31 Oct 2016

31st October 2016 Erdogan's child-slave labour.


Monday 31st 50-53-ish F, 10-12-ish C, grey overcast, very light winds, dry. Just a short walk along the lanes to watch a couple of thousand gulls being indecisive. The minor roads were so muddy I had to pick my way though it all. It would have been impossible on a bike let alone a trike. Still bunged up with my strange cold but I still plan on a 20 mile ride after coffee. Luckily the verges make excellent spittoons. And, it really doesn't matter if you miss. Whoops! Sorry, madam!

Rode to a 10-mile distant, DIY store for some nuts. The very last rural outlet yet to be stripped down to the bare bones by their master DIY chain to 50 bubble packs of crosshead screws, two electric drills and; "We can always get it for you?"

Still grey skies but virtually no wind. One supermarket was cheating by not marking down price reductions on the shelf. Probably in the vain hope that nobody would buy the stuff widely advertised as on special offer. I see more supermarkets are preparing for early closure by putting fat, ugly, bad-mannered local women permanently on the single, open checkout. It's a trick they have tried with great success elsewhere. I think they call it anti-marketing strategy. So they [the distant fund managers] can write the closure down as a loss to avoid paying exorbitant Danish taxes. It's a common strategy probably registered and patented as Trump's 6th Law of Failed Economics.

They [the antisocial, menopausal, village-mentality checkout fumblers] usually have a well-practiced smoker's cough and a terminal inability to manage even the most basic politeness. Often you get no more than the cough repeated at sporadic intervals in mitigating "conversation." Otherwise their lips would never open. Except to breathe a deep sigh of resentment that they should lower themselves to such servitude. After all, their great grandparents were important peasant farmers and revolting. To lower oneself to a mere shop girl was to forever blight their chances of marriage to another, local peasant farmer.

Though, of course, it should be remembered by itinerant, international tourists, that there are no words for "thank you" in supermarket shopping Danish. Just a mechanical "Y'all have a nice day!" <spit> hack-cough! Though I didn't even get the autonomic rhyme today at both supermarkets I was desperately helping to keep afloat. More everyday items discontinued to be replace by gaudily packed "own make" tasteless pig's swill. I am guessing here, but presume that is where unsold food ends up.

Long rows of once, proudly independent shops are closing down in the village high streets. Some with decades of local service behind them. Why should anybody shop locally when they can spend time and good money driving to buy Bangladeshi and Turkish, child-slave produced clothing, with a recognized label, in the big city chains? Isn't that a wonderfully apt term? It so nicely reminds us how these small children are often chained to their factory benches in case of fire.

Or, one can buy the tat cheaper still online. Often for less than you can buy half a yard of frayed and faded cloth, with a distinct whiff of 1950s, stale tobacco smoke, secondhand, at any village charity shop.

I was badly shown up by an octogenarian, women cyclist on an upright, electric bicycle with a smug glint in her eye. Serves me right, of course, but the shame will live with me forever. 22 miles, still not out. I am getting perilously close to 3000 miles for the year with two more months to go. So I must be doing something wrong.


27 Oct 2016

25th October 2016 Tail end Charlie.


Wednesday 26th 41-47F, 5-8C. Very, very dark. I have cold-like symptoms. Short walk to the village and back. It's like 'Silent Spring' around here. Where are the birds today? A short outing in the car to fetch fuel for the stove. The beech split logs we bought as "stove ready" were so damp they caused an instant glaze over the inside of the stove and chimney. Even when finely split as kindling the wood would not burn! So it's back to the imported, compressed  "chipboard" bricks from the supermarket. I was looking at turbine cowls to see if they would help with our down droughts. Rotary cowls cost three to four times as much here compared with normal UK prices! They look identical to the Polish ones sold on eBay[UK] and Amazon[UK]. Too busy for a ride.

Thursday 27th 50-54F, 10-12C, still, dark, overcast, dry and calm. Meant to brighten up later but rather breezy from the SW. I am reliably informed that ChokerColour© sales are plummeting. Hopefully not too late for a class action for genocide? There was also another story in the news about air passengers being charged on their weight. Odd, isn't it? You get a tight carry-on weight allowance but physically carrying a second [or third] person onto the plane is not worthy of financial sanction? Nor even being charged for blatant, people smuggling? Shouldn't they need to carry two or even three passports? As in; "He's with me."

Coprinus comatus? Shaggy ink cap.

A walk along the side of the marsh, along the edge of the forest and then back long the track across the prairie. I disturbed hundreds of duck but completely missed capturing their flight. There seemed to be a lot of herons about today. I could hear shooting in the woods but with one ear now deaf I had no idea as to their direction. The quack has fixed me up with a specialist to have a poke around in there. I just hope that if I end up with a hearing aid it won't increase my frontal area. And, what about wind noise? Busy having a rest day.

Friday 28th 50-54F, 10-12C, breezy, rain at first clearing to weak sunshine. No walk but a 16 mile ride to buy a loaf. It was quite pleasant in the sunshine.

