Saturday, January 3, 2015

I'm Morethan Freeman, Thank you for listening

Happy New Year,

and so to the eighth year of chucking out this guff that initially served as a reminder as to what I should be doing from one working day to the next but has warped into something slightly different and provided me with a new avenue of life and work. Thank you to all who continue to drop in and to the many unexpected people who have been in touch personally. Our annual report from the statistics wallahs demonstrates that the number of visits will pass the quarter of a million mark early this year and in one month during the flooding last winter ten thousand dropped in at some point to look at wet fields and soggy prose. Fifty four percent of visitors were male and forty five percent female, one percent were not sure or declined to be pigeon holed. One hundred percent of visitors were below the age of one hundred and five with a distinct lack of Pisceans and Librans. Ninety eight percent read this written rubbish in English, and there are regulars in many parts of Europe who subject this farce to google translate, heaven help them all. Ninety percent of visits come from the UK, twenty percent of them from London, five percent from Southampton and lots from Guildford, Reading, Bristol, and Swansea, there is scant interest in the North East of England and we have yet to receive a visitor from the Orkneys, but just as soon as we do, rest assured, you will hear it here first.

But that's enough of the stats until this time next year.

On to the guff!

Having read that bit back let's just revisit that one,

with the coffers bare following festive fun, and HMRC tugging at my coat, this Website is now up for sale,

I am sure those viewing figures compare favourably with Take the High Road (I feel we are on pretty safe ground here with our dearth of visitors from the Highlands and up) and they were sponsored by Brooke Bond Tea. I'm not against product placement, and could easily pimp a tea bag or two,

I'm Morethan Freeman thank you for listening (Seamless)

Oh Yes...


I think that's the international symbol of impending product placement

At this point I could go on a bit more about trees I have known and provide stats on quantities of petrol and chain oil used, and number of fires started in the past few weeks, but won't as we're done with stats. We have had a very cold spell and also some rain so, so far so good as far as this winter is concerned, all is as it should be and springs should break sometime in the first few months of the new year. On the stretch of the Itchen that I fall in and out of on a reasonably regular basis, two winters of burning have visibly increased thickness of the phragmites and fen, and reduced the number of nettles,

I could demonstrate with photos and talk at length about reduced eutrophic conditions concluding with some form of "index" to prove the point,

but I won't as it is obvious even to these dodgy eyes.

Further capers with the medium of fire to follow later this winter.

Trotting over the Christmas period was productive. The river is in reasonable condition and carrying little colour. The roach proved a little elusive but the grayling made up for their absence. Nothing enormous, with the biggest probably just over a pound and a half but plenty of fish and a couple of hours with my thirteen foot float rod sending a red and a white maggot down the river at a depth of three feet produced over a dozen fish on three consecutive days. I have a soft spot for float fishing, and maintain that it is possible to achieve a heightened level of mindfulness by concentrating solely on a single red dot sailing away downstream as the outside world recedes.

I may have been hypnotised.

Just before Christmas we received the 2013 annual river report from the River's riparian owners association, which caused some confusion, and questions were asked as to whether we are about to experience last year's flooding this year, has the economy really recovered and can we do the Olympics again?

I am informed that the report for last season, 2014, will be out sometime soon.


A brief pause while I deliver grapes and strong cheese to Madam, who lies prone in her latest diaphanous nightwear on the sofa. Think the Cadbury's flake girl in knee length salmon chiffon. She's not contemplating crumbly chocolate but perusing ideas for her hand made cards. She makes some rather good ones, that are much admired, and is always on the lookout for sales. She needs to up her marketing strategy which currently consists of carrying a cardboard box around in the back of her car and waiting for people to ask if they can have a look.

She can be contacted by email at or writing to:

Rachel in her shed, Bransbury Barton Stacey Winchester SO21 3QJ.

All information correct at the time of publication, terms and conditions do not apply, subject to availibility, credit card charges apply, you have not been charged for this call

Sorry, takes a while hand feeding grapes, one by one.

Ditches have been attended to throughout the parish, and the take that some have on the task is wide and varied. Diggers have been out and about, some more sympathetically than others. Some ditches through the village that may stand dry for a year have been scraped back to their original profile, which is great, but once vegetation re-establishes itself they should be cleared out and strimmed annually rather than attended to mechanically each year.

