30 Jul 2018

30th July 2018 Tropical nights.


Monday 30th 71-87F, light breeze, bright with some cloud. Another 30C day is promised. Warm but cloudy on my walk across the harvested fields. Disturbed a large hare. Which dashed off.

Shopping ride imminent after morning coffee. And so it was. Warm at 82F but still cloudy. Only 7 miles. Saw a real, 5-bag cycle tourist and a couple of blokes out training [dawdling] on posh carbon. I had to go out in the car in the afternoon and the heat was awful.

Tuesday 31st 74-86F, bright but cloudy again with a bit of a breeze. Another warm night means the house is still hot. They call it tropical nights. We had a few small drops of rain yesterday with no cloud obviously responsible. The weather gods must be teasing us. Homes built on clay are cracking from the fall in the water table. I walked around the local fields by jumping over the hay rows still waiting for the baler. A harvester worked [noisily] on the field next door all morning. Hot and windy now. No ride today.

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23 Jul 2018

23rd Juy 2018 Sweaty!


Monday 23rd 64-83F, cloudy with a light breeze. Expected to conform to the usual sunshine, drought and 80F later. Remaining mostly overcast for my walk. We could hear a harvester whistling all day yesterday but there was no fresh signs of activity in the area.

Japanese knotweed suffering in the drought?

Two large herons went over flying close together. No obvious target for their bee-line flight as they ignored the local ponds and lakes. To disappear over the hilly horizon to the north. No ride today. Every swallow in the county turned up to see off a small bird of prey. I have never seen so many swallows in one place.

Tuesday 24th 68-84F, almost calm with early mist and cloud clearing. A repeat of yesterday, later and possibly even hotter still.  50 dead and rising in Greek wildfires. The Japanese are dropping like flies in record heat. Sweden is battling forest fires. Aren't we lucky it's not climate change, but only abit of weather? The temperature was rising rapidly on a walk to the lanes. New fields have been harvested. It has already reached 83F @ 1.30pm.

Late afternoon ride had been put off in the forlorn hope that it would cool off later. It didn't. Still 84F @ 6pm. 7 mile shopping ride. It was warm! Very, very warm!

An Elder bush dying from thirst in a hedgerow.

Wednesday 25th 72-88F, bright and sunny again. I slogged around the harvested fields under a hot sun. It has already reached 80F @ 9.30am. 88F by 14.00pm. It stayed at 31C, 88F for most of the afternoon. Only dropping to 86F by the time I left to do some shopping at 6pm.

I overtook a lady on her racing bike kitted out in racing gear. She looked fairly cycle fit and tanned but a little tired. I was managing 19-20mph as she tried to chase without success. Only 7 miles. Slower coming home into a light headwind. The treads of my tyres were noticeably black.

The shops were almost empty of customers. As befits a country expecting the evening meal at dead on 6pm every evening.  They even have a rule about it: Jante's Law. Anybody caught away from the table at 6pm is considered a troublemaker.

Thursday 26th 72-87F, bright and sunny again. I worked on my garden project instead of going for a walk. It has already reached 81F @ 10am. 87F @ 15.00. No ride today.

Friday 27th  72-87F, bright again with a light breeze. I walked in unpleasantly warm conditions to the lanes. The gentle breeze was neutralized by my walking pace but helped to cool me on the way back into the blinding sun. 79F @ 9.15am. There were brown leaves on another Japanese knotweed outbreak. 87F @ 13.00. Still 80F at 19.30. The wind has gone around to the SE so we are getting the black smoke from the Wooden Tops illegally burning demolition waste. Even during a heatwave this multi-car family burns scrap wood, painted chipboard and plywood for hours on end every day to heat their water cheaply.

Saturday 28th 72-86F, very windy and bright. This evening's promised rain is still on. With the threat of cloudbursts and thunderstorms.

A large field had been harvested but the harvester was absent. Perhaps they take it back to the farm overnight for security? I pottered about on the field looking for interesting pictures and a shortcut home. Stepping over the broad rows of hay was more than adequate exercise for one walk. 86F @ 13.30. 

