Tuesday, October 16, 2018
And so to business.
Maisie (nee Child A) popped in last week with the dimensions of the logs required for their new wood burner. It's quite a bit smaller than the iron horse that heats our home, so some logs delivered must now be trimmed a tad. While in wine with a pair employed in houses brimful of pedagogues, conversation inevitably turns to educational matters. I couldn't contribute to the discourse, but a brief bit of earwigging revealed that many state schools are currently spreading themselves a bit thin.
I don't remember which,
but no matter, the PAP plays soothing sounds from her clever phone directly to her ears. It's the sort of stuff that Blue Peter assessed in the 1970s but discarded in order to promote flying cars and hover shoes (Bleep & Booster Blue Peter Annual 1974) At the time Punk was imminent and notions of soothing sounds were brushed aside. Anyway, turns out that one of the soothing sounds on said PAP is rain falling on a roof.
I have since acquired this magical item entitled PAP and have employed it constantly throughout the week and it is indeed soothing.
Call me out as a Shaman, and yes, the Juju wood (foreign lingo alert, button pushing paladins - SAE's to the address below) but it has not stopped raining since I downloaded this magical thing.
This APP/PAP can make it rain without the requirement for dancing or animal sacrifice.
Chalk streams just went digital and I may now be a smart river keeper
You heard it here first folks, although further evidence may be required.
Hover shoes indeed. All sensible people of the seventies agree that monorails were the future of getting from A to B.
There are no entries for fish caught in the Mill Stream during the last four years.
I know I go on about it, but this trashing of the aquifers is happening by stealth on our watch everybody. It might be time for a few more people to start jumping up and down and shaking a fist about it. (further invocation of forces of Pap, crosses toes for rain)
Oh yes, why has high end salt now assumed a pink hue and is sourced from the Himalaya?
Is this the new trade deals thing kicking in?
What's wrong with Winsford salt?
In other news William (nee Child B) has a job. In two weeks he moves to the capital city of our glorious nation to take up a planning post with The London Legacy Development Corporation. Based in the QE2 Olympic Park it should be an interesting gig delivering what is promised to be " a new East London - one where diversity and cultural vibrancy meet economic growth and the city's newest, cleanest and most sustainable communities"
Well if that's all deliverable, I'm in.
Percy Jeeves by the way, a former Warwickshire cricketer who died at High Wood on the Somme whose name is on the Thiepval memorial. He was subsequently immortalised by Wodehouse, who once liked the look of his bowling at Cheltenham in the summer of 1913.
Currently picking a pound or so a week from several secret sources that even GCHQ are unaware of.
I know when I am being followed - spider senses tingle.
here's one of my left foot
and also Thierry Henry, blessed with such a magical appendage, he would have been complete.
I'm standing on some spawning gravels that I would normally be tickling up with a rake and tin at this time of year. These gravels have been used by brown trout for spawning every year that I have been falling in and out of this river (currently twenty seven).
Ten inches of water is a minimum requirement for trout to dig a redd.
Wither the poor folk of Wales, who currently suffer eels sitting on the sofa following flooding, but Welsh rivers react in a different way following rain to chalk streams.
It takes an awful lot of rain and quite a bit of time for a chalk stream to rise ten inches.
For the allegorical among you, the boot is an abandoned village replete with church and out buildings,
the chalk stream water is a depleted reservoir,
I hope that helps.
Pours large drink, reaches for PAP and consults tablet of enlightenment on how best to make it rain in the South of England in the following four or five months.
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
and welcome to Oktober.
The letter K, on as sub for the letter C in the previous sentence may be enough to mobilise the keyboard warriors regarding the Teutons.
google it kids, a pioneer in the cereal bar canon.
The final week of the trout fishing season has seen the odd big fish put on the bank, but it remains a difficult business. There are also a noticeable number of thin fish in the river. Hatches of fly have not been all that they should be during the second half of the season but the river is heaving with gammarus so there is a sub surface feast on offer if required. It may be a sign that brer Brown Trout was having a tougher time of it than we thought in the warm water of August with a water temperature sufficiently high to suppress appetite, a theory that may well be borne out by a flurry of feeding towards the end of the month by way of preparation for spawning at the end of the year. Which won't please those targeting grayling on light tackle in the coming weeks. We've a few roach about. Not the monsters who lurked five or six years ago but pound plus fish all the same. Perch are also present to a similar size with the odd pike to six or seven pounds.