Saturday 29th 45F, 7C, calm with breezy periods, cloudy but clear sky in places. Early drizzle. The forecast is dry with sunshine. A strong and gusty crosswind was blowing when I left on my trike. Fortunately I was gently turning it into a tailwind and was doing 28mph on the flat for about a mile. It couldn't last and the return leg was very hard work for 6-8mph at times. A couple of strong club riders overtook me on carbon bikes and mentioned the headwind in passing. They were too polite to mention the huge sports bag full of shopping hanging out to just clear my rear wheels on either side. I really must find another way of doing this. 16 miles.

Sunday 30th 40-48F, 4-9C, calm and bright with sunshine. Walked to the village and back in very light traffic. Still feeling under the weather with a regular cough and dripping tonsils. Rest day.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


24 Oct 2016

24th October 2016 A martyr to tunnels.


Monday 24th 40-48F, 4-9C, still. Today's forecast is sunshine and very light winds and might reach 50F. I walked a dogleg around the fields and woods in bright sunshine with decorative mist hanging in the hollows. My wandering disturbed a single deer, one buzzard and lots of pheasants. A bit soggy underfoot after overnight rain.

 Pigs in mist.

Having consumed the traditional milky morning coffee with two rolls thickly coated with marmalade I left just after 10 am. to ride to Odense. As usual, I carried 4lbs/2kg of Abus locks to secure my mount against city theft. I compensated by taking only my saddlebag and left the huge sports bag at home. There was a noticeable light headwind building on the way but not too bad. Having purchased my goods I stabbed myself on a packaging staple outside the shop and bled all over the pavement! I took the clumsiness as a signal to enjoy a snack while I staunched the blood flow by applying compression with a tissue.

Coming home was slightly less dramatic, apart from swerving around some picnicking swans beside the large pond and a wayward, but willowy blond hogging the center of the same cycle path. She turned and glared at me when I politely requested if I might pass in my best pidgin Danish. I then accelerated and left her far behind on the long drag up to Sanderum. Well, you have to, don't you?

Silly season.

A white police[?] helicopter and sirens disturbed the peace as I navigated the complexities of the Odense cycle system. I rode via two dark tunnels and between a multitude of rather large sheds with small gardens. Not unlike British allotments, but these are more like miniature summer houses with bars. These are normally equipped with beer and snaps gardens with assorted plastic seating. Socializing is obviously more important than actually growing veg or even flowers.

The shed inhabitants have a nasty habit of parking on the narrow grass verges on either side of the [now much] narrower cycle paths and causing a mud bath. Though spacious, off-cycle-path parking is readily provided, these areas are often empty. Besides, parking properly might inhibit the easy carriage of heavy, beverage reinforcements to the drinking sheds.

I should also mention having to coax several bunches of  pheasants out of my way to continue forward progress in the rural lanes. The pheasants are having their silly season. As are the magpies, but we wont dwell on their lurid, rural behaviour on the village green. Sunny at times but still rather cloudy for most of the day.

Five hours later, including an hour wandering the aisles of several DIY superstores, I had managed 42 miles. No ill effects thanks to sensible eating and drinking: Two thick slices of wholemeal bread as a mature cheddar sandwich, one banana, one Corny, muesli, dark chocolate bar and a small box of pure apple juice. I ate some pineapples with a digestive biscuit and a refreshing cup of tea on my return before enjoying a warm shower.

Not another dark and damp tunnel?

All this text to cover only one day's activities? If this gets any worse I shall have to join Twitter to practice my art of précis. Lets see now: Arose, muesli, walked, coffee, triked to Odense, shopped, swans, wayward blond, pheasants, home, 42 miles, showered. Will this do?

Are pictures allowed? A picture being worth at least 140 characters.[Allegedly] Why would anyone voluntarily imprison their thoughts in an undersized coffin? Are Iron Maidens the new, 21st century diary? Each word individually impaled on an evil, digital dictator's pike for all to see? Publish and be damned? Or publish and become an overnight [virtual] billionaire.

Tuesday 25th 41F, 5C, calm, very misty, still dark at 7.45 am.. The forecast is much like yesterday's but with even less wind. First frost due tomorrow morning. A Danish billionaire wants to build the first Danish gated community. Wouldn't a baseball bat and a Rottweiler be cheaper? Isn't it odd how different members of society 'enjoy' completely different freedoms and restrictions depending entirely on their status? I bet the gated community won't be  built right beside a motorway for "better access to the global markets." Why are billionaires entitled to privacy and security but nobody else is? The most important question, I feel, is how will the billionaires avoid each other within their self-imposed, concentration camp. ;-)

The mist hasn't cleared so I had better go and put lots of lights on my trike for the ride into town. By which time the mist suddenly cleared. Which was lucky because I have mislaid my clamps to the 'Smart' lights. Three stock items missing from the supermarket shelves. Endless items discontinued for a "better" product which tastes absolutely awful after years of long term loyalty to the previous item. What about some loyalty for the customer from the supermarkets themselves? Only 7 miles under largely grey skies with hardly a breath of wind.

