21 Jun 2017

21st JUne 2017 Pass the [gilded] cup of sugar, please?

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Wednesday 21st 55F, 13C, bright with a light breeze. The shortest day, including for bees, allegedly. The vital little creatures are under attack from all sides. Industrialized, mono-culture, sprayed to death, prairie farming is robbing them of wild plants and shelter hedges. The Head Gardener is doing her best to provide masses of different flowers which bees are known to enjoy. However it is but one garden in a truly vast wildflower desert. 

The gorgeous grasses on the verges are briefly allowed to flower. Before being cut down to avoid contaminating the fitted carpet of right-up-to-the-edge crops. The verges are now just paper thin skirting boards. The roadside hedges long gone to allow vast machines to effortlessly spray and harvest every last, square centimeter to comply with EU rules on soil exploitation for stashing offshore profits.
  
Meanwhile, Denmark has been voted the best country in the world to live in. Perhaps they just counted all the Audis and Denmark had more per-capita than everybody else put together? πŸ‘ All joking aside, it does feel very safe here compared with the universal crime, grime and aggression of [forever going backwards] countries like Gravely Blighted. Conversely, I was reading an article yesterday about it being almost impossible, even for the Danes, to integrate into small, village societies as outsiders. Which is fine if you don't want the neighbors dropping round for endless cups of sugar. 

Obscene inequality and the resulting crime is becoming a problem in many places in Denmark. But it will probably take centuries of sustained effort before the universal crime level of GB is ever reached. I was reading that if Broxit forces retired ex-pats back to Blighted it will cost countless billions and literally hundreds more hospitals just to keep them all healthy under the constantly grey skies of the NHS. So, be careful what you vote for. Politics must surely be the most uncalled for calling. They give professional liars, con men and cheats a very bad name! Well, it is the oldest profession. 😎

Another busy day, not riding tricycles. Though I did tidy the tricycle shed. 

Thursday 22nd 55F, 13C, cloudy, light winds with rain on and off. I managed only a half a mile walk  before it started raining. So I made a quick about turn. Much cooler today but should warm up later. It did. Another, exhausting, rest day. More shed tidying.

Friday 23rd 60F, 16C, someone forgot to turn the lights on this morning! Lights, please? Showers possible.

I hear the Utterly Corrupt Illegitimates are changing the rules for the major cycling Tours. From now on only 176 motorcycles are allowed to ride in the peloton. At, least, I think that is what they are saying. I'm still waiting for a ban on petrol-engined media motorcycles. But the UCI is probably getting far too much from their motorcycle manufacturing sponsors. So they are  unable to stop petrol fumes belching into the faces of the riders on the high mountain climbs.

It only takes one motorcycle to pass me to be able to taste petrol in my mouth for the next five minutes. As I pant along on the three wheeled, freight carrying steamroller. So, does this mean there will continue to be more electric motors in the race than following it? There are other ways to thin the traffic jams on the tours. Ban wheel changes for punctures. Just for a start. Drop test CF frames to increase longevity. Disposable 10k machines are ridiculous. But what do you expect under the UCI?

Went for a walk in misty, fine drizzle. The wrong sort of mist and the wrong sort of rain for landscape photography.

Saturday 24th 60F, 16C, very heavy overcast, breezy with showers. Possible brightening after lunch. Walked down to the village in spitting rain and variable wind. No sign of ducks or coots on the ponds. Another idiot had overshot a blind corner and ploughed up the verge. The same willow has been knocked over three times now. With spots of rain on the windows it might be wise to wait until later for a ride.

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20 Jun 2017

20th June 2017 On shrieking apes and things.

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Tuesday 20th 61-68F, 16-20C, light winds, bright but rather cloudy. Another sleepless night feeling too warm at 80F indoors. Today is supposed to be cooler. It has reached 68F before 10am. Went for a short walk to stretch my legs. The wind has picked up again but the clouds are clearing to warm sunshine.

Don't you wish you had such an exit to another world?

Did I mention that the verge where I attempted to emulate the Wright Brothers tricycling feats  has been filled in with gravel? Has somebody been reading my blog? Or did some local dignitary notice my recent "arse-over-tit" and pull some strings? Would it be ungrateful and totally disrespectful to say they are just a tad late? Only joking. Anything which helps to keep this old fart in the saddle is good thing in my book.

Talking of which: I was finally allowed out in the later afternoon. Having shopped I was on my way back up the high street, heavily laden as usual. My way, and that of the busy traffic was baulked by a poor imitation of a human being sporting an oversized <cough> people carrier as he tried to compensate for his personal inadequacies by parking in the high street right across a busy crossroads. Strictly a no-parking zone for miles with perfectly adequate selection of free car parks and free pull-ins along its entire length.

The reason for his stop? He needed to cross the road to perform some ignominious errand on the other side of the street.

Having waited for the traffic to filter past him I pulled out around his tin, family minibus and began to accelerate. But the traffic terrorist hadn't finished yet. He gave me a long blast on his horn to show that he was amongst the chosen, if local, elite and and was [probably] a real Viking in a former life if the truth were known.

Not only that but he raced up the very low speed limit, shopping high street and then reversed rapidly into his own private parking space less than 60 yards further on! He had already vanished indoors in the seconds it took me to reach the spot. Whether he was desperate to brag about his great victory against the tricycling riff-raff, or simply afraid of a confrontation, we will probably never know. 

Have you noticed the close similarity between the sound of shrieking apes and car horns? The similarity does not end with the merely audible but extends to their having precisely the same purpose. Sound an alarm to gain sympathy and to show your hierarchical feelings have been hurt by the lower orders impeding your rapid upward progress through life to some imaginary state of [obese] perfection.  The moral of this story? I know where you live and wouldn't swap places for all of Trump's dreams of avarice. My sympathies for your intolerable plight! Seven miles, still not out. πŸ™‰


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19 Jun 2017

19th June 2017 An unspoilt moment in time.

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Monday 19th 62-78F, 17-26C, sunny, with high cloud  and no wind. Last of the warm summer days for the moment according to the Danish media. We might see 77F again today. I find it much too warm to work outside in such hot weather but do so anyway.

I woke early and walked around the 3 mile rural block after breakfast. It was warm and still. With the wind turbines slowly grinding to halt beyond the hill. Several hares explored the asphalt ways before slipping out of sight back into the crops. It is a strange concept that the crops hide such enormous numbers of wildlife.  Many of which live out their lives completely unseen.

I was assaulted by birdsong at every step and equally delighted by the huge variety of grasses and wild flowers on show. The variation in crops is becoming ever more noticeable. Even my weak sense of smell could not ignore the sweetness of freshly cut hay and the childhood memories growing up in the unspoilt British countryside. That was before the Earth was invaded by alien traffic, of course. It took only two or three years in the 1960s to lay waste to all which lay before it.

The gentle Danish landscape has sensitized me to variations in contour. The arrangement of folds and woods catching my eye and demanding another photograph. To add to my already vast collection.  I love the way the farmer's spray tracks can lead the eye into the distance. The combination of artifice and accident of line adding their own, unique charm to the heavily cultivated landscape. Much of it No Man's Land, so that it might as well be heavily mined as far as public access is concerned.

Denmark has never enjoyed the revolution of access brought about by ramblers and walkers in the UK. The Danish farmers are supposed to leave corridors beside hedges and waterways but the rules might as well be written in Old Martian. Old, forgotten pathways are lost to the constant increase in field sizes. As smaller farms fail to find anyone to pay the taxes to inherit the losing battle against vast prairies, factory farming and giant mechanization. I know of only three public paths from memory in all my tens of thousands of miles of travels over the length and breadth of Fyn. Only two of which are marked as such. Though it has to be said that most privately owned woods and forests offer freedom to wander on existing paths. It has just reached 78.3F [26C] at 4pm in the shade. It is windier now and I'm still hoping for a ride.

