Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Yoinks! Grendel's Mor Cometh

Screened here for the first time, an avant garde production titled "Yoinks! Grendel's Mor cometh".

Filmed underwater, the piece is loosely based on Scandinavian epic Beowulf with all the actors a species of fish. The Grayling take on the challenging role of the Danes, a Brown Trout plays the lead, with further Brown Trout playing the part of "Geats" various. A rogue Rainbow Trout's portrayal of Grendel's Mother is a particular highlight.

With a musical score by the maestros of free jazz "The Nicholas Chientaroli Trio" hopes are high on the cusp of Cannes.

Last week the lady who sleeps on my left and myself went to work, came home, had our tea and then, post Pointless, for three evenings we travelled several times around the world.

It’s the sort of stuff that would set Cook and Columbus coughing but by the miracle of modern science we watched a series of live TV programmes from the international space station as it circumnavigated a turning Terra that made its seemingly unending way around the sun. To quote the Fast Show sometime in the nineteen nineties “Space is amazing!” The spacemen in this show came from all quarters of the globe,and who'd of thought the trouser of first choice for today's spaceman would be khaki staypress action slacks. I know ironing must be difficult in space but what happened to the range of silver spacewear that was promised throughout much of the sixties and seventies, lets work the Dan Dare look a little more with a little less Alan Tichmarsh.
Looking down on the shimmering orb on which we shuffle, division over race, religion, territory or any other differences for that matter, seemed somewhat irrelevant.

Enlightened Aliens, in an advertising campaign of the seventies, termed us all as earthlings, which I too was tempted to do throughout the programme as a “gosh this planet is fragile and why aren’t we all in it together vibe took hold” but I was reminded that the same said aliens saw the future of carb loading as a powder that when mixed with water turned into mashed potato, so had the wise aliens failed to grasp what a complicated soup life on earth is.

Sorry, that’s wrong

Viewed from space the earth is a fragile and isolated place with a limited shelf life, we are all earthlings and because we fail to grasp that fact, and continue to squabble and trash the rock on which we live, we can come across as a pretty primitive bunch, which is one up for the aliens, but outer space is not the best place to make a judgement call on the best source of mashed potato. An earth produced muddy Maris Piper produces the best mash and will continue to do so while Terra continues to turn, but they were right about the earthlings bit.

Back on earth, I have had a countryside and wildlife management student arrive, and for much of this week and the next two we will be tackling trees that continue to tumble over. The poplar across the river posed a unique challenge. Like my torso, weight was distributed in unexpected areas, and rumination was extensive over locations of crux, where weight was actually lying and the point at which to make the decisive cut. A series of props did for weight issues (you heard it here first, the prop diet is the next big thing) the decisive cut was tentatively delivered and the beast was slain. In the words of BA Barracus “You crazy fool!”

Or possibly his erstwhile "A team" companion Hannibal Smith “I love it when a plan comes together”

Each of the poplars that toppled over were riddled with woodpecker holes, some people are not so keen on balsam poplars, I can’t say they are my favourite species at the moment having spent much of this month cutting them up, but they do have a beautiful scent when the buds break in spring and our booming population of woodpeckers with the green variety very much to the fore will miss them this summer. We now have enough wood stacked up for the next couple of winters, the wood on the non fishing bank is an arboreal disaster zone on a par with 1987 and 1989 and it will take several winters work to return some form of order.

The river is back within its banks although the banks remain very spongy. Some beats on the middle river have already delayed the start of their season by up to a month due to damaged and dodgy banks, but things should be ok here for our normal kick off time. Each afternoon Olives have hatched and several fish have shown interest. Roach and Rudd in the pond have proved remarkably active with the afore mentioned countryside and wildlife student banging a bag full of silver fish out while breaking for lunch. We have ducks sitting on eggs, and his grumpiness Gielgud and his petulant pen have made their voluminous nest on the flight pond and currently guard one large swan egg. Heron and egret abound and are making the most of a falling river. The arrival of several intense types in four by fours, clothed in “real tree” and armed with long lenses suggest that there is a bird that requires photographing in the area. Not Miley Cyrus, or an errant Kardashian, but a funny chirper that Mdme and myself caught while pausing in the garden on Sunday morning to take coffee. Twas a funny tune that we failed to identify in lots more than one, but it didn’t sound that big, or tuneful. Consultation with our bird app, swiftly eliminated Condors, Ibis, flamingos and most forms of geese but from there on we were flummoxed. I tried asking one of the men with a big lens who was sitting in a bush but his reply of “indeed, it has been a poor potato harvest this year” had echoes of cold war spy speak uttered socco voce while passing in a park, umbrella in hand.

Are we fit to Frack?

Mark Lloyd Chief executive of the Angling Trust said:

“Fewer than a quarter of our rivers are currently in good ecological condition and the rest suffer from widespread pollution and over-abstraction. The Environment Agency is struggling to tackle these existing problems, and faces the prospect of losing 1,500 staff. Our wildlife and fisheries need another major risk to water quality and an additional demand for water like they need a hole in the head”

Well said Sir, and thanks for reinforcing views held on this poorly written journal for the past twelve months. They’ve made some encouraging noises on the dangers of over abstraction too. The clue is in the name, if you are an angler, get on and join, they are doing really good things for all things angling,

Today in a heavy handed and opportunistic piece of big stick politicking, Flashy (who has done some good things of late) invoked the spectre of Percy Putin, and how we must frack, frack, frack if we are not to fall under the weight of the Russian Bear.

Well in the words of the rabbit in the Cadburys Caramel advert, “Slow down Mr Bee/Cameron/Flashman”

Only frack if it’s safe to do so, is sustainable and there is no impact on groundwater or the aquatic environment, there cannot be an environmental price to pay for shale gas exploration particularly with regard to groundwater supplies in the South East of England. A race to frack is a frightening prospect for some, with the prospect of the required due diligence for applications being watered down by government.

Midway through the month, squeezed in between the anniversary of Julius Caesar cashing in his chips and the day commemorating the chap who chased all the snakes out of Ireland, sits a day when the historical events organiser took a day off, it also happens to be my birthday. By coincidence it also used to mark the end of the coarse fishing season ( No longer, but that merits a few thousand words on its own) and teenage frustration was only exacerbated by a pile of new fishing tackle that I could only play with in the garden for three months. In previous years to mark the passing of another year the day’s activities have included a variety of activities, from sledging (tobogganing, as opposed to verbal abuse dressed in white) through to fish and chips while watching the boats in Lymington harbour. This year we tripped south to visit child A and in twenty degree heat had a picnic on common land just back from the beach, we would have had a barbecue but no garage on the way down had any charcoal in (The accompanying photo is a little misleading in that there were many other people doing the same and I was not required to sit on my own and rejoined the main party once the photo had been taken). This is on the back of the wettest winter on record (if records are to be believed) Three weeks ago the piece of common land had been underwater and crabs were cock of the walk. In recent times several have joked about the possibility of hosepipe bans this summer, which just about sums up the current appreciation of water supply in the south of England. A few successive dry months and yes, the groundwater supply may need some form of protection, all of that water that went whizzing down the roads and rivers is now on Neptune’s ledger, and all we are left with in the south is the stuff that is soaking into the ground. Statistically, (which is what weather forecasting is all about, there’s little science here) the threat of a hosepipe ban in the south is reduced this summer but possible protection measures for a precious groundwater supply should not be ruled out, after the long forgotten low flows of last October the “get out of jail” card of record rainfall has been played by the chalkstreams of the south, this cannot be relied upon every year, we may have had a lot of rain but it will not keep us going forever, a dry six months and the chalkstream environment could once again be back on its knees.

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