Having tidied the garden we are waiting for the rain to arrive.  The DMI is showing it is slowly coming with lots of lightning strikes. The sky has gone dark grey with fierce gusts at 18.34 but still no rain. And then  minute later it came across the fields like very thick mist and absolutely tipped down. It has gone very dark indoors now. It took about ten minutes for the almost continuous thunder to arrive. 18.45 and still torrential rain falling. It gradually gave up but examination of buckets left out showed about 3/4 inch of rainfall. The mouth of a bucket is oversized compared with the base so exaggerates the total rainfall. Refraction makes the water look more shallow.

Sunday 29th 62F, bright and sunny with lots of thin, high cloud. I walked the stubble fields after passing a roof full of swallows and sparrows. Three deer were sitting beside the marsh but soon vanished into the undergrowth.

The mallard ducks were streaming away from the near shore on the marsh pond. While a very large heron preened itself and kept a watchful eye on me as I looked down from the field above. It felt far warmer in the hot sunshine than the thermometer reading might suggest. The poplars bursting out along the cleared verge are obviously intent on taking over the world. No ride today.

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19 Jul 2018

19th July 2018 A dash of lime?


Thursday 19th 70-76F, cloud clearing to blue skies and hot sunshine. The first impression on looking up was that high cloud was racing across the sky. Further observation showed it was the lower clumps of cumulus making all the speed.

I walked along the marsh and then looped around the harvested prairie. The birds were fewer this morning except for a noisy family of Greenfinches. No sign of any birds of prey today. Against all logic it seems more insects die in dry weather. Which causes problems for insect eating birds feeding their young. The advice now is to put out water for the birds. No ride today.

Friday 20th 60-80F, calm and bright but with rippled cloud like a beach. Now 40 days with a perfect 10 score for drought. No real rain promised for weeks ahead. As I was walking along the road I spotted tractors liming the prairie. It was a spectacular sight to see the long trail of white "smoke" back-lit by the sun against the dark crops and forest.

It was then I discovered my camera battery was completely flat! Grr. So I walked home again, swapped batteries and returned to the scene. Alas the excitement was over. The sun had risen, killing the earlier contrast and a JCB was refilling the 1st lime spreader. The second, smaller tractor was moving much more slowly so that it left only a modest trail.

An early evening ride after an 80F peak mid afternoon. I was chasing a chap up ahead on his racing bike for a couple of miles.  Cruising at 18-20mph thanks to a tailwind. Then, just as I was about to pass him in a sprint and preparing to punch the air, he abruptly turned off. My victory was denied me! Don't you hate it when that happens? The shops were literally empty of customers at that time. The whole of Denmark has to be at the dinner table at 6pm precisely or the Drones want to know the reason why. Only 7 miles returning heavily laden. I keep seeing a jogging pram rusting away in a garden. With alloy wheels it might form the basis of a shopping trailer. Probably not a good idea. Too many other projects on the boil.

Saturday 21st 72-80F, bright and sunny. Enjoyed a warm walk around the harvested fields. Not much wildlife today apart from a few sparrows and swallows. The hedges are really beginning to get drought stressed and so was a patch of Japanese Knotweed by the road. With lots of crisp brown leaves on the top of earlier growth. No ride today.

Sunday 22nd 64-74F, breezy and bright. A warm walk along the lanes. Almost no birds and very light traffic.

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18 Jul 2018

18th July 2018 The never ending story of the Great Drought.


Wednesday 18th 65-77F, bright overcast with a light breeze increasing. Still not a drop of rain as early clouds clear to a milky sky and thinner and higher brushwork. I pottered about on a large, harvested field for today's walk. A red kite was circling nearby but found nothing to eat. While a buzzard dived into the crops a couple of times but seemed to have missed its breakfast for the moment. It returned to soaring over a nearby wood.

