12 Feb 2018

12th February 2018 Avoid Halfords!

Monday 12th 35-37F, +2-3C, heavy overcast and wintry showers with strong overnight gales slowly subsiding. It was blowing hard enough to wake us up at 3am! There was a certain drabness about the patchy snow after rain. Five stripes of translucent slush made road spray more of a hazard than usual. Short bouts of sunshine are teasing us for more. Still blowing quite hard at times.

I'm still thoroughly enjoying  my GripGrab 'Nordic" gloves. A revelation after decades of cold hands. They are quite amazing at insulating my hands from cold and wind chill without the slightest overheating. Which is a slightly strange feeling after decades of sweatiness from alternatives. They are nicely flexible and have brilliant reflective details for after dark use. They were glowing brightly just from the light of a north facing window just now.

All this really matters for night time commuters. Whether they cycle, run or walk. The 'printed' rubber palms provide a nice level of grip without stiffness. I had a pair of supermarket bought winter gloves for driving and they felt like I was wearing welder's, hide mitts when the steering wheel was bitterly cold the other day.

The Nordic's unusual, lobster claw design works fine on dropped handlebars. A separate fully fingered glove sits inside the outer shell. Not a good day for tricycling, with or without gloves.

Tuesday 13th 32-36F, 0+2C, very heavy overcast with light winds. Some sunshine is threatened. Another dull walk under a grey sky. A flock of about 100 tiny birds were moving from tree to tree. The only one I could catch in my binoculars looked like a Yellowhammer.

Late morning ride to the shops. Several drivers brushed past, much too close.  Only to stop and wait for oncoming traffic before they could turn.  Obviously far too low an intellect to be driving. Only 7 miles. It finally brightened up in the afternoon to sunshine.

Wednesday 14th 26F, -3C, hard white frost, light winds at first, clear with sunshine promised. Early thin, high cloud cleared to blinding sunshine as I walked to the woods. The granular, refrozen snow was very crunchy under my boots. The puddles fragile and even more noisy. The iron hard ground unforgiving  of sure footing.

I walked uphill through the woods to discover what the chainsawing was all about. They were clearing a patch of semi-mature beeches. I came back via the circuitous marsh path to find the large pond bereft of birds. Even the herons were out on the fields instead of monitoring duck movements.

Thursday 15th 32F, 0C, starting windy and getting worse. Cold walk in a gale, with my eyes watering behind the yellow glasses. Despite wind roaring in the trees I set off for the shops on the trike. Only managing 7-10mph going into a headwind at 100rpm. Returned at 16-18mph just in time as the snow began. Only 7 miles. Expecting about 3" of snow this afternoon.

Friday 16th 32-36F, 0-2C, light breeze,  2-3" of new snow. Occasional brightness when the low sun can peer between highly variable clouds. The roads had been treated but the traffic was leaving long strips of slush. Making good sense of my strategy of removing myself from the road. To let them make their own decisions as to their route and speed.

Several juggernauts passed at high speed. Throwing up huge spray clouds which took their time to fall back to the ground. I had thrown all caution to the winds and wore a large pair of cycling sunglasses. Well, you have to. Don't you? Due to an absence of floats today's ride was cancelled. The drive was completely awash with wet snow as it rained and thawed.

Saturday 17th 34-38F, 1-3C, calm, with a heavy overcast. Some brightness threatened for later. Yesterday's rain and positive temperatures continue to eat into the snow. The first day of the year with lots of birds singing. Talk about blind optimism! A large bird of prey was sitting on the very tip of a tree in the marsh and looking around on the ground. I have had a fellow walker on the track to the woods. Fortunately our paths have not crossed away from the road. Dull, but a good day for tricycling. With not a breath of wind.

Late morning ride. The wind turbines were all still. Grey skies without any sunshine. Rather slower on the way home. 15 miles. The slightly warmer weather has caused the permafrost to melt in soil and gravel drives. Making lawn surfaces liquid and the gravel like riding on soft sand. Both are very hard work!

Sunday 18th 32-38F, 0-3C, very cloudy but with some variation. A repeat of yesterday's weather but with more wind. A gentle breeze was welcomed by all the birds. Which suddenly seemed to have come out of the woodwork. Including a colourful bird of prey with a long black tail too distant to see more detail. A small flock of Goldfinches were busy in the hedgerow. Great tits and blue tits added their calls as they moved through the tops of the roadside trees. The traffic was pleasantly light. Allowing village church bells to reach me at intervals across the drab and scruffy fields. Only small patches of snow remain except where deep shade allows it to cling on beyond its melt by date.

38F and quite a lot of sunshine by mid afternoon. I rode to the shops wearing the lighter GripGrab gloves. Glad it wasn't any further. Coming back they were quite comfortable. Plenty of birds of prey lurking in the trees. Only 7 miles.

A general health warning to the disabled in Gravely Blighted: 
Avoid Halfords! Particularly if you have squeaky shoes! 
"We don't care! Not welcome here! Okay?"


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