Bog Roll ::

It's Not Magic, It's Work!

31 Aug 2014

Summer Holiday 2014 (Days 08/09)

We left our home for the night and cycled to the capital, in the hope of arriving before the predicted rain. The route was fast but boring and well signposted until we reached the outskirts when the route markers vanished and we got lost. However we managed to find our way to the capital in the end, and before it started to rain.

After a brief but surprisingly good lunch we went on to our B&B in the suburbs, where we unloaded and had a brief rest before we returned via train to have a look round. The rail service was fast and cheap and we made it back for our exploration of København. It rained and it rained and we did get wet - but with good quality clothing we survived and had a very interesting "palaeolithic" dinner.

On our return from town we sat on the bed in our B&B and I watched Jaws (with Danish sub-titles....)

Overnight it rained, and rained, and rained a bit more. The weather forecast said it would and it really rained. The forecast for today was dull, clearing later and with that in mind we set off with a spring in our step to the station. We were less than a minute out of the station before the rain started and by the time we arrived in central København the rain was pouring down. Luckily I found a broken and discarded umbrella and managed to hop from shop to shop without getting saturated.

We actually found some of the shops as good as museums, except you could buy stuff if you wanted - which as we were on bikes meant we could actually buy very little! This was probably a good thing as I could have spent a fortune in the Lego shop alone!

Towards the end of the afternoon it cleared up for a while and this is when this picture of a Statue in the rain was taken, it's the Danish archbishop Absalon on a horse looking all brave and knightly.


29 Aug 2014

Summer Holiday 2014 (Days 06/07)

Today started well, my bike stopped making an annoying noise and we had another good morning cycling. However, just before lunch another spoke broke, so we spent lunch on the lawn behind a bike shop while another spoke was installed. The chap in the shop was very nice and quick but charged a fraction more than the first place. He also warned me that other spokes could easily go at any time now...

After lunch we redistributed some of the weight, my better half taking a bit extra and I'm now avoiding hard acceleration and breaking. Unlike the UK where our roads are more pothole than road, in Denmark most of the cycle routes and roads are pretty good but even so I'll try to avoid bumps from now on...

Wind turbines are quite common in Denmark - on average they generate more electricity per person from wind than the UK does from nuclear... Only when you get really close to them can you just hear a faint swoosh, they are silent compared with the road noise of a bike. So far we've seen no piles of chopped birds and bats at the foot of the towers, no blinded or deafened Danes and no "Nej" posters anywhere. I like them and thing the really big ones enhance the landscape as long as they are in clumps of four or five as they mostly seem to be at the moment.

Our day ended okay when we arrived in Vordingbord with all our tires inflated and all spokes accounted for. My wheel does make an annoying noise though...

All pictures, not just daily blips are now on Google. Today's blip is: Spinning in the wind

After another night in a Danhostel, we set off and nothing bad happened at all today. This is good. Even the rain held off until we had arrived at our destination in Køge, where we occupied ourselves doing the laundry. If you have to carry everything around with you on your bike you are more likely to travel light, hence a mid holiday laundry event...


27 Aug 2014

Summer Holiday 2014 (Days 04/05)

Today we started with a very generous breakfast at our B&B - the owners really did feel sorry for us as we looked so wet when we arrived yesterday. We then cycled on to the ferry port to take the ferry across to the island of Funen. We then cycled on to our destination of Faaborg, about 30 minutes from arriving I noticed a strange noise and discovered I had somehow snapped spoke on the rear wheel of my bike.

We checked into our Danhostel, then went looking for a bike shop to fix the spoke (who said they'd fix it in the morning) and then wandered about to see the town. Tonight's dinner was the first we made from locally source ingredients.

Today's picture is Viking longship in the middle of a street. We had quite a bit of time to look round and the town was quite pretty if a little quiet.

After a good night's sleep the day started with a trip to a friendly local bike shop to fix my broken spoke. After the fix we set off for Nakskov our destination for the day. While the wheel was round and had all it's spokes present and correct, it made a lot of noise...

Today's picture is another church, this one in Ulbølle, again as a result of getting lost... The Danish cycle network is brilliant, but the direction posts are far apart and some get knocked over in places so you can easily miss a turning and have no idea where you are.