I finally left at 4.30pm, only realizing I had forgotten to buy bread when I was half way home. I was passed by two different cyclists making it look completely effortless as they passed me at +10mph. You can't be a cyclist without cycling often enough and far enough to call yourself a cyclist. Not when you are a tricyclist and carrying shopping as well. If the shopping bags were any larger I would make a very good tortoise. Nine miles.


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12 Jun 2017

12th June 2017 Wrong-sided by the Sun.

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Monday 12th 60F, 15C, bright and breezy start. Expected to be a little cooler today with a risk of showers. Just a short walk along the lanes in a blustery gale as jumbled clouds raced across. Dark masses accumulated but it stayed dry until I made it safely home. Only to dump a very short shower on my heels.

A pretty, village pond enjoying quiet domestication.

A morning of gales and repeated showers which continued into the afternoon. I headed off to the shops via a detour along the lanes. A young chap went past on a racing bike and I tried to follow. I cranked it up to 19 and then 20mph but he was leaving me well behind.  I just don't have the legs for it any more. Hardly surprising with my limited mileage these days. Fortunately it stayed dry. Though I was being pushed around by the wind or fighting a headwind. There didn't seem like much of a tailwind on offer. Only 11 miles, returning heavily laden. Down to 6.5mph over the last stretch.

Tuesday 13th 55F, 13C, heavy grey overcast but almost calm. The forecast is dry, but with strong winds again later. The ducklings disappeared into the reeds on the far side of the church pond just as I arrived.

After another busy day without a ride. So I decided to go out at 6.30 to explore the evening before dinner. A 20mph rush with the wind along the main road, up a long drag and then hard left and back along the empty rural lanes. I can't remember the last time I rode in the evening. The sky was very dark at times but with a golden wash on the crops making familiar scenes almost magical.

The sun was on the wrong side of the sky and illuminating whole new vistas. Even when the sun disappeared behind clouds the light was softer than I usually enjoy. I came out of a stretch of extremely rattly cobbles to discover a gaggle of club cyclists in their smart uniforms gathered just around the blind junction. Perhaps they were steeling themselves for the cobbles? They all seemed very cheerful as I rode on towards home into a headwind between rocking trees. I wonder how many mad tricyclists they come across on their travels? 12 miles.

Wednesday 14th 58F, 14C, bright and not so breezy. Walked along the marsh and back through the woods. Saw [and disturbed] several deer. Windier now but almost continuous sunshine. Too busy for a ride.

Thursday 15th 61F, 16C, bright, sunny and calm. Showers forecast for this afternoon. The sky is milky from persistent vapour trails. Short walk but no ride.

Friday 16th 61-68F, 16-20C, bright and breezy but rather cloudy. Possible showers. Returned from a short walk to find several baby wrens on the doormat. Their mother had built a nest in the timbers above the porch. She was still going back and forth to the nest while the babies scattered amongst T.H.G's potted plants. Seconds later, huge rain drops fell from the sky. Though it was over just as son as it started. I left the wrens to sort themselves out as soon as the doormat was clear enough to go indoors.

I have hay fever again with violent sneezing and a bin full of damp hankies. I'm a martyr to Ragweed. [Ambrosia artemisiifolia] I sneaked in a late afternoon ride to the shops in a gale. Thanks to the wind it felt almost chilly at 68F. Seven miles.

Saturday 17th 59-72F, 15-22C, bright and very breezy again. A walk to the village in bright sunshine with a gusty wind. The baby ducks were absent again. Rode to more distant shops with a tailwind allowing 18-20mph. A Bullfinch was shouting from the fence surrounding the supermarket car park. Total chaos in the supermarket due to one woman with two trolleys filling the belt. Why couldn't she stuff her bags at her car outside in the sunshine? Head wind coming home and a struggle to maintain mid 90s cadence. 16 miles. Too warm trying to work outside in the sunshine at 72F.

Sunday 18th 62F, 17C, rather overcast but expected to brighten and be rather warm again. It was already a "sticky" 67F on my walk as the cloud cleared to sunshine and constantly changing, cloud shadows on the crops.

I paused at a field entrance to find a small baby bird at my feet. Probably a Great tit judging by the colours. Meanwhile the parents were chattering their alarm from the overhead trees. So I left it them to their own devices. No doubt the tiny thing is already being treated for PTSD with a few favourite "buggy" snacks. Taking of which, the McLardy's packaging has been shredded by the verge cutters. What you might call accelerated decomposition to increased bio-degradation. Or an even worse mess if you prefer. No ride today.

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5 Jun 2017

5th June 2017 I'll get me wellies!

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Monday 5th 58-66F, 14-19C, bright and breezy. Enjoyed a 40 minute walk to the village and back in a gusty wind. The ducks are still in residence on the church pond and no sign of the aggressive Coot. The sparrows have obviously been "busy" because there were small clouds of thirty, or more, in places. Noisy little devils, they are, too.

Got flowers?

The cuckoo on the marsh was sounding more urgent than usual. As swallows pulled effortless G-turns which would make a human pilot's eyes pop! An immaculate, cream coloured, Morris Minor went past with a wooden slatted, picnic rack on the boot. A couple of cyclists out training returned my greeting as they flew over a small summit with the following wind. Just living the dream.

But not the deer, allegedly. The Danish Hunting wotsit has calculated that farmer's harvesting kills upwards of 20,000 baby deer each year. [Lambs.] So they are using drones in their battle to save the lambs from the slaughter. Or should that be "for" the slaughter? Whatever. πŸ˜‰ Late afternoon ride to the shops. Only 7 miles.

Tuesday 6th 60-74F, 15-23C, bright and breezy again. Rain forecast for after lunch. I am still aching all over so could do with an enforced rest from my project. Just a short walk along the lanes to loosen my tired muscles.

Now that's what you all a real verge! Chest height, goes for miles and proud of it.

Off-white drifts of catkins decorated the edges of the road under the tunnel of trees. As did small clouds of minute insects. Each rising and falling within the formation. There were fewer birds today except for Chaffinches and Wagtails. The crops are remarkably uniform in height and texture. Too busy for a ride today. The first rain was a torrential cloudburst at 6.45pm.

Wednesday 7th 53-58F,12-14C, grey, cool and windy. Rain and gales forecast for later. I managed only a quarter of a mile before it started raining. Then it kept it up for the rest of the day. With gales for added charisma. I tidied the shed and made a new parking place for the trike where I could actually get past. It's an ill wind...

Thursday 8th 58F, 14C, a bright but very breezy start. Walked briskly to the village to find the church pond devoid of visible wildlife. Unless you count the swallows skimming the wave-tossed surface, of course. The two ducks were dozing on the lawn by the large, private, garden pond again. It was probably a farm pond in the dim, distant past and looks well at the bottom of a gentle slope. There are often large Herons skulking about on the far side in the reeds and Irises.

Rain forecast for this afternoon with the wind slowly easing. I am almost guaranteed a gate pass from The Head Gardener for a morning ride to the shops. I must remember to give the Brooks B17 'Special' a wipe over with clean rag after giving it a hand massage with Proofide yesterday. The top, copper, nose rivet is looking slightly "loose" as if the leather is under strain.The first sign of any visible deterioration since I tied the skirts together. Just look at the quality of the workmanship, that gorgeous, real leather and the solid copper rivets! Even the Carradice 'Camper' is playing its part. All very mellow and reeking of vintage cycling. 😊

A wet and windy afternoon after an exhausting morning did not a tricycle ride make.

Friday 9th 57F, 14C, heavy cloud, breezy and wet. Potentially heavy and thundery rain forecast. It must be summer. I used the weather as an excuse to dismantle and blow the dust off the senor on my camera. It didn't take long and the piece of dust or fluff was clearly visible on the tiny sensor. During a momentary brightening I became foolishly optimistic and took to the rural lanes for my walk. Hares seemed to be coming out of the woodwork this morning. Even a hunting tabby cat came toddling down a spray track towards me.

