we can expect from AGW I'm definitely investing in a rubber dinghy and a life jacket. Next door had a speedboat lying in their back garden for years but took it with them when they finally 'downsized.' Which is a shame because it just means more expense in these difficult times.

The back fields used to flood every year but that was man-made too. Another neighbour complained to the council that they always needed waders to mow their back lawn. So the commune sent in their crack troupes. They arrived in a fleet of unmarked black vans, concealing balaclavas and uniforms without insignia. Armed to the teeth with weapons grade, motor strimmers they soon removed obstacles to the natural ebb and flow of the former open sewer.

Sadly, that swiftly put an end to any hope of starting a boat hire business! So we went back to sniffing burning furniture instead. At least that was how it was most days. You'd have thought they'd throw an ark together from all that free demolition waste wood but there's no accounting for personal taste.

The hedge took another pasting this morning despite the Head Gardener's stern disapproval over shape, height and general form. I just hope it doesn't lead to yet another international incident. I ma fairly sure that diplomatic relations would take a turn for the worse if I criticized her cooking.

Plans for a ride were curtailed by a sudden heavy shower. The forecast is upgraded to a Yellow Level violent weather warning. I just hope Denmark doesn't try to return the ball from the US' baseline! Not to worry, the new fleet of American fighter aircraft will save us form the worst if there is another deluge.  West Virginia-30 Horsens-15. The net buoys should be ready by now.

Langeland and Svendborg in SE Fyn has had violent weather with boats overturned, local flooding and damage to 20 houses from fierce gusts and cloudbursts. 30-30. Not that I'm a tennis fan. Or a fan of much else 'sporting' for that matter. The term is hideously abused and sporting it certainly is not! Most of it is just the redistribution of wealth in an upward direction.

Having studied the DMI's weather charts carefully I could see that most of the bad weather was sliding past Fyn to the west. So off I set into the finest of misty drizzle. It started raining properly at halfway while I was in the shops and kept it up for a while. The traffic was well behaved today and left me plenty of room to avoid wheel spray. Though the new cycle paths were flooded right across their width again. Forcing me to slow right down to avoid spraying myself or hitting obstacles hidden beneath the water.

The newer stretch of cycle path on the other side of the road seems better because they weren't quite so mean with the asphalt. The greater height, relative to the granite kerb stones, allows the water to run over the edges more easily. More asphalt may be laid at a later date to bring the level up along the earliest stretch. They have been quite busy laying the kerbs since I last rode that way. Which will add another couple of miles to the new cycle paths when the hardcore has been covered in new asphalt. It was a clever idea to use rough hewn, white granite to make the edges high visibility. The raised edges should also stop agricultural traffic from using the cycle path as they do routinely elsewhere. 15 miles.

Google blogspot is broken again. It refuses to update and shows a blank new post page again and again!

Sunday 26th 56F, 13C, heavy overcast, light winds. The forecast cloudbursts have been cancelled and we may see some sun today with odd showers. Gusting to 30mph, unfortunately, or it might have been a good day for a ride.

The aftershocks of the sharp Brexit continue to rumble. The real skurks in causing the vote to leave have yet to admit their sociopathic complicity. Nor deflate their colossal egos in their unnelected EU power cabal. They want Brixit be punished to avoid other countries demanding a referendum on Juncker's mass suicide cult.

What about the huge sums being wasted on white elephant projects and the drooling idiocy of routinely moving the entire, homeopathic EU parliament? All to satisfy some craving for limp national recognition? This alone requires heads publicly roll at the top. Soros is calling for a complete reorganization but it may be too little too late. I blame the banana fiasco as being the last straw in Juncker's hard push for the Dover clifftop. The ultimate double bluff? Deliberately make the EU unworkable so it collapses under its own weight for lack of public support? Does he have any other explanation for his peculiar behaviour? That's always the problem with predatory sociopaths. It's always the victim's fault. Give a small man a lot of power and they end up invading Poland.

A splendid day for a ride. With glorious sunshine and a sky full of snow banks of cumulus and a fresher feel but far too much wind for comfort. Not that I was complaining [for once] about cruising at 18-19pmh with 25mph seen regularly on the slightest decline. I saw a bunch of cyclists out training and passed them at 24mph going the opposite way.  The complaints started when I had to turn in to the wind to get home. Now i was seeing 14mph with occasional bouts of 7.5mph climbing into the wind.

I have been monitoring how I am adapting to much lower  mileages. It now seems as if I am wind [breathlessness] limited when climbing rather than pain limited by my legs. Not going badly at all really. Continuing to practice climbing out of the saddle. Amazing that I was only able to manage 2 seconds when I first tried. Now I can climb while standing on the pedals for hundreds of yards. Much like a few motorcyclists I saw today. I don't know how far they'd been but those broad saddles seem strangely uncomfortable. 23 miles.


Friday 24th Brexit. [The salty, sugar-coated, EU mark-cist, lower fat serial.]


Friday 24th 72F, 22C, warm, breezy and very humid. Bright start but clouded over. The exact opposite of the DMI forecast. Possible thundery showers after lunch. Best to go without lunch then? Just a steady walk down to the village to stretch my legs. Swallows and Martins were swooping wildly around together. A dead cat on the verge had obviously found the car with its name on it. While a large brown buzzard is hunting low over the front field. Just another [lazy] day in paradise.

Those of a nervous disposition had better gloss over the following diatribe:

Some of my readers may still be be unaware of Gravely Blighted's EU referendum "sharp exit" result. I just hope I won't need to pay the Continental 'coyotes' for an illegal boat ride back to the UK. As British, ex-pat immigrants [despite having British birth certificates] we will have to come ashore at some quiet cove to avoid the armed Border Patrols. No doubt supported by red neck, Cornish pasty toting vigilantes in rusting SUVs. With a row of red, white and blue LED spot lamps arranged across their bull bars. No point in trying our luck at the Chunnel. It's been done to death by others who claim far more right to be living in the UK than mere ex-pats. Perhaps we should stop wearing sombreros and 3rd degree suntans and try to look more like the newly impoverished we really are? Even the charity shops over here are far too upmarket to disguise ourselves as recognizable 'natives' beyond the grinding, off-white teeth of Dover. 

Over 320,000 Brits live in Spain alone. Claiming refugee status as having escaped from 'cruel and unnatural' treatment by the vile EU Dictatorship won't help the immigrant's cause. They had turned their backs on all that England holds dear [Eton, Oxbridge, Cliff Richard & Old Money] and must pay dearly for their disloyalty to Gravely Blighted. House prices in Spain will collapse overnight if they are all forced to move on from their chip shop & Corry, razor wire gated communities.