Late morning ride to the shops. I was cruising at 17-20mph with a tailwind and draughting a tiny, tricycle van with a very noisy engine. He sprayed me with his windscreen washers but I have no idea if it was deliberate. He certainly couldn't see me behind his solid back door. Only 10-14mph coming back home into a straight-on headwind. I have an errand to run after lunch so I'm going out on my trike again.

The good news is that they have developed a mobile phone sensor for passing cars. Sadly, they haven't yet discovered flash photography to identify if it is the driver using the phone. So, basically, no new good news at all. Except for the psychopaths who still use their phones while driving badly, despite all the dire warnings and paltry fines.

Afternoon ride to more distant shops. Warm and quite a strong cross-headwind. Another 13 miles for 20 total today. A young lady, racing cyclist complimented me on my trike as she rode past. I tried, but could not stay on her wheel.

These are desperate times for many farmers. They say the hay harvest is only half of the usual. This is on top of last year's unusually cool and wet summer. The double blow is causing acute shortages of feed for cattle and damaging livelihoods. With farm bankruptcies double the usual in June alone and fears of much worse to come. The forecast shows no sign of rain in the next fortnight.

Sweden has appealed for help in fighting its fifty plus, forest and heath fires. Denmark is sending a contingent. We wish them luck and a speedy and safe return!

It's not all bad news for nature. The insect eating birds must have had a bumper year and the butterflies in our garden have exploded in numbers. There are often ten per square meter over the carefully selected plants they are known to enjoy. There might have been many more had we not lost many buddlias in one cold winter.

The butterfly numbers are probably only a tiny fraction of the myriad of different bees which frequent our "semi-wooded" rural garden. With its soaring hedges for nesting and ridiculously overgrown fruit and native trees we are constantly surrounded in a bewildering variety of birdsong.

It is not unusual to have a dozen swallows perched on the ridge of our home. As an attentive audience for those still performing acrobatics in the air. Birds of prey are often to be seen floating silently, just over our treetops or circling high above on thermals.

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16 Jul 2018

16th July 2018 Scorchio again!


Monday 16th 66-83F, bright and breezy. A repeat of all the recent, hot and sunny days. Still no end to the drought. Trike shopping beckons, but not yet.

Mink gulls complaining about the room service.

As I walked along the main road I could see pillars of black smoke rising from a farm in the distance. Perhaps 3km away across the sandy coloured fields. It had stopped on my return. So that saved me worrying about reporting it to the fire brigade. With all the inevitable misunderstandings over the local pronunciation of the names of scattered hamlets.

There is a total nationwide ban on open flames out of doors. Though that doesn't stop "the special people" having their ritual barbecues. With grey smoke wafting away above the crops. Where they can't see it whilst bent over their expensive hardware in the middle of this extended drought. Sweden is fighting bush fires which are out of control. A hot and sweaty 73F by the time I returned at 9am. It could reach 80F again later. It actually reached a sweltering 83F in full sun. Too busy for a ride. Hopefully there's still something left for dinner tonight.

Tuesday 17th 70-85F. Warm and calm with possible, thundery showers after lunch. 80F before 10am. A large heron crossed my route without deviating from its path. Then returned later going the opposite way.

I was sweating on my walk up to the woods and back down the other way. The stubbled "prairie" was like walking in a desert under a tropical sun. There is a distinct haze today. Taking away any hope of distant views from the top of the hill.

A Red kite was circling effortlessly at no more than 100' near home. But I made it safely without appearing on the breakfast menu. Another bird behaving far more tamely than usual.

Definitely a ride in the offing today if we are not to suffer malnutrition. I was really looking forwards to some organic, wholemeal rolls but they were green and moldy in the bag several days before "best-by." They had been stored at only 70F. What's pidgin danish for moldy? Mugne or muggen it seems. I'll have to take them back and see what they say. The shop, that is. Not the rolls. These rolls are dead, deceased, they are no more, they have gone black! Duly replaced without question.

