19 Aug 2016

19th August 2016 Verge Hopping for Dummies.


Friday 19th 62-71F, 17-22C, calm with bright sunshine. The wind turbines will be getting another well deserved rest this morning. Every sound has a lisp now I have had my ears hosed down. My left ear is still muffled and limited in frequency range. Having to lead with my right ear means I may never walk the same again.

It looked more dramatic than the picture suggests as the massive machine shot into the tunnel. I guess you had to be there.

A steady stroll along the lanes was interrupted by a huge, rubber tracked, combine harvester towing its own "lawnmower drum" or cylinder.  It came quickly, whining around a blind corner. So, by the time I had hopped onto the verge, to let him pass unhindered, I hadn't time to capture it properly with my camera. Some of the local fields are only half harvested so I rather hoped he would stop soon for a portrait. Alas it was not to be as it turned off and disappeared down the main road.

A harvester drum/cylinder resting beside the road. The sun was end on so most uncooperative. Note the Archimedes screw on the shiny feed roller. I had no idea Archimedes had invented the combine harvester!

The next hop onto the verge was for a forestry tree harvester on a vast, low loader. Seconds later it was an old chap on a clapped out tractor who seemed very unlikely to go around me. As expected, he didn't waver from his wobbly path! So it's a good job I am not stubborn. And dead. Still not a breath of wind and it was warm walking up the slopes. No ride yet as I have chauffeuring duties and still no smart cap. I may be able to sneak a ride in this afternoon.

And did. Go north young man! Stiff crosswind both ways. Cruising on the tri-bar extensions at 19-20mph. Topped out at 32.4mph on a descent. I was shoulder charged by the automatic doors at the library!  Loads of farm machinery going in all directions. A vast tractor with huge doubled wheels and spacers was the entire width of the main road with a plough the size of a double-decker bus behind. It was quite exciting on the blind corners for the dozier commuters. But that's just evolution at work. Only 13 miles.

A Lesser speckled rat fails to limbo dance under road markings and pays the toll. 

Saturday 20th 60-65F, 16-18C, heavy overcast, light breeze, rain or showers forecast. I left for a walk after a shower and it stayed dry. Rather than risk going too far from home I walked a big loop on the be-stubbled prairie. The ducks looked few from a distance but I know they like to congregate in the reeds on the near shore. It is only when I walk past that they emerge to fill the pond. Not much to report except for a pair of Pheasants walking out together. I detoured to avoid spoiling their day.

Late morning ride into the wind. The new cycle paths have been resurfaced to bring them up to the white granite kerb stones. This should ensure there are no more large puddles as they can now drain naturally over the edges. Once I had left the paths behind I was back to riding in the same lane as the traffic with a very broken edge to the asphalt. A driving school car caught up with me but would not overtake as I pedaled straight into the wind. Several cars drove right around us and overtook. I was sitting there for over a mile doing 16mph at 110-112rpm with a following car. Eventually the road widened enough for them to pass still on double white lines.

I had nothing in my legs on the way home until a big bloke overtook me on his bike pedaling very slowly. I quickly caught him up and sat in his draught for a hundred yards or so. Then overtook when he slowed for a gentle rise and had put 1/2 a mile into him in the next 3/4. I looked back at the end of a long straight and there was no sign of him by then. Silly old sod! Me, not him. I was probably carrying as much weight in shopping as he was in extra fat. My own weight is creeping slowly upwards towards 12.5 stones 175lbs with my much reduced mileage. I should reduce my usual diet on rest days to match my lower energy consumption. 15 miles.

Sunday 21st  64-68F, 18-20C, light breeze early on becoming windy. The promised showers waited until mid-afternoon. A long walk this morning taking my usual loop anticlockwise and then adding more. I saw a guilty-looking heron standing by a field pond. My suspicions were confirmed when it couldn't look me in the eye and took off. The forest tracks are becoming increasingly difficult to fight through the brambles, waist high weeds, nettles and thistles. My once, daily familiar routes are now considerably reduced to the main track only. Even that was hideously reinforced with coarse builder's rubble. Whole house bricks, breeze blocks and other rubbish were strewn along its length seemingly at random. Presumably to enable the heavy lorries to bring out the harvested trees. No ride today.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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