Tuesday, 20 October 2020

A Garbled Piece, A Fug Descends and the New Improved Google Blogger

Well, I’ve been staring at this blank sheet of digital paper for more than a week now and no guff seems to be forthcoming. 

Over the years I’ve spoken with numerous coves who manage to make a living out of this caper and several times advice regarding inertia when it comes to chucking up guff has centred around just get something chucked down on the page. 


They may be the first words binned on the final edit, but they will have served as to set cogs grinding. 

So there we go, 

and we’re off. 

Hang on, final edit? 

Ok there are clever sub editors when guff is chucked up for magazines, but here, in this house? 

Clearly there is no final edit, this material is in RAW format.

Right, well a hundred words should be enough to oil the wheels so we will now attend to matters arising since I was last on here. 

And once again the fug descends. 

The river, of course the river, where, in Toronto speak, we are approaching full fall.
Inevitably the last knockings have seen an increase in piscine activity. 

These trout know you know. 

A few fine fish were grassed, mostly to a nymph although the odd one to Daddy Long Legs shock tactics. The chunky triploids that have turned up the past few winters will continue to feed throughout the winter as they have no horse in the race when it comes to the business of reproduction. We’ve a few grayling about. Nothing like the numbers we played host to six or seven years ago, but some good fish that will provide sport on a fine day following a frost. We’ve had ice on the roof two mornings this past week and the sycamore, beech and chestnut are shedding leaves at quite a rate. Numbers of duck overnighting on the pond are increasing although the geese have yet to put in an appearance. Martins, swallows and swifts all pushed off the week before last and woodcock are back in the wood.

It’s a good year round here for mushrooms. 

I’ve been picking a bowl of the things every four or five days from a secret location nearby and man are they good squishy. 

 The village in Cheshire where I grew up was surrounded by dairy country. Grass fields, often with a half acre marl pit to provide liquid succour for cattle and free angling opportunities for locals. Mushrooms were plentiful in several of the fields. Knowledge of which fields provided such fungal trove was a closely guarded secret and pickers would rise at dawn, often taking a circuitous route to fungi Valhalla in order to throw any pursuers off the trail of the shroom. I had my sources, and searching a large grass field for white gold in the early morning runs float fishing close as an exercise in boosting mindfulness. 

Everything else melts away, there is only green in the quest for the little white dot. 

I’ve picked horse mushrooms here in the wood by the river but they have a peculiar flavour which I put down to the Christmas trees and a carpet of pine needles, although I am more than happy to be corrected on this theory. The current crop are particularly juicy and leave a deep dark liquor in the pan that is saved and used in stews, sauces and soups. 

One final thing on the shroom. There was one pond in a field that I fished regularly in my youth that always threw a crop of field mushrooms in July and August. We’d cook them for breakfast during early morning tench fishing sessions, I don’t know why they went early but they were pretty reliable on when they would put in an appearance.
Apologies, another final thing on the shroom. 

Our last automotive, a Teutonic piece that you couldn’t help but drive with a smile on your face, was purchased by an Italian sky diving instructor who resided in the Basingstoke environs. The test drive, in what was not a slow car, was all that one would expect from an Italian in his thirties who hurled himself out of a plane at ten thousand feet on a daily basis, and we kind off got on. 

Quite the foodie, as he counted out the cash in the kitchen he admired a bowl of freshly picked field mushrooms sat on the kitchen counter. I informed him that I had picked them that morning and popped a few in a paper bag for him to try. He thanked me for the mushrooms, and also the car and then said, 

 “there is a wood near Basingstoke that is filled with the most magnificent Chanterelle mushrooms I have ever tasted” 

 “Oh really” I replied, sensing an opportunity 

 “and where would that be?” I enquired almost innocently, 

 “If I told you where it was, I would then have to kill you” he replied,

 A foraging omerta if you will. The clandestine code of the mushroom picker is Pan European. 

 Our walks in the quest for prolonging life over the coming weeks are understandably centred around the woods of Basingstoke, albeit with a wary one eye over the shoulder. 