The spring ditch that runs for a mile across the valley floor and remains wet for twelve months of the year, has been attended to with some sympathy and water is getting away while a viable winter habitat remains
although some ditches remain unattended to, which is a bit of a worry.

On the short stretch of Itchen that I fall in and out of, the spring ditch that we dug back with hay knives and grabs last year is working as it should, a firm path exists for access, a mushy margin is present throughout it's length, and there is a clear channel to take winter flow away, sympathetic management with an eye to both habitat and flood defence,

Good Job! High five, whoop whoop!

River keeping they used to call it, although others may now lay claim to the practice by another name.

Pre Christmas deadlines for writing stuff, shone a light on my indiscipline with regard to such matters and a change of course was called for. With two dicky knees and a brace of hernias, the graffiti is on the wall trumpeting the fact that I may not be physically capable of jumping in and out of a river as a form of employment until the age of sixty seven, and a life on the state pension. There's no plump private pension here, all the money is done on short breaks and living for pleasure alone, which may provide sepia tinged memories in old age but may not put the quality of sausage in the pan to which we have become accustomed. I have long held dreams of working in retail, I am confident I could work a customer service desk and microphone so the orange and beige of B&Q may beckon at some point, but as a source of extra income I am encouraged to seek payment for written rubbish which can be carried out sitting down while in wine.

As part of this quest for income through words I have been presented with a concentration hat.

When it is worn I must not be fiddling about on google, checking emails or wandering off to pop grapes into the mouth of the lady reclining, outstretched and robed in the previously mentioned diaphanous night
gown, and it is open season for all in the house to chide and taunt in order to drive me back to my tasks at the table.

When it is removed, the default state will resume, and I am permitted to bumble around at will without fear of being prodded with sticks or shooed from the room.

Can we please desist from making state funded executives redundant, awarding a six figure payout before re-employing many of them months later in a similar department.
The paper today states that two hundred million pounds of public money went this way last year in the NHS alone, but well done HMRC for trying to fund this year's profligacy, I don't mind filling in a form so that I can pay tax on the small amount of moolah I make each year from chucking written rubbish together, but come on old fruit, you've some sauce to ask me to pay not only for the last tax year but also the next six months in advance, without any prior warning.

Shirts off Backs: One size available, Chest 42in neck 16.5, a range of styles and a timeline of collars from the mid eighties on. £10 a pop.

All money raised goes to HMRC, to fund cash hand out racket for State funded executives ( NHS, BBC add any letters that you see fit} made redundant before cropping up in another department

When this kind of state funded racket comes to light in another country, we are quick to condemn it as corrupt and question the conscience of those making the rules and dishing out and receiving the unmerited hand outs.

Which, I'm afraid, brings us around to the rails, and the National Rail Network.

On the first Monday of this month I could fly to Dublin or Edinburgh and back from my local airport for less than the cost of catching a train from my local station to London Waterloo and back. Parking is cheaper at the airport and the travel time is the same.

If I can, I avoid the UK rail network,

Can't afford to use it, and don't find it much fun it when I do,

If I do go into London I will drive as far as I can up the motorway before catching the excellent tube service. A procession of car transporters moves cars from midland manufacturers down the M40 and the A34 to Southampton docks and the fare for a trip from my local station to Inverness for my fishing trip to the Carron last May would have taken 10 hours 40 minutes and cost three hundred and eighty eight pounds, I could have flown to and from New York in less time and for less money.

I'll ride the rails in Europe, our recent train journey in Germany was a delight and very good value, as it was when taking the train from Lille to Paris. Child A's travels on the trains around Europe was unbelievably good value with great service, and in her thirty days away she never had a problem finding a seat or a bed.
The rail network in the southeast got itself into a bit of a pickle over the festive period but well done the chief executive for eschewing his six figure bonus and opting to live on his six hundred and something thousand per annum salary alone,

Worth every penny,

It's the gravy train with biscuit wheels and don't expect the Carne clan to be coming to a food bank near you anytime soon

As ever, we are increasingly led by loons!



a little idealistic,but remain....

Morethan Freeman, thank you for listening.

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