More rain, and more wind. Last summer was particularly wet, but this summer will run it close, and the wind has not stopped blowing all season. Small branches have been blown down and the river has gone over its banks again. Fishing is proving to be difficult in the conditions, although there are some superb hatches of Sedge in the evening when the weather permits. I have also moved all of the little fish out from their “fry stew” into the pond that is known as the old swimming pool; they are packing on weight and will be glad of the extra space that the new pond provides.
I was lucky enough to be invited fishing twice this week. Firstly to Stratfield Saye to fish the River Loddon, a lovely little river containing most species of fish, we were permitted to fish a nymph, my friend Gary proceeding to catch his first Gudgeon on a fly. On Wednesday evening my son and I fished on the Middle Test at Bossington, the river was a little coloured and there were still rafts of weed coming down the river despite the weed cut being finished for nearly a week, a situation that justifiably irked Brian the Bossington keeper. There was a superb hatch of sedge, and we both caught fish on a small fluttering sedge between eight and nine. With school the next day we were forced to leave the river just as the fish were becoming really active.
Another feature of the past few week and the reason fro the delay in posting on this site, have been the presence of our leading Telecommunications provider in our lane. I must explain that for several years we have had an ongoing battle over our phone line and the quality of our service. We live a mile and a half from the main village; the phone line follows the lane down to 3 houses on 22 poles and support 4 numbers. The line itself was designed to be buried underground over fifty years ago, it is patched in many places and is regularly hit by lightening, it has a ticking on it that is supposedly caused by an electric fence, despite there not being one within a mile of it and works intermittently if the wind blows. It does not support broadband, and struggles with a very poor dial up connection.
Seventy yards across a paddock from our house there is a line that travels in the opposite direction to another exchange that supports a very fast broadband connection. My two children at school have more and more homework that they are expected to do online that requires a faster connection.
Despite a lengthy campaign that included a hard hitting campaign by our MP, The Nation’ s Leading telecommunications provider surveyed the line 6 months ago and decided that rather than connect us up to the pole seventy yards away that supported broadband and would require a maximum of 3 poles, they would replace a mile and a half of cable and 22 poles, blocking the road for two weeks and leaving us with an intermittent phone service. Since the installation of the new line we have had more faults than before. Connection boxes were put on the poles upside down resulting in them filing up with water, several times the line was cut through by well meaning engineers who returned several days later to fix the fault. A hedge cutter mashed up a fifty yard length of the line, that was repaired and left lying alongside the road for days and would have been mashed up again when he returned to cut the grass had it not been for several irate phone calls. We have seen between thirty and forty telephone engineers since Christmas over a myriad of problems.
We have received various pieces of advice from the Nation’s Leading Telecommunications Expert ranging from putting our own poles up or digging our own trench to install the line. There are even poles in place between us and the Broadband line that carry our electricity supply, but because the agreement between The Electricity board and The Leading Telecommunications provider over pole use expired two years ago and they couldn’t agree on a new one they could not hang a line from it. I am not a huge fan of the phone, but in today’s world it is impossible to get by without a phone line. My elderly neighbour relies on it and has an emergency button that uses the phone line in case she should get into difficulty. We regularly receive invitations to upgrade our Broadband connection, or hear people bemoaning the fact that they can only connect at 4mb speed. We are unable, or are ever likely to be able to get Broadband and have to accept that it is part and parcel of living where we live.