 Apologies if this has been a bit garbled, as I mentioned earlier a certain fug has taken hold, but also I've had to give battle again with the new improved version of google blogger, where, I am sure you have by now ascertained, it remains very difficult to form paragraphs, but that's progress for you.

Footnote: Subsequently found the paragraph button while having a go at sub editing. 

Friday, 2 October 2020

An Ovine Experience, Toilet Fowl and The Future of Demarcation

A tricky trout season is on the cusp of termination.

It’ll be one that will live long in the memory and one, that earlier in the year, we did not think would happen,

But happen it has, which is a blessing despite poor hatches of fly and a dearth of free rising fish.

By way of distraction, here’s one of the chickens exiting the fishing loo,

The rear guard of the swallows and martins are making preparation for departure and concentrate their efforts of a final feed around the hedges and the fields rather than the river. Plenty of duck currently roost on the pond. Mostly mallard with a few gadwall intermingling. Hides are ready for evening flighting and the phragmites is dying off which will aid picking up dead duck in the dark, something that Otis was particularly adept at, although the task may a bit much for him now at such a great age. Moss is too obsessed with horse racing and shows little interest in picking up the corpses of quackers.
Trout are not yet making preparation for spawning. Some seasons saw fish in September getting territorial as hormones kicked in, but not this year, but then there are far fewer cock fish in the river than there were ten years ago.

Here’s one of some sheep in the fields behind our house.

Well yes, Chris, they are sheep alright but what’s your point, I hear you say.

These fields have not played host to any form of livestock, bovine, ovine or porcine, in my time falling in and out of this river. Thirty five years ago, pigs briefly put in an appearance and in the fifties and sixties cattle were present on much smaller fields of pasture that also provided a bounty of grey partridge.

The field is now a hundred acre affair and remains quite a grown up partridge drive although principally of the French variety and not the indigenous grey.

It appears that shooting has been scaled back significantly.

The process of planning for a winter of shooting begins in March with pens prepared for hens to lay eggs for artificial incubation. My mind’s been a bit numb for few months and memory sometimes doesn’t serve, but I think something happened in March.

Shooting may well be a bit different this winter.

I was kindly invited up to Scotland for a few days bothering salmon on the Tay.

Speeding through areas in the grip of lockdown with the blower off and windows steamed up, it was a self catering affair near Caputh.

I’ve been lucky enough to fish the beat a few times before and on each occasion I've been struck by the size of the river. Not quite the Loire, but big for Britain.

The fishing includes the stretch where Georgina Ballantine hooked and landed the largest freshwater fish ever caught in Great Britain.

Hooked behind the “Bargie Stone” in fading light on a two inch dace presented on a Malloch spinning mount, it took over two hours to land and weighed sixty four pounds, she had already caught three fish over twenty pounds earlier in the day.

Salmon fishing was a little different back in the day.

Miss Ballantine had a long association with the medical profession and had been decorated in the first world war for her work with the Red Cross in France.

After a plaster cast had been taken of the fish by way of record across the ages, the leviathan was donated to Perth hospital where all incumbents dined on salmon for over a week.

The cottage that she lived in sits by the bridge at Caputh. Riddled with arthritis at a young age she had both legs amputated. A popular member of village society, locals rallied around to look after her. A light was even fitted to the top of her cottage should she be in distress and require assistance.

My own thrashings behind the Bargie stone produced no reward,

although I did lose a fish on the first day having had it on for a few minutes.

Nicely alight and with a few glasses on board, I'll insist that it would have pushed Miss Ballantine’s fish close in size,

but in the cool light of dawn it was probably ten percent of the weight of her huge salmon.

Back in Bransbury, it’s nearly hedge cutting time, at which point I would like to make my perennial pitch for the future of demarcation to centre around brick walls and fences. Trees to follow, with the mother of all aspen to attend to and the inevitable dead ash and there is a bridge that needs rejigging in the wood. Grayling anglers are making enquiries and we’ve had our first frost which has brought our bumper bean crop to a close, much to Madam’s delight.