A late morning ride to the shops. Warm and sticky outside but delightfully cool in the supermarkets. So, if you're heat stressed you know where to go to cool off. Only 7 miles.

Now 82F @ 13.00. Getting much cloudier now. So there might be a slight chance of a local shower. It looks as if Sjælland is enjoying some rain but it never gets much closer to Fyn on the radar. 86F @ 14.40. 87F [31C] at 14.50. It just goes on getting hotter and hotter.

My outdoor, digital thermometer sensor hangs in free air, in constant shade and well beneath the northern roof overhang. It was so positioned to be completely immune to solar or domestic heating, or local heat storage, at any time of day, year round.

Black thunder clouds have passed by just to the east heading north west with barely a rumble or three. There is only a 15 minute lag on the DMI website radar updates. I though I had just enough time to tidy up outside but the rain never arrived. It feels like an oven outside and in.

It is very odd that the DMI has raised its warning to certainty over cloudbursts to cover the whole of Fyn.  Not a drop so far at 7.30pm as the outside temperature rises and falls around 78-80F. I have the window in front of me wide open but there isn't a breath of air coming through it.

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13 Jul 2018

Friday 13th 2018 Unseasonal cloud?


Friday 13th 70-78F, cool breeze from the west, warm bright and sunny with a few 'polyester' clouds.

Walked to the village. A pair of smart Moorhens were feeding four visible young on the lawn beside a private pond. One of the adults was climbing 3' from the ground in irises and reeds to collect insects. I see Coots all the time on the local ponds and seas but can't remember the last time I saw Moorhens.

Afternoon ride to the shops. I think we can accept the tailwind had something to do with a steady 23mph along the high street before I reached the shops. More like 12-14 mph returning heavily laden. with the wind roaring in my ears. The Great Danish Drought of 2018 may soon end with heavy rain promised for Tuesday and Wednesday. I'll believe it if I see it! Only 7 miles.

As an aside, I have been watching YT videos on the incredible degree of innovation in E-Bikes. Specifically E-mountain bikes at major bike shows. There is so much competition for lightness, appearance, power and fast charging.

They still need to work on the displays though. It's no use having 18 possible readings when the screen is small and the rider needs powerful reading glasses. Just to see the silly little digits while bearing down fast on a packed high street at dusk in the rain. They have that already on the bike computers and they are an absolutely dreadful base from which to innovate.

Foreshortened by zoom the huge fields shrink under an unusually cloudy sky.

There are some gorgeous machines out there with some of them almost affordable. Front and rear suspension, disk brakes and lightness make some very expensive, conventional, "steam pipe uprights' look very foolish indeed. Meanwhile the news has Danish scientists making a major breakthrough in rechargeable batteries with a modification to the anode chemistry.

Saturday 14th 58-70F, overcast, grey and almost calm. Expected to clear to sunshine later. Some recent global heat records make this Danish summer look quite silly but no less uncomfortable. The supposed drenching on Tuesday/Wednesday has already vanished from the charts. The EU is considering allowing farmers to harvest the grass on fallow fields to provide much needed fodder.

I was teased by a few drops of rain as I set off for a brisk walk in a light jacket. A grey bird of prey was sitting amongst the gulls and standing out like a sore thumb. Even through the binoculars it was too far away to identify any detail. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw a Red kite circling tightly just ahead. After enjoying a few a few seconds of watching it folded its wings and dropped out of sight behind some trees. I never saw it again. The weather is still stuck at 60F at 11am with unchanged overcast. It reached 70F in bright sunshine at 15.00.

Sunday 15th 62-76F, a light westerly breeze with bright sunshine. I walked to the next village in quiet traffic and then climbed steeply up to the woods. Returning via the edges of harvested fields. Two hares dashed off but the birds seemed almost absent today.

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12 Jul 2018

12th July 2018 It's not all summery!

Thursday 12th 72-83F, almost calm and rather cloudy. Well on the way to recovery today with a normal muesli breakfast with coffee and tea.