Meanwhile, the innocently blameless, at the center of the EU dictatorship, are demanding Brixit leave ASAP so their private dictatorship can continue unabated. i.e.Without personal loss of [their] fabulous incomes and [their] unnelected status. No lessons must be learned at all [taxpayer's] costs + VAT + Strasbourg + VAT + Ist class travel allowances + VAT plus 6 star hotel accommodation + allowances on the gravy train + VAT + 7 star chefs for breakfast + a private aircraft + VAT + neutered eu parliament + tin pots + VAT.

We must all publicly weep for St. David Cameron now he has retired to a life of grinding poverty on his lifelong pension, in a former council house. His monthly pittance and wealth regulated heating allowance, will be paid in now completely worthless, British Pounds. As the rain falls steadily over The Lordanumb Markets of Ye Olde England and the bloody Empire. Perhaps they will name a star after him. Or, at the very least, an EU paperwork, landfill crater. Which reminds me: I'd better invest in some removal boxes before speculators force prices out of reach for we, former-EU citizens.

For all my tongue-in-cheek complaints about Denmark they'll have to drag me kicking and screaming onto the ferry back to the UK. Back to the sleaze, the crime, the traffic noise, the violence and the grime. The well-earned and well-oiled chips on shoulders and the crippling insularity and insecurity. The ignoring the neighbours and the delusions of grandeur if they find a half crown down the back of a secondhand, faux leather settee. While perusing the charity shop wares and posh frocks in the identikit, grim and brutalist grey, chain store, double lined, diesel belching, buses only, high streets.

The mongrel society with such empty claims to racial purity that racism and class intolerance must be worn like an impenetrable force field to avoid all risk of contamination. Above [and below] all, the micro-hierarchical layers of class and prejudice. The empty snobbery and inverted snobbery. The flea market, house clearance, antique dealers and secondhand booksellers and gallery-daubist shifters and snake oil salesmen with their posh, put-on accents. The chip shop grease purveyors and takeaway staff with their fake "Frenchy" accents to add "a nice bit of class, innit" to the ritual proceedings.

Where everybody knows their place and know nothing of place beyond the drunken bars of mass tourist resorts and/or the local pub. Where the make and model of car defines the man [or woman] and their social status to an absolute Golf tee. Where good taste in building became an  endangered species back in the late 14th century. Where inequality lives cheek by jowl on opposite sides of the same, traffic blighted streets.

Where anything not fixed down is "just aksin' to be taken." Where nothing is sacred except institutionalized sexism, thievery, bullying and snobbery. Where mention of bank robbers alludes only to the institutions and never the folk heroes. Where dressing like a scruff has been raised to a mass form of coat couture. Where voice analysis, to place the user in their allotted class, is locked into the British genes. Where fear of strangers is so deep seated that you can smell its acrid stench in every social interaction. Where delineating a marauding Viking, terrorist, lower order peasant or Typhoid Mary, plagues every sweaty-handed introduction.

Where "getting away with it" is the first order of the day even before the first cigarette or jolt of ashtray aroma, instant caff. Where the scowling mask of social indifference is worn with national pride. Where counting the number of local burglaries is a closely fought, national sport with annually engraved and stolen trophies. Where voting is always for the least worst choice amongst the [police station] line-up of toffs, spivs, be-suited scruffs and upper crust, mafia bosses. Where they all delude themselves that they are infinitely superior. While living in a perfect facsimile of some backwards hell hole lifted straight from some dystopian 3rd world sweatshop where the forecast is always more rain. Where litter, projectile vomit and graffiti are the only recognized, public art forms in all their infinite variety and rainbow hue.

Where the opening moves of every conversation are a poorly disguised interrogation of the stranger's blood loyalties to some football-shirted bunch of multinational millionaires riding around the filthy back streets in plastic sports cars. Where accomplished ignorance is the highest level of attainment in many a 'public' school. Where shouting louder is the British-born and white bread, Google Translate of yore, and today. Where none should walk with their heads up. For shame of a long and bloody history of human exploitation and modern slavery in equal measure. Where the rules of dress are so deeply ingrained that it is standard wear for all seasons and all weather conditions. Or, to be spoken of, in derogatory terms, unto the 5th generation. Where charity and "rip-off" Britain begins, and ends, at home.

I'll get my [multicultural, Johnny foreigner] coat [of many colours]. ;-)

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21 Jun 2016

21st June 2016 Try not to inhale.


Tuesday 21st 60-70F, 60-21C, cloudy start and light winds. No ill effects from yesterday's hedge clipping and ladder work. It turned windy and bright later. Just a half hour walk to start the day. There seemed to be more buses than cars or lorries. Plenty of birdsong to keep me searching for the acrobatic little blighters. Wrote another long post about the past and decided it was far too off-topic for a cycling blog. Mid afternoon ride with quite a strong crosswind. Going quite well if a bit breathless on the hills. Superb sky full of mixed clouds. The picture is of Elder flowers decorating a tiny field copse. 15 miles.

Wednesday 22nd 59-70F, 15-21C, heavy overcast, light rain. It should clear up later. Which is more than I can say for the smoke from our neighbour's 24x365 burning and sawing of toxic demolition waste for water heating. My eyes are watering, I keep coughing and my nose has just exploded as the house reeks of smoke. I wonder if living in Beijing is really worse than this? Perhaps we should demand an air quality monitoring station? They have them on the sea bridges in Denmark to monitor passing ships. But not inland where it affects people directly. I wonder if we could get the council to buy our house as being unfit for human habitation? They have a cash pool for demolition of unhealthy houses. No walk and no ride today as I was press ganged into further destruction around the garden.

Thursday 23rd 71F, 22C, a warm and bright start. Rain later. I have an early appointment which can be easily reached by trike. At least I shall be able to escape the racket of chainsawing of yet more demolition waste from next door. The Danish news is discussing the problems for ex-pat Brits living here after referendum day. Loss of value to the pound will certainly affect British paid pensions and the like. Not to mention EU health coverage. Those of us who have lived away from Gravely Blighted for more than 15 years are not entitled to a vote in the referendum because we may have "gone native."

We shall just have to see what happens before we start swatting for the refugee entrance examination. I wonder whether The Red Cross are still doing food parcels? Early ride for 7 miles. The traffic seemed quite light. A huge heron was wandering about on the front lawn but spotted me at the window and flew off. We had to rescue one from our pond a year or two ago after it became caught in some leaf netting. I still carry the mental scars from its needle-sharp beak!

Click on any image for an enlargement.

20 Jun 2016

20th June 2016 The accidents of fate.


Monday 20th 56F, 13C, rather cloudy and windy but with some brightness. The forecast is rain later
so I had better get an early ride in today.

