Slip Sliding Awaaaay

Snow Dawn (©2012 by Andy Vickers)

Snow Dawn (©2012 by Andy Vickers)

I don’t mind the cold, I like snow and I feel the chill later than most people I know but sometimes I see other people who make me shiver.  During the recent bad weather I have still seen numerous men out during the day in the snow, and more recently gale-force winds and stinging rain in just jeans and t-shirt, or often, football shirt.  The epitome of image over health.

You can see they’re trying to look like they’re not bothered but you can see them straining not to visibly shiver.  “I’m ffffine, it’s not ccccold at all”.  It’s not just men though, I see many women who do the same.  It’s not too bad if you’re only going out in the cold for a couple of minutes, say from one warm pub to the next on a Saturday night, but walking to or from work, going shopping where you’re outdoors more than inside?  I don’t think so.  As any experienced walker, climber or Arctic explorer will tell you layering is important, getting layers of insulating fabric and air between you and the atmosphere, as well as keeping dry.  Hypothermia can set in remarkably quickly and isn’t pleasant.

But it’s not just protection against the cold, people seem to choose odd footwear for the snow and ice too.  The number of people I see slithering around on icy paths in slick soled shoes and trainers is astounding, admittedly nothing’s going to work on sheet ice for goodness sake people you can get basic walking trainers with chunky, rough grippy soles for next to nothing these days, fashion isn’t worth ending up flat on your backside for.  Though at least if you have a decent thick coat on your landing would be a bit softer.

Blog on the Landscape – 21st Century Windmills

English: Modern wind energy plant in rural sce...

English: Modern wind energy plant in rural scenery. Français : Une éolienne moderne dans un paysage rural. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In front of me is a window with  a view of a slice of countryside beyond the river.  At the right side of that slice, at the edge of a low hill appeared, last week, a white mast and eventually the three, apparently delicate feather-like blades of a compact wind turbine.

It’s one of three that have been put up locally this year and all are individual turbines, not wind-farms, and all appear to have the purpose of supplying farms with power in a modern analogue of the many windmills that farms had centuries ago to grind their corn and often power machinery.

I’m certain that there will be people around here who will have written angry letters to the council complaining about them being blots on the landscape and I wonder whether similar arguments happened when farmers started building windmills (despite their admitedly lower altitude).

While I admit that the larger wind-farms are not attractive and there are certain landscapes in this country that would be ruined by even a single blade sticking up into the view smaller individual turbines like the one I can see now are not ugly in my opinion and their gracefully turning blades can add a certain modernist beauty to relatively featureless landscapes, a blending of the old and the new to remind us that we do live in the 21st century and times move on as they did when the revolutionary new wind powered milling wheels ground their first corn.