Little does she know that I now have an insulated poly tunnel. Replete with rocket wood burner with the mother of all post bumpers filled with water stood atop by way of a radiator. It's the post bumper that bumped me on the bonce earlier this year earning me a blue light trip to the infirmary (it's on here somewhere) so the thing owes me one

The aim is to produce further produce throughout the winter months to see us through the promised shortages next year.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Baz Norman, Errant Chooks and a Funny Old Season

I wish I knew how it would feel to be free,
I wish I could break all the chains holding me.

Welcome one and all to a Joy of six movie week special,

And why not.

Future son in law has a new drone and it’s quite the thing.

Regular takers of this chunk of guff will recall that my own attempts at a career in the drones, sailed away several times on the wind. This short film has been been retitled “An allegorical piece portraying our Great Leader's governance of Old Albion in 2020”.

This new remote control whirlygig is several generations on from my own effort at flight,

Think Wilbur & Orville Wright to Messrs Lockhead & Lightning,

I was invited to take control and pilot the thing but declined the offer on memory of previous mishaps.

There now follows a short film

It is apparent from up in the air that the river is incredibly clear, look closely and you can pick out the odd fish, most accustomed to sticking two fins up to any artificial offering presented. It’s fine tackle time because in ultra clear eater brer brown trout with its’ eye in, gets a clear look at whatever sits on the surface of the water.

You will also note from the aerial footage the onset of ash dieback in the wood and the occasional healthy ash.

I did wonder how our resident birds of prey would respond. Many years ago a friend shooting pigeons had a peregrine falcon stoop on his plastic flappy pigeon decoy. Village elders who massed for a falconry display, tea and cake in the garden, bore witness to a sparrowhawk’s attempt to take out the turn’s pet kookaburra.

It drew no avian interest but plenty of human interest. It’s a quality bit of kit.

Future features are planned, including autumn colour, spawning trout (they are not disturbed by the drone) ripening fruit and moles emerging.

Fishing is hard work, hatches of fly remain disappointing and most fish caught fall to a nymph. September normally sees an improvement but we’re nearly half way through now. Most keepers I have touched base with this past month report a similar situation.

Last week the chooks decided enough was enough and made an attempt to head off on holiday, it has happened a few time this year and I can empathise with their desire to get away for a short break.

We’ve a short staycation booked sometime soon but goodness it would be good to have some time overseas booked up.

With the current quarantine rules that can pop up and change in a matter of hours, it seems irresponsible for a pedagogue to travel abroad with the risk of incurring a fortnight quarantine on return forcing them to take time off school.

You will recall that three weeks ago I showed a few of the symptoms of C19 so followed advice and took a test.

and it all worked very well.

The testing station I attended has now been closed down.

This is the message that has been message displayed all week to those in our region showing symptoms and seeking to take a test.

I was kindly invited to fish the upper Avon last week.

Always a fun and relaxed day, I bagged a tiny truite and grayling on a nymph, as hatching fly and rising fish were few and far between. It’s club water, and great work has been done on the top section with sexy wiggles and gravels introduced.

Well done, and thanks as ever for the invitation.

Sunday is currently my favourite day of the week.

There I said it.

A statement that my teenage self would find difficult to comprehend.

No epiphany.

Just the third series of Mortimer & Whitehouse Gone Fishing.

Fishing programmes vary vastly in their quality and watchability, this is up there with the best, think “A passion for angling” with clever humour ranging from the light to the edgy. Whitehouse is some fisherman, Mortimer not so, but their day on the bank is everything a day fishing should be. The fourth episode was filmed on a stretch of the the middle Test that I know well and also a stretch a mile or so downstream from here, and did great things in highlighting the precious status of chalk rivers.


Been getting the flight pond ready for duck shooting this week.

Phragmites has been having a high old time of it and there is much to be cut back.

There are a few duck about, some were stubbling on the field by the football pitch before it was put to the plough and there are a few on the pond each day. Mallard and gadwall mostly with the odd tuftie.