We arrived at our Danhostel outside of Nakskov with only a minor incidents - my chain hopped of the smallest chain ring and got wedged, but that was easily fixed, even if I got covered in chain muck...


25 Aug 2014

Summer Holiday 2014 (Days 02/03)

Today didn't start all that well. The DFDS Seeways ferry: squeaked; rattled and rolled all night long, which didn't make for the best crossing possible. We also discovered that while I don't get sea sick but my better half does...

We also got our first exposure to Danish TV, which seemed to consisit of lots of very old British TV with subitiles.

Once we were on solid ground we negotiated the Danish road system to get onto the bike infrastructure, to cycle to Ribe our destination for the day. It took a bit getting use to being on the wrong side of the road, but the Danish drivers were both very forgiving and rare so it was a pretty safe exercise until we were onto the cycle route. We cycled the hour and a half to Ribe along the sheltered side of the sea dyke which protects the country side from the North Sea, so we were out of the wind and had a very easy cycle.

Once in the city we had a brief explore before we checked into the Danhostel and could have a shower and change into normal clothing. After dinner we went back into the city to follow the City's Night Watchman tour. The very nice chap gave a fascinating tour of the city and explained how it had developed over the centuries and best of all spoke very good English!

Picture of the day: The Night Watch

We had a good night's sleep in Ribe and a very hearty Danish breakfast to start the day and set off on our bike ride. The Danhostel was very nice, it was clean, with a good place to lock the biked and had a very nice breakfast on offer which was very good value.

Today's picture of the day is of Rise Kirke where we got slightly lost, but we did get a nice picture in compensation.

Today was a little challenging, about an hour before our arrival at our destination my better half acquired a puncture, then it then started to rain while we repaired the puncture, then I acquired a puncture about 30 minutes later, at which time the rain turned very nasty and into hail... When both were fixed we were able to arrive at our destination B&B where hot tea and cakes were laid on for us (we looked liked drowned rats...)

We had puncture repair kits, spare inner tubes, waterproof covers for our panniers and decent modern cycling kit so we actually were fine. Our hosts were extremely gracious and provided very good company, food and accommodation, so the day ended as well as it had started.


23 Aug 2014

Summer Holiday 2014

We finished off the packing this morning, loaded the bikes and cycled up the hill to the station to catch the train. We were are few minutes later than planned and had to go up the hill with more gusto than planned, which isn't so easy with several extra kilos in the panniers and half a dozen Ferraris clogging the village up (CarFest South started today). Anyhow we caught our train to London okay, crossed London in one piece and arrived at Liverpool Street Station where. We then took two further trains to arrive at Harwich International to take our ferry to Denmark.

Considering the number of trains involved and having to cycle across London, CarFest in the village the only incident today was to lose the magnet for the cadence sensor on my bike computer.

I don't think I'm being controversial if I were to say that cycling infrastructure was pretty terrible all the way. The train to London had dire cycling space, London is a nightmare to cross even on the Cycle superhighway on a weekend, Liverpool Street station was nasty to navigate, the first train to the port did have a guards van with space to put bikes, but the next train didn't.

Picture of the day: The Gherkin


16 Aug 2014

Using Less

Since we moved into our current house we have continually aimed to reduce our gas and electricity use year on year. We started with a number of behaviour changes relative to the previous owners - which saved 50% on gas an electricity on the first year. Since then we have gradually replaced old/worn out/inefficient things with modern/highest efficiency replacements/alternatives and significantly improved the insulation in the loft space and under the ground floor.

YearkWhTotal
ElectricityGaskWh·m-2
20095 00022 000233
20103 00019 000188
20112 67513 945137.4
20123 5269 606108.5
20132 3919 40297.5
20141 2953 74941.7

The 2009 and 2010 years are estimated and 2010 contains both our and the previous owners usage. 2014 contains only 61% of the year, so isn't comparable yet. I could also do with a scaling factor for the weather as some winters are radically different from others and that makes a big difference to the winter gas figure.

Even though the 2009 figure is an esitmate it's still only about two thirds the EPC survey the house came with when we bought it of E/48 - 314 kWh·m-2, and we're already loads better the best estimate of D/55 - 275 kWh·m-2.