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22 Oct 2016

21st October 2016 No smoke without drizzle.


Friday 21st 46F, 8C, windy, heavy overcast, all day and night rain. Dark and miserably wet all day. My Brooks saddle cover is no longer waterproof! I tried an inverted bucket and then a storage tub. Neither was comfortable.

A distant fire.

Saturday 22nd, 44F, 7C, light breeze, heavy overcast, more unbroken rain forecast after early showers. Still the same easterly winds.

It was sticky underfoot as I used the spray tracks to cross fields. A huge cloud of white smoke was going up in the distance but quickly turned black. The site of the fire was hidden by foreground trees but seemed to be next to a large cattle shed. Gunfire broke out in that direction so I had no easy option to get closer via the track through the woods.

I turned right instead and climbed my once familiar route to the beech tree exit. The large fields, where the major drainage earthworks were going on, were still stubbled. So I cut across them towards home under heavy, grey skies. Much more rapid gunfire suddenly erupted behind me but I assumed it was further south. I saw three deer outside the woods, a couple of dozen pheasants at the entrance and then another deer bounding away in the woods. The light has changed completely with the paling of the leaves and the more open canopy. The drainage work on the sloping 'prairie' has been considerably extended to lower ground. It was lucky they didn't listen to me and did their own thing. I had imagined they needed unwanted water to run uphill.

 It has stayed dry so far so I am going out for my usual Saturday shopping ride with MTB winter boots, a rain jacket and assorted fingers crossed.

It was already drizzling when I left with a light, tail-crosswind. It rained steadily harder until I finally returned home. Then it stopped and didn't rain again. I couldn't be bothered with the sweaty rain jacket as my cycling jacket was damp proof enough. The crosswind had more of a headwind bias on the way back. I could see a very tall, district heating chimney for most of the second leg. Which only goes to prove that smoke never rises in Denmark. Several sociopaths/social inadequates brushed close past me in their haste to eschew all responsibility for their actions. All it ever takes is to ease off the accelerator just long enough to let the only oncoming car go past. But no, their petty needs are always greater than a cyclist's right to life. 15 rather soggy miles.

Sunday 23rd 41F, 5C, cloudy but not fully overcast, dead calm to light breeze. The forecast is for showers all day again with light winds. If yesterday is anything to go by it could be dry. A quiet walk down to the village and back enjoying the autumn colours in the roadside hedges.

Have you ever wondered whether warning road signs don't actually increase accidents? Being told that sharp bends are ahead is surely a license to drive around every single corner at well above normal br[e]aking distance? Not being warned by the "nanny" signs would surely improve driving overall if it sharpened the sense of danger by falling off the road, if only occasionally.

The sign in the image above is one of many and all are frequently ignored by the drivers of all types of vehicle. What does this tell you about driving skills? Or about the psyche of the drivers who do, so regularly,  "fall off" the road to the detriment of the landscape?

I saw a car upside down and burnt out inside following the frontal impact. How fast, how drunk or how poor a driver does one need to be to so completely wreck a car on a gentle bend in a village? Perhaps road death and/or serious injury is just evolution at work?

The stillness is tempting me to have a ride despite the forecast showers. Several pairs of riders were out training on their posh, carbon steeds. Obviously enjoying the rare lack of wind, they were chatting away as if on a gentle walk. Talking of wind, the anemometer is in agreement with the weeping birches as the first signs of a breeze picking up. 

A mixture of spotty rain, watery sunshine and autumn colours over a hilly route. Saw several buzzards and hunters with guns close to the road. I covered the same ground where the "distant fire" occurred and saw nothing untoward. It must have been a bonfire at a nearer farm. There were no other sites on a line with the cattle shed in the background which were not empty fields. Google Earth supports the location of the smoke source. At least it wasn't a house fire.

Different kinds of birds are gathering in large flocks at the moment. Today I saw hundreds of Wood pigeons on a small field. Perhaps they are pairing off for the next breeding season? Wood pigeons must be one of the most numerous birds which I see on my travels.  Even normally aggressive, male blackbirds go around in small flocks at this time of year. All the birds must be benefiting from global warming and the complete lack of harsh, winter weather over the last few years. 19 miles.

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20 Oct 2016

20th October 2016 Keeping a grip on your iron horse!


Thursday 20th 47F, 8C, heavy overcast, breezy with rain and showers. Chance of a brighter period later but still with showers. A short walk to enjoy the tyre spray of passing, 7 axle juggernauts.

The Danish news is covering the lack of interest in cycle theft by Danish police. Hardly a single cycle thief has been prosecuted with annual reported losses of over £28 million [in GBP] in cycle value. Presumably this figure only records insured machines. There is an online register of reported stolen cycle frame numbers but it is not always used in good time. Which leaves people wide open to buying stolen goods. The popular online ads pages have listed 77 stolen cycles according to the media. There is even talk of cycles being stolen to order after illustrated sales adverts are responded to.

