Tuesday, October 16, 2018

With my left foot, Thierry Henry would be complete

Shalom, Sukoon and Howdy Doo!

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.

It can be both a rewarding and stressful occupation working to help educate the next generation, and by way of succour and the current cult of mindfulness, Maisie has taken to using something called a PAP or possibly an APP,

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.

If we can all agree to download this app and listen to the "rainfall" track for ten to twenty hours a week, these springs should start running again and all will be well on the chalk streams next year.

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.

Trout fishing has finished here now and it's time to jump in the river and make ready for high winter flows (crosses fingers while quietly invoking forces of PAP) I've been pulling cress for much of the day which has dropped the level on some of the shallows by a critical few inches and also weakened my shoulders. Needless to say heron and egret stand primed for an easy meal (fish on shallows. not me, prone, with busted shoulders) and today I saw our first cormorant of the autumn filling its gizzard with silver fish on the flight pond.

Trees continue to be attended to and the trunk of the large ash that topples across the mill stream has now been dealt with. We drained the Mill stream to make the task easier but it is a big lump of ash that has been sliced up with a few big chunks manoeuvred to pinch the flow should we ever have enough water to run the Mill Stream properly again. While drained down an old hatch that was once used to push water around the meadow between the mill stream and main river was exposed. There are four in all on the mill stream, all now no longer in use. It is a man-made channel formed centuries ago to drive the wheel at the Mill.

Gluten freesters would have welcomed a summer sojourn in this environs through the last decade, as there has not been enough water to spin a wheel to grind wheat to form flour. Twenty years ago the mill stream supported ranunculus and numerous entries in the fishing book in the "where caught" column cited the Mill Stream.

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.

I was a little late to Plum, but crikes he could bounce a word. I'd read of his time in occupied France and yes, in times of war, he was possibly a tad naive. But to me he didn't come across as a man of war and I'd fund a few bricks for a statue of him, pipe in hand at the typewriter. It would assume the proportions of the Angel of the North and be sited on an appropriate knoll in the celebrated Vale of Blandings, where the Severn gleams in the distance, and the Wrekin can clearly be seen. A floor tile in a metropolitan church doesn't seem to do him justice.

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.

Mushrooms are good this year, if a little late. Here's this mornings harvest.

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.

To finish, a nod to Daniel Day Lewis,

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

Oktober, and a Dearth of Sub Editirs

Hello, again, hello

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.

Autumn seems to be rushing in at a remarkable rate, both in the natural world and my own physical being. Moss has developed a taste for hazelnuts and elderberries and perhaps we should have called him Topic.

He currently lays some remarkably vivid dog eggs with the consistency of a high end cereal bar.


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.

Last weekend on exiting the Highway to the Sun, I inevitably visually checked in with the long Lombardi before banging on the brakes to take in what my duff old eyes initially suggested was a hot air balloon crash. Turns out it wasn't the Montgolfier brothers up to their old tricks, but a supersized Lime tree that has sprung up unnoticed in what was the Keeper's cottage. It must be a pot bound specimen recently introduced, as I have been taking in this scene for ninety nine percent of my days in the last twenty seven years and I'm sure it wasn't there before, although it may be my ailing eyes.

Keeper's Cottage by the way. I'm tempted to chalk in the missing apostrophe on the slate house name sign.

I have also taken to adding in the Please and Thank You on the plethora of "Private, Keep Out!" signs that have cropped up in this parish and the next since the referendum. An insignificant attempt to soften the blow of our exit from the EU but manners cost nothing although the cost of adding the apostrophe to the Keeper's Cottage sign perhaps was punitive.

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.

Who knew?

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.
What, that was the other weekend? When did she do her O Levels?

Crikes, it could well be 2018.

Yes the years are flying by and that's the end of my twenty seventh summer season on this river. A curate's egg of a season. Easy street with biscuit wheels for the first few months with a difficult denouement that began in the dog days of August.
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

Chopping up Trees with Gucci & Versace

and while we still can,

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.

Some cove brimful of internet enlightenment surmised this week that bloggers were a self indulgent bunch whose sole intent is to demonstrate to the rest of the world that theirs is the perfect existence, so with a nod to Kardashians various, the lady from Goop and The Dapper Chapper here we go again with another tranche of guff on how great things are down this way.

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.

We had wind last week, nothing to do with an increase in the percentage of pulses in our diet, but a proper blow that sent a substantial ash in the wood crashing to the ground. Call me fickle (and this is where the struggle bit comes in) but I don't like attending to trees when the stinging nettles are still six feet high and full of venom.

But attend to it we did, for two days employing the full force of the chainsaw fleet clad in my new outfit for the season.

