In the words of Mrs Merton
“ So Debbie Mcghee, what did you see in millionare Paul Daniels that made him the one for you?”
sorry wrong quote, should read:
“Let’s have a heated debate”
This rubbish that i write about the river on which I live and work seems to have provoked some vociferous comment of late, much of it anonymous and at times rather accusing, insulting and all too often one eyed. So to remove some heat from the debate the following entry will not allude to fish, the river or its management.
So what to talk about, Football? I have written bits about it for a few years and could fill a page on England’s recent scrambled victory over Sweden in the Euro 2012 competition and how they twice neglected to pick up Seasick Steve at the back post. Or cricket? and how Ian Bell is the best batsman England have had for some years, if only he believed it himself. Julie Walters is one of our finest living actresses and merits a page or two or perhaps a review of a few Mark Rothko pieces pulled from a Manhatten restaurant currently on exhibition and how their looming presence do nothing for the digestion. Big Brother is back on and there is always the X factor on which to waste a few words, or a scoop on the identity of the banker in Deal or no deal. A lament on a tomato plant stricken with blight, or the pros and cons of losing the conkers on a Labrador full of lust.
Near the river, we had the village elders pay us a midweek visit, forty odd aged sixty to ninety who turn up each year for an afternoon of entertainment and tea. Previous years have seen a magician sawing limbs off, “Who wants to be a millionaire?” , WW2 Karaoke which all got a bit emotional, and this year a falconry display on the front
lawn in the only spell of full sunshine we have had all week . Our Owl rich environs was enriched even further by the presence of two types of Scops Owl and a chunky European Eagle Owl with an aversion to helicopters who subsequently declined to take to the skies. A brute of a bird with huge feet for crushing prey, the chap in charge had only had her for a few months. He had been called to a big pile of bricks in the
home counties, where there had been reports of an injured owl on a swimming pool lounger, the bird wasn’t injured but the high hedges surrounding the compound did not allow enough space for it to take flight. The bird was caught, the ring on its leg revealed that it was domestically reared and had passed through several hands before being illegally released by an “anonymous” ( that word again) owner who probably believed he was buying a budgie until it grew up and out of its cage. The star of the
show were a pair of Harris Hawks who for twenty minutes terrorised the local pigeon population, one on being called to the glove pitched in to land before taking flight over the handler’s head to wallop a passing pigeon, a cloud of feathers fluttered down on the audience and the bird took to a telegraph pole to wait for the pigeon to emerge from the large laurel in which it had taken refuge. The other bird checked out various corners of the garden, including the roof, a precarious perch on some bean canes,
before finally settling in a small ornamental tree. A Koockabura was then produced whose call sent the surrounding bird population into silence as they contemplated their alien visitor before the Harris hawks were finally caught up in time for tea.
Following the accusations slung my way in recent weeks I thought it best to do a quick trawl of the internet to make sure that I was not being trashed too much in certain quarters. A search of my name with the word “riverkeeper” threw up some favourable
reviews on “Angler’s net” some kind words by Sportfish, Fishtec, Countryside Alliance, an old buffer on a“fullbore forum” and a site called “Swinging Heaven” which did not feature any mention of Joe Loss and his ilk, but had a lengthy debate about the current drought conditions in which pieces I had written on the subject were apparently quoted at length.
Recent rain has had some effect on the river although much of what has fallen has run off, The Mayfly is done, and fishing could be a bit slow for a few weeks. Several types of Olive continue to hatch throughout the day along with many types of caddis in the afternoon. There are a brace of huge Grayling in front of the house, well over two pounds they have survived the rigours of spawning and are in pretty good nick. A headless eel of three pound or more indicates that Otters are back in town and the Kingfisher feeds hard on the minnows in the millstream. The meadows remain unmowed as many orchids have yet to reveal themselves and several branches have dropped down in the recent high winds.
Thanks to everyone who has commented in recent weeks, both good and bad, informed and uninformed, and to the many messages of support. Contrary to several accusations I am not some non-thinking neanderthal who doesn’t give thought to his work and its environs. When you spend much of the day in your own company there is little else but thought. I had hoped that in writing this rubbish it would not only serve as a reminder as to what I am supposed to be doing but also explain why it is being done. With some of the recent comment I can’t help feeling that I have somehow failed in that task.
Apologies for river talk creeping in at the end after earlier promises for it not to be included.