Followed by a walk to capture some views of the summery countryside. Miles of different grains waiting to be harvested as far as the eye can see.

Countless butterflies in gardens and along the verges on the thistles. Meanwhile the Great Danish Drought of 2018 is now almost 100% of the landmass. With only small patches of 9/10 drought left.

Even at 72F it feels warm and humid today. Though the hygrometer reading doesn't agree. Perhaps I still have a slight fever? The mink gulls took umbrage at my intrusion and moved off to their "airstrip" nearby which had just been harvested. 

The poplar shoots, bursting forth in their many thousands, from the earlier roadside felling, will soon be a serious nuisance. Everything has to be paid for. One way or another. This time the taxpayer will have to pick up the tab for a farmer's quick private profit in expanding his existing prairie.

Talking of paying the price: It is reported that the artificially low cost of US fuel at the pumps has crippled the US car maker's chance of producing competitive, electric vehicles. They simply can't compete after stealing the oil for years, at a forced discount, via "tame," local despots. Who acted as their "fences" in exchange for a few "defense" toys and a few more, tasteless palaces.

On a similar course, the Danish politicooze have locally trashed the planet by reducing taxes on larger vehicles. The result is increased CO2 and traffic pollution as the Danes take advantage in greater sales.
A politicooze spokesperson said that they did not fight AGW through taxation. Dugh? What about the economic ban on electric cars with swingeing import taxation? Did they give Trump the basic idea of import charges? The only few who can afford a gorgeous new Tesla are those who can claim against business expenses. Meanwhile, record numbers of builders are going bust despite an economic upturn.

Talking of builders: The Danes love black roofs. Any black roof will do. Black cement tiles or shiny glazed clay tiles or corrugated fiber-cement. Anything, as long as it's black. The latest news is that those who suffer over-warm bedrooms are very poor performers during the daytime. A cool bedroom or [locally rare] air conditioning is a remarkable advantage to students and workers alike. Some heat pumps will works as ACs but are very inefficient.

Black roofs means vast quantities of absorbed, solar heat into a massive heat sink. Which only releases it slowly for hours, or days to follow, depending on air temperature. Most two story houses have bedrooms upstairs or in the roof area. Poor daytime performers AND on zombie induced drugs? What a way to run a country! 😉

I'd change my own southerly roof to snow white if I could afford it. White, corrugated, cement fiber boards are the only cool surfaces in the entire builder's merchants yards. Go and check for yourself if you don't believe me. Imagine the difference it would make if everybody changed to white? No more heat islands in cities. Cooler bedrooms mean fresh and alert students, drivers and workers.

Solar panels would help to block sunlight from striking the roof.  Though the cost doesn't make any sense unless you were a middle class, early adopter. Who had their bank loan repaid in under three years and then straight into tax-free profit, from grid payback, for energy overproduction.

It seems that "the happiest people on the planet" are dosing themselves on antidepressants in huge numbers. 5th in global national ranking at 85 per 1000 and counting. That means a large percentage of the population is studying, driving and working in zombie mode! Loads of children are on the happy pills too.

The Danish forces are complaining they have to reject 50% of candidates for civil defense duties because of psychological problems! Anxiety, depression and ADHD are mentioned. Obesity and poor muscle tone wasn't. If Denmark is drugging itself to happiness, what about all the other countries lower down the happiness scale? Should we be worried?  😉

We have a new and unknown bird in the garden. Sounds just like two pebbles being clashed together and looks like a warbler with a light eye stripe. Light brown above and lighter below. Or grey above? Watched dozens of YT videos to compare warning calls and appearance. Nothing yet. Extremely active, it is proving incredibly hard to fit into binoculars or a camera.

Confirmed nesting with young in the tall, dense bush nearest the house. We are seeing a silvery grey example and a browner one. The young looked striped and had weak flight ending on the ground. Perhaps the browner version we are seeing is simply the young?

The air is full of hover flies in their stripey jumpers and swallows constantly swooping overhead. With bored gulls circling or following rumours of easy grub. I took some videos of dozens of butterflies on the buddleia in the garden but they were washed out and too bright in the hot 83F sunshine. Not fit for a ride yet. 

