Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Paul Raymond, brainchild behind Trip Advisor

Survived another year, so with a nod to Paul Raymond,the brainchild behind Trip Advisor, time for a review; bar the nudity and inordinately expensive drinks.

In an effort to be current I'll sum the whole lot up in one hundred and forty characters,

And there I’ll break off,

Bake Off, Masterchef, Match of the day, Peppa Pig and much more besides, all have succumbed to Twitter’s insidious advance. Conversation has been suppressed, and comment on cake, chef or a goal has been reduced to a series of staccato statements unrecognisable from the ebb and flow of normal communication. I don’t know the bloke, but the bumptious bespectacled cove on Masterchef who can’t be trusted to judge the professional chefs, continually spouts a series of statements of no more than a hundred and forty characters, verbal tweets you might say.

The one light shining bright through a fug of bizarre tele-visual conversation?

Ant & Dec, kings of the jungle, although Phil and Kirsty come close for those accustomed to pavements.

Sorry got distracted,

The year in less than one hundred and forty characters:

2013 on this river? Well it began full of hope, but ended in despondency, and not a little despair (phew! Made it, with several letters to spa


I am aware that my exasperation at some of the shenanigans in these valleys of chalk may have bubbled to the surface on occasion during the past twelve months. Reiki, tai chi, green tea and a lady called Li have all been implemented to quell my anger and for those reasons I will not retrace too much angst ridden turf. If you’d rather skip the angry bits please scroll down to the short video of a man driving a train while singing, a clip which I have found soothing for much of my life.

For some of the guff that has gone on these parts over the past year see list below:

1: A water company pumped filtered sewage down the Bourne, a SSSI, throughout last winter in full face of the agencies deigned to protect them

2: Europe’s premier packer and bagger of salad fined £5000 for sending oodles of diesel down the same stream, £1000 less than a similar pollution incident 16 years before.

3: A report costing close to six figures by a company of international repute that promised to highlight what needed to be done to get the chalk streams in better shape was cocked up.

4: An in-line lake in the middle of a neighbouring town was allowed to spew algae and gunk into the Anton for much of the summer, a process that was easily avoidable.

5: The Salmon & Trout Association and Angling Trust invoked European law to call government agencies to account over their failure to protect the chalkstream environment, specifically the Hampshire Avon.

6:The impending National Trout and Grayling Strategy, the most muddled piece of thinking that, on this river, will achieve precisely five eights of F*** A**

7: We’ll leave for Len

I’d better stop there as the lady who sleeps on my left has just quizzed me over the large vein pulsing on the side of my head. For more information on the above list and much more besides, feel free to rummage around the rubbish written on here in the past twelve months. It is not the ravings of a man entering middle aged grumpiness, I tend to save that for the likes of Richard Madeley et al, it is genuine concern and frustration over mistakes that continue to be made, The disjointed and complicated cabal charged with protecting the chalkstreams have proved weak and inefficient in the face of big business and the bottom line and the fear remains that they will be powerless in the face of a thirsty shale gas juggernaut which looms like Grendel’s mother over the groundwater supply to these valleys.

to quote current parlance "come on guys, we really need to raise our game"

In the spirit of reconciliation and all things Nelson Mandela, if sensible hats are worn, things are done well and mistakes are minimised I will shout it form the rooftops.

I hereby resolve in a New yearish kind of way not to get too worked up about these issues in 2014 because the Tony Blair in me (a reccurring nightmare) suggests that "things can only get better", and anyway Ron the Reiki man says I should pay more attention to my chakras, particularly the one on the side of my forehead that has come close to bursting through the skin this past twelve months.

Coming next

A train

Brian Cant.

Pre Pokemon, Gameboy and skateboards this guy was manna from entertainment heaven for the pre pubescent of the seventies, Derek Griffiths played a part, but you sensed they'd done their money when Yuffy lifted a finger and a mouse popped out.

How much was Brian Cant paid for Chigley?and why was Yuffy reduced to making paper chains from newspaper and the test card so prominent throughout the seventies?

Fishing, yes fishing; there’s a pastime to sooth the soul.

On a personal note I fished the prettiest salmon river I have ever had the fortune to thrash to a foam and even caught a few fish on a fly. Coarse fishing was intermittent. A trip to France was postponed after one of our party fell seriously ill. But thankfully a blast of grays from a ray gun that would have left Hans Zarkov slavering got him back on the bank with a rod in his hand, and a recent foray across La Manche was done for by heavy rain and wind. At home the Trout fishing season was in the words of Ron Manager ( Ron is a man of many hats} "a game of two halves". May and June were productive with plenty of water and the height of the mayfly hatch was nothing short of spectacular, but a dry summer saw this river drop at a remarkable rate and the fishing suffered. Coloured water for much of the season reduced the opportunities for sight fishing and numbers for July and August were well down on recent seasons. Fishing improved in September but the poor water quality remained throughout the year. From January to March grayling fishing was hard work as decent winter rain lifted a river to bank high for the first time in many years. October and November saw considerable success for some, but numbers of fish around the two pound mark seem to be down.

This past few weeks has seen more chainsaw work as trees continue to fall over. I have also jumped in the river and started the tinning a few weeks earlier than normal. It’s an easy job when there is plenty of water but we don’t have plenty of water at the moment. It pays not to be too over- zealous, but it is possible to move rubbish and silt from different parts of the river by diverting flow using sheets of tin. Working downstream I move them every few days, any inverts dislodged are moved to another part of the river as opposed to being removed altogether if a digger is used. Some years there isn’t much to move, but after the poor water quality of the summer there is an awful lot of rubbish and grey crud that has built up where it shouldn’t, that is best moved on. In Nana terms, It’s the equivalent of a good scrub behind the ears with a rough flannel, and I will slowly work down the river reaching the bottom boundary around the end of February.

Recent rain has done little to the level of the river, I know it is an oft repeated mantra in these parts, but we really do need a lot of rain. The weather map at the start of the week was encouraging as waves of low pressure massed out to the west, long may it continue from this river's prspective.


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