At about half way the sky suddenly turned black so I turned back too. The rain soon went off so I kept snapping away at the fields under a moody and occasionally ragged sky. Within a quarter of a mile from home it suddenly changed its mind and rain began to fall like stair rods. I was soon soaked but it hardly mattered when one can change into dry clothes in the warmth and shelter of one's home.

It brightened up so I took a chance on a window. Left my trike lock keys behind and had to return. Feeling very warm, at 72F @ 1pm. Forecast warning for cloudbursts possibly with hail and thunder. Only 8 miles.

Saturday 10th 55F, 13C, bright with blue patches, light breeze. Some sun forecast. Walked up to the woods and back going anticlockwise. Manage dot get my boots and trousers sopping wet from the tall, uncut grass on the tracks. Several hares were lolloping about in the spray tracks. I have hay fever for the first time in ages. I have a ragweed allergy so perhaps it's a good year for that. Too busy for a ride.

Sunday 11th 64-74F, 18-23C, bright and breezy. A dry day, warm day with cloud and sunshine is forecast. I'm still aching all over from yesterday's carpentry activities. I am delighted to report that a female Mallard was shepherding ten, young and fluffy chicks on the church pond. The dawdlers can't half put on a burst of speed when mother calls. The bow waves from their rapid movements were crashing over the reeds! One of them even aquaplaned the length of the pond! Another daydreamer. The sun had gone in behind large plates of speckled and barred plates of cloud. There were only brief glimpses of sunshine despite the blue areas. With 27C or 77F a possibility for later I hope it remains cloudy or it will be unbearable trying to work out of doors. It was already 70F before I left for my walk. Still too busy for a ride.

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1 Jun 2017

1st June 2017 An excess of springery.

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Thursday 1st June. 56-66F, 13-29C, bright and clear with light winds at first. Quite a large bird of prey has just soared over. Long, narrow wings and long tail with a white base. Perhaps a harrier? Another bird of prey with light undersides was soaring on the gales over the local woods.

A decent crop of buttercups competes for colour with the rapidly fading, oil seed rape.

I walked down the busy main road then turned sharply uphill towards my favourite woods. Two hares were messing about in the crops but ducked down as I approached. Then one took off, running flat out for the summit. The other pretended to be invisible until its nerve broke and it followed its mate up the spray tracks. I failed to capture either with my camera. I took more pictures in the forest then completely missed a red deer which was resting right beside the main track. Yet more pictures followed as I walked back downhill towards home. Far too busy for a ride today. I'm making the most of the fine weather to work on a project in the garden. Too busy, hot and exhausted for a ride today.

Friday 2nd 56-68F, 13-20C, bright and sunny with light winds. Short walk then out in the car for more materials. Still too busy, hot and exhausted for a ride today.

Saturday 3rd 62F, 17C, breezy and bright but cloudy. I am definitely doing my Saturday morning ride. I need the exercise to unwind aching muscles from all the hard labour!

With only seven electric cars sold in almost as many years the Danish government's ears must be burning like diesel smoke. They have decided to reduce the several hundred percent purchase tax in a desperate attempt to daub a thick coat of green paint over their rapidly fading environmental credentials.

A brisk walk to the village. The church pond was providing breakfast to a relaxed pair of Mallards. They remained quite unperturbed by my walking past. The sheer number of birds visible and heard today was astonishing. The traffic was amazingly light. But not later as I rode along the main road to the distant shops. Several buzzards were soaring over assorted woods. Legs rather tired. 15 miles.

Sunday 4th 60F, 15C, heavy overcast, slightly misty, calm and damp. Early rain should eventually clear to sunshine. What rain?

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29 May 2017

29th May 2017 Killers: Imortality or anonymity?

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Monday 29th 55F, 13C, overcast, patchy, distant mist and breezy. Hopefully the heatwave is over.

My recent near miss, as a pedestrian, by a blond using her phone while driving, was brought home by a UK statistic on the BBC News website: In 2015, in the UK alone, 22 people died and 99 were seriously injured by drivers using mobile phones. 

That is a greater number than those injured by the ugly, retarded fuckwit[s] who pointlessly blew up children at a teenage pop concert in Manchester. Why are terrorists so utterly terrified of little girls? Is it a desire for revenge because of some perceived sleight over their own ugliness, by their [culturally inferior] sister? Perhaps I should have put that in words of no more than two syllables? Whatever.

Who are the real terrorists? Raving lunatics hoping for immortality? Or raving lunatics hoping for anonymity? The fine in the UK for mobile phone use, behind the wheel, is a measly £200. A mere fraction of the cost of many mobile phones. It seems the politicooze wouldn't want to lose votes at the election by making weapons-grade, mobile phone ownership an expensive crime. 

How much does the UK spend, per year, watching ugly, retarded fuckwits planning the serial murder of little girls? How does that compare with their expenditure on catching mobile phone users behind the wheel? Do they flood the streets with high visibility, armed policemen every time a deranged phone user kills? Just asking. 

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-40079382 [Killers]

The traffic was remarkably light on my walk. There was a prickling dampness on the air but no visible sign of precipitation. Skylarks rose and fell like their delightful songs. They could teach the repetitive chaffinches a thing or two. Gaudy goldfinches moved about in small groups collecting nesting material. Nature is at its softest and fluffiest at the moment. Even the Japanese Knotweed looks half decent at this time of year. If, that is, you can ignore the tangle of bare, brown stalks from last year.

Copenhagen is getting special cycle signs to warn cycle path users of traffic congestion, alternative routes and other important information. Mid afternoon ride to the shops returning heavily laden. It never did brighten up as promised and only just scraped over a nicely comfortable 60F, 15C. 8 miles.

Tuesday 30th 60s, mild. Walk along the lanes just enjoying the spring. Late afternoon ride in gusty wind for 7 miles. The oil seed rape flowers are almost gone as the landscape is softened by the rapidly growing crops.

Wednesday 31st 56F, 13C, a mixed day of cloud, sun and gales forecast. 17m/s is over 35mph. As I left the shelter of the drive I was able to lean on the wind as I crossed the road. The traffic was heavier than the last few days as a builder's van completely failed to change course. I could not see the driver behind the windshield so cannot confirm a mobile phone handicap.

A fine crop of Dandelions offer a picturesque contrast to shaggy green. This large lawn was much appreciated by the birds a month or two back. With regular clocks of Fieldfares, Redwings and blackbirds. Now a few Starlings potter about before returning to their high rise, nesting boxes nearby.

In the absence of the aggressive Coot a solitary Mallard was tootling gently around the church pond. I remember the Coot pushing a group of unhappy Mallards off the pond into the far reeds some months back. More mallards were dozing on a lawn by a large garden pond. A dog barked at my presence and one duck's eye opened briefly and closed again. It was peaceful in the enclosed village but the huge trees guarding the church were rocking in the stiff wind. As shiny waves raced across the open fields. No ride today as I used the car to fetch supplies for The Head Gardener. Even a trike has its limits when it comes to ferrying grow-bags!

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22 May 2017

22nd May 2017 Spring is sprung.

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Monday 22nd 50F, 10C, almost calm, thick mist clearing quickly, bright overcast. Warm sunshine and 68F, 20C expected. The trike is roadworthy again, but am I?

I'm all for a bit of decoration but this roadside tree is not only "well over the top" but stuffed with singing birds. I shall have to dismantle my TZ7 camera again to remove fluff from its sensor. I believe the zoom lens sucks in dirt during its outward movements.

Is there any finer human experience than a rural stroll along the lanes in spring? Every tree furnished with its own singing blackbird. The air alive with all the other small birds as their songs fade off into the distance. Swallows skimming over the crops or swooping again and again over village ponds. Dandelions competing for altitude and abundance on every lawn and verge. My feet grew weary with the sheer burden of burgeoning life and the sticky warmth of hot sunshine on my back. But not from tricycling today. Too busy for a ride.