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9 Jul 2018

9th July 2018 Fairy tale Castle in danger from drought!


Monday 9th 58F, overcast and windy. Expected to gust to 30mph and not exceed 70F. Five days and nights of hiccuping and counting. I can't sleep so I am getting up and sitting on the computer until 4am or trying to doze in an armchair. Lying down is worst because I get multiple spasms and my whole body shakes. Sometimes it stops briefly after I have eaten a light meal but I have been avoiding anything heavy or coffee.

I've lost count of the number of times I have tried all the familiar "100% guaranteed" remedies on you tube. None of them has had the slightest effect on me. I woke this morning with the hiccuping stopped but it started straight after a small bowl of organic muesli and a cup of tea. I walked to the village and back but didn't have the energy to go off-road today.

The "quack" was good enough to fit me in on the end of his regulars. The first tablet worked within half an hour to put an end to the hiccups for the moment. Perhaps I can get some sleep now! And did! Had an afternoon nap and slept for three hours.

The Danish drought is causing more problems. The moat at the famous, fairy tale castle at Egeskov is dry and cracked. With no water reserves to wet the ancient oak foundations it could rot and the whole thing could topple! I've been all over its historical insides.

Tuesday 10th & Wednesday 11th:  On Tuesday I was far too ill from the tablets to know what was going on. The entire day was spent hanging over sick buckets, moaning feebly or sleeping. I won't dwell on the other symptoms. Save that I was sure I would die sooner rather than later that day.

I am writing this on the evening of Wednesday on Day 3. Or in the [very slow] recovery phase. So much for bragging about my healthy lifestyle! A solitary banana accounts for 48 hours of food intake. Water tastes foul when you just want to re-hydrate. I shall never mention hiccups aloud, ever again!  

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7 Jul 2018

7th July 2018: Special needs.


Saturday 7th 58-73F, bright and windy again. Just a modest walk to prove I can walk and hiccup at the same time. Followed by a ride to the Saturday shops. Going well on the wonderfully smooth new cycle paths, with a good tailwind. 19-20mph even without any competition from pre-pubescent, Lycra clad, beanpoles beating hard on their CF. The builder's merchants was closed at the end of the long climb into the sun!

A recent take-over has denied the customers their weekend service. Not that there was ever anybody in there. I usually ended up wandering around alone and muttering to myself. While the staff "shelf filled." Which is a derogatory term for those who deliberately ignore my presence. They still open early on weekdays so there my be a packed house at 6.30m. But only on weekdays from now on.

Once proudly independent builders supplies have been taken over by foreign, money laundering chains. It was the investment banker's deliberate Dose of Depression which killed Danish house sales and building work overnight. Now it's all bubble packs and nothing more than the standard wares in every single, big shed. But they can always "order it for you?"

I'm looking forwards to AI robot staff taking over with even less knowledge but better able to understand my pidgin dansk. They will be able to instantly translate and understand my gibberish as I struggle to explain what a wood screw or bolt looks like in Danish. The present staff just don't have the imagination to fill in the blanks. No matter how many different ways you can pronounce skrue or bolte they just don't get it.

 If only I had a smart phone I could show them a picture. "Oh yes! We can order that for you?" The stock in trade sales pitch of every, single, fully qualified, under-aged, Danish shop assistant.  I wonder they aren't taught the phrase at infant school? I've noted recently that some Danish online retailers will offer to get it for me. Why would I bother them when they have competition in the next browser hit? Or from eBay or Amazon? Assuming they will deliver for less than a re-mortgage!

Perhaps it's just as bad back in Gravely Blighted these days? It feels as if I have spent my entire life searching for the impossible. I would lecture sub-minimum wage staff at B&Q on the need for socket head screws. Preferably in other than the only length they happened to stock in cross head in their constantly vandalized, bubble packs. And could they please stock them in stainless steel? And did they have any springs? I'm a martyr to not finding springs. It's been going on for over half a century! The world badly needs more springs! But nobody listens!