We don’t put any duck down and we’ll only shoot the pond two or three times this winter when the weather is right. Good dogs for picking up birds in the dark are essential and I have been blessed with two dogs , Zebo and Otis who excelled at this task for twenty years. It’s a bit much for Otis now and I’m not sure Moss will be up to it so we may need to get a couple of dogs along to pick up. Half a dozen to a dozen is a good nights flighting for us, it’s a tricky business shooting in the half light and now completely beyond my ailing eyes, but wild duck breast with a blackberry gravy/jus is the food of the gods.

Only a few weeks of the trout fishing season to go, grass is enjoying a late season flush and there is the interminable business of cutting hedges to be undertaken before saws are drawn and we tackle a couple of senior aspen that cashed in their chips earlier in the year.

It’s been a summer that will live long in the memory, and goodness it was good to get some fishing in, as half way through March and with everyone stuck indoors the prospect of flicking a fly seemed a distant prospect.

Fingers crossed for a normal (old normal, not new normal) season next year.

Thursday, 3 September 2020

The Parsnips of Easter Island and Further Matters

Apologies, been deep cover behind closed lines undetectable in my mask.

A Spitting Image style Ronald Reagan number in 4mm silicon.

You could get away with all sorts of misdemeanours behind some of these face coverings, and goodness the identity parade at the plod shop must be a bit hit and miss at the moment.

Oh yes, big bird news, we’ve a Hoopoe in the valley.

Not seen it yet myself but a superb photo of himself adorns the front cover of the parish magazine, well done to ever clicked the shutter. I’ve occasionally seen them when fishing in middle and southern France and northern Spain, but never in Old Albion, so peepers are currently keenly peeled. and lenses fully cocked.

The August weedcut was a bit of a non event.

Ranunculus is on the wain, water celery struggles and only the ribbon weed needed tickling up with the scythe.

It is apparent that blanket weed is much diminished this summer, a direct result of the river receiving a good scrub behind the ears from last winter’s increased flow.

Same again this winter please.

The wind doesn’t seem to have stopped blowing all week and around a week ago we experienced a spectacular weather event when, one afternoon, around an inch of rain fell in fifteen minutes. Madam was out walking the dogs and the trio returned looking like something from the Deadliest Catch, or possibly Ice Road Truckers,

I don’t know,

TV increasingly seems to blend into one at the moment,

Although Diane Morgan’s short series “Mandy” provided a bit of a fillip. First came across her in Phoenix Nights, loved her Cunk and relished Motherland, her stand up’s worth a watch too.

That’s Mandy everyone, written, starring and directed by Diane Morgan.

Oh yes the rain,

an inch fell in fifteen minutes that briefly left the lower high street in Venta Belgarum under eighteen inches of water. There was also a landslip on the railway line at Micheldever. The weather event, as I believe such occasions are now termed, freshened up the river and added a little colour but didn’t raise the level by much.

Conversations with keepers various over the past few weeks confirm that hatches of fly on the river this year have been particularly disappointing.

August is always a difficult month on this river.

Our catch records confirm that we are about right for the month, one fish in August has always been worth four fish in May and June, and fishing always improves in September and often into early October particularly during the afternoon.

Fingers crossed that trickle of late summer olives that perennially put in an appearance from midday inducing brer brown trout to look up again and feed off the top.

This roe deer is bit bold and we bump into it most mornings.

I had the doofus dogs with me when I took this snap.

We’ve had Muntjac like this before (see previous chunks of guff) who seem to think they are invisible and that a human and hounds pose no danger to their daily doings.

In allotment good news, we are harvesting hard and have had to purchase another chest freezer to store our hoard.

We’ve potatoes in the clamp, onion ropes a hangin, big bags of beans ( French, runner and broad), in the freezer alongside a dustbin full of plum tomatoes, cobs of corn, the interminable courgettes, and trays of tender stem broccoli.

Last week five cauliflowers were plucked that have been batch cooked in cheese sauce and frozen for the ages.

Madam and her charges (Otis loves a blackberry) have hung about hedges ad nauseum and we have eight jars of jam, and enough blackberry and apple laid down for a crumble every Sunday for the next year.