Not exactly an exciting picture but it forms one corner of a village square with the village pond in the trees beyond. I did not capture the Coots, the Martins, the Swallows, the Mallards or the Pheasants but they were all there. As was much else no doubt. Such tranquil scenes define the spaces around us. Given the accidents of fate it might easily have become a slavish lawn to be endlessly mowed. Or even be-housed with yet another soulless, identikit-bungalow from the standard catalogue. What do you have on your corner?

I came across this tiny old cottage while out on a ride. Note the round poles for rafters and unlikely chimney. The single, upstairs bedroom is carved out of the uninsulated roof space with bare planks. No doubt the plain windows are an attempt to modernize at some point in the last century.

The decorative edging to the brickwork is traditional and shows that pride was invested in the original construction. It would have been thatched for most of its life but had succumbed to Eternit corrugated, asbestos-cement roofing at some point.

The antique pram once lost in the darkness of the roof space demands respect for a personal history going back at least a century. Real people lived here and they had real children who played in the tiny, rural lane and front yard before the internal combustion engine was even invented. The pram once held a precious cargo not long for this world as the generations queued impatiently for their moment of being the center of attention.

The family would have been surrounded in fields and forest as far as their eyes eye could see. They would have explored their endlessly fascinating world with a freedom now long forgotten. The sound of traffic was just a dystopian nightmare for an intellectual few who could afford the time to sit and write down their dreams and nightmares. Two great wars would come and go with no obvious winners but hundreds of millions of losers.

The "decorative" electrical installation takes us well back in time to when rubber cable casing was the  norm. Huge cartridge fuses would have to be bought from the distant village shop whenever an overload occurred. Now there are no village shops left from the countless thousands which supplied and supported the rural population over the ages.

The Co-op began to take over in the 20th century and still clings on in some rural places. The saviour and also the beginning of the end for rural retailing and huge numbers of family workshops. I was reading the memoirs of a road-blighted local village which once sported more than 20 business at the start of the 20th century. Now, like many others, it huddles against the noisome roar of speeding, though traffic. Those who did not struggle for the hard survival terms on the land must have been merchants and artisans. Clinging to their pride and an impoverished independence to the very last.

The old stove is often a restored centerpiece of many a gentrified cottage and farmhouse kitchen. As obsolete and smokey and as difficult to manage as it was when large families were crammed into every available corner. The hard and unforgiving fields, harsh schooling and the harsher church offering the worn down mother a temporary respite from the bawling and din of managing childhood and giving birth to yet more.

The wall behind is suggestive of tiling but is is hard to say where they went and why the wall broke into cubes. Perhaps they had value to some casual thief or antiques forager?

The tiny bathroom sports a real bath but seems to lack any form of window. There may be more light leaking in through the missing roof than at any other time.

The old place once had a small barn or workshop attached which would have blocked any light from reaching inside. The obligatory washing machine would have kept the occupants bemused and irritated alike. As it churned endlessly in the background, punctuated only by dimly heard birdsong. The bathroom ceiling seems to never have been decorated. Not even a coat of whitewash in this dark, long-inhabited cave.

I peeked inside and was almost knocked over by the overwhelming stench of damp and mildew! Real people had suffered in the misery of this toxic atmosphere right up until only a year ago.

A more general view which would always have always been blocked by the demolished outhouse-barn-workshop.

Half the roof clings gamely on under a picturesque but uncaring sky. It has seen it all before. Again and again, as poverty and riches alike failed to keep up appearances and another living space succumbs to demolition.

I remember passing on my trike and seeing lots of cats and kittens in the tiny front yard and smiling to myself. The cats must have belonged to somebody. Or he, or she, to them.

The eking out of an existence in a lonely rural lane without near neighbours has finally come to an end. There is nobody to worry about the storm in the rattling roof or the need to scythe [or mow] the time-greedy lawn which runs along the undulating lane between gnarled and twisted old apple trees. Once a vital family resource against hunger and disease but now just more windfalls.

The excavator effortlessly destroys the history and soul of another old building. But, above it all, this was a real home, for a real family and real people all down the long years. It provided shelter and a place to rest weary and aching limbs for the young and broken elderly alike. It was the destination and final destination for excited children and the ruin of their hopes and dreams for far too many.

An aerial view from 1961 shows the little place was still thatched and still registered as a farm. [Image from Set Fra Luften] The small fields are  now an almost continuous prairie.

The 76 square meters of house reached the ripe old age of only 116 years before being cut down by the excavator of progress. There may have been an older building on the site before the present one. The barn's yard facade was timber framed suggesting an earlier period.

I can still remember pretending to help set up stooks and haystacks in the fields of a temporary school friend in in my youth. Backbreaking work under an unforgiving sun for a badly untrained and skinny teenager without a muscle or sinew to his name.

Then back to explore old and incredibly dusty farm buildings full of indescribable smells. Of strangely outdated contraptions of wood and iron and square-nutted, paint-flaking bolts. Built heavy to last forever, before built-in obsolescence and empty hype were the norm, but handicapped for all of that. The remarkable skills which went into their construction now lost to history. Once upon a time every farm building held wonders. So many that human curiosity could never be satiated by today's mere expenditure or drug culture. Long sunny days of dusty and rusty, pre-loved, ancient motorcycles and sidecars and carts and bicycles with flat and cracked tyres. Strange objects abounded with no obvious purpose except a tired and painful existence as a torture implement for young, aching muscles.

The smelly detritus of massive, cracked and greasy, buckled leather once the daily dress for equally leathery and greasy horses. All safely discarded under dry cover at a whim. Just in case it came in handy or could be sold, but never was. Time and technology rolled past and then over the massively timbered structures from a slightly foggy, forgotten past. Agriculture was a disparate, private museum for long centuries before the steel sheds and the giant GPS-guided, field robots were borrowed from the bank on borrowed time and money.

Old men who learned to keep their aching memories to themselves as they dragged on hand-rolled cigarettes with gnarly, tanned fingers. The ancient village pub, they once inhabited, now a door-banging car park for the commuter gentry, "incomers." With their pseudo-horsey, surgery-enhanced and bleached 'ladies' and loud talk of shallow, false pride in ephemeral possession. People defined at a glance by their loyalty to some trendy car maker, designer clothier or handmade wallpaper faschionista.  

Today I walked a loop out on the fluffy fields by the spray tracks as a stiff wind tugged at my cap. Safely away from the traffic, there was ample room to wallow in delicious but severely blinkered, rural nostalgia. I was back in my childhood again as I brushed through the stalk-narrowed tracks. The comforting skylarks overhead, defining the infinite, threatening, but rather indistinct sky. As the crops rocked back and forth in neat, alternate rows. Like some incongruous props from a post-vaudeville, silent movie. An 'entertainment' vaguely involving a stormy sea and long forgotten hero as barter for heavy pocket change.