It wasn't like this in my youth. There were dark and dingy, specialist outlets in the back streets. Sporting pre-industrial revolution dust on their shabby decor. They'd keep you queuing for at lest a quarter of an hour as they disappeared endlessly into a secret back room disguising what can only have been a truly vast warehouse. The staff were pre-Victorian too, of course. But they could and would always provide the impossible when it was finally your turn. The faded sales posters for once great, British manufacturing names were always interesting though always long out of date.

If you were really lucky they'd have a tasteless topless calendar from former and completely arbitrary decade. One which you could pretend not to study at length. As you wound your way inexorably  forwards to the counter built from pit sawn and re-adzed, salvaged sailing-ship's timbers. It was all very Dickensian but wonderfully well stocked if you knew exactly what to ask for.

I still wonder, when I can't sleep at night, what happened to their Alladin's Cave of priceless stock stretching back for miles into quite another century. And how, on earth, did they know what to charge? I liked the tiers of battered, loading hatches climbing vertically to seven floors or more above the now, re-routed river. The single iron pulley and hook still dangling from its oak jib.

The river once joined the canal nearby. Both would have brought the original stock on the countless, narrow barges. Now long gone and forgotten as some money launderer's glass and fascia board edifice blocks the light and bakes the unfortunate workers in their compulsory shirts and ties. The river now plundered, to and fro, by paying guests in glass-sided pirate's boats.

The commercial history was all swept away when they built the tasteless new bus station and shopping mall. You could actually buy properly seasoned wood back then. From a multi-floor emporium, knee deep in sawdust, as skilled men in greasy brown leather aprons would produce literally any size on demand in any timber species known to man.

It's lucky I'm not paranoid, but the later absence of stock has certainly taught me a great deal. Not least how to communicate politely with those only pretending to know what they are waffling on about. Plus my intimate knowledge of stock over a wide area from all too frequent failure to secure my humble needs within the retail sector. I can only blame my eternal optimism. I would often ride a round trip of 50 miles in the vain hope of stock at a specialist outlet. "But we can order it for you?"

17 more miles, not out, still hiccuping. A small bird of prey was eying me with more than casual interest from overhead on a sharp corner. Perhaps it was hoping, forlornly, that I might actually topple in a fierce side gust? So it could swoop down for a quick takeaway? No chance! I'm special, with special needs and I'm the only one in the village.

Sunday 8th July 71-73F, bright and breezy again. Still hiccuping after a sleepless night. That's four days and nights now.

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5 Jul 2018

4th July 2018 Who forgot to turn the lights on?


Wednesday 4th  60-65F, cooler, calm and overcast. Early shopping ride instead of a walk. A pair of Red kites were hunting over a harvested field beside the road. Remaining cloudy at 64F @ 11am. Only 7 miles. Climate researchers are using the Tour of Flanders cycle race to confirm earlier foliage on trees and bushes. Because the race covers the same ground, in April and is televised, they can study the trees along the route. Bare trees in 1990 are now in leaf.

Today's health news is that drinking 6 cups of coffee a day can increase your lifespan by 16%. Good grief! If I drank 6 cups of coffee in a day I'd WANT TO DIE YESTERDAY! I'd need a funnel on the Trykit's downtube! These statisticians should be made to follow their own advice. And pay for their own portaloos and rubber underwear!

UK farmers are suffering from the drought too.  With some farmers already feeding winter stocks to survive. Grass stopped growing weeks ago in some places. Our own grass has suddenly turned to straw where it was mowed by The Head Gardener a while ago. The garden flowers and shrubs are attracting countless butterflies, bees and hover flies. The worry is a sudden collapse of trees and bushes. The headlines are getting worse with serious farming problems. Meanwhile old people are dropping like flies in Canada's heatwave.