The Danes are not strong on using decent cycle locks. Or using any locks at all. With a cheap, and very popular, frame fitting, wheel lock being approved by insurance companies but offering remarkably little real security. It is a common sight to see unlocked valuable cycles too. The owners seem think that a quick visit to a shop won't leave time for any casual thief to ride or walk away with their multi-thousand machine. This may explain the popularity of group and club rides. There is always somebody to keep an eye on the bikes without having to carry over a kilo of rip-off merchandise from Abus or whoever. A rider who will pay several thousand just to save 50 grams is not going to want to carry any lock. Back in the good old days horse thieves were hanged. A few token, public hangings from lamp posts for cycle theft might concentrate their minds to their criminal activity. Cycle theft is very rarely a victimless crime. It can be life changing for the loser! 

Campaigns offer the obvious suggestion to lock cycles to something immovable but it needs far more thought than that. If a cycle is locked by its front wheel, as are the vast majority, it doesn't take an Einstein to just lift the front wheel and walk away. Proper tools can be brought to bear in the privacy of a shed or merely out of sight. Or they could even leave the front wheel behind if there is a Q/R mechanism. Though this will not appeal to many thieves if the front wheel is valuable and matches the rest of the bike. It also makes the machine far more difficult to manage on foot. Nor can it be dropped back down on its front wheel when the thief's arms grow tired or a policeman approaches. However unlikely this might be according to the media.

It is a common complaint that professional East European bicycle thieves are emptying a bike rack into a lorry or van but the police were far too busy to attend! Though this may be another modern legend. Surely the ability to use one's mobile phone and even its inbuilt camera to "fight crime" should be encouraged? Provided, of course, the digital 'vigilante' is not spotted and assaulted or murdered. 

The major problem in Denmark is [allegedly] for cyclists who commute by train and leave their bikes unattended at the station all day. Many large cycle parks are completely without any other oversight than pedestrians or solitary cyclists coming or going. What are you supposed to do if you suspect thievery? It is suggested that many drug addicts easily fund their filthy habit with cycle theft. You wouldn't want to interfere in their desperate need for a fix at any price! The nearest supermarket is usually festooned with unlocked cycles for those who just need a ride home. Or to the dishonest cycle dealer with a shed full of stolen bikes out the back.

Most cable locks can usually be snipped even with a worn out pair of pliers or wire cutters. Such tools are dirt cheap these days and easily carried in the pocket with intent. Any machine can be stolen in seconds without drawing any attention. Cheap bolt cutters are also available in smaller sizes for more sturdy chain locks. Bolt cutters are easily carried in a sports bag without drawing attention.

Cyclists with lost keys have regularly reported using a battery powered angle grinder in the high street without attracting any notice despite the racket they were making. The public were more likely to scowl at the unwanted noise rather than ask why they were using such a tool on a bicycle lock.

You'd need more than a firm grip on your bicycle to cross a [hopefully] temporary footbridge in Viborg. The locals are complaining that it is far too steep and the narrow cycle ramps useless for wheelchairs, carrier cycles and trikes. Welcome to cycling and mobility friendly Denmark!

 Handicappede vrede over byggeri: Hvorfor tænker man ikke på alle? | Midtvest | DR

There are a couple of sets of far steeper, concrete stairs, with ridiculously narrow  cycle ramps, in Odense. I had to bump my trike all the way down using the brakes to maintain control. Climbing them would have been completely impossible! The drooling "genius" who designed these obviously never goes anywhere without his Audi.

Too busy for a ride today.

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18 Oct 2016

17th October 2016 And there it was, gone again.


Monday 17th 47-50F, breezy at times, heavy overcast, quite misty. My post vanished. Probably because blogger is broken. Most times I Update or Publish I get a blank post editing page. It then appears in the post list with no content. At all! Just the same date as the original post but marked as a draught. Normally I click on it and safely delete. This time I must have deleted the basic post with date and weather conditions.

My legs were a bit tired from Sunday's ride. I walked for an hour and half along the marsh and though the woods. Somewhere out on the field farm workers were collecting stones dug up by their most recent cultivation. The gentle roar of the wind in my ears was repeatedly interrupted by a loud clang. Another large stone had found a new home for the first time in, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of years. I could barely make out the shape of a tractor in the murky, misty gloom. Buzzards, which were unflinching to the racket, cried and moved away as I drew quietly closer on foot. 

A spraying machine had obviously been out on the previously pristine fields. Leaving long, wide tracks for future walking routes. There seem to be many jackdaws and rooks about at the moment Either crossing the sky in their hundreds or moving individually, like oily rags, against the grey sky. They forage in large numbers on the fields and verges. Each with their own tolerance for passing cyclists or pedestrians. Some are fearless and will let me pass within yards. Others are in flight if they so much hear a rumour of a passing trike at a thousand yards. Gulls are just the same yet have few human enemies with guns.