I'll just break off there to deal with a troublesome mouse. Not the work of Tom and Jerry but my wireless mouse that Moss has taken a shine to and is now not quite the shape it was on the day of first purchase. (Both the wireless mouse and the wireless Moss do not retain the same shape they had on day of purchase so I believe this sentence remains valid) Don't know why Moss has become a mouser but this Logitech number I currently hold in my hand is on the cusp of cashing in its chips.
It's the second one the fecker's taken down in the last three weeks.
Anyway the autumn. Any homecoming in either direction along the highway to the sun is always marked by the first sighting of the substantial Lombardi poplar that stands sentinel on the Mill Stream. It has been a regular touchstone when returning home from either direction on the Highway to the Sun and is visible from several miles away. It's also my first point of gaze when opening the curtains after a windy night as when the thing falls over, it will be a bugger's muddle to deal with.
Keeper's Cottage by the way. I'm tempted to chalk in the missing apostrophe on the slate house name sign.
Push the soft focus button for grammar in this guff, there's no sub editirs here.
Today we are informed in a report by MPs that Water Meters reduce water usage.
What was the cost of producing this report?
Southern Water were the first water company to implement a universal metering programme so well done the water wallahs for that, but the invisible groundwater resource wass classified as being at the maximum or over the maximum level of abstraction some years ago. Unmetered users in the South West used 198 litres per person per day. Metered users used 108 litres per person per day.
No more reports please, the knowledge that water meters help save water has been out there for some years. Get out of your report writing rooms and implement more metering schemes and make a sustained and determined effort to use our precious water supply in the south of England in a more sustainable manner.
This penny really is taking a long time to drop.
While we are on preserving planet earth (I'll refrain from mentioning cows farting and the burning of wood as we've some very nice steak in the freezer and a shed full of logs) but why can't North African countries looking to turn a bit of coin sell electricity to Europe that has been produced via solar fields in deserts?
I'm told it's a sunny spot, they are indeed "sun ray rich" and yes it would need a long extension lead and there's the two pin socket to three pin socket thing to surmount. I am quietly confident that cleverer people than I are already across such schemes, so well done everyone, well done, there is a light and it never goes out.
We've a heavy dew each morning at the moment, no sign of a cold snap to seal the deal for the end of the 2008 growing season, so grass must still be cut and hedges attended to that I hoped would not need attending to again this year.
Apparently it's not 2008, are you sure?
Here's an image of the future where we are invited to Maisie and Callum's house for Sunday lunch.
Crikes, it could well be 2018.
Looking up and not down, all we need is a wet winter in these parts and all will once again be as it should be.
Here's to a wet winter in 2008/09
We've done that one - ed.
Friday, September 28, 2018
Guten Abend alle zusammen.
In the current age this kind of thing normally instigates a response on here.
Keyboard warriors please send your typewritten letter to:
Test Valley Riverkeeper
What remains of the River Dever
Please enclose a SAE or postal order for £1.20.5p if you require a reply.
But first I'll pause briefly to propose that the media in general are just as guilty of peddling an unachievable ideal existence to your everyday Joe. From newspaper weekend supplements through to TV's Pimp my Ride.
Lay off the bloggers,
we're not all peddling the ideal existence, it's a chronicle of interminable struggle for some.
There has been much comment made, both online and off, regarding this season's outfit with much moot that it may be a tad effete.
I don't mind the reviews
The clues were there at Milan fashion week and while previous years winter woodland wanderings have been influenced by Vidal Sassoon (it's on here somewhere) this winter it is very much into the wood with Gucci and Versace with the terrific tractor's onboard toolbox receiving the required upgrade.
Anyway, beneath all the godets and sequins the outfit kept me safe. I'd stitched my last pair up a few times and I'm not sure how chainsaw proof my needlework is.