Thursday 5th 59-66F, overcast, calm and cooler again. A bit of rain was forecast for today but soon disappeared from the DMI's charts. I went to Odense in the car yesterday. I wondered whether there was single road which wasn't being dug up. I could have crawled on hands and knees faster than I crossed town in both directions by completely different routes. At one traffic light, waiting to join a major route, the lights were only green for six seconds. That meant three cars escaping to the back of the next queue if they were awake. Only two if they weren't. I smiled as a tiny tot on her bike sprinted across a six lane road with her mum. Who was riding alongside on her box trike carrying more potential cyclists up front. The infinite power of the red traffic light to still the roar.

Just as I was preparing for my morning walk we are having very fine drizzle. The forecast is "mostly" dry. We had plans to water some conifers with rinse water from the spin drier. A fat toad had taken up residence amongst some small historical roses which were being watered from the same source. Another fair weather friend?

The roads were still slightly damp as a few bands of black clouds crossed over. Leaving brief, misty patches on the landscape where there was a local shower. Then the sun broke through and that was the last sign of any rain or dampness. It was interesting to see how the south facing hedges had lots of yellow leaves. While the northern sides were uniformly dark green. A large bird of prey hovered briefly over the garden as I worked outside.

Friday 6th 61F, bright, sunny and windy and much warmer. I have hiccups again this morning after having them all day yesterday. They kept going for the entire length of my walk as I explored the newly harvested prairie. The sheer size of the machine was obvious from the enormous width between the rows of straw waiting to be bailed. Swallows are still whizzing overhead everywhere I go. With skylarks constantly rising and singing. It is already 68F at 10am so it will be much warmer than yesterday. I forgot to check the highest temperature today so you'll have to settle for 73F.

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1 Jul 2018

1st July 2018 Summer, by any other name...

Sunday 1st July 66F A beautiful, sunny morning with a cooling breeze. I walked along the road to my exit, up to the woods and back along the track from the opposite direction. The air was very clear.  A factory on the coast, near Kolding, was easily visible beyond the dark water at 23 miles through my binoculars.

I took 65 pictures in an hour and a half while trying to capture the glistening crops against the decorative chains of fluffy cloud and darker forest. Jumbled clouds entirely encircled me on the horizon without having passed overhead. A Red kite was soaring in the distance as I crossed the dusty prairie. The bird's distinctive, ginger rump catching the bright sunlight.

Monday 22nd 70-77F, 20-25C, bright and breezy. Walked briskly to the village A hilly shopping ride against a northerly wind. Returned heavily laden with a virtual tailwind. Which felt like no tailwind at all.  Passed a big field where two harvesters were working parallel rows from opposite corners to meet in the middle. Two large birds of prey were hovering overhead looking for a quick takeaway. 15 miles.

The BBC news site has a basic recipe for people to live to 100. Based on the statistical evidence of the best places in the world for longevity. Many cities are trying to jump on the bandwagon. Because it saves an absolute fortune in health care keep the healthy elderly healthy. -54% of the former total expenditure!!!

 Simple steps that could help you live to 100 - BBC News

Got the basic fitness?  ✓
The right weight?  ✓
Non-smoker? ✓
The regular exercise regime?  ✓
The cycle lanes? ✓
The relaxed but creative lifestyle?  ✓
The positive outlook?  ✓
Low meat diet.  ✓
Plenty of fiber?  ✓
Plenty of fish? ✓
Plenty of fruit and veg?  ✓
Okay so far. 😇

Now I'm really looking forwards to consuming enough red wine to last a lifetime. Well, they say what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. And I have an awful lot of catching up to do! Anybody else want my [Soylent] greens? Burp!

Tuesday 3rd  70-75F, 21-24C, breezy and scorchio. The sky had some very satisfying clouds. As more formed and were shredded by high altitude winds.

I watched as a sweet little Wagtail performed acrobatics to catch an unfortunate moth. Which was then bashed against the ground repeatedly until its wings fell off. It's an absolute slaughterhouse in our drive!

Click on any image for an enlargement.