Wednesday, May 16, 2018
Ladies and Gentlemen I give you
The Detroit Spinners:
Welcome aboard chaps, I look forward to working with you in the coming months.
Through with the theme tune we shall now attend to the meat of the business and an explanation of my movements throughout the preceding week.
Today ranunculus flowered in this river in May for the first time in four years.
And at this point can we remind ourselves what ranunculus requires to thrive and of its importance to invertebrate life in the chalk stream environment.
" now about all this water that seems to be sloshing around, well we'd like a little more please"
Apologies, I'll break off there.
Will I have to move this button to the other side of the keyboard when we break away from Europe?
Oh yes, all this business about the use of the word Gammon as an insult is puzzling.
Harry Flashman and Bertie Wooster had a completely different take on the word that confuses the issue further.
Once again, what times we live in,
I'm with Flashie, Bertie and The Butcher regarding the word. I don't mind a bit of gammon. A Berni Inn special with a ring of pineapple, Serrano Ham, Proscuitto, Speck and heck even the occasional piece of obfuscation and jolly scheming in order to keep social events bouncing along.
Well I think we covered all bases there, so troll away please if you feel so inclined. I'll be over here with a swelling number of people waiting to step forward rubbing hands together to state "If you lot over there have quite finished and you lot over there have quite finished" We'll try and restore some normal service now that the fever has passed. As stated previously, troll away, troll away, troll away.
In other news we have just secured the services of another black labrador. As yet unamed and currently five weeks old he is not from the same line as Otis or Zebo but his parents are of a similar build. Discussions are underway over a name with the following list discounted already
Blondie - after 80's pop group Blondie
Hazel - after 80's TV detective Hazel played by Trevor Eve
Trevor Eve - Star of 80's detective series the title of which I forget.
Howard Moon - The Mighty Boosh
Dixon Bainbridge - The Mighty Boosh
Stephen Toast - Voiceover work and occasional actor
Jury service is imminent. Rachel was called up a few years ago and is the font of all knowledge regarding the market for crack cocaine among local town society.
Child A - Maisie, engaged with the forces of DIY while renovating a smashing two up two down terrace in Kingsclere, it even has three yards of chalk stream at the bottom of the garden.
Child B - William, engaged with the forces of a small camper van driving around New Zealand with two mates occasionally bothering trout. With the wind in the right direction we occasionally pick up their scent across the ten thousand mile divide.
Tuesday, May 1, 2018
Ok, well there is still much to discuss on the matter but on this occasion I shall refrain so here's some parish messages.
With a nod to the current cult of Data Protection can all readers confirm that they arrived at this place of their own accord, nothing has been forced upon them or suggestions been made by way of spam email or leaflets through the post and there has been no mention of PPI or an offer made of marriage from the east.
Terms and conditions may/may not apply but things do seem to be getting a tad complicated with regard to chucking up guff.
Sign on the dotted line if you agree with the aforementioned and are happy/ resigned to peruse this nonsense further.
Data protection box ticked we shall now attend to recent events and the state of play for the impending trout fishing season.
Four and a bit miles a little closer to home this weekend and at this point I'd ask you all to prepare yourselves for what some corners of the media would call a "reveal" Also known as a "revelation" I can reveal that it hasn't been as wet a winter as many are making out.
Or if it has been an unusually wet winter, the aquifers at the end of last summer were depleted way beyond what some would have us believe.
Yes the Fake News, and phoney figures have been a particular bugbear in this parish with regard to a variety of subjects so at this point we will assess the state of play by examining the actualite.
Today we swung right and made passage with ease.
Today our cleats remained relatively free of organic matter.
And then there is this field known across the ages as "Spring bottom" which has featured on here many times of late.
I could go on, and yes the river is in fine condition, but if the winter has been as wet as some are making out, the aquifers must have been depleted beyond what the same bunch had us believe over the past few years.
I'll leave it there, and just be thankful that the river is bank high and pushing through nicely. and well done the what used to be known as a "normal" winter for that.