Tuesday 23rd 54F-64, 12-18C, overcast, with a light breeze. Too busy for a walk or ride. Mostly sunny with a few spots of rain and thunder.

Wednesday 24th 52-66F, 11-19C, heavy cloud and already windy. It turned into a mostly sunny day with gales. Another rest day being busy.

Thursday 25th 54F, 12C, light variable winds, bright but cloudy. Expected to be warm but rather cloudy at times. Bank holiday. Rather than repeat my usual walk to the village I took to the lanes to escape from the traffic. Though even turning off the main road was not without incident. As a real blonde failed to turn away from the pedestrian due to a chronic and debilitating mobile phone habit.

A few yards on my humour was further diminished by the sight of 10 McSlob's full cardboard jacket, weapon's grade, quadruple packaging scattered over several yards of the verge. I paused to turn it into an art form by recording it for posterity. A few yards more and there were 13 more items of clearly marked McSlob's litter! Then 3 more within another few yards. 26 items of litter thanks to one takeaway litter specialist.

I wonder what litter burden McSlob's is responsible for globally? Presumably it takes only one McSlob to dump 26 items within one hundred yards on a quiet rural lane well over 20 miles from any McSlob's outlet. I hear McSlob's will serve anybody. I have the proof in my camera. Another rest day, leaving me hot, aching and tired.

Friday 26th 56-75F, 13-24C, bright but cloudy with light winds. Another warm, dry, sunny day. My early ride found a lack of stock so I had to go on to another village outlet. Delightful ride though a hilly forest. Cool headwind going, warm crosswind coming home. Going well, with lots of climbing out of the saddle. 22 miles.

Another case of an oversized lawn getting away from them. The purple of flowering lilac hedges, in the background, is softened by distance.

Saturday 27th 62-75F, 17-24C, warming rapidly to another hot, dry and sunny day. Not a cloud in the sky. I'm not a hot weather person. Walked up to the woods and back along the marsh. I was wearing shorts so was attacked by all the nettles on the overgrown tracks. Only 6 ducks and a Heron visible on the marsh lake. Plus two hares and a very large Red deer. This vanished into the shrubbery as soon as I raised my camera. Already 71F at 10am. It reached a windy 75F later.

Sunday 28th 67F, 20C, bright, warm and windy with a risk of early showers. The sky to the SW was very dark as I set off for my walk. Glancing back I could see dark curtains of rain falling. I only managed a few hundreds yards before large raindrops started falling. Bringing with them that strange smell of wet roads after hot, dry weather. The temperature has dropped to 61F.


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15 May 2017

15th May 2017 New gloves, please, Nurse!

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Monday 15th 52-66F, 11-19C, calm, bright but overcast. A little overnight rain. More possible, but with sunshine later. Walked down the lanes to find the McLardy's litter zombie has spread its slime trail beyond the main roads.

For those unfamiliar with the bright, acid-yellow carpet this is a field of oil seed rape. It smells rather like it looks. Rather unpleasant [sickly sweet urine] and needs regular spraying and carpet bombing with pig's muck to make it into a very common food stuff additive. After it goes to seed and turns brown it is an impenetrable barrier to walkers. Talking of which, areas of Danish agricultural land are being turned into woods. This is to protect the deep well water supplies of cities from the burden of pesticides trickling ever downwards through the ground. No such luck with our private well. It even kills frogs!

No ride today as I was still busy with my project. It was calm and too warm to work hard and continuously in full sunshine at the height of the afternoon. I had to seek shade for a five minute rest! It was hell out there, but fortunately there were no mad dogs daft enough to be out and about.

Tuesday 16th 51F, 11C, overcast, windy and rain is forecast for all day. It did too! Rest day. The Danish news reports that robotic lawnmowers are doing terrible harm to hedgehogs during the night. The hedgehogs are not afraid of the machines because they do not smell dangerous. Perhaps robotic lawnmowers should not be allowed to run around at night?

Am I the only one who thinks everyone is becoming fat and lazy as a result of avoiding all physical labour? I'm 70 and never use a shopping trolley. I don't need a Zimmer frame with increased carrying capacity. The rain stopped at about 6pm. Too late to get to the shops.

Wednesday 17th 57-73F, 14-23C, heavy overcast with very light winds. An early ride will avoid black, morning coffee. The singing blackbirds never pause for breath around here. A bit like me, I suppose.

Afternoon ride to the shops though the gorgeous beech forest. 73F is hottest day this year with high humidity and bright sunshine. 10 miles.

Thursday 18th 65-73F, 18-23C, bright and breezy start. Walked to the village. We could see 25C, 77F this afternoon with 25mph gusts. It reached 73F, 23C on the house digital thermometer. 75F, 24C on the shed's digital thermometer. Both thermometer sensors are hanging in free air, in deep shade under roof overhangs facing north. No ride today.

Not sharp enough, for you?
It was moving rapidly!
I panned, so that's speed blur!

Friday 19th 57F, 14C, almost calm, overcast. Further warmth and sunshine is threatened. Nature is getting a bit over the top. With foliage bursting out everywhere and far more birds than strictly necessary. The verges are almost waist high in assorted grasses and weeds. All very delightful but ominous of the arrival of the local government's lawnmowers. The coots were absent from the church pond today. Perhaps they were disturbed by the constantly passing traffic. A hot and 'sticky' day with bright sunshine. Busy, so no ride today.

Saturday 20th 52-62F, 11-17C, heavy overcast, cooler with possible showers but brighter later. A cold wind caught me unprepared for the drop in temperature. After the recent 73F "heatwave" all the winter cycling and walking gear was being put away.

It was still cool and windy as I headed off. An early errand gave me a chance for a pleasant cross country ride via the quiet lanes in mostly bright sunshine. After I had finished the last of my shopping the rear gear cable broke inside the Chorus 11 speed lever. The chain dropped onto the smallest cog and promptly wrapped itself immovably into a tight figure of eight around the crank.

So I was forced to walk the heavily loaded trike home for the last couple of miles. While pulling the errant trike against the almost constant traffic by the scruff of its tri-bar extensions. I really can't remember the last time I had to walk a trike. It was hugely lucky that I wasn't miles from home. Now I'll have to search for another gear cable amongst the detritus in the shed. 23 miles.

Sunday 21st 60-68F, 16-20C, bright and breezy. In breaking news: Danish farmers are being offered crisis psychological help after certain pesticides were banned from being added to their children's corn flakes.

https://www.dr.dk/nyheder/regionale/oestjylland/landmaend-faar-tilbud-om-krisehjaelp-efter-pesticidforbud

I found a new Campag cable in the trike shed after struggling to get the overlong nipple, of the broken cable, out of the side of the Chorus lever. The lever had to come off the 'bars to give me access. I am excused upside-down, tricycle surgery on account of my age. Beware of copycat "clones." All cables are not the same! The genuine "Campag Bag labelled" cable has a [very] slightly smaller, shorter and more rounded nipple. The rapid deterioration, without prior warning, of the older cable may well have been the cause of my problems. [Well, all right then, not all of them.] Moving swiftly on: I will probably have to take the crank off to "unscrew" the tangled chain! New surgical gloves, please, Nurse!

Removing the crank and rotating it backwards soon released the chain. Though not without some obvious cosmetic damage to the crank's shiny aluminium finish. I replaced the rear gear cable and was instantly rewarded with excellent indexing once the slack had been taken up. Proof of my optimism will have to wait for a ride. 

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14 May 2017

13th May 2017 Chaos to the right.. chaos to the left..

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Saturday 13th 50-66F, 10-19C, light breeze, heavy grey skies with lighter splodges. I hope that's not too technical for you? Walked to the village. You coots on the far pond but still none on the church pond. Tiny warblers blasting out their songs above the roar of traffic.

