22 Nov 2016

22nd November 2016 Try not to inhale!


Tuesday 22nd 46-52F! 8-11C, mild, dry, breezy and clear. The news has twin worries for those who care about human health. Large fractions of the population suffer from asthma which can often be traced to vehicle smog. A recent storm in Australia caused mayhem when  heavy rain stirred up pollen resulting in a 6-fold increase in demand on the emergency services. Many who had no previous history of asthma found themselves in severe breathing difficulties. The second story was about resistant bacteria thriving and mutating in air pollution. The filthy air contains nutrients and catalysts for genetic mutation. Many cities with pretensions to being "green" suffer from corridors of filthy air along all major roads and motorways. The story suggested 10 million people a year could die from living in smog affected areas directly as a result of resistant bacteria.

Mmm! Choker Colour. Liquid diabetes dumping on a verge near you. Burp!

An hour's walk down to the village and back. The watery sunshine continued as I helped The Head Gardener bag fallen leaves. Fortunately we ran out of large bin bags before I wore myself out by going as fast as possible. Plastic snow shovels/ploughs make excellent tools for gathering and shoveling leaves. Their huge capacity and perfect shape allows them to be used almost effortlessly on grass or flat soil. They also save repeated bending down to the ground to grab single handfuls of leaves.Rode to the shop to get more bin bags. Returned at dusk. 17 miles.

Wednesday 23rd 43F, 6C, clear-ish with almost no wind. It should be similarly mild to yesterday's temperatures later. 52F in late November? But let's not complain. A day of persistent vapour trails. Horizon to horizon stripes being spread sideways by the high altitude winds. Five planes were making their bright trails simultaneously. I remember one morning where the clear sky was literally criss-crossed with very persistent vapour trails. A gaggle of geese went over as I stared up at the sky. The ground was very sticky on the bare mud. Forcing me away from the track in places where it had been churned up. It seems to be clearing to bright sunshine now. Which ought to mean a ride with these very light winds.

It wasn't to be. I was instructed, in no uncertain terms, to get on with a project I have been working towards completion for many months.

Thursday 24th 32F, 0C, white frost, calm and clear. Sunshine and very light northerly winds are forecast. I may be able to sneak in a ride today. It was already late when I suggested I go out yesterday. A tour of DIY stores amounted to 24 miles. Very short of breath with a blocked nose to start but improved steadily. Mostly bright sunshine with very little wind. Lots of birds of prey around today. I found an as-new, Helly Hansen [Helly Tech ®] jacket in a charity shop. I'm hoping it will be much more breathable for my morning walks than my present crop of tailored "bin bags."

It will also be [hopefully] more visible to sleep-driving commuters. For the stretches where I have to walk the roads to my exit portals to the real countryside. The jacket will be washed first so I can't report back on its breathable qualities quite yet. Interestingly [?] Helly Hansen recommend washing to keep the fabric working as intended. We have searched every nook and pocket but can't find laundry instructions anywhere. So we had to find them online.

The jacket is well furnished with pockets. Handy for all the detritus so essential to an hour or two's walk slightly off the beaten track. Including an identity card in case I am found face-down in the brambles. Or one of those vanishingly rare police cars stop me for identification. I'd hate to be arrested as an undesirable and put on the next flight back to Gravely Blighted. A case of cruel and unusual treatment if ever there was one. I can't imagine my pidgin Danish will go down well at the local [Broxit] Aldis. I shall just have to demand refugee status.

Friday 25th 32F, 0C, dead calm, white frost, very misty, with strange, orange-pink stripes across the lower sky. A cloudy start is forecast with a clearing to some sunshine later. I just hope I can find the garden gate in this mist. An hour and a quarter walk up the woods. Circled via the tracks and back home again. The first Jay I have seen and heard for ages was guarding the entrance. The mist is slowly clearing as the sun grows brighter. Rest day being busy at home.

Saturday 26th 41F, 5C, heavy overcast, still. The forecast is windy with gusts to 25mph later. I shall have to leave early. My walk took me past the marsh where I upset the ducks and a large heron. Then onto the lanes and back along the roads. There was a cool wind at times.

Another dead gull and a polecat[?] were lying on the verge about a hundred yards from each other. I haven't seen a dead gull in years and now two in one week? I hope this is not indicative of bird 'flu? A pair of buzzards were wave riding on the front of the forest and calling to each other. The traffic was light enough to ignore until a bus overshot one of the sharp, blind bends to use half of my side of the road.  I need rear view mirrors on my walking hats now?

Shopping ride.  Headwind coming home heavily laden. 17 miles.

Sunday 27th 32F, 0C, sunny from a cloudless sky, quite still with just a light, white frost. I walked around the block in my latest, charity shop bought, walking jacket. I was warm and comfortable without the bin-bag sweats of the non-breathable examples. I m amazed how many people wave to me from their cars these days. Whether on my trike or walking I see hands waving from behind windscreens. Only the gentlest of breezes so far. Spent the day trimming branches off the overgrown garden trees. More than enough exercise for one day!

Click on any image for an enlargement.


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