Talking of heroes, I had better get my ride in before the promised rains come. Too late! I was seconded to gardening duties and heavy duty, hedge clipping in particular. All undertaken under the watchful eye, firm tutelage and frequent admonitions of The Head Gardener. I just wish the good lady understood the term 'voluntary' with rather more rigor. Or even a touch of empathy. But nature is a hard taskmaster. It was ever thus.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

18 Jun 2016

18th June 2016 Blustering along on the crest of a wave...


Saturday 18th 64-69F, 18-21C, windy and very cloudy with occasional dark periods but dry. I walked down to the village and was rewarded by more martins swooping around a different church. There was a much fresher feel to the weather today and it was really quite windy at times. A blackbird and a warbler were sharing the same branch at the very top of an old and very dead ash tree. They were no more than two feet apart and each singing away apparently oblivious to each other.

I forgot to mention 6 fighter jets going over low and very quietly in very tight formation. Perhaps there was an air display somewhere? The first such sighting in decades.  The last low flying object I remember seeing was a black triangle [or featureless, bright mild steel, cheese wedge if you prefer] which passed over our garden traveling very slowly just before dusk. That was probably 25 years ago and there is still no rational explanation. We were on the inland flight path of a forces airfield. So were used to almost anything going over just above the treetops. Usually they were banked over on a wing tip and usually not alone. I'm sure they could see our obscene gestures as we counted their rivets and glared up at the pilots from our rural idyll. An umbrella, to protect ourselves from falling fuel spray, would have been handy. As would ear defenders but nobody ever offered us any.

Never assume you live somewhere quiet just because you are rural detached. The neighbour's dog barked constantly for a decade at our last place. Much the same happened in Denmark. A brain dead moron owned an outside dog which could do two impressions. A howling baby or a shrieking baby chimp. Neither rendition was particularly convincing but the pair moved away eventually. Then there was the round-the clock-365 days a year chainsawing and a tractor running just outside our windows to drive a log splitter. Now it's mostly their 365x24 hour toxic smoke from demolition waste we have to put up with even in heat waves. Opening a window for some fresh is the very last thing we can ever do.

Late morning ride provided blustery crosswinds, tailwinds and headwinds. The councils seem to be taking drainage rather seriously quite recently. With several new emergency reservoirs being excavated to hold flash floods. Or, they could just use porous materials for all the factory car parks instead of the default asphalt. But I expect they know much more about this than I do. The new cycle paths are making slow but steady progress but seem to be dependent on the granite kerbs being laid before the asphalt by only a pair of workers. A long, uphill drag into the wind coming back by another way while well loaded with shopping. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger? Yeah, right! 17 miles.

Sunday 19th 55-64F, 13-18C, windy and overcast. A rather cold and grey start but it should brighten a little later. Remaining windy. It certainly added a cooling chill wearing my usual lightweight walking clothes. The House Martins were performing again as I hovered near the church. They were making the most incredible reversals in direction and seemed to enjoy chasing each other. 

Click on any image for an enlargement.

16 Jun 2016

16th June 2016 The Flood and other pestilence!

Thursday 16th 60-70F, 16-21C, medium bright overcast, almost calm with more rain forecast. We did actually have some of the rain yesterday evening which the lawns had been hoping for. But let's not talk about grass. I did my usual loop up through the woods and back down to the road. Despite the knee length gaiters, the waist high grass soon had me soaked right through. Apart from the dense clouds of pollen there were nettles hiding in the grass and I was well stung on the knees. What a silly billy!

I see Philadelphia is putting a tax on sugary "soda" drinks to try and combat the 2/3ds adult obesity. A girl in front of me at the checkouts had four liters of "energy" drinks and a few sweets on the belt. She was wider than she was tall and unable to walk properly because her thighs were far too fat to pass each other. So that her feet had to rotate in short arcs as she repeatedly leaned her bulk just enough to lift each foot in turn off the ground. If they won't sell booze to the already drunk in bars... why is it legal to serve such dangerous substances to tragic victims of "carpet sugar bombing" by the genocidal, "food" industrialists.

Sugar is like the lottery. There are only a tiny few winners but everybody else loses and they pay for the winner's windfall. In other words: A license to print money. The sugar industry spent a fortune fighting the Philadelphia "soda" bill. The real question is why it has taken so long to recognise that every sugar bomb these vile monsters sell is extremely toxic.

I was just reading about a guard at Auschwitz being prosecuted for being involved in the deaths of hundreds of thousands. When will we have checkout operators on trial for being involved in the industrialized deaths of literally hundreds of millions of innocent people? Does anybody else recognise the terrifying similarities between supermarkets and Auschwitz? It's where hundreds of millions of people go to die. They even have fences to direct the innocents from the marshal yards outside.  Even somewhere for the dogs to be tied up before their owners shuffle to their slaughter under the watchful eyes of the guards.

Mid afternoon ride as massive clouds piled up to the north again. Black as ink lower down. Fortunately it stayed dry, warm and sunny for us despite a narrow, towering pillar of cloud not far north of us. Apart form the usual jumble of 'cauliflower' it had a very strange bump with dark lines just like the gores of a colossal balloon. I was too lazy to stop and photograph it with my camera buried [in its case] deep under all the shopping in the bag. Tailwind going, head wind coming home. The poor wind turbines didn't know whether to stop or go all day. Only 10 miles.

Friday 17th 62-70F, 17-21C, sunny with thin, high cloud and light winds. Possible showers forecast yet again but they have been almost absent in our area so far. Though it did rain heavily one night. The wood chippings from the felled hedge were washed downhill on the track to the woods. Horsens' two hour long, 115.2mm cloudburst has been described as a "once in 500 years" deluge by the DMI. I borrowed this image from the DMI's website to show how extremely concentrated it was. Not far outside Horsens, to the west, there was almost no rain at all. Horsens is shown in dark red and is almost central in the Danish landmass. It lies at the head of an estuary.

AThe detritus of a previous generation being sold off. Even at only a fiver each there are no takers. Bicycles for sale are a common sight beside Danish roads. If these were on roadside display in the UK they would be stolen and/or trashed before the owner had gone back indoors. The same goes for building materials. They can stand outside for months without being touched in Denmark. In Britain they would be stolen before the delivery lorry was out of sight. What do you expect when their 'betters' are all at it too?

After yesterday's foolishness in long, wet grass I chose to stick to the asphalt today. With my trekking sandals for comfort I chose a pleasant route around the block. Going clockwise just for a change. A Marsh Harrier lifted off a bare, damp patch on a field and flew off to watch me from the safety of a hedgerow tree. Once I was away from the main road traffic the noise levels dropped to the purely historical. Probably unchanged in thousands of years.