I rode my missed, Saturday shopping route and returned heavily laden. Yet again there was hardly a single driver keeping to the lowered speed limits for the long term drainage and cycle path project. Yet again there were drivers racing up behind others on roads where there was zero chance to overtake either legally or remotely sensibly. Some of them obviously have delusions of grandeur. As they brush past me at high and illegal speeds to show just how important their journey to the supermarket must really be. I'm sure many of them think of themselves as minor royalty when compared with a lowly tricyclist. 15 miles.

Tuesday 18th 50-51F, 10-11C, very heavy overcast, light breeze with hundred yard mist. I have tinnitus and dizziness again. I shall have to ask to see a specialist to sort out my left ear deafness problem. I walked my usual loop via the muddy fields and tracks. The mist made anything beyond 200 meters a monochromatic silhouette. I could hear the excavator rattling its bucket out in the mist but could see nothing. The thick mist seemed not to affect traffic behaviour at all. Now there's a surprise!

I bought a new pair of yellow safety glasses while in the city. I find them useful for those endless grey days when sunglasses would be foolishly depressing . On first seeing them I was immediately upgraded from "clown on a tricycle" to "Lego-Boy" by The Head Gardener. Which makes the glasses rather good value at only a couple of quid. They have click-lock retractable earpieces. Which means they can avoid the usual "earpiece scratching in the middle of the lens" syndrome when they are shoved repeatedly in the back pocket of a cycling jersey or jacket.

A short ride in occasional, weak sunshine but mostly overcast and misty. The autumn beech forest looked gorgeous in the yellow sunglasses. Rather boring without. Which is why I didn't stop to take any more pictures. 10 miles.

Wednesday 19th 50F, 10C, grey, damp and spitting gently with rain. Patchy low cloud was pretending to be mist as I walked for an hour along the rural lanes. One of those rare days when the wind turbines are as still as the air. Even greater numbers of gulls than usual were sitting restlessly on a hillside. I managed to upset them so that they filled the air with movement and drifted away across "their" field. Common gulls are such copycats. A teasing glimpse of sunshine warms the autumn colours as I wonder whether a ride will be possible today. It wasn't, as it grew steadily wetter with some real downpours.

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16 Oct 2016

15th October 2016 There and back again.


Saturday 15th 50F, 10C, northeasterly gales under heavy, grey skies. A repeat of yesterday but this time with rain all day. It was still dry when I returned from a circuitous route out over the fields. Assorted birds struggled to get wherever they thought they were going. Some soaring upwards on a fierce gust to gain forward momentum by slowly descending. Others twisted and turned to push on into the gale. A ragged chevron of a hundred rooks or crows went over high up.

My hands were cold as I watched three deer through my binoculars. They scampered away and then stopped to graze again on the stubble. My scent must have been carried away from them because they seemed quite relaxed. Only when I drew quite near did the nervous glances begin. Leading to a bouncy lope for the concealing woods.

Heavy going.

I tried to capture the ongoing, field drainage works again. Wondering as I did so how their buried pipes would overcome the slopes and dips. There seemed to be no logic to their levels but they must know what they are doing. Perhaps the plan really is to have a more permanent field pond in the damp foreground? It certainly proves that clay is only just beneath the surface. Further adding to their drainage problems. The entire hill behind me slopes down towards the spoil heaps.

The DMI's radar showing a band of rain is about to arrive. My routine, Saturday morning ride to the shops is not looking too promising. Dry, with almost no wind tomorrow. I shall have to try and catch up on all these rest days but need a suitable goal to drag me further afield. It rained until after 4pm with the trees thrashing back and forth in the gales. There was no point in going out so I didn't.

Sunday 16th 47-50F, 8-10C, a quiet, grey, slightly misty day is forecast. Still looking for a suitable goal. Preferably to the north east to turn the promised light SE wind into a crosswind. I have to make the most of these unusual, still days.

The familiar, undulating contours squashed by distance from a local hilltop. The infamous marsh of the laughing ducks lies in the middle foreground. Its size is again shrunk by perspective. Their 90x115 yards pond a mere, brighter speck on the left as it catches the grey skies. My favourite walk takes me around the tongue of overgrown marsh on its right and then across the near face of dense, mostly willow trees. A favourite haunt for many birds.

It proved not to be completely still as I rode to Odense. There was a slight headwind with fine rain and drizzle increasing with distance towards my target. Though never bad enough to need my rain jacket. Not many cyclists out training today. The shops were busy but the rural roads very quiet. I came across a dozen pheasants on the lane through a village. I had to whistle and shout to get their attention as I bore down on them. Finally they all took off to my left. To join dozens of others on a field.

I met a large and gorgeous, fawn-coloured, Norsk skovcat on a quiet lane. I slowed and it came straight over for a chat. Only for both of us to jump in surprise when somebody fired a shotgun nearby. The conversation was rather short lived as the cat immediately beat a hasty retreat.  44 miles will help to rescue yet another feeble, weakly mileage.

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13 Oct 2016

11th October 2016 Bit of a damp squib.