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
and yes, the new hat may be a bit Gertrude Schilling so the hat box is ticked for our next trip to Ascot, but the bib & braces safety trouser combo scream seventies disco with the safety aspect of the strides an ability to constrain the seething mass of testosterone that lurks within.

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 a significant number of ash trees affected which will be feeding the wood burners of the parish for much of the next decade. Beyond that who knows? perhaps we may not be allowed wood burners by then. If we are we won't be burning much ash. We are replanting with alternative hardwoods as a ban has been in place on the moving and planting of ash saplings for some time but the log piles and wood sheds will have a different smell and appearance to the current solid fuel burning generation who may well be known one day in wood burning circles as "Generation Ash".

Attention has been drawn to the down beat tone of recent posts (more of My Struggle, there's no perfect lifestyle here) regarding water levels so I'll look up and not down and not mention the fact that nothing has changed, but well done for it raining somewhere, just not around here.

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.

This week I saw a mayfly. Numbers of mayflies hatching in this river in late summer have increased from not at all to the odd one in recent years. It's not uncommon on the upper Avon. Several tines I fished as a guest at Middle Woodford and caught fish on a Green Drake Mayfly in September although the Dever Trout are a little reticent when it comes to sampling goods out of season. If the Buddhists are right and I am destined to return to the Dever as a Mayfly can I please be one that hatches in September as my journey from river bed to willow tree will go completely unhindered by the forces of fin or feather.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

The Be Sharps and The Binkiest Nabob

On me everyone as there is much to discuss.

But first a word from our sponsor.

The Husqvarna 365 is a semi professional saw with a 70cc engine and 28 inch bar that will deal with the toughest timber situations. Styled in seville orange with noir detailing it is sure to cause envy in any arborist in the immediate vicinity.

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.

Back on the beat there isn't a lot of water in the Dever . Fish are feeding in spells and spend most of the day bunched up on the bottom. I was very kindly invited to fish the Anton for the second week in succession and it was the same story over there, with one deep hole playing host to twenty or more substantial soporific trout and grayling. Inevitably I spooked one setting off a series of bow waves as fish charged around the much diminished river.

I popped up to read the gauge at Weston Colley a few miles upstream of this stretch of the Dever.

The gauge has gone.

Seems that Command Centre Central have now given up on the first few miles of the Dever.

Thirty years ago I used to help stock the Upper Dever for a local fishing club. They had a significant membership that merited a headquarters in the village from which the club took their name. We would take a hundred or so two pound trout three or four times throughout the summer.

The club no longer exists and the stretch of river they fished has also almost disappeared, it certainly couldn't support a two pound trout.

The spring hole that Lord Ludg, The English and myself attended to last winter has all but dried up. Half a dozen springs feed into the hole, only two currently remain, each on the cusp of ceasing supply. I have not seen this spring hole run dry in the twenty seven seasons that I have been falling in and out of this river.

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 whizzed up to the flat hills of Moley's homeland this weekend for an aged aunt's ninetieth birthday party.

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.

Moss has the manner of a dog that, given the opportunity, will party like the giddy goat.

No problem with Otis, he could take peggs on the veranda with the binkiest nabob without real incident.

We walked around the local reservoir, which was half full (AAAAAARRRGGGG!) and free from local news reporters as unfortunately the depleted reservoir had no interesting abandoned buildings poking out of what water remained, before climbing a hill to a monastery where bells rang and Cistercian monk's chanted. It was quite unexpected and merited mention in the magnificent Mole books.

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.

Only a few weeks of fishing for trout remain. The grayling are in fine condition but the trout will soon have a final feed of the summer before turning their minds to spawning. Big fish are always caught in the final few weeks of the season and currently we play host to quite a few substantial specimens. Unfortunately the spawning gravels that they would normally gravitate towards in the coming months are currently covered by only a couple of inches of water, a level that will be further reduced when the watercress and weed dies off at the first sign of frost.

Cue perennial request for a very wet winter in these parts - ed

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Virat Kohli and a Tenebrous Thunderer

Back on the river and as the comedy labrador calendar turns over to September, fishing picks up. August has been challenging for those with a rod in their hand. Some have not bothered and hit the beach instead while others have put in hard toil only to have a river full of fish stick two fins up to their offerings. The water did get quite warm during the month which can inhibit the brown trout's appetite and a dearth of fly hasn't helped but fish have been flying out in the past few days to both dry flies and nymphs. Fishing for trout on this river has always picked up towards the end of the summer with numbers of fish caught per hours spent fishing considerably higher than August and often July. August fishing seems to become increasingly challenging with each passing year and with a nod to "The Beautiful Game" it may be time for a mid season break and shift opening day forward a week or two and closing day back a week or two to adapt to changing climate conditions.

