Monday, September 21, 2009
The dry weather continues and the river continues to drop. I contacted the EA recently requesting some flow data from the main monitoring station for this river, which just happens to be at the bottom of this stretch. At huge expense and disruption the river was diverted and lots of fancy electrical equipment built into the bottom of the river bed under the bridge that measure the discharge of the river on a daily basis. Spikes appear in the graphs when I open the hatch on the mill house which caused some initial concern with EA boffins when they first started using their new equipment, the hatch in question was installed midway through the nineteenth century so it was not exactly something that was sprung on the them. The Data showed that over the last sixteen years this particular river has only been lower than its current level on two occasions. Tree roots and old riverbank repairs stick out of the bank like Dinosaur ribs, the fish have shoaled up in the deeper holes and several of the shallows that the fish will spawn on in just over a month’s time are close to breaking the surface of the river.
The grass growth is slowing up now and most trees bar the Oaks show signs of autumn. The temperature has dropped markedly in the evenings and, as is often the case during September, much of the fly hatch and most of the fish caught are in the afternoon. Several bigger fish have been caught,one rod had a brace of four pounders and a two pound fish which would have been a good bag in May. Most fish have been taken on a nymph although those skilful enough to fish a lot finer and lighter have managed to take fish on the surface.
Hedgehogs are on the move, the weakening sun instigating a last big feed before they settle down for the winter. My old Labrador doesn’t understand Hedgehogs, it is the only thing that will send him silly, he circles them with staccato barks nudging and flicking them with his nose before finally plucking up the courage to pick the spiky thing up and bring it to me to release unharmed some distance from the house. The Young Labrador has a very soft mouth, picking up a fragile Pheasant Poult and bringing it to me unharmed. I have been going over a few things with him with the dummy and it all seems to be in there, he just needs to steady up and grow up and stop going at everything at a hundred miles and hour. The Spaniel shows no sign of improvement and remains completely useless but highly entertaining.
All the corn is cut now and the Pheasants are finding their way up to some of the best Game cover we have had in years, seven foot high Maize adorned with some of the biggest cobs I have ever seen.
While marking out the local football pitch one evening this week, I saw a man in the corner of the field with what looked like a large net or coat. I assumed that it was the local ferret man who had been hired to tackle a burgeoning Rabbit problem along that side of the pitch. I carried on with my marking and two minutes later heard a series of squeaks and squawks, intrigued as to what he could be squeaking I stopped and watched him from eighteen yard box. He was firing up the mother of all sets bagpipes, Banned from the back bedroom at home, he had chosen this particular spot to go over his repertoire without complaint from family or neighbours. I carried on marking the pitch to the skirl of a lone Pipey marching up and down the touchline, and wondered if the Pipey may not be a better solution to the Rabbit problem.