Didn't pet shops used to sell Amber Rudd?
Or was it Golden Rudd?
It's one of the two but I remember bagging up on Amber/Golden Rudd in a match on a small estate lake when I was a student living and working on the middle main river.
Everything is waking up and and all manner of creatures creep about the place, It's a terrific time of the year to be bumbling about in this special valley.
It was reported last week that aquifers in the Vosges in the North East of France were being put under pressure by over abstraction, principally by bottled water business in the town of Vittel.
Bottled water by the way is not bound by the rules that dictate Cornish Pasties and Melton Mowbray pies must come from the actual place they are named after. I once worked at a large trout hatchery with a million gallons a day of spring water bursting out of the ground that was purchased by Perrier because the water roughly matched the analysis of the water at the original Perrier spring.
Vittel are now having to seek another source for some of their water because the town is fast running dry and some of the stunning streams in the Jura are being impacted upon.
We walked their limestone banks a decade or so ago when children were children. The spectacular waterfalls will live long in the memory as will the hatch of olives and the numerous rises on a break abroad sans rods in the boot.
Friday, April 20, 2018
Before the wrong end of the stick is selected and we assume another examination of the Cove Gove and his latest push for the top job. The green I refer to is the injection of chlorophyl that currently surges through the turf in these parts and the verdant ranunculus that will need cutting in April for the first time in five springs and well done the winter rain for that.
Apologies Kermit (Jim Henson's creation not the Cove Gove) but it's very easy being green in this valley. I'll refrain from mentioning Oz again, but while we were basking in two weeks of sun the aquifers of old Albion seemed to have received some serious replenishment.
It's a cross we are prepared to bear for the good of the river and sufficient aquifer replenishment.
By the way, this:
Chronic depletion of the aquifers anyone?
Been building a bridge for much of the week. Replacing one I built in 1995 a few months after William was born. I find that I banged posts into the ground with a little more vigour when I was 27 and these replacements may not have gone into the gravel quite as far as they did 23 years ago so if we could all agree to break step and cross fingers during each crossing.
I am chucking up this guff in the garden replete having devoured a fine repast of locally sourced red meat.
Sourced that is from the barbecue that rises again each Easter from the garage to provide us with a festival of meat and fish.
I have just heard a cuckoo for the first time this year. A few weeks later than one would expect, but a cuckoo all the same. No sign of any swallows, swifts or martins yet although I have seen hawthorn flies bumbling about in the recent warm spell and was inundated with alder flies landing on posts I was banging into the riverbed. I may have squished the odd one so apologies to the Invertebrate gods who may reiprocate via the medium of horse fly later in the year.
Our resident pair of swans currently nurture their egg and are increasingly protective of their prospective charge. The Cob spent much of yesterday lunchtime raging against the scaffold tower I had positioned in the river to aid my building of bridges. Charging it every five minutes with wings held wide, he may share my affliction of myopia.
Grayling have appeared on the shallows and with a reasonable depth of water, have gone about the business of spawning unnoticed by heron and egret who do great damage in times of low water. Some seriously senior hen fish of over two pounds have been kicking up on the ford through the Mill Stream.
In other news, Lord Ludgershall has added to the house menagerie.
Dodos are promised, along with a Pushmepullyou and Griffon to further bolster the collection of wildlife at Ludgershall Hall.
Apologies about the unusual appearance of the photos in this post.
Setting S was accidentally selected on the idiot proof camera while it was bouncing about in the back of my trailer, or it may still be something to do with jet lag.
No matter, setting S it is and S stands for "gloom" on planet Nikon so I have had to fill in the colours on the computer.
Derek Acorah confirms that the wraith of Tony Hart approves of such work.
Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Apologies everyone but I've once again donned the travel kaftan and Madam has picked up the guitar of transition.
We've been away again and this report could take some time.