My ride was totally chaotic. Every driver was completely ignoring every speed limit. Crap stock at what pretends to be a builder's merchant. Loads of stuff not in stock in the supermarkets. Quarter of an hour at the supermarket checkout because the imported junk on the endless junk shelves wasn't properly bar coded. So every single item threw up an error. "Staff member to the checkout!" Perhaps they should be required, by law, to give away free takeaways to waiting customers? Just in case they get peckish.

How come drinkers of RedBullshit never have enough energy to take their blΓΈΓΈdy cans home? Perhaps they are exhausted from the weight of all the hype? I do hope their sponsored "athletes" can afford the dental care required following a regular acid mouth wash! 

The Danish Post Office confirmed for the umpteenth time why it is stony broke. Five days to deliver a packet and then they don't bother [again] to send me an SMS. So I can't use their 20 digit number on my phone screen at the supermarket, packet collection counter. The number arrived by email late morning on my home PC long after I had left home without a quill, vellum or blotter to my name. Couldn't they have sent a runner, with a cleft stick, after me instead?

My mobile phone service provider has sent me a message about their service of which I can only read the first four lines. The last two words were: "We recommend.....?" Aaargghhh!??! 16 miles.

Now I have to go back out to collect the packet with the numbers written longhand on a long piece of damp paper. Well, it will be damp from sweat by the time I get back there! Grrr! Another 7 miles in default Tricyling Hero mode for 23 miles in total @ 64F, entirely with bare knees. Some young bloke caught me on his sit-up-and-beg bike. I thought he was another 'Teslaboy' but he was just fitter than I was. He was wearing a rucksack too! Perhaps that was where he kept his batteries?

Sunday 14th 52-65F, 11-18C, 100 yard mist, thinning slowly and dead calm. We could see 20C, 68F today with a threat of sunshine. Mind you, they said two days of rain and it didn't. Perhaps meteorology should be treated as a fringe "science" like astrology? Walked my usual loop up the woods. Saw one deer and one hare. It is amazing the drama that can unfold in the corner of a field. Two crows mobbed a buzzard which was minding its own business. It took off and upset a Kestrel in a hedge. Suddenly there were birds going in all directions. You never heard such a racket!

A male pheasant was meditating on the verge as I approached home. I thought I'd better cross the road in case it panicked and became entangled in the occasional traffic. It couldn't make its mind up what to do but eventually disappeared into the hedge. No doubt the story will be recounted for generations of pheasants to come. It is warm and sticky at 15C but the mist has almost cleared now at 10.15 with the sun breaking through. It ought to be a good day for a ride.. But not when one is too busy. It was a gorgeous afternoon with warm sunshine and hardly any wind in our sheltered garden.

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8 May 2017

8th May 2017 Conditions variable.

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Monday 8th 45F, 7C, heavy overcast, northerly gales. Expected to brighten later but only a slow reduction in wind speeds. A walk to the village wrapped up against the cold wind. I wore my safety glasses for greatly improved comfort. A jackdaw was so engrossed in pecking at the verge that we walked right up to each other. I wasn't until I stopped that it noticed me and took off. To be whipped away by the roaring wind right across the nearest field. Gulls too, were being tossed around the sky as they tried to make headway to nowhere in particular.

Okay, hands up all those who didn't notice the hare, center stage? Sometimes I don't know why I bother. Ego the size of planet and ...

Tuesday 9th 32-46F, 0-8C, white frost on the grass, bright sunshine and dead calm. Winds lighter today but showers or rain likely for much of the day and tomorrow. I woke in a panic at at 6 am. Having dreamt that I crashed my trike by trying to ride down a steep field with long grass. I was probably processing my recent topple under a similar situation.

Before that I had been dreaming that I had two long, exposed trays of precious junk on my trike's crossbar. I had to negotiate double doors in a large glasshouse with spring closers and full of people working on both sides of the building. This might suggest I feel exposed to view on and off my trike and probably has something to do with keeping shopping safe while wearing my very obvious cycling gear. The trays being an analogue for bags full of fragile good or perishables. The doors are obviously the supermarket entrances and exits which must be managed while heavily encumbered at each shopping outlet.

Near collisions are regular occurrences at the highly undisciplined, two-way portals with self opening glass doors. Many supermarkets have a certain flow which is ridiculously impeded by placing the baskets on the wrong side of the entrance. So that those exiting must always cross the path of new entrants. Add in all the shopping trolleys and chaos inevitably ensues.

The strange thing is, that despite the vast amount of time and distance I have spent on the trike, I don't remember having dreamt about tricycling very much in the past. Perhaps the subject matter was simply purged with each new waking?

A short walk to free up the aches and pains and then another [busy] day without tricycling. I see the McLardy's slob is back. The verges are [literally] littered with copyrighted packaging designed for the obese and partially sighted.

Wednesday 10th  42F, 6C, dark grey but calm. Rain expected all day. Yesterday's promised rain didn't really happen. Though today's did. It was still spitting as I left late afternoon for a short ride to the shops. Fortunately the roads were mostly dry. Only 7 miles.

Thursday 11th 46-54F, 8-12C, calm start but grey. A short walk to untie knotted muscles. Becoming bright and sunny later with a gentle breeze. A busy day, doing nothing of import, tricycle-wise.

The McLardy's polka dot bag for those who compete to throw their litter away on hills. The Danish writing says "Food with More." Isn't that a contradiction in terms? Or even false advertising? Perhaps they were talking about the optional sauce, trans-fatty acids, salt and sugar content? The bag reminds me of medical supplies. Perhaps this is an ironic hint at the surgery required by the chronically obese? 

Friday 12th 45F, 7C, windy but bright. Rain expected later. It is a bank holiday today but the supermarkets are usually open but not for me. I was allowed out for a walk but only on a short rope. I have never seen so many birds of all varieties. The gales seemed to be blowing them out of the trees and hedges. The Gold finches have arrived in large numbers. A Black cap in the garden and warblers in the bushes. A Kestrel keeps visiting the garden looking for a snack. Feathers littered the drive earlier this week.

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5 May 2017

5th May 2017 More gales?

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Friday 5th 48-53F, 9-12C, bright but cloudy and already windy from the north. The forecast rain doesn't look quite so threatening today. A walk along the lanes and back. I was passed by a lady cyclist with a dog running alongside on a lead. A common enough sight in Denmark but not one I can remember seeing in Gravely Blighted. Was I ever there?

The image is of an exhausted, or perhaps chilled, Orange tip butterfly resting on an equally tired, daffodil head. It refused to let go as The Head Gardener turned the flower for me to get a better shot.

We have reached 14.00pm without any rain but there was a horribly cold, northerly wind as I worked on my building project in the garden. No ride today.

I was just reading a story on the BBC News website. It seems 40,000 real people in the UK die prematurely each year as a result of traffic pollution. After losing several court cases the UK government is finally being forced to talk about scrapping a few thousand diesel cars and funding the owner's purchase of an electric car to the tune of £8k. The danger is that the UK government  will never match their bullshit empty promises at the Paris climate summit. Another story exposes their bullshit empty promises on reducing CO2 levels by 2020. They have just savagely cut the payments for solar electric panel generation while subsidizing filthy diesel generation for nearly £200 million! Job losses in the UK solar industry are expected to reach 20,000.

Denmark too has corridors of illegal levels of traffic pollution and by coincidence, it too, is cutting solar panel generation payments to owners. These corridors of filthy air run along motorways and main roads snaking through many towns and cities. Sadly, only Bill Gates could afford to save up for an electric car in Denmark with present Danish import taxation on electric vehicles.