Tuesday 11th, 45F, 7C, cool, windy and dark grey overcast. Walked up to the woods and back via the marsh.  Saw a young deer from the woods and a pair of all black birds of prey. They were sitting immobile out on the huge field but took off and went away from me over the treetops. Never nearer than a few hundred yards, I couldn't identify any particular details through my binoculars. I kept wanting them to be carrion crows but their size and long tapered wings made them into something else.

It turned wet after I had finished my morning chores. Another rest day, collecting and splitting logs from the timber yard. We had been using compressed wood briquettes for several years but find they are far too variable in burning quality. Some types are so bad they could actually be used to put out fires! One can never prejudge the quality from the packaging. The same supermarkets could have identical stock on the same pallet and some blocks burn well and others don't.  

Wednesday 12th 40F, 4C. Calm but with heavy cloud racing across from the NE. The forecast is breezy with showers and sunny periods. My chest is  bunged up again. Short walk but otherwise a busy rest day at home.

Thursday 13th 46F, 8C, heavy overcast, windy. Showers expected. My tinnitus is back after a lull of a week or two. I think my left ear gets bored with not being able to hear. So it makes "deafening" whistles of its own to amuse itself. Not only does it make me even more deaf but I can't concentrate with the screaming racket going on inside my head.

I walked up to the woods into steady rain. Then cut through to my exit at the top of the hill. The forest was looking colourful as autumn colours take a firmer hold. Remaining stubble on the fields gave me an alternative route back home. A bit soggy but I returned unscathed. Though I did disturb a small deer which ran flat out right across the field and into the woods. A Red kite was circling over the continuing drainage works on one of the undulating prairies. I hope my pictures do justice to the woods despite the heavy overcast. Fierce gusts in the afternoon when I had promised myself a ride. Rest day, busy outside.

Friday 14th 46F, 8C, heavy overcast and already windy. Dry, but could gust to 40mph this afternoon. Just a half hour walk down  to the village. Magpies squabbling, gulls wandering aimlessly, blackbirds scrapping, sparrows doing what sparrows do. A Red kite left a field pond as I passed by on the road.

Ancient [erratic?] boulder on a slightly less ancient, church hump. An ideal sacrificial altar for the medieval Green Party?

Late morning ride with gusty cross gales. Slightly beneficial going. Definitely impeding on my return. Complete waste of time visiting the DIY chain superstore. Three common items on my shopping list but I left empty handed. Grey skies until after my return but even windier now. 14 miles.

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10 Oct 2016

10th October 2016 Just call me "FLASH!"


Monday 10th 45F, 7C, rather cloudy, almost still. I had a quiet walk down the lanes to capture a few pictures of impressive clouds on the horizon.  Though my pictures sadly lacked the contrast and drama of reality. The human eye has the ability to focus and instantly zoom in on distant detail. I thought they looked like a snow-covered mountain range but a zoomed camera softens the detail and robs the image of impact. Going for a ride before the rain arrives at lunch time.

Rode into a cross headwind going.  Steady rain all the way back. The Danish experiment in allowing cyclist to pass a red traffic light when turning right continues. This would be the equivalent of turning left in Gravely Blighted and Down Under. I believe Japan also drives on the left side of the road. I wish one could say that Danish cyclists would not normally turn right against the lights anyway but it would be untrue. Nor would they bother to indicate in most cases.

I was overtaken by an old fart, of my own age, while climbing quite a steep hill. I had just overtaken a younger women at about 5mph faster despite the trike being heavily laden with shopping. Battery Boy steamed past me on his electric bike at nearly 10mph faster than my breathless 10-12mph. He was managing quite a decent cadence which was obviously helping his progress.

These chickens had taken to exploring a roadside field. They covered an amazing area in no time at all. Perhaps the recently seeded field held no wildlife for them? Free running chickens are a far cry from the demand that all bird enclosures be covered by netting during the bird flu' scare. I like the timeless quality of outdoor chickens.

Much as I'd enjoy having some help on the hills I'm not sure I'd invest in a new electric bike while I can still manage without. They have to improve quite considerably before they get away from the staid and rather old fashioned, get-up-and-beg image of most of them. I really haven't seen much in the way of electric bikes to excite the sporting taste buds. Motorcycles were already sporty looking quite early on in their development. Vespa-style, electric scooters simply don't interest me.

I'm not sure an electric sporting [upright] trike would be a good idea at all. Stability is so marginal that it might take ages for a beginner to ride safely at the speeds most electric bikes can easily reach. Help climbing the hills is not the same thing as adding potentially dangerous speeds everywhere you go. The statistics bear this out with electric bikes far too prominent in cycling related accidents. This is despite the small take-up and ridiculously high price of commercial products.

Most drivers will glance up the road see an old fart, in a fawn polyester jacket, on an upright, pre-war-styled, steam pipe bike and dismiss it as a typically slow pensioner. When the cyclist could easily be doing 20mph or the equivalent of a serious racing cyclist's speed! The regulations suggest lower maximum speeds but I rarely see electric bikes pottering at my own, more typical, 12-15mph. The riders of electric bikes are apt to have the reactions of a typically slow old cyclist too. A lose-lose situation all around!

