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[personal profile] shermarama
Sunrise From The Train

The weather let up a little today. This morning when I set out for work it was only minus three, and when I set out from work to go home I didn't even put my hoods (one fleece, one sailing waterproof) up. There's been a chunk of compressed snow by the bike shed all week that's as hard as, and even more slippery than, the iron and concrete walkway it's covering, but this evening it was taking footprints and gradually getting kicked away.

I'm in two minds about how much I mind. One on hand, the novelty soon wears off crushingly face-burning cold when you've got to commute in it. The trains have remained flaky, and bike journeys were possible but used up valuable reserves of time, concentration and stoicism; the prickling, tangible warmth that lasted for about half an hour after getting back indoors was delightful, but I'm not sure I could call it worth it. It's a relief to not have to think about whether I've sufficiently swaddled every extremity before I walk out of the door.

Then again, two things. Elfstedentocht, obviously; its fate is still uncertain, apart from that pretty much every weather authority agrees there's only til Sunday, max, and then everything goes back above zero and it's definitely off. There's plenty of ice around parts of the course, but not enough in the south and south east, and though today's only supposed to be a minor upwards blip, temperatures are not expected to reach down to the minus teens again. It would be nice to see it, is all, though seeing the fuss and anticipation is fun enough.

The second is even pettier. I have just redeemed the Christmas present IOU I got from Chris, for one set of proper warm baselayer thermals, scuba diving, for the use of, once we had chance to go somewhere and try things on. Thus today I am wearing undershirt and long johns made of finest 260 gsm New Zealand merino wool, and they're lovely, (close but not tight fitting, very soft to the touch, the drape moving against the top of your calves as you walk, just enough to remind you they're there) but since it's not as cold, I'm not testing them as hard as I could. I'd like to know how they'd have done on the bike ride from Schiedam in minus fourteen yesterday, and whether that meant I could have faced taking my gloves off again to take more photos than these.

Delfshavense Schie

Fragmented Ice
This is one of the big shipping canals through the middle of Rotterdam, the Delfshavense Schie, which froze, and then got broken up by passing ships, and then got frozen again. I don't know if that's happening every day, but I really like the big pattern of plates over in the main channel part.

(Actually, I have discovered that my hands do still get unusably cold beyond a certain point, by means of stopping to take some photos on the cycle home at the Amsterdam end tonight, such as I can with a 5 mp cameraphone, albeit one with a 'night mode', because there are skaters

Keizersgracht skaters

(the blurry ones are skaters) on

Prinsengracht Skaters

the canals.)

But never mind. I'm sure I'll go diving in four degree water in the new thermals soon enough, and that burns your face just like minus fourteen in air. In the meantime I'm being grateful for a modern flat with excellent insulation. We've put the heating on a bit more recently, not because it really needed it but because it's nice to wander round on a warm floor. That means it's now on for two hours a day. Yeah.

Date: 2012-02-09 09:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
do you have a balaclava for your face, I have a wonderful one for cycling in gore windstopper from outdoor research, and it makes a HUGE difference to cycling, The only issue is that in hooter times i just cant use it annoyingly they don't seem to do it any more - it has really well designed nose covering, but I cannot reccomend this type thing enough

Date: 2012-02-09 10:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I don't, but the sailing waterproof has one of those huge collars you can hide everything up to your nose behind. Cycling isn't too much of a problem past the first five minutes, it's more when I stop. Or like today, when the heating was broken on the train...

Date: 2012-02-09 12:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
top picture looks like fens! I like the other photos too.
I have been wearing merino baselayers for weeks now (about 190gsm I think) but then I feel the cold rather badly.

surprisingly the snow from last week is still here, almost as if it fell yesterday.

Date: 2012-02-09 10:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's very much the same landscape as the fens - one day one side or the other will drain the rest of the North Sea and then they'll be the same place.

Date: 2012-04-01 09:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] (from
They have been so before, and in fact, and now there isn't any more money to do the kind of really expensive underwater archaeology that showed this a few years back. Sherm, can you get in touch by some means? I've got a CD-R with your name on it and nowhere to send it save Brighton. I suspect I may no longer have any up-to-date contact details for you...

Date: 2012-04-01 09:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am in fact writing a reply to your email(s), but it keeps getting a bit left behind on the list of things I need to do. While I do want to get round to finishing it, I'm sure you can also appreciate the irony of it taking a while. But I'll be in touch, honest.


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