14 Aug 2016

13th August 2016 Just more rural bliss!


Saturday 13th 60F, 15C, heavy overcast and breezy with more showers forecast. If I understand the news correctly the Danish government is going to do a whitewash job of the EU at taxpayer's expense. I had no idea recently empty horse stables were still subsidized by remaining EU taxpayers. The rich having already bolted to their tax havens. I suppose it makes a change from handing the EU Mafia several billions to build cycle paths to nowhere. ;-)

Talking of which, I passed a workman pushing a motor powered, cylindrical brush along a recently built/laid cycle path. Having just negotiated my way through hundreds of sharp stones up to golf ball size I wondered exactly where he had started his journey. I would have thought a rubber tracked bulldozer would have been far more appropriate!  As would "berms" to stop rain driven, sand landslides from flowing across the new cycle paths from recent landscaping. Why do they never think of this?

Now all they need is a few legal order notices to inhabitants of roadside houses to keep their drive gravel and vehicles off the new paths. You'd think they'd be happy having a nice cycle path between themselves and the busy road, but no. They obviously preferred being able to shoot straight off their loose gravel drives and straight into the traffic.

Many village cycle lanes are also blocked by illegally parked cars. They should be parked outboard of the cycle lane but mostly straddle the marked lane instead. Their paintwork must mean far more to them than [the very low risk of] fines for obstruction.

I had a bright idea for ensuring rapid assimilation of immigrants into "World's Happiest" Denmark. Give them all antidepressants so they don't feel left out. Recent research shows that antidepressant prescriptions are skyrocketing in the "cheerful" Scandinavian socialist countries. Most of which can now lay claim to over 1 in 3 of the entire population constantly "fixing" their smiles.

I enjoyed a walk under grey skies to a quiet, marshy area at the bottom of a shallow valley. There was a small area fenced off for breeding pheasants with the token white hens. I am never sure whether the hens are for incubating mass produced pheasants eggs or for imprinting parenthood and ensuring easy targets for blunderbusses.

Anyway, there had been some drainage work on the adjoining fields leading to the dense strip of willow growth. Narrow, open channels of water provide space for ducks or other water birds should they be so inclined. Though I saw none except for a loose and rather tame, immature pheasant today I have often seen large Herons perched around here. You wouldn't think herons would find trees particularly comfortable but there they are.

This whole valley bottom is inhabited by lots of different birds. They nest and feed on the large quantities of wild flower seeds and insects which enjoy the largely undisturbed habitat. The reason for all this wildlife 'philanthropy' is obviously for shooting. The perfect, marshy habitat is almost an accident but still very attractive if you like that sort of thing. Tracks of rough grass allow easy access by 4WD to the bod who comes to feed the pheasants. Or for the much rarer pedestrian armed only with binoculars and camera. Even at the weekend one is very unlikely to come across another soul on the gravel track which slopes down and across the valley. I hung about taking photographs rather than pressing further on towards the more distant forest due to threatening rain spots in the cool breeze. Though the "showers" never amounted to anything serious it is brightening to light grey now. So no excuse for another rest day clipping hedges and mending things which have fallen off the happy home.

Rode into a crosswind with aching legs. It tried to rain at halfway so I detoured down to the new wildlife lake. There was a new wooden shed which I took to be a hide. Nope. It has a whining water pump in there.  Ever onwards on wet roads. Shopped, or would have, if they had any stock of their special offers! It rained harder and longer and even provided a headwind on the way home. I tried the tri-bars for a little light relief but my legs weren't in it.

My TEC12 yellow sunglasses have finally died after 3 years of occasional wear. Both ear pieces split wide open to reveal a hideous green mess from the sharp, brass, stiffening wires encased in some kind of liquid jelly. Silicone? Botox for floppy ears? Who knows? I didn't notice anything until I stabbed myself in the ear with the brass spike while putting them on under my helmet! They were my first pair of serious cycling glasses and cost me well over £20, if I remember correctly, but they are now dustbin fodder.

I have been suffering from a red 'butterfly' mark above my eyebrows and have been trying to pin down if any of my cycling sunglasses were responsible. I tend to rotate through my modest collection of cheapo supermarket and one pair of "posh" cycling shop bought glasses. I also wear cheapo supermarket reading glasses while on the computer. So it is hard to tell which or what is causing this ugly allergy.

I "broke out" in my youth when I first needed prescription glasses for driving and made the mistake of going to Boots. Their cheapest metal frame glasses made my face explode into a nasty, red, itchy rash. So then it was onto their self-destructing plastic frames. These had an expensive habit of breaking where the oversized lenses were forced into too small eye frames. Though, of course, this was NOT THEIR FAULT!!

Taking up cycling seriously finally cured my decades of 1 dioptre distance vision error. It happened inside a couple of years, in my mid 60's. I still need reading glasses but I couldn't read a wall clock from any distance over several yards only a few short years ago. Now I can see the leaves on trees on the horizon. No doubt DC Comics will soon be sketching out a series on the curmudgeonly clown on the tricycle with superhuman vision. 15 miles, out, but not out. If you get my drift.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


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