Perhaps electric bikes need a mandatory, identifying "uniform?" A very large, florescent day-glo lightning flash on a bright, lightweight waistcoat perhaps? Something really needs to be done before electric bikes get a very bad name for safety. They have the potential to revolutionize mobility for many potential owners if only to reduce car dependence. A serious carrier for shopping should be absolutely mandatory. The cycle manufacturing industry has completely ignored baggage handling for nearly a century and half!

Nobody can seriously cycle shop on a standard bike. It takes all the space at the rear between the wheels of of my my trike. With the largest Carradice "Camper Longflap" saddle bag on the carrier. And, a very large sports bag resting on top of that just to keep the house stocked on a daily basis. A rest day makes it even more difficult to keep up with the shopping. It's not as if we eat bulky, pre-packed crap. Bicycles are simply not up to the task of regular shopping unless you walk the bike with the handlebars adorned with multiple carrier bags. Though a few locals do use a rack and two large rear panniers. One even uses a posh, one wheeled, expedition trailer. It all makes rural car ownership even more necessary. Only 12 miles today.

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7 Oct 2016

7th October 2016 No reward for [cycling] success.


Friday 7th 50-51.6F, 10-11C, heavy overcast with a cold northeasterly wind. Short walk to the village and back. It was just a little too cool for my hands when the wind blew harder. The recent flooding from the fields did more damage than I realised. During a Sunday cloudburst mud from a sloping field emptied across the banked verge and flowed down the road for a couple of hundred yards. It then flowed into the marsh across  a long stretch of grass verge. Even the village pond looked brown this morning five days after the event.

In Danish news headlines there is good news and bad news for cyclists. So called cycling superhighways have increased the number of cyclists by 61% around the capital of Copenhagen. The bad news is that the government is turning off the pool of money towards building more cycle paths. Several mayors have stated that the penny pinching is ridiculous when the benefits are so obvious to public health and reducing motor traffic. Not to mention the psychological advantages of enjoying fresh air and reduced stress from avoiding driving.

It seems the desperation of the small, ultra-right coalition parties to cut taxes for the [already non-tax paying] super rich is making inroads into common sense policies. Then there are all the multi-billion dollar fighter aircraft. So absolutely necessary to a [tiny] Denmark bristling with ambition to contribute on the front line to every single conflict right around the globe. Denmark for world domination? Not on their bikes, they won't! Danish cycle journeys are falling and far few children are cycling to school on "danger" grounds because of having to share the busy roads with selfish, impatient and completely incompetent drivers. Let's not forget the 30% living on antidepressants and the scourge of obesity. You [really] couldn't make it up!

Late morning ride to the shops in rather heavy traffic returning heavily laden. Grey skies and a cool wind had me wearing all my winter kit for the first time this year. Slightly too warm going but taking the scull cap off at half way helped. The sociopaths were well represented with 70mph [110+kph] commonplace in the 30mph [50kph] restrictions on the long term roadworks. The new cycle path stopped growing many months ago. So cyclists are sharing the very rough, heavily patched and narrowed roads with these complete nutters. 17 miles.

Saturday 8th 43F, 6C, calm, early showers with bright sunshine. A clearing up is promised. The Head Gardener and myself are suffering from strange cold-like symptoms. That'll probably be the "petrol" they sprayed the other morning. An hour and a quarter walk around the marsh, up through the woods and back along the track. I heard shots from the woods but they sounded a little off to the east. Masses of pheasants guarding the entrance to the woods but I came up behind them so that they scattered in all directions. Two stumps of a rainbow were visible with a white drift of gulls nearby.  The former [apparently] all female duck population is now divided into both ducks and drakes. Presumably juvenile foliage has matured. The weather "clearing up" was marked by a reverse to heavy cloud instead of the earlier sunshine! The afternoon wasn't too bad but I was too busy to go out. I had to work in winter [skiing] long-johns and a coat and hat to keep warm in the 50F/10C.

Sunday 9th 45F, 7C, breezy, incredibly dark overcast, all day rain expected. I set for a walk under heavy skies and was rewarded with rain within a few hundreds yards. Home again, home again.


6 Oct 2016

5th October 2016 Suffer little children..


Wednesday 5th 38F, 3C, calm and clear. We were woken by a tractor spraying the back fields at 6.30am. It stinks like petrol out there! The Head Gardener insisted I stay indoors instead of working outside. This has been our habit since we first moved here. The moment we see a sprayer on the local fields we go indoors. Though I am sprayed on average about 6 times a year as I cycle and walk.

Field drainage earthworks point unexpectedly to an 11th century church. 

I saw somebody yesterday backpack spraying the weeds on his tiny gravel drive with a small, curious child within a foot of the spray head wearing sandals. Our neighbour's kids used to have a game of running through the spray drift from the farmers' activities on the fields bordering the shared drive.

One of our former neighbours fancied himself as a  weekend farmer. He used to spray more often than anything else. Meanwhile his children played nearby or ran after the tractor sprayer! It didn't stop the supposed weeds growing [at all] but everybody needs a "harmless" outdoor hobby. He used to brag that you could put Roundup on your breakfast and probably did.

