Finally people are talking about the lack of water. Thirty-five days here with little enough rain to do for the dust. An enlightened MP raised a question at PMQ’s about possible water shortages and suggested that farmers and horticulturists be given free rein to take water from rivers to make up for any short fall they may experience from depleted reservoirs and ground water supplies. I don’t think such action would affect this stretch of river too much, but in some parts off the country it could have a major affect on discharge. The source of the Thames is already dry above Lechlade and perhaps the MP wasn’t required to study the water cycle at school; rivers require rain for their flow; the water doesn’t just keep on coming! The quest for alternative sources of energy is carried out with incredible zeal. Anything from solar panels on every roof (we have several phone offers a week, even one to site a panel on the car roof if we park it in the right place) to growing Hamsters with thighs of thunder that could turn a wheel really fast. The provision of water needs to be given an equal footing. We cannot keep pulling more and more water out of the ground and out of our rivers as the population increases, look to store rain that falls or desalinate sea water and return the waste efficiently from whence it came, as they do in countries with far harsher climates than this.
The fishing here has been steady, with every fish so far caught on a Hawthorn mostly in the middle of the day. As is often the case early in the season, fish can rise clumsily as they adjust to a food source on the surface and several miss the fly, both natural and artificial. The fish in the river have over wintered well and there is no sign off any fish with fungus on their noses as can be the case early some seasons. The Roach look to have spawned, as have the Carp in the pond, although some of the tree roots on which they have laid their eggs in previous years are out of the water. Marsh Marigolds are out along with pungent Ramsens, accompanied by brown patches of grass rather than the usual verdant sward. The last dry summer we had, several trees shed leaf early. The Horse Chestnuts are currently as good as they get, covered in candles and dark green leaves, but in a month brown patches will appear as the annual virus puts in its appearance. Climate change gurus would suggest that the South is getting more Mediterranean and that we should be turning to Olives and Grapes, but the Olive Tree we have here looks to be struggling, maybe Baobabs are the answer.
We have Swallows and after last year’s “no show” some Martins, still no Swifts although they have been bombing around the cricket ground a mile away for a few weeks. Plenty of Ducks, with several nesting, but where are they all going in the winter? Not to our pond judging by recent years' flighting. Half way up the river a Water Rail sits on eggs on the quiet far bank, half a dozen spotted cream mini eggs, and a Kingfisher is busy in the bank on the top shallows. No Otters at the moment, the fear of Richard Madeley continues with his two week stint on the breakfast show over Easter continuing to strike fear into the local Otter population.