Dead trees of Deadvlei

A unique view of the dead, desiccated trees of Deadvlei in Namibia. I took this photo in August 2015. This photo won a Photoburst Travel Photo of the Day.

“Deadvlei” from the English word “dead” and the Afrikaans word “vlei” for marsh.

Deadvlei, in modern day Namibia, was once an area fed by the Tsauchab River. Trees and other plants flourished. Perhaps 600-700 years ago, some say 900 years ago, the changing climate and encroaching sand dunes conspired to cut-off the water supply, killing-off the trees and most of the plants.

Today, visitors are greeted by an eerie but spectacular sight. Illuminated by the brilliant blue skies, a white clay pan is surround by rust-coloured sand dunes reputed to be some of the highest in the world, some over 1,312 feet (over 400 metres). And the trees; dead, desiccated, and scorched black by the sun. Truly a forest of the dead.

United Kingdom knife laws, and the Topeak Alien II mutli-tool

The UK’s knife laws are quite strict, especially on fixed-blades and locking folding-blades carried in public areas. These laws and their interpretations are described here:

Unfortunately, a lot of multi-tools, including those for bicycles, have locking folding-blades which can cause legal problems. I have the Topeak Alien II bicycle multi-tool with a locking folding-blade which I take with me on longer bicycle rides. I have recently become uncomfortable carrying this even though the tool is at the bottom of my bag, and even though it takes MUCH effort to lock the blade into its open (active) position.

In order to avoid any legal issues, I was able to dismantle the tool and, through a grinder, removed the ridge on the blade so that it was no longer lockable in the open position. After reassembly of the tool, I now have a non-locking folding blade on the Topeak Alien II. In use, the blade stays in place much like a traditional slip-joint on a penknife so that it is still practicable.

On a related pointed, it would be really awesome if manufacturers can sell us all the individual tools separately so that we can then build-up our own customised multi-tool. I predict a huge market for this!