Against all advice I’ve also pulled a parsnip before the first frost. It was as big as my head and similarly shaped, and poked clear of the ground like a mysterious statue on Easter Island, which brings me back to my head which has, on occasion, drawn similar reviews.

In allotment bad news, some sprouts have blown, strawberries have been a struggle and all the flowers on my butternut squash appear to be male,

I planted it late, a butternut baggot perhaps?

Had a bit of a funny forty eight hours last week.

I was stung on the tongue by a vindictive wasp, antihistamine was taken, the tongue swelled up and Sunday afternoon disappeared in a haze.

I believe we attended an al fresco soiree to mark our daughter’s engagement and watched a cricket match. I don’t know I was in a bit of a fug.

The next morning I woke up with a bad cough, temperature and a funny taste in my mouth.

Following current advice, I booked a test for lurgy19 and attended the testing centre at the park & ride in Winchester. Business was brisk but all done in fifteen minutes. Eighteen hours later the results were in and I received a text informing me of a negative result.

A few days ago they closed the testing centre in Winchester.

By way of research, today I ran through the postcode business of sourcing my local testing station. Salisbury and Swindon were offered. Our MP (Con) tried to book a test for her daughter and was offered Inverness.

Back to school for Madam this week. Teacher training, much chat and risk assessments for two days before the children return on Monday.

Madam finds school work very rewarding and the time she spent in class earlier in lockdown with the children of key workers went well. The social distancing thing was roughly maintained at a metre and bubbles worked.

Next week, when the full complement of charges returns, social distancing (staff to child, staff to staff, child to child) will be difficult in a small school, bubbles will be compromised and they will do their best to keep a metre apart.

Parliament voted to maintain social distancing in the house at two metres.

Which doesn’t look great when we are all supposed to be in this together with the emphasis on the common good (D Cummings esq apart)

Thursday, 20 August 2020

Ecky Thump, Lizards and a Dopey Squab

Forgive the tardiness regarding chucking up chunks of guff but I (and many others apparently) have been giving battle with the new version of Google Blogger, which doesn’t work.

Hopeless doesn’t even come close, and the next time somebody puts there hand up and says “you know this thing that works reasonably well at the moment, well I’ve an idea I can make it better” flick him on the nose or at the very least run the relevant protocols that the proposed changes actually stand up and work.

Thanks Google Blogger, Good Job. Anymore of this nonsense and I’m off, Ciao adios, I’m done, you’re making it fecking hard work with all your improvements.

Anyway, we’ve been away.

Had planned to be in Sicily about now but ended up near Scarborough for a few days tramping about on dale and moor. It’s an area we know reasonably well. I’ve at least three close relatives that I know of returned to the earth in Kirkbymoorside and I once undertook three weeks work experience on a very cold fish farm in nearby Ellerburn. A substantial brown trout hatchery and earth pond fish farm, the eggs took twice as long to hatch as they would in Hampshire due to the water being considerably colder.

Our billet was a pub on the moors at Appleton that we had stayed in several times before. They do dogs well and Otis and Moss accompanied us on our first sojourn further than the Solstice services for six months.

It all felt very safe, relaxed and well thought out. The only concern, the floor level windows in the room. The canine equivalent of Netflix, Moss has a habit of picking up his bowl once his repast is complete to undertake a two minute tour of the locale before becoming distracted and dropping the thing with a clang. The prospect of him dropping his bowl out of the window on to the heads of al fresco diners below remained a viable threat throughout our stay.

The Moors Inn – Appleton Le Moors, by the way. Tremendous people, good food, dog friendly and a great place to be.

We walked and walked and walked.

In all weather, bar snow.

Up on moors, down on dales, along cliffs and beaches and made a brief foray into Whitby for a Fish & Chip lunch by the harbour, which was a little tense as half of Leeds and Tyneside seemed to have had the same idea.

Back home now, and apologies again for tardiness in reporting movements, but as mentioned in previous guff, a level of inertia has set in during 2020, a numbness if you will, that also seems to have struck “our great leader” who keeps his head down during another procession of cock ups.

Anyway, we are where we are.

In river news, Home Bargains have been avoiding the environs, providing some relief to our arboreal friends.

