Friday, January 30, 2015

Golden Chunks of Auto Factor and the worry of Hans Zarkov

A beech tree this week and a big bugger at that, two main trunks and a crown that was one of the highest in the wood. We will be burning the last of these logs watching the FIFA world cup in Quatar, should it take place and no we won't be lighting a fire in the summer. We have a load of golden plover on the fields behind our home and most mornings I can catch a sight of them from the bathroom at some point during extensive early morning ablutions as they lift as one to another part of the field. The merlin is back and while I have yet to flush it from the ground up the river we have twice chased it for several hundred yards along the lane in front of the car, which was a surprise because we have been without wheels for ten days while our complicated car took to its bed with a fever. You don't go at today's modern motor with spanners and a wrench. They must be placed in a white room with subtle lighting, attended by lab coat clad technicians and plugged into a computer which will then ask the car how it feels. Once the therapy has been run through, the detox programme begins in which golden chunks of "auto factor" are pinned to the car's frame as a means of restoring its mood and a bill presented that bears comparison with a week in The Priory that runs well into four figures and leaves a yearning for Haynes manuals, boiler suits, tubs of jizer and king dick spanners?

From this you will have gauged the mood, but I must return to the river,

As the priory funds have been done on drive shafts and distributors,

and at this point I would like to highlight this week's announcement that the wealthiest 1% of the world's population have as much money as the remaining 99%, and it is only they who can afford to drive and maintain a car by the boys from Bavaria

Whither poor feeler gauge and tappets,

The river!....the river!

Oh yes the river,

We've had some damp conditions of late and with half an eye to the medium of fire the reed beds remain a tad soggy it may be March before I can don my super new fire gloves and sally forth with some phosphorus and tinder. Weed is having a high old time of it, water levels are what we would expect at this time of the year but an above average water temperature promotes weed growth. Olives trickle off for an hour or so most afternoons and both trout and grayling feed sporadically on the surface, which should mean fewer long and thin fish on the bank at the start of the season. I've a fencing task to attend to in order to secure a wood full of what many would eye as four figures worth of logs,

Yes the government's heating allowance has created a black market in logs,

whereas years ago they'd have turned to unused furniture and clogs

On re-reading this I may have picked that bit up on a board during a five day sojourn on the Amstel two years back, consequently this rubbish may need a bibliography.

That, or I'm making a subconscious bid to make this guff rhyme.

Returning to the heating allowance, I don't think I have spoken to many pensioners who have done the heating payments on fossil fuels.
Suppliers of kitchenware, garden machinery, short breaks, and vet's, all have benefited from the winter fuel payment, although Lord Ludgershall did blow his on a chainsaw........ which kinda counts.

I have a bridge to build, and one to repair, and at some point I must break cover from the wood and attend to crack willow on the river bank. There is hazel that is long overdue a coppicing, and gaps in the wood are perfect for the planting of some hardwood saplings.

P (remember that?)

I have nominated my saw for an award in the birthday honours list.

It's a Husqvuarna, there I said it, I am done with Stihl. I did the same with my brush cutter and now use a four stroke Honda. I do a lot with a brush cutter during the summer and each Stihl I've had has cashed in its chips after two or three years. Driven by a need for a quiet machine in order to listen to test match cricket through my Dr beats (headphones) I switched to a four stroke Honda and have not looked back. There's no chance of listening to anything while dealing with trees but with an eye to the brushcutter experience, and no little Nordic Noir I opted for a Husqvarna, a heroic saw that has balked at nothing this winter, and as my middle name is Alexander I feel bound to term the thing Bucephalus and when it finally fails it will be buried in the garden with full ceremonial honours.

And I'm sorry Bavarian Motor Works, your temperamental charge will not receive such eulogies but will be buried outside the garden walls,

This Husqvarna has heart, guts and spirit and is completely void of all warning lights and sensors

Turning to Sky (the television provider and not the thing that we live in fear of falling on our heads) the blurred lines of text that pop up on the television screen that I was assured were parish notices, are in fact promptings from sky plus!

Last week I discovered that we had Sky TV, this week I learn that we have more than the sky,

We have Sky and a bit more

Much of the final frontier apparently.

And now news from our plate tectonics correspondent:

This week we had an earthquake.



It made the News and the epicentre was little more than a mile from the short stretch of the Itchen that I jump in and out of, I shall visit later this week to check for a river full of fissures and magma with an eye to shifting a few pumice stones to those cursed with rough feet.

