11 Nov 2016

11th November 2016 The invisible man with a halo.


Friday 11th 31-36F, 0+2C, quite clear and the sun is rising with a warm glow. The forecast is for mostly clear and bright with only a little wind. There is a potential goal if I am allowed out by The Head Gardener/Chief Medical Officer/Matron/Florence Nightingale.

 Winter, direct ascent to the 300 ft summit.

I am being gently nursed back to health through an ongoing "man cold" with extenuating circumstances but pedalling as fast as I can. The snotty nose seems to have subsided quite a bit. The germs probably died of cold! Now its all about clearing the tickly [year round] junk in my throat. I hope nobody was enjoying their breakfast while reading this.

Later, I decided to attempt the first free climb, winter ascent by the direct route. I could have used [more] oxygen as I crested the towering, near-300 ft shoulder with a panoramic view in all directions.

Though the air temperature is still hovering around freezing only the surface of the soil was stiff enough to walk on. There was no depth to the permafrost and the puddles were only thinly iced over. Crampons would have been overkill but I was grateful for my gaiters to protect me against the thin, cold air.

The image [above] shows the view from the snow-capped summit out over the serried foothills. I had made a total altitude gain of just over 60'. Not bad for somebody still nursing a cold. <cough-cough> It's amazing the fun you can have without ever boarding an aeroplane. WW3 broke out in the nearest woods but seemed to be limited to single shot weapons.

The descent went well and as the air thickened, I passed the large machines being used for field drainage. Walking back along the road required great care as I was in the low sun's blind spot for approaching vehicles.

I played it safe and adopted the verge whenever it looked too dangerous. One old fart [of my own age] never flinched from his route. Which would have required a lengthy stint in intensive care had I not literally jumped out of his way. Similarly with a young woman driver who never even attempted to go around my previous position right on the edge of the road. Not that being blinded by the sun affected their speed in any way. No ride today. The rear light clips clearly marked "Smart" didn't fit my Smart rear lights!

Saturday 12th 28F, -2C, white frost, calm, clear and about to be bright. An almost cloudless sky as I walked down the road and back to stretch my legs in light traffic. The light wind has moved more easterly.

After coffee I rode to my first DIY superstore/builder's merchant. Half a dozen different birds of prey moved away, at intervals, from foraging in the fields. One larger bird was flying parallel to me until it could use a roadside copse to cross my path. The sun caught a golden area under its tail and clear markings on its wings. Perhaps a Red kite but it was difficult to be sure in the low, blinding sunshine.The second leg of my ride was also hilly straight and into the wind but not too hard. I was a  little tired on the last leg as it was well past 3pm. I was now well laden, had shopped at four supermarkets, another DIY store and an electrical goods outlet without having eaten anything for hours. 28 miles.

Sunday 13th 33F, +1C, breezy and overcast. Some sunshine promised for later but gusting to 12m/s, 25mph. The Head Gardener/aka my lovely wife, has handed me a page from the local paper. An illustrated article described the use of a an electrically assisted, tadpole trike "rickshaw" at a "retirement home." It is fitted with a forward-facing, comfortable front seat and a 'pram' roof for giving outings to the elderly. What a brilliant idea!

I sometimes see the elderly being given 'walks' around the grounds in a wheelchair. Not ideal for those who do not feel themselves actually disabled. Moreover, the trike offers real, "wind in the hair" memories of cycling for those lucky enough to enjoy a tour. Many of those with dementia are said to respond and even thrive in realistic environments from their own past. The machine is said to have cost 50,000DKK or about £6000. I hope it gets well used. Since I could not save the newspaper illustration I had to borrow the picture from a Google search.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


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