Bats seem to be doing quite well. My employer has had cause to shoo several from her sitting room, and one evening last week one almost flew into my face as I entered the fishing hut. Couldn’t tell you the type, but many bats all the same.

With orchids at an end, last week I topped the meadows. A steady business, it seemed to be much thicker this year. One thing of note during my days of pootling about at half a mile an hour, a couple of lizards. The size of the sort you see scuttling about in the sun in Mediterranean climes, it was a first for me in this environs.

Snakes - ten a penny,

Turtles - occasionally,

but never before a lizard and I've now a wary eye for crocodiles while cutting weed.

During the days of high heat, fishing was frustrating with salmonids sent soporific throughout the day. As I write it has been chucking it down for twelve hours and goodness the river needs it. Blanket weed is putting in an appearance and ranunculus is cashing in its chips. Invertebrates remain enigmatic, some days we have sedge, some days we don’t. There isn’t a lot of any species, although August is always good value for a variety of funny moths.

In bird news, we’ve heard nothing from that ungrateful owl we hand fed high end chicken breast for months the year before last. Duck have found the surrounding stubble and we have a surprisingly bold Sparrow hawk who this morning swooped a few feet from my nose as I headed out to feed the chooks.

Twenty odd years ago there was a dovecote in the old stable block. Maisie (Child A as was) deep in her Snow White period, spotted a squab on the ground outside in the yard.

Dopey squabs were not an unusual occurrence and may have had something to do with a high degree of in breeding.

Maisie, heavily influenced by Snow White’s ability to bond with birds (she once spent an hour of an evening on a French campsite with arm outstretched ,finger presented as a perch for a cheeky sparrow who took crumbs from our tent) seized upon an opportunity to aid an avian friend.

My four year old daughter and myself formulated a plan and headed out into the yard. Me in my work clobber, she in full Snow White garb made by her Nana.

The squab was slowly approached and gently scooped up.

The denouement of the plan centred around throwing the squab up into the air to induce its innate ability of flight.

Up the squab went to a height of twenty feet,

and there was a brief period of flight,

before a Sparrowhawk entered stage left, at a rate of knots to smash into the unfortunate bird.

Maisie and myself stood motionless, her in Snow White garb, me in my work clobber, as feathers slowly rained down around us in cartoon fashion.

Nothing was said as we walked back indoors, the Snow White tape was never played again, and Maisie moved on to Bugs Life and Riverdance.

Oh yes!

Madam and me are on the cusp of becoming “In laws”

Maisie and her long time beau Callum are engaged to be married and Madam and myself are both very pleased and proud.

Thursday, 13 August 2020

Increasingly Testing and Testing

Testing, Testing, One, Two, Three,


The all new and improved platform provided by the dimbulbs and dunderheads at google blogger remains a crock of shite,

This is not just a view of my own,

from the thousands of emails that have flooded in, since the last chunk of guff was posted, a consensus appears to have formed,

Well done Google Blogger, well done, whatever were you thinking?

Thanks to the kind bloggers who have phoned in with advice on clever dodges to defeat this Medusa that Google have placed before us (Aid from google blogger has been slow to materialise)

Apologies to those who receive pushes, prods and notifications about previous chunks of guff in what has become an interminable back catalogue. I don’t yet know how to turn off this “exciting new feature” which has three times led me to wake in the night, sit bolt upright and exclaim “Lawks! Did I really say that?”

Google Blogger,

I don’t need people dragging up the past and asking questions on guff loosely laid down ten years ago,

move on eh.

There is much to discuss and I have several missives amd images of some import already laid down ready for reveal,

but with a Covid on, we must observe certain protocols, so please forgive this test piece in the Brave New World that Google Blogger have placed before us.

Fingers crossed it works.

Oh yes, this,

An interesting piece, germane to this house, that appeared on our local rag’s website earlier this week.

Andover Advertiser. 'Cut water use or residents will go without tap water'

News10th August

North Hampshire residents warned about water usage during heatwave

By Ryan Evans @RyanBasGazette
South East Water have said that some customers went without tap water at the end of last week
South East Water have said that some customers went without tap water at the end of last week

RESIDENTS in the South East have been without tap water this weekend, and that could happen in North Hampshire too.

