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.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

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