5 Apr 2017

5th April 2017 Suffer little children..

Wednesday 5th 42F, 6C, dark grey with a breeze building to a gale. Possible showers too. My wife was unwell yesterday with severe dizziness and extreme tiredness. She is rarely prone to any illness at all but slept on an off all day. This was the morning after a tractor sprayed the field behind us at 8pm in the evening. Just another coincidence? I had identical symptoms myself after walking the field track up to the woods after spraying. On another occasion a tractor started spraying when I was on my way back along the same track. I had to return home by another way. I still had severe dizziness.

Threadbare woods.

When a sprayer overturned recently it made the headlines as the emergency services used a digger to block runoff access to local waterways. The sprayer contained a cocktail of half a dozen different toxins to be sprayed simultaneously. Farm inspections are still turning up illegal toxins which were banned decades ago.

It's no wonder the Danes closed all the village schools which were surrounded in fields. Claiming savings, presumably meant "economic" rather than saving their children from repeated exposure to toxins. Local children would run excitedly through the spray drift as farmers and weekend farmers sprayed their crops. A neighbour sprayed his single, small field, nestling between the houses, repeatedly, as a hobby. He claimed Roundup was so harmless you could use it on your breakfast cereal. Advice given to him by the toxin's salesman as he tried to combat rough grass. The spraying had no visible effect and the grass returned every year despite the ploughing, raking and regular spraying.

The neighbour who followed him uses a lawnmower and there is no sign of rough grass on what eventually became a very large lawn. His own contribution to his children's toxic overload was spraying the weeds growing around the base of his boundary hedge in a light breeze. He used a backpack sprayer while his toddler children played around him in the sunshine. The hedge quickly died, where he had sprayed, but nowhere else. We haven't seen the backpack since.

A single, very large paw print in the woods. Nearly 5" or 12cm long! What the devil is it? Not a wolf, big cat, dog or bear? No obvious claws, four toes, heel, palm and extra 'outrigger' pads. Should I be very afraid?

I was enjoying a trike ride down by the coast one summer. When an octogenarian farmer started spraying his field bounding a popular camping site. With its arms held high above the crops the white spray drift was visibly blowing in clouds. Which were heading straight towards the packed swimming pool on the field's border with the campsite. Where dozens of children were enjoying the "fresh air of the countryside."

I had the luxury of being able to leave in a hurry. I doubt any of the their parents knew of their children's exposure. Spray tanks are not required to carry any labels to allow those affected to identify what they have been exposed to. The same, for some reason, applies to the cryptic markings on road going, toxic bulk tankers. The agro-chemical industry obviously has good friends in very high, EU places. Perhaps they don't want people hanging around long enough to read labels if it will [eventually] kill them? So they rush home to safely consume a Glyphosate and drinking water cocktail to slake their thirst.

A hunter's shed on wheels nestles amongst the trees for solace.

Thursday 6th 37F, 3C, calm and bright with signs of a light frost. It won't last. Walked to the forest in bright sunshine with a cold breeze. There I saw a single Crane in a similar place to last time. It was obviously nervous and took off to fly behind the trees as it had done last time. A small pond under the trees had large clumps of frog spawn and several frogs guarding it. The water level was much lower than the last couple of years but doesn't seem to dry up. Walked back along the spray tracks. A couple of rooks were standing, looking guilty, with their beaks full of moss.

Birds are weird and contrary. They have miles of quiet field hedge to choose from, but park their nests right beside busy roads. A noisy rookery has formed in the trees of the playground of a village school. With 24 hour passing traffic and shrieking children for company during school hours, the birds add their own racket to the general din. As I wait for coffee and rolls the sky has completely clouded over to uniform grey. No ride today.

Friday 7th 45-50F, 7-10C, dark grey and breezy with a risk of showers. There was a hint of fine rain as the wind picked up to a blustery gale. I walked to the distant woods and then along the field track to bring me out on the road a mile further on. A mile-long, untidy string, of hundreds of gulls, passed over, mostly silently, on the lookout for an easy breakfast.

I paused to watch a specialist muck spreader at work as a large bird of prey glided overhead. It rocked gently, stiff winged and fingered with each new gust. Far more intent on staring down at the ground than anything going on around it. I watched it through my binoculars until it was rapidly lost in the distance. Covering huge hunting areas in mere seconds. Straight into the headwind which roared in my ears. Overall brown, with a pale head and yellow beak were the only identification markers I could be sure of.

I'm a tree!

It was fun to glance along the spray tracks in the knee-high crops. A smartly-dressed, pheasant fop stepped out in its own, private little world. While a huge, fat hare, its fur still bristling with dew drops, stood up and dashed away down the dusty channel. I danced on, along the ragged asphalt edge, between rat-run and wildlife corridor, dodging maniacs in dodgem cars and 7 axle juggernauts alike. Each dragging their great bolsters of wind. Eager to dislodge my cap, and my illusion of surreal calm in the face of repeated adversity. Still resting in the hope that my upper chest pains will subside.

Click on any image for an enlargement.


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