An unending, dawn chorus filled the air. With Blackbirds competing with warblers, Chaffinches and rarer Greenfinches. A solitary Cuckoo called softly and without urgency. While dozens of martins were giving their usual, stiff winged, aerial display around the village churchyard. Their mud nests clinging precariously to the ancient eaves. With the scars of earlier nests darker semicircles against the snowy whitewash providing little confidence of longevity. The pond coots were nowhere to be seen today. The untidy nest now neatly lined with dried mud. Their tell-tail trails through the uniform carpet of mushy-peas, pond weed were the only clues to their presence beyond the newly concealing trees. Only farm tractors interrupted my progress beyond that point. As they moved soil and animals, each in their own specialized trailers, going in both directions.

Late morning ride to buy some nuts. Returned with eight when I really needed 16! Not so much some nuts as a sum nuts error. What about 20 miles to buy the wrong number of nuts is the sum of today's activities? Suit yourselves. Enjoyed a ride through the lumpy forest on the way back. I have seen more different kinds of birds of prey today than I can ever remember. I was riding along with a bird of prey only 20' away traveling parallel with my course and staring intently down at the field on my left. It's mate was hovering just above waiting for a tasty mouse takeaway. Neither seemed concerned with my presence. It turned thundery with very heavy showers later after a hot and humid afternoon of bright sunshine. 14 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

13 Jun 2016

13th June 2016 Rain spotting.


Monday 13th 53F, 12C, heavy overcast, windy with light rain. The drought is over. Long live[d] the drought! More light rain showers are forecast for most of today. And they did, so I didn't. Rest day.

Clouds captured the other day looked like ragged insulation after a tour in a bleach bath. Romantics may simply prefer "cotton wool."

Tuesday 14th 55F, 13C, heavy overcast, breezy but dry. Possible showers later. It remained rather dark, breezy and with spots of rain in the air on my walk. Swallows were racing about at knee level in the village. One flew between my legs and a wall which was only 3 feet away. I have been seeing quite a few House martins over the last week. Larger and bulkier than Swallows, they make the same kinds of adhered nest under roof overhangs on buildings. They are amazingly agile in the air and fly in enthusiastic groups as they swoop over ridges and through small gaps. The shallow V-tail and white chests and rump are the easiest recognition factors. They can usually be seen in wet areas or beside field ponds collecting mud for their nests. They are a migratory bird which winters in South Africa but breeds right across Europe. Busy, so no ride today.

Wednesday 15th 58-70F, 15-21C, heavy overcast, light winds. Showers possible including thundery. Horsens in mid Jylland [Jutland] had 115mm or nearly 4½" of rain in two hours of continuous cloudburst! Still dry here at 5.30pm though mountainous clouds with black curtains beneath were visible to the north as I left mid afternoon. A highly variable crosswind was not too much of a problem.

The usual lunatic commuters were compensating for their otherwise empty lives by driving dangerously. One BMW went past me so fast that it nearly did a somersault when it was forced to brake hard behind an already speeding car on the blind brow of a hill. Do not assume that I am anti-car or ignorant of speeds. I have been driving for decades. Others were overtaking cars which were already overtaking me. Then diving in before an oncoming car had to leave the road to avoid a head on collision. Obviously these deranged drivers are suffering from delusions of grandeur as to the importance of their negative contribution to humanity. They actually believe that gaining one place on busy commuter roads will somehow change their lives. How does that work? Does the busy road magically clear ahead if only they can pass the one car which is sticking to the speed limit? Have they really bought in to the car advertisers' "rainbow" effect? I am seeing quite a lot of Tesla electric cars. There are so many of them now that some of them are actually dirty. That is how commonplace they have now become. 13 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

12 Jun 2016

Sunday 12th June A stroll by any other name..


Sunday 12th 60F, 16C, light to stiff breeze, sunny. It is supposed to be cloudy with rain so I shall be seeking compensation for hurt feelings from those responsible for all this sunshine. Any information leading to a prosecution will be very welcome. We are having a bit of a drought over most of Denmark according to the DMI. A recycling center caught fire when garden waste, woody stuff was ignited by sparks from the shovel of a digger used to tidy it up.

With fields usually cultivated right up to the property line of rural homes and businesses a fire in the crops could be very serious indeed. It's no wonder they retain so many fire ponds. A recent combine harvester fire set the grain crop alight around a small house. It [the fire] was finally brought under control by a farmer with a tractor who turned the crop into the ground to stop the fire from spreading further. I remember a similar fire in a field right beside a farm from a similar machine fire. There are still huge numbers of thatched, rural houses.

It used to be commonplace for farmers to burn the stubble after the harvest but that seems to have died down. One chap who used to burn his fields regularly spread smoke over at least ten miles when the wind conditions were perfect. We were choking at home so I went to see what was causing all the smoke. Great pillars of black smoke rising in the landscape used to be a daily sight in summer. With great dollops of Roundup to clean the ground and contaminate the water supply it hardly seems necessary to choke the fields' neighbours these days. We have a new, private source of smoke amongst our neighbors and have just had to close all the windows.

It was a beautiful morning for a walk with mostly bright sunshine despite the sky being filled with gorgeous clouds. I almost caught up with the small, black cat in the woods as it was daydreaming but it ran away when it realised I was too close. It soon took a sharp exit left into the undergrowth when it had had enough exercise for one day.

Further on I met two serious mountain bikers climbing the steepest section of the entire, main track. Soon after that I exited the woods into the more open landscape to join the lane back to the village. I kept snapping away with my camera as numerous rural views presented themselves. Another rest day.

It is amusing to hear the discussions on the 40 question, New Danish Citizen Test for wannabe Danes. I scraped by with a measly 28 with several wild guesses falling either side of the line. I wonder how many Brits can give a date for Trafalgar, the first Carry-on Film, the date of Christianity reaching Britain and who was the king at the time, the topic of an opera, etc. Which inevitably leads to asking the Danish politic-ooze whether any of them can get a perfect score. I bet they have been studying the answers for months from the crib notes just in case a journalist buttonholes them and makes their day. It is, of course, entirely up to the Danes to assess the seriousness level of would-be Danes before each heads off for their respective ghettos to set up their satellite dishes. [The immigrants, not the politicoze.]
Click on any image for an enlargement. 

11 Jun 2016

10th June 2016 Missed by a hare's breadth!


Friday 10th 60-68F, 16-20C, light winds and sunny. Walked only a couple of miles. Rest day from the trike.

The hare which lolloped hundreds of yards to have its picture taken and then ran all the way back again. Exactly the same thing happened last year in exactly the same place. My Lumix TZ7 camera seem to be getting much slower to reset after every exposure. Making it much more difficult to capture moving targets.

Saturday 11th 60-64F,  16-18C, quite breezy from the north-east. Just another short, two mile walk.