Electric Car Sales In Denmark Plummet After Change in Tax Policy - Gas 2

Hands up those who remember government tax cuts on diesel fuel to get people to swap to diesel from petrol? Hands up those who read all the adverts for "chip tuning" to return the diesel models back to sports petrol performance and presumably return their pollution to chronic diesel levels? Hands up those who have spotted all the 6-axle, local supermarket delivery, articulated lorries blocking the roads as they reverse into the tiny supermarket car parks? Was the UK government really hoping to save on pensions and health care by killing off 40,000 people a year? Do they have a "Break Even" box in their human survival V costs spreadsheets? It does make you wonder. πŸ˜‰

Air quality: Diesel scrappage scheme being considered - BBC News

Saturday 6th 47F, 8C, heavy overcast, calm. Expected to be dry with increasing brightness later and light winds. Having read the news I can't think of a single thing to complain about. This is unusual and does not mean I'm not monitoring the situation.

A walk to the woods and back along the road was all the more enjoyable for the stillness. Birdsong could be heard way off into the distance. The local wind turbines were trying to rotate very slowly but they must have run out of coal again since the US put a ban on North Korean imports. Talking of death and destruction; I saw a dead hare, a Wood pigeon and a Blackbird this morning. Not in the same place so they can't have collided in the gales. There were several living hares though to compensate for the tragic loss. They tend to look rather gingery at this time of year. Presumably a response to bare earth. A solitary cat was hunting along the field track but vanished into the crop out of guilt when it saw me approaching.

Late morning ride to more distant shops. Returning almost empty handed due to a lack of stock of six items. Going quite well if a bit breathless. Doing a  lot of climbing out of the saddle. Just the hint of an easterly breeze and weak sunshine. 20 hilly miles.

Sunday 7th 50-66F!, 10-19C! almost calm with bright sunshine. Yesterday was quite warm but today should be warmer but cloudier. A walk down to the village to take a peek at the coots. Only one visible. The other sitting on eggs out of sight?

After early coffee I rode north with just a hint of a tailwind. First ride this year wearing just bibs, short sleeved jersey and summer MTB shoes. Going well with lots of climbing out of the saddle. Loads of cyclists out training in various groups and solo. More of headwind coming back home. The countryside is looking gorgeous with fresh new beech leaves and bright oil seed rape. I even manged to remember to eat my muesli choccy bar and drink my small box of pure apple juice. Shopping for 3 liters of organic milk and an organic cucumber ten miles from home. Becoming a little tired towards the end due to a lack of miles in my legs. Or overdoing the building work! Perhaps it was helping? I wouldn't be surprised. 35 miles. Warmest day this year so far.


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1 May 2017

1st May 2017 Regaling you with gales.

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Monday 1st May 46-54F, 8-12C, bright sunshine with gales. Gusts to 20m/s or 45mph are forecast for today and tomorrow on a 20mph base. Walked up to the woods via the marsh. The Grebe was still there, in the distance, but dived and did not visibly return to the surface. The brilliant sunlight on the water hid any real detail in the bird other than a white face and cheeks, a dark head and possibly a red neck.

After seeing a single Swallow last week there were half a dozen bombing about all over the lake. Walked back into the sun with my eyes watering in the gusty wind. At least I caught up with a few more photographs to litter my monologue.

With the fierce gusts and continued forced labour I safely avoided a ride today.  Even working hard behind a large shed it was windy enough to be quite chilly at times.

Tuesday 2nd 44F, 7C, bright and windy from the east again. Yesterday's gales are about to be repeated. Enjoyed an hour and three quarter walk up to the woods and back along the marsh going anticlockwise.

Upset four geese on the lake which took off making an enormous racket. House martins were completing in extreme acrobatics over the lake with the Swallows. The distinctive white patch on the Martin's rump is the easiest indicator when they are moving so incredibly fast. They seem to have slightly more curved wing shape as well as the V-notched tail.

Saw half a dozen hares, here and there, four deer and umpteen birds. The air is full of birdsong again. Including the sweet tinkle of a pretty Robin high in a tree in the woods. Several Thrushes were practicing their mellifluous craft. Not quite as windy as yesterday early on. I wore a cheap pair of wraparound, cycling sunglasses which made it far more comfortable. Though it makes using the binoculars rather more difficult even with the eye-caps rolled right down.

Gales and exhaustion do not a happy tricyclist make. No ride today.

Wednesday 3rd 47-56F, 8-13C, breezy from the east with mixed cloud cover. The forecast is for more cloud but lower winds. [Only 30mph gusts instead of the 45mph of the last two days.] Short brisk walk without incident except for the convoy of pig's muck carrying tankers. Another day of rock wrestling, digging gravel and pretending to be a young weight lifter. I'm a martyr to gravity. No ride today.

Thursday 4th 44-54F, 7-12C, very cloudy and already windy from the north east. Trend expected to continue. Danish billionaires must be getting ready for delivery of their Tesla Model 3s thanks to tax cuts for the rich. The price of all electric cars is multiplied by Danish  car import taxes so [literally] nobody buys them. Least of all those left without any social support after failing to find a job within a two year window. Homelessness in the big cities is "going through the roof." As is mental illness from the stress of poverty or impending poverty. Needles to say the cash-strapped, mental health services cannot remotely cope, with very long waiting times.

The minister responsible wanted to close the pool for demolition of empty and unfit homes. Perhaps hoping to revive the stone dead and long buried, rural housing market. One in four homes stands empty and ready to fall down in some areas. Years often pass without a single house sale.

Those with enough funds have no need to buy a particular home. They just wait until the estate agent's "For Sale" signs to fade to illegibility and the forced auction inevitably comes around. Then they can buy the same house for absolute peanuts. The main problem is waiting for several pointless years for the auction to arrive. Benign socialism and mass consumption of antidepressants are alive and well in Denmark.

Another news story was about the East European lorries with bypasses on their exhaust cleaners to save expense. They produce 20 times more soot particles. Nice! Walked to the village under grey skies with rather a cold wind. The Coots on the church pond still seem unaware of the birds and bees. A local female blackbird is overdosing on something! She keep spreading nesting material all over the place in the garden. My horizontally stored ladders are lined for much of their length with nesting material. With a "proper" nest sitting incongruously on one end. A bit like having a hall carpet [runner] I suppose, but rather vulnerable to overview and no real shelter.  Perhaps the 'runner' is intended to be a landing strip? Nah. The ladder's rungs would require a slalom approach. No sign of eggs yet. The bird is probably just practicing and soon we'll find a palatial nest with <cough> wings and a conservatory.

Short afternoon ride to the shops but still with strong winds. Only 7 miles. This constant roaring wind is boring!


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29 Apr 2017

27th April 2017 Whoops! Eeek! Aargh! 😨

Thursday 27th 32-44F, 0-7C, bright sunshine, almost calm with a hard white frost on the grass.Walked to the village. No ride today as I was doing hours more, of backbreaking exercises at home.

Friday 28th 40-46F, 4-8C, wet start. Walked to the village. Another mixed day of torture with a shovel and wheelbarrow.

Saturday 29th 40-50F, 4-10C, grey and almost still. Showers possible. Aching all over. My walk along the lanes helped to relieve the pain of overdoing it for the last week. A Shelduck flew over. Several luxury 2-seater cars went past at high speed. Race across Denmark?

Today I fell off my trike for the first time since I first started tricycling seriously again over seven years and 50 thousand miles ago. I was looking left across the road with a car approaching along a narrow lane. When I failed to spot a 4" [10cm] vertical drop off the side of the asphalt. I was doing just under 10mph [16kph] when the inside wheel dropped into empty space.

I tried to recover by hanging over the other wheel to try to roll back onto the road further on. But ended up in the long grass of the verge. Eventually the adverse slope became too much and I fell over sideways to my right into the field. My elbow was a bit sore at first and I have some pain in my right calf. The car driver stopped to check my chances of survival and I waved back that I was fine. Then it was onward to the shops feeling very foolish. At least the large bunch of earlier cyclists did not see my acrobatic misdemeanor. My reputation as a tricycling clown remains intact.