While we're on "The Beautiful Game" those who eulogise about more honourable times in the seventies and eighties regarding diving and cheating. There may have been less diving but before slow mo, action replays and a plethora of cameras around the ground it was a far more violent business than it is today. Head butts and punches off the ball were not at all uncommon.

I was kindly invited to fish the Anton this week. It's a pretty beat whose only flaw is that you can't gain access from the bottom of the beat. You enter at the top of the beat and must walk downstream to begin your business and in low clear water fish are inevitably spooked. I always pour myself a cup of coffee and wait twenty minutes for the fish to settle before even flicking a fly. It's a problem I also encountered one year fishing on the Arle. It was a wading beat and quite short. One wade through I'd had a fish in the net but returning to the bottom of the beat to start the second set it was all too apparent that the fish were not quite ready to return serve.

The August weed cut was brief on both the Itchen and the Dever, only the ribbon weed that required a trim. A pair of swans and their single progeny have set about some of the ranunculus and water celery predominates as we have relatively little blanket weed, which is a pleasant surprise as conditions seem perfect for its propagation. Heron seem to have bred well this year as do the little egret and several stab away on the shallows each day. The Kingfisher wars continue albeit it with diminished brutality. The hop harvest looks to be a heavy one and we are already whacking into the apples. Grass has sprung back into life and the senior conker tree that shed a limb bringing electric cables crashing down on our roof a few years ago continues to slowly fall apart. We've an expert tree wallah coming out to take a look at a few chunky specimens some of which border the road and are beyond myself, Lord Ludg and The English. The end of the season seems to be rushing towards us and eyes are turning to prospective winter work. The list is already quite lengthy and stretches are already being undertaken by way of pre winter work training.

This year was the first since 1993 that we didn't make the Lords Test match. We didn't attend in 1993 because Madam was with child and Maisie was about to enter stage left.

I retain the ticket as evidence of sacrifices made.

Anyway, we didn't make it to Lords but we did attend the fourth day of the fourth test at The Ageas Bowl. Madam has been nominated for an award for services to Hampshire League Cricket. Scoring mostly and I'll say this safe in the knowledge that she doesn't visit this house, but she is very good at it. Every weekend during the outdoor season plus midweek 20/20 games, and often twice a week through the winter for the indoor leagues.

Her scorebook is a myriad of coloured dots and squiggles that allows a reader to trace the outcome of any given ball bowled in a match.

Yes Madam has done a lot of scoring and is quite good at it.

Somebody noticed and nominated her for an award and part of the bounty included free tickets to the Test Match.

Fortunately she invited me to accompany her and so it was that we took in a fantastic day at the Ageas Bowl.

We've visited a few times, for various reasons. Matches, weddings, coaching and trials (William, not Madam or me) It had a few foibles and getting into the place on a busy day could be a nightmare.

But no more. The Park and Ride works as it should, and the "in ground" experience while not quite Lords, is much improved and an easy place to spend a day watching a Test match.

It's just a shame they won't be hosting any more Test cricket until after 2025.

With foreign office work finished Jester Johnson has once again taken to chucking up guff in the Telegraph.

It was trumpeted several months ago with the headline "He's Back!"

A few weeks ago he wrote a piece titled "We are the Rotters Who did for The Otters" Sophocles was invoked and pools were described as "tenebrous" and it all bounced along rather well celebrating the revival of The Otter and come on everybody let's give ourselves a pat on the back and well done Jester Johnson for writing such a thoughtful environmental piece.


Yes the pat on the back for the cessation in using the pesticide that was doing for the Otters, but what Jester Johnson failed to mention was the river restoration work instigated countrywide in the last decade to meet the needs of EU habitat directives that afforded our rivers a higher level of protection than our own legislation and have aided the revival of the otter and improvements in aquatic habitats.

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.

Isn't it?

I've taken the Daily Telegraph for most of my life, it has a very good sport section and I think a newspaper is an important addition to a breakfast table particularly when children are growing up. It's tone has changed significantly in recent times so I cancelled the subscription. I took the decision on the day of the "He's Back" headline Jester Johnson but we had just taken delivery of a labrador puppy

Moss, remember him?

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.

I'm off to the Thunderer, which is OK but Murdoch lurks, which is a worry,

or perhaps I'll stick to Viz as satire is important in times of political turmoil and accept the fact that I have joined a burgeoning number of people who, should an election occur, would look at the list of candidates presented and conclude that none of this lot seems to fit the bill.