Fyen Rundt

Then I rode to some slightly more distant shops. Hundreds of cyclists going the other way on the first leg. They were competing in the Fyn Round an annual event for racing bikes over four ride lengths: 333km, 180km, 110km and 65km. Which goes to show how out of touch the council supervisor was in importing enough gravel and glass for the cycle paths to ballast a Mærsk supertanker! They were road racing bikes. Not MTB's, you blithering idiot! So they didn't need your efforts to make them feel at home on loose, flinty, gravel track with decorative glass. Needless to say there were plenty of cyclists stopping to mend punctures.

How much would it have cost to bring in a road sweeping vehicle just once this year? Silly question, when financial priorities are on buying an enormous fleet of American fighter aircraft. Just to guarantee a top NATO job for the Danish prime minister when he's finally thrown out. Been there, done that. Any remaining funds must go to the purchase of original Danish, modern "art" daubs and impractical, Danish architect designed furniture for the local council offices. Billions in returned taxation is given away to any foreign businessman who ask for it.

On the way back from the shops I was now riding with the cyclists. With hundreds of mixed ability cyclists spread out across miles of road in groups of all sizes and many riding solo of course. There was no other obvious way to get home via the next lot of shops and the roads were open to normal traffic anyway. The average speed of the peloton which overtook me was about 19mph but I was only managing 17-18 riding solo being heavily laden with shopping by then. I seemed to match the group ahead on the hills but then I hadn't ridden far compared with them. I waved one chap on as he came up behind me but he was glad for somebody else to do all the work into the wind for a while. 

Highlights of the day included an immature [sub-14years old] raving fuckwit driving past literally hundreds of cyclists at over 80mph with his engine screaming in a 60kph/ 40mph speed limit. No police + no cameras = no road crime in Denmark.

Impatient drivers were also getting completely tangled up between groups of riders without much chance of overtaking again because of so much oncoming Saturday traffic and frequent blind bends. Some cyclists were getting so fed up with these moronic drivers that they were overtaking these slow cars to rejoin the group ahead.

Later a car drove down the outside of a long string of cyclists while blasting his horn continuously. I have no idea if he was mentally deranged but knew lots of the riders. The latter seems very unlikely. Or he was mentally handicapped and expressing his outrage at being slightly baulked in a busy shopping village. One where he usually prefers to exceed the legal speed limit past the open, junior school playground. All good fun then, except for the [specially laid on] glass and gravel. But, hey, this is a cycling-friendly country and the ride is only once a year after all! It's not all bad though. I suppose I can look forward to clear cycle paths once Mærsk has collected their misplaced tons of gravel for ships ballast. 14 miles.

Sunday 12th 60F, 16C, light to stiff breeze, sunny. It is supposed to be cloudy with rain so I shall be seeking compensation for hurt feelings from those responsible for all this sunshine. Any information leading to a prosecution will be very welcome. We are having a bit of a drought over most of Denmark according to the DMI. A recycling center caught fire when garden waste, woody stuff was ignited by sparks from the shovel of a digger used to tidy it up.

With fields usually cultivated right up to the property line of rural homes and businesses a fire in the crops could be very serious indeed. It's no wonder they retain so many fire ponds. A recent combine harvester fire set the grain crop alight around a small house. It [the fire] was finally brought under control by a farmer with a tractor who turned the crop into the ground to stop the fire from spreading further. I remember a similar fire in a field right beside a farm from a similar machine fire. There are still huge numbers of thatched, rural houses.

It used to be commonplace for farmers to burn the stubble after the harvest but that seems to have died down. One chap who used to burn his fields regularly spread smoke over at least ten miles when the wind conditions were perfect. We were choking at home so I went to see what was causing all the smoke. Great pillars of black smoke rising in the landscape used to be a daily sight in summer. With great dollops of Roundup to clean the ground and contaminate the water supply it hardly seems necessary to choke the fields' neighbours these days. We have a new, private source of smoke amongst our neighbors and have just had to close all the windows.

Click on any image for an enlargement. 

7 Jun 2016

7th June 2016 Hare today, gone tomorrow.


Tuesday 7th 60-77F, 16-25C, windy from the east with the trees all moving. A very brief, light shower showed itself on the southerly windows. Quite bright with a mixture of cloud, misty white and blue sky. The forecast is for a slightly cooler day. I circumnavigated the large field in front of the woods in the dust dry spray tracks. Where I was taunted by a bolshy, asymmetric hare as I moved closer, taking a snap with every other step. No ride today as I was busy at home. It was hot and sunny all afternoon.

Wednesday 8th 55-72F, 13-22C, very light wind, heavy overcast. The cloud is supposed to clear to brighter weather but cooler than of late. It had only reached 58F when I left for my walk into quite a cool breeze. Though it was far from uncomfortable even walking into the wind. I fought my way through head high grasses to reach the marsh pond but there were few signs of life. A solitary Shelduck circled and landed on the water then changed its mind to do a few more circuits.

It was breezy up in the woods. The usual views between the dark trunks of the beeches was lost to dense foliage. Some deer were making their strange 'barking' sounds out of sight in the thickest growth. Judging by the noises I was glad they stayed there!

You call that a track?

Walking back down the usual track to the road involved more tall grasses. There was no sign of a machete dispenser or even a rechargeable strimmer. I am always amazed at the sheer number of different grasses at this time of year. While evolution is very well accepted by most people it does make you wonder how grasses knew I'd be along eventually. Just to have sharp grass heads weave themselves into my socks and stab my poor old feet! I keep getting short bouts of hay fever this year. Which is hardly surprising given that grasses obviously intend to rule the earth. Just try going a week without giving the lawn a haircut if you don't believe me! Gravel and paving slabs are no defense either. They'd have to mow the roads if there wasn't traffic to keep the grasses at bay.

A few minutes after setting off on the trike into bright sunshine, a huge black cloud arrived. I felt three giant drops and pedaled like hell to get to the shops before it tipped down. Another false alarm. The clouds dispersed until I returned home. I'd give up on the amateurish Danish supermarkets if I had half a chance. No stock on the shelves. No stock in the warehouse. Infants on the checkouts and shelf filling. Queues at the checkouts as far as the next village! Only 7 miles of constant torment. Sometimes, I don't know why I bother. ;-)

Thursday 9th 65-69F, 18-21C, bright sunshine, calm. It is expected to be cooler still today. You couldn't make it up! I turned away from my intended route because I saw a tractor sprayer up ahead. So I walked through the woods instead where a hare lolloped several hundred yards to greet me. Hares seem to have poor straight ahead vision. For a change of scenery I returned via the bare spray tracks across several fields. Having reached the road I found myself walking on the opposite side of the hedge to the same spraying machine! A beautiful sky of fluffy cumulus clouds today and only slightly too warm in a thin jacket and trousers. There was just enough of a SW breeze to help me stay cooler.