Oz for Easter,
Dress Code: Sports Casual
and a land where they put salt and vinegar crisps in a pink packet
which seems the work of a troublemaker and causes a cove to assume the status of "buyer beware"
Ethiad bumped us down gently in Tullamarine at 5.00 am on a Saturday morning where we received word from the carefully booked taxi that he would be with us in twenty four hours, as I had apparently made a mistake regarding dates. Sixty five bucks (yes, they call money bucks) to a man in yellow taxi got us to our billet in Southbank a twenty minute walk from most things including William's flat in South Yarra.
And at this point can I address what is one of the last medical taboos.
ME and Mumps get all the heat when it comes to debilitating conditions, but why are there no support groups or treatment centres for Jetlag?
We'd been advised to push on through the first day and try to eat and sleep at normal local time.
Madam's clever watch recorded twenty four thousand steps during our opening skirmishes in Melbourne but I can only remember half of them so dazed was my state.
We ate in the evening with William and his mates and when I sat down in our apartment with a postprandial glass of grog an hour later my head fell off my shoulders and wine went all over the floor, I then fell asleep cleaning my teeth.
Each team enters the field to a team song plucked from an episode of It ain't half hot mum or possibly Monty Python
The G wasn't quite full but a few shy of 75,000 enjoyed an exciting game that ended 118 - 117 to The Hawks.
From the wonderfully whacky, through the Ming and the Qing to the European stuff from many ages, it is very well done. Sprinkled with blockbusters, cleverly mingled rather than put on a stage with fanfare and lights, it is remarkably unstuffy.
The taxi cleverly booked to take us to Tullamarien airport had arrived twenty four hours early so another booking was made and with the Freeway being dug up we were the last people to check in for the hour long flight to Syders.
A bit different to the response a fallen branch in Bransbury receives.
It was clever stuff with much smoke and mirrors with the odd light thrown in and might be something we should think about incorporating on the River Dever.
Madam's day was capped by the blue board being invoked to perform a rescue in some waves that are bit bigger in real life than on the TV. We identified backpacker's rip and walked around to Tamaramarama beach for lunch before heading back into central city to catch a train to the airport and a flight back to Melbourne.
Back in Melbourne we gave up on the taxi service and hired a car for five days.
but calling Invertebrates Minibeasts?
Back in the car to join the hoards from downtown Melbourne who spend the weekend on the peninsula for an hour and a half drive up the freeway.
Madam got to go on the photocopier and I got to send a fax.
It's a spectacular drive with the road hugging the coast for fifty miles or more. There were many surfers and also the remnants of a Rip curl event with stands and marquees clinging to the cliffs in order to take in the world class froth, carve and bings (contemporary surf parlance I believe) in the surf below.
Lunch by the sea at Lorn, or was it Larn?
The walk to Crayfish bay calmed Madam's fitbit following a prolonged period of chauffer service. Pitching up on the sands we had the place pretty much to ourselves. There were many interesting things in among the rocks including some micro mussels and funny starfish, some very big waves and it is a place that we will remember for a long time.
Back on the road past a kangaroo who had clearly been a member of the Tufty Club and was making preparations to carefully cross the road, to drive back up the Great Ocean Road (and it is great) pausing briefly for lunch at a craft beer place (they're big on "craft" beer in these parts) to Melbourne.
It's a tremendous city to visit.
It would be interesting to return in ten years time to see how the rapid expansion that is currently underway has progressed.
Fourteen hours on a plane got us to Abu Dhabi where we spent two hours before a seven hour flight back to Blighty. Two hours into phase two of our journey as we were passing over the Middle East, we received word that Donald, Makro and May,finest purveyors of arms and ordnance, had set off a few missiles in the immediate vicinity and could we head east for a bit, which added a certain frisson to the flying experience.
Touchdown complete we gave battle with the hopelessness that is the M25 and the marginally better M3 before arriving home and forming a pioneering support group for victims of Jetlag.
Thank you very much to the support group who filled in at home while we were away.
I seem to have gone on a bit, further river guff to follow.