Another neighbour has small children who follow him about as he uses a backpack sprayer. Though it must be completely harmless because it only killed a whole run of his own, recently planted hedge! Many of the local children have suffered from all sorts of developmental and behavioral problems. It's no wonder they have closed many of the rural schools. A last desperate measure to distance the nation's children from the toxic mono-culture, ruinously unprofitable, agricultural regime?

Not that it helps when an octogenarian farmer sprays the field upwind of a large campsite on the coast. As hundreds of children enjoy the pool and playground facilities in glorious sunshine. The spray drift was visible floating right across the campsite in a stiff, mid-morning, summer wind. Rest day working hard on a project to strange smells from the upwind fields.  Northerly and northeasterly winds are very unusual here but due to stable high pressure over Sweden.

Thursday 6th 48F, 9C, heavy overcast and windy. Expected to continue like this all day. We are both suffering from cold-like symptom today. A stiff wind as I had a short walk. It felt as if it should be raining from the heavy cloud but is forecast to remain dry. A few seagulls fought their way untidily upwind looking for breakfast.  Rest day, tidying the trike shed. I'm now aching all over after rearranging shelving and carrying boxes of junk in and out. I am a hoarder. One day at a time.

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3 Oct 2016

3rd October 2016 As if seen through green coloured spectacles.


Monday 3rd Heavy overcast, heavy rain and strong winds. It is supposed to clear up later. It did but it took until 5pm before we saw any sun. No pressure to go out and I was busy. Another rest day.

Tuesday 4th 45-54F, 7C, cool, clear and promising to be full sun all day. Downside is the wind gusting to 25mph and a top temperature of 14C, 57F. I walked my usual loop but skirting the woods. It was only just tolerable to have bare hands into the headwind as I crossed the prairie. The recent rain had made the soil extremely sticky. I was soon making a poor impression of  Frankenstein's monster or a deep sea diver out of water.

The world had suddenly turned green again under the fresh, sharp graze of a low, blinding sun. I saw several deer and birds of prey. Aggressive crows and rooks chased each other out of their territory and then returned to foraging amongst the already shoulder high, grass-like crops. The torrential rain had done its damage on one lately sewn field. The incline had allowed ruts to form to carry watery mud straight over the verge and down onto the road. There were clear signs of a brush-mounted tractor having been along to push the dirt off the road on a sharp, blind corner.

Elsewhere once could see the good sense in sewing a new crop straight after harvesting. Or leaving the stubble to retain the fragile soil on the endless corrugations of the Danish landscape. More rain fell on Sunday than in a normal October with over 50mm or 2" in places. One begins to understand why so much time and money is being spent in building emergency run-off ponds. Ducks have already moved in on suitable examples and it has added delightful points of interest where previously there were only blank fields of overgrown waste ground on industrial estates.

They have even added suitable cover plants and trees to avoid the usual sterile concrete tank look. Using pond liners and covering them in soil ensures natural wildlife is rapidly established. They have large overflows to carry away excess water in emergencies while still retaining enough to be useful. Not doubt their ability to hold accessible water reserves for firefighters has also been carefully considered. This saves having to send water tankers to tackle fires in the absence of hydrants.

A gorgeous day for a ride except for the rather chill wind. First day with cycling cardigan and proper gloves. Swiftly removed as I warmed up. As was the GripGrab cap. 17 miles.

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1 Oct 2016

1st October 2016 Warmest September.


Saturday 1st 51-?F, 12-?C, Heavy cloud, light breeze. Showers and sunny periods forecast. September 2016 was equal warmest ever with two others in 1999 and 2006. Daytime warmest temperatures ever September since records began. Rainfall was half the average for September.

The larger pair of mother and young deer. 

Walked my usual morning loop up to the woods and back along the road. Except that I took a shortcut across a couple of stubble fields to see what the large excavator had been doing before it disappeared. Saw several deer. Including a large and a small pair of mother and young. Several birds of prey flew across or sat quite still pretending not to be there. A couple of thousand gulls went over in fits and starts all aiming for the same destination somewhere to the north. A cacophony of guns went off at 9.20. I believe it is the start of the hunting season today. It started raining just as I reached the gate but soon went off again.

Took a risk with the showers and rode a loop. Independent timber and builder's merchants which turned into DIY superstores have all gone downhill since they were all taken over by two chains. It's all exactly the same stuff in all the stores and massively profitable bubble packs with no variation. Hilly start and then a headwind for the second leg.  It rained hard at midway and then  it was back on wet roads when it stopped. I wore the cheap, X-rage, rain jacket and stayed dry on top. Though it was very damp inside when I took it off again. Several pelotons of riders and individuals out training. 27 miles.

Sunday 2nd 52F, 11C, heavy cloud, light breeze, rain or showers forecast for the next two days.  Don't hold your breath! It actually brightened up after lunch but I wasn't taking the risk for a ride with sudden torrential showers and thunder around.

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