The spring on the second buckle of my NorthWave MTB shoes broke. Fortunately I received two buckles under guarantee when the first one broke. A very simple [one screw] swap including fitting a new, toothed, tension strap. The latter just slides into a moulded loop. The buckles are "handed" so cannot be fitted to the wrong shoe without problems.

Northwave do seem to have an Achilles heel in the shape of this tiny buckle spring. Without the spring the buckle locks fast and will refuse to allow the shoe to be removed or even loosened without tools. This could prove to be quite a problem after a crash and possible injury. An ambulance driver is unlikely to have a Philips screwdriver in his pocket so would probably take a knife or very strong scissors to the strap to get the shoe off.

I'm sure young and strong MTB racers would give these shoes a hell of a lot more punishment than I ever have. Perhaps they'd view replacing buckles at ten dead squid per shot an acceptable expense for enjoying the competition. Micro-adjusting buckles with all the 'bells and whistles' are far more user-friendly than Velcro straps. When they work as intended. Albeit at considerably greater expense than 'humble' Velcro.

An after coffee ride to some different shops. Same problem as yesterday. An infant on the checkouts too engrossed and inexperienced to look up and see the queue is stretching back to the next village or the one after that. She eventually called a staff member to the second checkout. Several times too, before a lazy roundtoit ambles up as if they had all the time in the world. Which they always have of course and it's only a low paid job and they always have delusions of grandeur that they should be rocket scientists or Bill Gates or something.

Of course, all those who had not queued but were hovering then moved straight onto that checkout leaving the original queue of twelve odd trolleys and several baskets completely unchanged. Exactly as occurs every, single time. The parrot-like: "Y'all have a nice day!" [in Danish] has a false ring to it when real customer respect is always so completely lacking.

The marsh pond taken from the rising field above shows how little marsh is left beyond the water. From the bank it looks as if the largely willow undergrowth goes on forever. The central white blob near the far bank is a solitary Shelduck. Judging by all the spent shells lying around this lake it is much like shooting fish in a barrel. They and the pheasants even get fed grain by the wheelbarrow full in winter.

I keep forgetting that it is not the customer who pays their wages. It is their fairy godmother. Which must be why the shelf-filling staff usually ignore most customer's greetings. Crosswind going and crosswind coming back but it's always a headwind shopping in Denmark. There are several ways of saying thank you in Danish. The only time you will ever hear them is between friends! There is no known Danish term for "sorry" where customer service is concerned. The customer is always at fault. 14 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


6 Jun 2016

6th June 2016 Logistics' fuckwit driver on white mobile phone.


Monday 6th 65F, 19C, breezy from the east and south east. Promises to be sunny all day but slightly cooler than the last few days. The wind is moving more southerly but will still not bring any rain. No ill effects from yesterday's ride. I ought to go for an early walk before the temperature shoots up. Wearing shorts and sandals are a problem off-road. Even if I don't pick up an deer bugs my socks will be a magnet to prickly grasses and weeds. Nor do I enjoy the protection from the many nettles and brambles on my usual routes. The grass is often very wet where the sun hasn't yet reached.  Knee length gaiters and proper walking boots allow me much greater freedom to roam. All very obvious, of course, but walking the roads is not half as much fun as exploring the woods and field tracks.

I was able to take advantage of a raked track on the perimeter of a field to complete a loop. Earlier I watched a buzzard soaring above a low hill as the sheep and lambs eyed me menacingly. The warblers and skylarks continue to fill the air with their song. A solitary cat walked ahead of me down the usual track back to the road. Probably the black one with the piercing blue eyes.

At about 9.45am a white [Transit type] van belonging to Logistics nearly ran me down as the fuckwit driver used a large, white mobile phone. He never changed his course despite having hundreds of yards of clear sight of my steady progress towards him as I walked right on the edge of the verge.  Every car which had approached had given me a safe, wide birth, but not him. He was holding a conversation with Elvis [at the very least]  and these things do take priority over road safety. Particularly when  you are such a bleedin' thicko that you think you can drive and talk at the same time.

Had I not stepped onto the verge my blog would never have been completed. Not ever! There was no opposing traffic so he could not even claim that in his causing my death by dangerous driving. He would probably say I stepped out from behind a tree. Not there were any trees for me to hide behind but the police would never question his statement. Just another boring RTA. No police + Logistics' fuckwit drivers = no road crime. They even have themselves covered in the event that the victim is wearing an action camera. Not admissible in court and the victim would be prosecuted for filming in a public place had they been "lucky enough" to survive.  Nobody would ever put two and two together and make morning walker/bird watcher/photographer or tricyclist. They would just vaguely wonder why they never saw me out on the roads any more.

There was a gusty headwind as I rode uphill to the shops. Then I enjoyed an effortless ride through the forest. Where two suicidal car drivers tried to overtake me on a blind hump and almost caught an oncoming car head-on.  Fortunately that driver was driving unusually slowly. Perhaps enjoying the gorgeous scenery and dappled shade. Having reached the village and its shops two deranged psychopaths were driving the opposite way at 50 mph in a 30mph zone past the multiple supermarket car park entrances and the junior school.

I noticed they have put some large boulders along the lawn edge to the school playground. Probably to keep cars, which have completely lost control from being driven at deranged lunatic speeds, away from the children.

Strangely ominous cloud in a clear blue sky.

If they put up a couple of speed cameras, here, one facing each way, they could easily cut Danish income tax on the proceeds. Not that they ever would cut income tax of course. Except for their upper class, political back[pocket]ers and [very] close friends. How do the politic-ooze have such expertise on literally everything when they have never held down a proper job in their entire lives? It's odd that, isn't it?  It can only be a matter of time now before one of these deranged sociopaths take me out. And I am referring to drivers here, in case there was any doubt. No police + no speed cameras = no road crime.

I laughed the other day: A football came flying across the road from the school yard. With no traffic coming from either direction I stopped my trike and returned the ball. A neighbour was passing and stopped to say that a scootorist had stopped previously to pick up an escaped ball. Only to have ridden on with it!  Grand theft football? Where are the street cameras when you most need them?  ;-) I saw a chap with a puncture beside the lane but he seemed to be coping. Only 10 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


4 Jun 2016

4th June 2016 Gottle a gear.


Saturday 4th 61-82F, 16-28C, sunny and not a breath of air. The heatwave continues [later] with slightly lighter winds today from the east and NE.

This beautiful old house has been on the market for some time but has some "location" issues thanks to a local farm.

I walked around the 3 mile rural block with not a twinge from my calf. Shorts, t-shirt and trekking sandals were ideal in 70 degree warmth. The wind turbines were completely still. Baby Coots fought their way through the pea soup of the church pond to reach the parent on the nest. Small red heads kept popping up from the tangled mass of twigs and leaves as the adult tidied in readiness for its offspring's return.