I didn't feel a thing, I was in the bath at the time removing the stench of four hours of feeding a fire in the wood and there were no ripples that could be considered out of the ordinary, certainly no tsunami.

I missed a bigger quake in North Wales in the early eighties. We were fishing for sewin on the Afon Dwyfor at Llanystumddwy, a fabulous little river full of sea trout and salmon and available on a day ticket. I had been out all night fishing and had returned to the holiday cottage for breakfast, before hopping into bed to recuperate for the following night's fishing. Mid morning the earth juddered, some chimney pots toppled and I slept through the lot, it was slightly bigger than the one in Winchester this week.

After a day tramping the streets of Genoa earlier this year, I had emerged from the bath and was applying balm to my feet six floors up in The Bristol Palace hotel when the whole room wobbled gently for what must have been twenty seconds, as a tremor of four point something gently nudged the city.

From these three pieces of evidence we can conclude that the earth will only move when I am not wearing the full complement of clothes, and it needs a quake factor of four or more for my inbuilt bodily seismic sensors to register it.

And that's science.

Returning to the Itchen, and influenced by last year's floods and Spinal Tap's amp that went right up to eleven, the Command Centre Central have extended their measuring stick from ten to thirteen.
I imagine this was a decision reached following a series of site meetings, an application for a licence to move beyond twelve and into the teens and a party of at least four to install the thing, One of whom will have been a registered first aider, another will have completed a two day course on throwing a rubber ring to someone who has fallen into water and another will have watched from distance to provide a report on proceedings and also to summon assistance should any of the other three get into trouble as they approach the water. All will have worn gloves, waterproof boots with metal toes, buoyancy aids with whistles and the chap who screws the thing to the wall will wear a mask and possibly ear protectors. Back in the office will be twice the number of people who are out in the field because these guys require significant back up and much paper must be shuffled, meetings convened and brows furrowed in order that tasks such as this are completed,

I imagine that would have been the chain of events, but I may be wrong. One chap with a hammer may have turned up and had the thing done in five minutes,

I hope so

This week I was visited by a playwright. A professional writer now she has done with teaching, who also runs writing courses, has a writing partner and has been commissioned to write a play in which the aquatic environment features large and wanted to ask a few questions. Which we did for an hour or so, before I countered with an hour or more of questions of my own on the formation of words into something someone may want to read.

In a few minutes, the penny dropped that there is a bit more to this caper than I realised.

Planning for one, and something called a synopsis which, after an extensive search, is unavailable on ebay.

Currrently I will sit down to write guff with a wine at hand tapping away to put thoughts on paper.

For something a little longer this method does not apply.

Dialogue is difficult, each attempt I have made ends up with all the characters speaking in the same flippant tone five thousand words in. To counter this I must produce a detailed biography for each character and have a clear idea of where the whole thing begins and ends up.

I don't normally do planning or preparation, things tend to just happen.

It is going to take some time, but I shall give it a go. I hope she got what was required on the river front because I certainly learned a lot about writing lots of words that somebody else may actually want to read.

If I do ever get anything done,

and the clock is ticking with agents of Richard Madeley hot on my trail following messages sent regarding his work on the wireless.

If I ever get it done it may rock up on here, or it may just feature two thirds of the way up the totem pole of my time on earth that I regularly attend to in the back garden.

And now, with a nod to Chris Morris- News from the World.

The government announcement this week that fracking would not be considered in National Parks or areas where water supply is sourced from the ground, is welcome.
Is there an election imminent, will the next governments' sentiments be the same mid-term?

At least the lunacy of the "Race to Frack" has been discarded,

If we are to do this lets take time to make sure that it is carried out in the right places with the required diligence.

And so to Greece,

I wish,

I have every sympathy for the everyday Costas and Sophie.

They've been let down by the chronically corrupt nobs at the top who appear to have built substantial villas in the hills instead of the bits of infrastructure for which EU money was allocated.
In two thousand years time when I can finally afford to retire (The sustained consumption of red wine and dark chocolate with the occasional phial of probiotic yoghurt suggest that this is a mere minimum) and transport links have led the world to mix its genes up (and here's where your holding civilisation back National Rail, Oh and are you sure about that genetic purity thing WTT) to the extent that the creed and the colour and the name don't matter

We will all be human kind (and kind humans hopefully) and the madness of this age will be long gone,

and all we will have to worry about is Hans Zarkov, and the possibility of the sky falling on our heads

Which is where you come in Flash Gordon and Asterix.

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