A large number of motorcycles went past in a long string through the village. At least 40 I should think and all of very mixed makes and ages of machine and rider. They were followed by a few more at intervals. Then it was back home for only 8 miles. I am still aching from all the exertion over the last week. Though nothing really noticeable from the fall except my painful calf. Probably just a tensing strain.

I have just discovered that it takes 8 button presses to go from Trip Distance to cadence on the Sigma 16-16. One press for the 16.12. Given the sheer number of bottomless drops off the side of the road, some up to 30cm or 12" deep, I may not reach Cadence very often. At least, not unscathed!  😬

Sunday 30th 35-50F-2-10C, bright and sunny with a light frost on the grass. Warming quickly but with 15m/s winds from the south east promised for later. Walked to the village and back. The calf pain from yesterday's grass diving has gone. The coots were having a bit of a squabble on the church pond. I now how they feel. The wind was picking up on the way back. So that it was cool, but not cold, on the hands. Three Mallards were hanging about suspiciously on a field track. Between bouts of traffic the air was full of birdsong. There was also the sound of geese, ducks and everything else with a voice. The trees could be truly and finally be said to be bursting out all over.

Emperor Trumpet [Twit@US] has forced the Environmental Protection Agency to remove all reference to Climate Change from their website as "false advertising."  6.5 billion will soon wish they had dropped Trumpet@MOAB.Twit [Mother of All Bullshitters] on Afghanistan!

There I was blaming my strange aches and pains on freestyle washboarding the stairs and it was 5 weeks ago! It felt more like a fortnight ago. Why do I still have chest pains when I breathe in too hard? Pant. Or sneeze? That really hurts! Pressing my right pectoral stops the pain completely and [almost] prevents it happening when I sneeze. Broken rib? Torn muscle? Surely they would hurt all the time? I may never walk the same again

Late morning ride to the more distant shops against a strong cross, then headwind. More of a crosswind coming home heavily laden. 15 miles.



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24 Apr 2017

24th April 2017 Navy blue skies!

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Monday 24th 43F, 6C, a wet day with gales. It was so dark at 6.45am this morning that I needed a torch to check the wall clock. It stayed dry for my walk up to the woods but was blowing a gale again.

I passed by the pond on the marsh and saw a diving bird a little smaller than the Mallards. Far more slender too, with a white face and dark head. I immediately thought Grebe but it wasn't the usual Great Crested. The nearest to it [on a Google search] was the Western or even the Horned Grebe but I'm not sure either of these are normal to Scandinavia. I'd need a spotting telescope to see it properly at that distance.

Another day of exhaustion, in another life, in the garden. No ride again!

Tuesday 25th 35-46F, 2-8C, chilly but with hardly a breeze. Frost on the lawns. Showers possible. No walk or ride as the marathon gravel movement continues.  Cold and windy day until late afternoon with bright sunshine.

Wednesday 26th 35F, 2C, sunny but not cloud free. Hard, white, overnight frost on the grass. Lighter winds with rain forecast for this afternoon. According to the DMI April is cooler than March for the first time in 44 years. No walk today because I was still ferrying gravel for most of the day.

First ride for several days. The sky was pitch black to the north as I left. With bright sunshine in my vicinity there was an incredibly strong sense of 3D between the foreground trees and background woods. For once I actually stopped to take a picture, or five. My TZ7 camera was completely blinded by the bright foreground soil against the black skies. This was the best of those I took. Unfortunately I have to reduce image size dramatically for the blog. So much of the scale and drama is lost in this image.

One supermarket had no stock of everyday items. The next tried to rip me off on prices not matching the shelf labels. Which is handy for crooks, because most people reject taking a receipt when asked. That's right. You don't automatically get a receipt unless you respond in the affirmative when asked by the checkout operator. Is that a license to print money, or what? Only 8 miles.

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21 Apr 2017

21st April 2017 Head Gardener's apprentice.

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Friday 21st 46F, 8C, dark grey, light winds with a threat of rain now and then with wind later. Still busy in the garden so no walk today. No ride either as I was set to work moving sand and gravel in dozens of wheelbarrow trips. Despite my best efforts the iceberg did not tip in my favour. The servant's entrance is still blocked to tricycles so I have much more work to do.

Saturday 22nd 40F, 4C, bright and breezy with possible showers. A good day for barrowing? Did you know that tricycles are also known as "barrows." Probably in recognition of their vast carrying capacity compared with those silly machines which fall over when not actually fitted into a bicycle rack. Even bicycle racks have at least two meanings. Both a carrying device and a parking place.

The problem with most bicycles is that the big rear wheel gets in the way of real bags. Panniers can help to overcome this problem but these bags are, by necessity, narrow and tall and sit right out in the breeze. Which increases both the frontal area but also adds huge drag due to the rectangular cross section. 

A saddlebag is sheltered by the rider's bulk and has enough depth for carrying more reasonable  quantities of "real stuff." Unfortunately, the vast majority of saddlebags are aimed squarely at bicycles and don't fit those very well anyway. Additional support systems are vital if the bag is not to become a very large and efficient, though non-adjustable, drag brake. Many a steel mudguard has served double shifts in supporting a badly sagging bag. The trend to naked tyres does not favour the longevity of any bag dangling unaided from the saddle. 

Meanwhile the rear triangle of a tricycle has acres of spare room. It can have a bag deep enough to carry serious quantities of "stuff." Provided the bag fits easily between the rear wheels it need only avoid the circular saw action of the rear sprockets from below. The height to the underside of the saddle is the next important parameter which must be addressed. Those sporting several feet of visible saddle pin are laughing. The vertically challenged have no such luck.

The Trykit could easily manage a 50x30x30cm saddlebag if one were available. That's 45 liters of recycled sports bag in New Money! By comparison, the largest Carradice 'Camper' saddlebag [see image left] is a bijou purse for girls to dance around at the disco. Strictly a lipstick, mascara and packet of tissues carrying capacity even with a following wind. Hardly room, even, for one of those obsolete iPhoneys which used to be so popular with real blonds. 

A tricycle rack is a serious bit of kit and ought to be considered vital to heavy transport duties. The rack keeps the saddle bag safely off the cassette. While providing plenty of even support for a brace of milk churns or a three seater settee. Or any other regular transport needs of the serious tricyclist. The tricycle rack helps to spread the loads into the rear triangle of stays and so avoids unnecessary mechanical stresses. It also stops the bag from flopping into the wheels when you take those vicious, supermarket, car park ramps at 37 mph and 45°. As you desperately try to cross the traffic as an oncoming sociopath puts his foot down to cut you off.

Did you know I broke my first trike by carrying a hundredweight [112lbs] of sand and gravel the fifteen miles home from Bristol to Bath? That was back in the last century but being an immature youth is no real excuse. I borrowed an empty drum from work to carry the load and the mechanical torture broke one of the chainstays. You would not believe the hills I had to climb out of Bristol with that load!

The reason for this total insanity was that none of the sand stockists in Bath were open while I was at home. I could not bring myself to steal some sand from the local golf course bunkers. Not even if I had been willing to pick out the dog's muck. My excuse for needing the sand was to build a sand-filled loudspeaker baffle. Well, you have to, at least once. Don't you?

Today I walked my usual route up to the woods and back down by the other track. It was blowing a gale! Making it quite difficult to keep my baseball cap on a lot of the time. Few such caps are supplied as standard with chin straps.

Three distant hares pretended to be invisible to my binoculars out on the bare field. Then I spotted a bird of prey. It was blowing too hard to keep my binoculars still enough. So I crossed the road and borrowed a signpost to steady the view. Which upset the bird of prey so that it took off and soared much closer. Light underneath, wings tapering almost to a point, with 'fingers' at the tips  and a very long tail. Possibly a Goshawk, but it's a wild guess. The undersides of the wings were differently marked to the images posted online. More like the usual darker "contour lines" common to some other birds of prey rather than uniformly speckled.