I left  on the trike after coffee. It was much warmer now with an off-the-shoulder tailwind allowing me to cruise at 18-22mph. I bought a new Bontrager bottle cage in plastic to match the colour of my trike highlights. A previous plastic one had broken and the alloy one used to make the bottle black and ugly where the bare metal rubbed the paint right through.

More of a crosswind coming home in even more heat. It was lucky I was plastered in SPF 50 glop because my forearms were feeling rather hot and pink again. I was very grateful for the occasional shade provided by overgrown hedges and trees. The wind turbines were turning steadily now. 19 miles.

Sunday 5th 63-81F, 17-27C, calm and sunny. Just another day in [sweaty] paradise. I have fixed the new water bottle cage in place and can now look forwards to luke warm water on my travels. Having enjoyed a short walk to iron out the creases I was offered  an earlier than usual morning coffee and rolls.

At the last moment I decided to ride to the tip of Helnæs peninsula despite the threat of more, unbroken sunshine. So I was duly supervised as I troweled on another load of SPF50 to keep me safe from harm. My lightest jogger's jacket would help to protect my pinkish arms from the continuing bright sunshine.

Having reached Helnæs I visited the near empty Helnæs beach. Where I was just missed by a dog on a lead, bolting from an opening in a hedge at the campsite. The dog's owners chose to walk down the wrong side of the hill to the beach so I automatically presumed a UK holiday visitor. Though I was unable to identify the language or the weird noises they were all making it seemed to suggest revulsion or summary dismissal. I had  no clue whether they were referring to me and cared even less. So they were probably British after all. Then I rode the loop around the Helnæs lanes with detours. Where I later  discovered that the normally photogenic lighthouse was in scaffolding and under wraps including a rather nifty Sou-wester. I just hope there isn't a storm!

There were loads of cyclists out on the roads today and I even decided to chase down two pairs of young ATBers with eventual success. Silly old sod! A little, light shopping on the way home for 38 miles total. The fluffy mashed potato clouds managed to clump together enough to offer some much needed shade over the last few miles. I drank liters of water both on the trike and when I arrived home. I was lucky to be able to replenish my empty water bottle at a village supermarket. Shame the lettuce I bought had already turned brown!
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2 Jun 2016

2nd June 2016 Normal service will be resumed..


Tuesday 2nd 67-76F, 19-25C, breezy and rather cloudy. Rain or thundery showers are forecast from late morning onwards.

I walked my usual loop but using the bare spray tracks to avoid the overgrown forest tracks and brambles. A flotilla of large geese flew in a low chevron right across the landscape as I approached the woods.

It was really rather sticky again. Even my thinnest jacket is too warm despite the advantages of  voluminous pockets providing ample stowage room for camera and phone. I can't easily wear shorts given the rough and overgrown nature of many of my regular tracks. Nettles and brambles abound and even my thin, polyester "safari" trousers offer little protection in a decent, stinging nettle patch. Nor do I really want to rub bare calves against sprayed crops even accidentally. Profusely flowering Cow parsley is now competing for space and attention with Comfrey in the verges and field tracks. Both of them being about the same height but of very different appearance they compliment each  other perfectly.

The sky was well stippled with countless small clouds again but with a similar under-swathe of mistily obscuring lower stuff. My sunglasses were excellent for viewing the details in the sky but rather unnecessary under the slight gloom.

Capturing the multi-folded landscape is even more difficult with deep crops and weeds softening the view. It is almost impossible to retrace my well-worn route with this backward glance.

Just as the rain was supposed to start the sky has largely cleared to bright sunshine. Though still with a slight, blue, distant haze. I might still be allowed out for a short ride.

First I had to en endure the rough and tumble of a turbulent and unrelenting headwind up a long drag. Then I was cruising at 18mph on the undulating flat to reach the shops. Coming home was the same with an over the shoulder headwind aiding my rapid progress.

A mini-bus overtook me at high speed on the wrong side of the road. I tried to wave it down because I could see it was heading straight into the jaws of a tractor. This had a long, extended arm with a verge grass-cutter attached. So that it was using much of our side of the road as well. Somehow the bus managed to squeeze through the remaining gap using some of the verge and throwing up a cloud of brown dust and gravel.

There was a tiny deer bug on my leg when I glanced down. Our cat used to bring dozens home but this is the first I have [knowingly] managed without feline assistance. Some of these bugs are supposed to carry nasty diseases. Fortunately it hadn't had time to bury itself into my skin so I may still survive. They are usually kept at bay by my knee length, climbing gaiters but it has been too warm to wear those as well. Only 10miles. Still not out and still sunny and dry.

Friday 3rd 75-80F, 24-27F, breezy and sunny. Even in just a T-shirt [and thin polyester trousers]  it felt very warm for a walk. I pottered rather limply down to the village and then back again after checking on the young coots. The pair on the pond nearest the church are still without young. I was dodging clouds of tiny white flies hovering over the edge of the verge. Perhaps they enjoy thermals to help maintain their flight, just there, while simultaneously avoiding the passing traffic.

With it forecast to gust to "only" 20mph it might be a good day for a ride. You can cover a lot of ground instead of hard slogging it on foot in a damp, foot-weary sweat. It has been wonderful to blast effortlessly along the warm lanes with a decent tailwind. Less so climbing into it.

Cycling is the only way to enjoy every aspect of an unspoilt, rural environment. No noise except for the birds, the gentle roar of one's tires and the occasional car. All the details of the countryside easily seen without it all flashing past in a meaningless blur. Stop where you like to soak up a view or 'snap' an interesting old building without worrying about parking or paranoid inhabitants. The cyclist is no threat and familiar to all. You can't steal their precious widescreen TV and make a quick getaway on a trike or bike. The cooling air keeps it comfortable instead of having to be blasted by a cool draught with all the windows shut in the scalding hot car. One just has to be careful not to get badly sun burnt with all your bare bits out in the breeze.

It was very warm and sunny on my ride. Great fun diving into the slightly cooler, leafy tunnels. Followed by dappled light to soften me up for the blazing sunshine where shade was hard to find. I should have my water bottle cage back on by now. It's no fun being parched when you are a mouth breather on every hill. There were a lot off hills too. Not many people about in the dormitory villages as usual. Though they were probably hiding from the unrelenting sunshine. It seems to be increasingly popular to buy up and demolish any old building and put up an identi-bungalow in its place. Where's the variety? Where's the "maintaining the vernacular and staying in keeping with the traditional countryside" ethic? The alternative? If you've seen one "pretend log cabin" then you've seen them all! 19 miles.

Click on any image for an enlargement.