That's according to water company South East water, who say that the last couple of days have seen a "record-breaking" demand for water across the region.

The unique circumstances of more people working from home than usual, combined with the soaring temperatures that are expected to continue into this week, have meant that despite upping drinking water production by 150 million litres per day, it is not enough to meet demand.

As a result, at the end of last week some customers in Kent and Sussex were without water, and unless residents cut their usage, the same might happen in parts of North Hampshire.

The company, who also supply water to Hampshire, Berkshire and Surrey, are asking customers to stay away from their hose pipes, garden sprinklers and garden water toys.

Steve Andrews, head of central operations for South East Water said: “Many people don’t realise that water is a fresh product which is produced 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

“When we draw the water from deep underground or from rivers it has to be treated to a very high standard at our water treatment works before being sent along miles of pipe to homes and businesses.

“Our water technicians have been working round the clock to produce this extra drinking quality water needed - the equivalent of filling to the brim almost half a million baths – but with this record amount of water being used daily it is getting harder to keep up.

“I would like to say thank you to our many water savvy customers who are helping by being water aware, but I am now appealing to every one - household and businesses - to keep water for essential use only while the heat is on this weekend and next week.”

Since they first put out their appeal at the start of the weekend, South East Water said that demand was cut by 30 million litres on Saturday.

Among the water saving measures that the company are asking their customers to exploit include not filling paddling pools - an average pool needs around 530 litres of water to be filled to the brim. This is three times the total daily amount of water used by one person.

Other tips include:

Top up the paddling pool instead of refilling it every day. When you're finished, use the water on your plants and grass so none goes to waste
Invest in a water butt for your garden and use the harvested water on your plants (they grow better with rain water and you'll save money on your water bill too)
Remember – brown lawns bounce back
Water your pots and hanging baskets either early in the morning or during the evening to reduce evaporation in the midday sun
If you’re potting up or planting containers, use ones made from plastic, glazed terracotta or wood. These tend to lose less water than bare terracotta
Bury a short length of pipe into your pot; if you water into the tube the water goes directly to the roots where the plant needs it most
Use mulches like bark chips or gravel to retain moisture and keep weeds down
Should water supply be cut for an extended period of time, South East Water will set up bottled water stations, which are designed to meet social distancing requirements.

They will also continue to supply water to vulnerable customers, who can sign up for the Priority Services Register at: https://southeastwater.co.uk/priority.

Thank you very much Andover Advertiser, good job,

Well I think this test piece worked,

If anyone didn't receive this guff do let me know.

Happy to pop it in the post until normal working service is resumed.

Tuesday, 28 July 2020

The Home Bargains Incident and a Crock of Shite

Dear Hat Mancock, 

 Now that the 16th of March is the “new” 23rd of March. Does this mean that anyone born on the 16th of March now has two birthdays a year or no birthdays a year, and will the celebrant either age twice as fast as everyone else or stay at the same age in perpetuity.

Apologies for the query.

Everything else regarding current day to day doings is brim full of clarity, it was just that I needed to know when to send a card. 

 Oh yes, when is Christmas this year, or have I missed it? 

 Asking for a friend. 

 Once again, Are we not Mugs? 

 Well the July weed cut was another event. For the last few seasons weed has taken a turn for the worse through July in a river brim full of nutrients having been deprived a winter scour. Ranunculus remains in reasonable condition and shows little sign of being overcome by the filamentous algae that has made merry in the last six summers. Hatches of fly remain disappointing. There are a few sedge and a trickle of olives, but most fish feed sub surface or pick at terrestrial dainties blown from trees. A black fly or black emerger is worth a go, or a small drab nymph, as anything flashy or splashy will cause fish to spook and bow waves will result. Shock tactics with Daddies are also worth considering. Orchids are still putting in an appearance. Seed heads formed, I would normally be topping the meadow around this time but it will be August before I mount the swipe. 

