Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Pictures that move in a U shaped tube

Last Sunday we experienced continuous rain from two in the morning until midday, a dog bowl left outside indicated that around two inches had fallen. Within twenty four hours the media was awash with advice on the highest hill to head for and plans to build an ark. The river here rose a few inches and for the first time in several years I had to monitor the hatch in front of the house at intervals throughout the morning, tweaking it open inch by inch to let excess water go while maintaining a regular river level. Twenty four hours later the river had returned to the level it was at on Saturday and was of sufficient clarity for a trio of Frenchmen to bang out a dozen Grayling.

The water meadows are spongy and there are puddles, but the aquifers and springs are not so excessively full that it is time to start pairing up animals and heading for the hills. Rain from now through to March does the chalkstreams the world of good. The flush through of water that this stretch received on Sunday is the equivalent of a long overdue scrub behind the ears by an enthusiastic aunt. For two and a bit years this river has gone unwashed with diminishing winter flows leading to a build up of all sorts of gunk in the river channel. The foam on the water at the end of broken water the equivalent of the tide mark on the side of the bath and a sign that some of the nutrients and organic matter built up in the river in the past few years have been washed away. The weed will love it, ranunculus in particular, and with a few wet months there may well be weed to cut in April for the first time in many years.

A couple of sharp frosts have sent leaves a tumbling, the large Mulberry ditched its duds in one night, and a line of leaves flows steadily down the river, the bugs and beetles that fell with them providing an exotic meal for both Grayling and Trout who still show little sign of moving onto the shallows to spawn. The Oaks cling onto their leaves and maintain a weak shade of green, and the Amber opposite the fishing hut is spectacular in the right light.

There are plenty of Pheasants in the wood along the river and the field behind our house seems to be holding a lot of French Partridge. The jolly folk on the neighbouring estate drove it “en echelon” for the first time while we were in Lisbon, not sure how they got on but there still seem to be plenty about for the next time through.

All the funny fungi are up, I haven’t picked many mushrooms this year but some of the other fungal oddities that put in an appearance each autumn seem to have done quite well. I am hopeless at identifying anything but an edible mushroom and I have a “Fungal App” for my phone, that the youth of today seem to find quite amusing, although I am still in the dark over most.

My favourite is a bracket fungus that appears each year on the stump of an immense ash tree that was felled a decade ago at an age of one hundred and seventy years plus. It doesn’t look much from above, but from below, to my eye, it resembles an Armitage Shanks toilet pan.

Concern was shown in a recent newspaper article over birds in the garden exceeding their recommended daily alcohol intake of four units and “giving it large” on fermenting Rowan berries. With the failure of the grape crop in our garden, the blackbirds around here are having a fairly abstemious time of it. Normally at this time of year we can expect an almighty row to break out in the garden as wobbly blackbirds kick off after a morning gorging on grapes brim full of grog.

It has taken a while, roughly seven months, but with the spirit of John Logie Birdie I have finally managed to add moving colour pictures to this rubbish that I write. They may be fuzzy and squinting undoubtedly helps, but they are definitely pictures that move, with just a hint of colour; further channels to follow after consultation with Lord Reith. Meanwhile a few minutes of Grayling spawning on the shallows by the fishing hut. The following film has been clasiifed 12 by WH Smith and the people who do Harry Potter.

3D next, so get some funny glasses.

On the subject of Lord Reith and the travails of the BBC, why are they kicking Danny Baker? He may be irritating to some, but to many he is the best broadcaster in Britain, his Saturday morning show is a brilliant and breathless two hour show that features no music, just irreverent chat with Lindsey and listeners. My personal favourite of recent weeks the randy dog who fathered several litters of puppies in his neighbourhood and was identified as the sower of seed by his propensity to wear a hat.

Brilliant, the best broadcaster about.

Why BBC, why?


Philip Moulin said...

Great post Chris. Have been meaning to say how much I enjoy your blog for ages, but your "moving pictures" finally spurred me into action. Keep up the good work.

Test Valley River Keeper said...

Thanks for the kind words

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