Needless to say the ash we were attending to was riddled with dieback. It stood in a small cluster of affected trees which have also now been felled. Advice is now available on the YouGov website on what to do with affected trees. The passage is a little long and quite ambiguous in places. It can take a decade for a tree to die, but once it has this lurgy, die it surely will. It will remain a viable habitat for all manner of flora and fauna during its decline. As a general guide for felling, refrain from felling any trees with no signs of the disease (obvs!) as they may have some immunity. Fell affected trees if they pose a danger to public or infrastructure. As part of your woodland management plan (I know we have one, I've just forgotten where I put it) fell trees if the crown has been reduced by fifty percent or more.
We have had frost, and several misty morns reveal the remarkable work of spiders and their webs spun in the dark that that reach from tree to tree. Barley has been introduced to the flight pond, numbers of duck are building and the wonder of watercress maintains a late season flow keeping a narrow ribbon of river free from silt.
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
But first a word from our sponsor.
It's a big saw built to cut up big trees. The engine is bigger than my first motorbike, it weighs many newtons and is a welcome addition to the woodland fleet. It's also a useful tool for keeping our chooks in check.
That's the Husqvarna 365 everybody, coming to a tree trunk near you.
The gauge has gone.
Seems that Command Centre Central have now given up on the first few miles of the Dever.
I don't know how we ended up where we are regarding the Dever
Let me put that another way.
I do know how we ended up where we are regarding the Dever.
It was one of the principle reasons for me to start chucking up guff regarding the river all those years ago, because this river and many more besides were being let down by those charged with affording them protection from big bad business practice and the bottom line. There are several trusts and organisations who navel gazed their way through the last decade regarding over abstraction and the unsustainable use of groundwater supply preferring to focus on other issues that though requiring attention are of little import if the river drys up.
Aquifers in chalk valleys are being over exploited due in part to the unsustainable way in which we source water in the region and dispose of treated waste water. Drawing the stuff out of the ground and then sending it away to sea hoping that Madam water cycle will reciprocate with rain no longer works. More waste water post treatment must be soaked away into the ground or returned directly to the aquifers if these precious rivers are not to be further impacted upon.
Anyway, I seem to have gone early with the offload, so to lift the mood a little..
We took the dogs as it was a long way away and anyway, they're doggy people.
By way of precaution we paused a few miles from our destination, possibly at Mangold Parva, to walk the dogs/break Moss's spirit.
No problem with Otis, he could take peggs on the veranda with the binkiest nabob without real incident.
Sue Townsend, such a loss.
Currently we play host to a quartet of Little Egret who fish together, fly together and roost in trees together.
They've the air of a bunch of youngsters, but with a nod to the premier barbershop quartet and their hit "baby on board (and they do look like mini storks, the little egrets not the premier barbershop quartet)
the frosted feathered four are now known as the Be Sharps,
both the premier barbershop quartet and the quartet of little egret.
I think that's reasonably clear.
The excellent Stihl HLA 85 has been employed in the fight with Phragmites on the Flight pond. Two days of tackling norfolk reed from the bank before taking to the water for a third day to cut back this most ambitious marginal plant that has designs on taking over the whole pond. While out on the water it soon became apparent that the silver fish have spawned successfully this year with masses of juvenile rudd and roach. The swan mussels also seem to be having a good time in a shallow pond that in the high heat of august attained a temperature more suited to African cichlids.
Cue perennial request for a very wet winter in these parts - ed
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
I retain the ticket as evidence of sacrifices made.
Yes Madam has done a lot of scoring and is quite good at it.
It's just a shame they won't be hosting any more Test cricket until after 2025.
It was trumpeted several months ago with the headline "He's Back!"
Yes the largesse of the EU and yes it doesn't work properly, but, and I'll apologise to all you keyboard warriors in advance who may be upset by this, the habitat directives are quite a good thing.
Several organisations used habitat directives to hold big business and the bottom line to account regarding impact on the aquatic environment. The DT letters page featured several who pointed this fact out to the Telegraph's champion and also expressed concern that future environmental legislation drawn up after leaving EU may not be of equal strength. Which with Cove's of the calibre of Gove drawing up the all new beautiful British habit directives, is surely a given.
So I delayed delivering the cancellation request as It has proved tremendously satisfying to use the chunterings of Jester Johnson and the dishonourable member for the Eighteenth century (now there's tenebrous) as an aid in house training our new addition.
Moss is house trained now so I have no further need of The Daily Telegraph particularly their columnists,
apart from Hendo, I'll miss him.