There was a short sprinkle of rain as I neared home on the main road. Judging from all the traffic there must be a sale somewhere. Or they are escaping some dire circumstance yet to register on our rural-detached radar. I was excused tricycle shopping on account of a double marathon wheelbarrow race to move a load of gravel. It would not have been much fun riding in the gale force winds.

Sunday 23rd 40-48F, 4-9C, bright and windy but not cloud free. Walked anticlockwise up to the woods and back the other way. I hadn't gone far before a Nuthatch started scolding me loudly from the roadside trees. A few gulls dotted the huge expanses of bare earth. Still no sign of the first, familiar, green blush at grazing viewpoints. Elsewhere, glistening waves raced across the foot tall, grass-like crops as the wind roared in my ears.

Half a dozen deer were sheltering in the conifers but moved away through the shadows. Once out of the woods there were mixed flocks of small birds foraging in the bare fields. There were Chaffinches, Sparrows, Yellowhammers and the very populace Great tits. Up to fifty Fieldfares are still sharing the big lawns with the clockwork Starlings. Despite the wind I still have to go shopping. I have been slacking on the shopping front while wheel-barrowing gravel for hours on end. But no, another day of shoveling and wheel-barrowing gave me enough exercise for another day. When will it ever end?

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20 Apr 2017

20th April 2017 What did you say my name was? 😢

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Thursday 20th 32-48F, 0-9C, white frost on the grass, early calm replaced by whizzing anemometers, bright with thin, high cloud. Early, or overnight pig's muck spreading, has obviously occurred!

Gulls? What gulls?

We'd better forget that occasion where I raced the length of Wales. Going completely the wrong way! Desperately trying to get home from a camping trip before it was extended beyond the call of duty. Normally I do have a good sense of direction and can remember the site of almost every building I have ever  photographed for my blogs. Ask me to remember the name of the nearest village or road and I am often completely stuck. For me the general situation of the building is contained in a warm and fuzzy, mental image, Only very rarely by a place name. I often forget the names of the three villages at which I shop most days of the week. I will often start to write about something and will forget the exact form of words I had mentally crafted only seconds earlier.

My blog posts are, by default, almost completely spontaneous. I often have ideas I want to to discuss as I am riding along. A few minutes later I haven't a clue what I had decided to write about. Yesterday, I arrived home with four things which had occurred. Could I remember them? Try two out of four!

I do remember that another person, also without a functioning brain, had parked right across the beginning of the new cycle path. Hedge cutting, it seemed to him, had a far higher priority than the needs of mere cyclists. I doubt it was a deliberate act of premeditated  evil. More a total lack of brain cells. Would an extra ramp, or two, have broken the budget of a multi-million, multi-year long, multi-discipline roadway, cycle path and public services contract? 

On my return journey I discovered that the village gutters had been partially swept for the first time in what passes for living memory. I'm pretty sure they will have missed lots of Viking treasure. Even some earlier stuff, if they did not sieve the contents of the vacuum sweeper lorry on its return to the depot.

I know from years of practice that I rode 12 miles yesterday. But I shall have to wait until Year Three of my Advanced Sigma 16.16 course before I can get the new toy to tell me that with less than 37 carefully sequenced button presses. Despite it being a birthday present I am sorely tempted to return to the 16.12 and put the new computer head on the Higgins where it won't really matter. What, on Earth, were Sigma thinking when they released the 16.16 on a completely unprepared world? Heads should roll!

Footnote: Luckily, on returning home, I was able to enroll on a three year, evening class course, in Sigma cycle computer basic settings at the Odense Technical College. It's a 25 mile ride each way, completely in the dark for six months of the year, but it will be well worth it, eventually. The course was heavily oversubscribed but they let me in because of my tearful pleading in pidgin Danish. Perhaps they thought I'd be fun to have around? There's no accounting for taste. Time for a walk before I seize another chance to talk about me. What did you say my name was, again? 😢

Talking of courses; various employers have sent me off to "improve" myself. With the inevitable consequence that I'd find myself at the end of day one having overwritten the memory of that morning's facts with those administered after of lunch. I'd turned up needing several megabytes of memory cells but find I had only 8k available. And so, as each day passed the earlier information would be repeatedly over-written into increasing corruption of the vital earlier data. Despite using maths for every project and interest, I have the skills of an unripe lemon. Even basic fractions must be tested to destruction with simple examples to ensure I haven't broken anything.

My father decided to invest in a commercial memory system at the height of his career. With several thousand staff to be remembered it was probably a wise move. It was also handy at family get-togethers for him to to be able to instantly conjure up the 7th or 17th root of any number on demand. It seemed the memory system relied on remembering a clue to the fact or number to be memorized. I tried it briefly but soon found I could not remember the clue.

Intelligence, without a working memory, is a very severe handicap. Expectations are always very high and always sorely disappointed. Being told, repeatedly, that I should be in a far better job only ended when I retired from a lifetime of manual/unskilled jobs. Having the memory of a shriveled walnut required copious notes to avoid daily disasters. After nine years of working on one CNC machine I still could not remember the numbers stamped on the few sets of jaws used on that lathe. Yet I was considered the expert and frequently required to train others. I got away with it by sticking clear labels and files on the machine hood to "aid potential trainees."  πŸ˜‡

Even to this day I will forget to turn on the router or the telephone each morning. I have tried to remember some detail which will trigger the memory to turn it on without the least success. This goes on day after day. Year after year after year. The telephone remains switched off all day or I must return downstairs to switch on the router. I made a mental note to look out at the weather from the window just above the switch. The weather always goes unnoticed for months on end. I tell myself to look at something specific and have always forgotten to look. I not only forget what must be remembered but forget to remember to remember. If only I could remember to stick a note by the switch itself.. 

Oddly I have a perfect memory for the exact source of every piece of junk in my collection of large plastic tubs and boxes. A thousand parts from literally hundreds of dismantled objects are easily identified in my mind. Often from objects taken apart well over half a century ago. How useful is that to a normal life? I must have been standing behind the door when they handed out the really useful stuff.

Every morning I add the weather to my blog. Every single morning I must use a list on the wall beside the computer to convert F to C. Every single morning, for year after year, I simply cannot remember even the "round" number conversions so must consult my list. I did a delivery round in my youth but could not remember a single customer's name out of hundreds. How weird is that?

I have had a lifelong obsession with astronomy.  Inevitable, I suppose, when you feel more alien than human. Yet I cannot remember the names of more than a few constellations or one or two stars. After 60 years of this total obsession I really ought to be able to reel off the names of Jupiter's moons. Or the diameter of The Sun? Nope. Not a chance if you demand anything from memory.

It's no wonder I took up astronomical telescope making instead! I converted advanced optical design textbooks to BBC Basic with great success. I even found typos and mistakes in answers to test designs. Ask me to solve an equation on a piece of paper and you might as well ask a limpet.

I was always useful with mechanical things. I had an early start when I dismantled my mother's iron at the age of 5 or 6. Ask me anything about electronic circuits? No. But I can wire up a complex audio system including satellite reception and DIY multi-speaker boxes.

I quickly taught myself antique clock repairing and restoration to undo the awful damage caused by professional repairers. My first car was highly modified before I parted with it for more than I paid. I built my first racing bike in a couple of hours, from scratch, at fifteen. Despite having never owned one with derailleur gears, high pressure tyres, center pulls or cotterless chainsets before starting.

My morning walk was without excitement other than an aggressive Coot attacking an innocent pair of Mallards. Which had foolishly chosen the church pond for a little R&R. Coots are obviously much closer to the dinosaurs than they pretend to be. A clear case of "village mentality" in my book. There's a lot of it about.

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