In other time travelling news, during an evening preamble up the river a week or so ago I caught a few spent Mayfly making their way back onto the water. 

Spent Mayfly in July? 

Strange times, but referring back to the opening skirmishes of this chunk of guff, the new 8th of July may well now be May the 25th, We don’t know. But they were spent mayfly alright. 

Mayfly hatch throughout the summer on the Hampshire Avon. I once caught a fish rising to Mayflies at Middle Woodford while fishing as a guest of the “Sage” of Longparish in September. It was a Sunday and I was dipping in and out of an exciting Ryder Cup finish via a discrete ear piece. The Sage, a keen golfer and talented fly fisherman, approved when my cover was blown. 

I once sat next to him at a wedding in the church that his father used to run at in the nineties. The wedding clashed with a vital Calcutta cup match that would determine the “Five Nations” as was. Johnny produced a small portable TV from his morning suit (pre mobile phones) and we watched discretely as the union was made, the muffled “Oh bollocks” as Gavin Hastings secured the win and the slam for the Scots, can be heard on the video as the groom leads his bride down the aisle from the church. 

 Cricket’s back, and Madam’s scored a few games. 

It’s an odd affair with a Bedouin feel when it comes to changing and tea, but cricket all the same which is great, and it all feels well done and safe. Well done the Hampshire Cricket League, which also seems to incorporate large swathes of Berkshire, Dorset, Sussex and Wilts. 

In hair news, To avoid crowds I touched based with my Turkish barber last Sunday when Matins was on. 

It seemed like a plan. 

 Masks were worn, shearers were sanitised and the perpetual pitch for products that would do great things for my greying locks returned, despite the proprietors own salt and pepper bonce. 

Done with clippers, Attaturk flashed ups his lighter and singed out my nose,  then my ears and eyebrows were attended to, if there was hair anywhere, he was going to have it. 

He’d been shut down for twelve weeks, and was grateful for the government grant that covered basic costs and would have gone bust without it, so well done for that Mr Sunak.

 Currently the parish is abuzz with what is now known as “The Home Bargains” incident. 

 At five thirty on Saturday afternoon the Highway to the Sun became blocked by an accident, no surprise really as it’s been rammed for the past ten days and goodness the West Country must be cramped for room. 

Clearly on a promise, a driver on his way back to the iron age Home Bargains distribution centre which forms part of the Stonehenge complex fifteen miles to the west of here, sought an alternate route for his High Capacity articulated lorry via the medium of Sat Nav. 

 Pulling off at the Bransbury turning he soon realised the error of his decision (He missed the sign warning of a road width of 6ft 6in), there was no choice other than to press on regardless. 

 Which he did, 

bringing branches and foliage crashing down onto the road. 

 I don’t know what shape the lorry was in the next morning, there were reports that he got stuck in Chilbolton, having to reverse very slowly for several hundred yards to a symphony of beeping, but please Hampshire Couty Council could we have a sign stating that this road is unsuitable for Heavy Goods Vehicles.

 The last time it happened was on a Sunday night with a lost Portuguese seeking the world’s biggest provider of bagged salad. He knocked on our door and sought assistance, but my advice to back up the road got lost in translation and he crashed on up the road taking out the church wall in the process. 

 Catholic insouciance to the C of E, or just bad driving? 

we don’t know. 

 In allotment news, this week I dug up 32kg of second earlies. Variety – Charlotte they are the best crop I have ever had, and highlight that for twenty years on my old plot all I had been doing was feed the mother of all Sycamore trees. 

 We’ve a bounty of beans various, and carrots coming out of our ears. A polytunnel has been sourced and now stands in place of my imperial greenhouse and is currently plays host to a variety of salad. The highlight being a romaine lettuce called Forellenschluss. The name means “speckled like a trout” and it’s a cracker, if you like your lettuce give it a go.

Continuity Announcer:

This chunk of guff has been brought to you by the shiny new, multi platform version of Google Blogger, 

Which is, to quote Paul Calf, " A complete crock of Shite"

Image uploader - hopeless

Preview Editor - doesn't work

Please can we have the previous version of Google Blogger back because this one doesn't work,