Tuesday, June 2, 2015
Fuming over Foam
Most fish last week fell to a Mayfly, from lunch time onwards, although a sharp drop in temperature has seen a cessation of activity. There are plenty of fish in the river at the moment and some hefty lumps at that, today one of our rods watched a Rainbow of six or seven pounds, that had obviously wintered well after escaping from stew ponds up stream last year, melt into the shadows twenty yards downstream from the fishing hut.
Oh yes, my travelling companion, who passed through unhindered, had some particularly pointy surgical scissors in her bag and three kilos of black pudding which, with a little knowledge and a knob of lard, can swiftly be converted into high explosive.
Why me? The face? The gait? The demeanour? ......So many question marks
Don't be so judgemental,
Let me put that another way,
We don't want crazy people on planes and if I happen to carry such an air I am happy to hand all my threatening objects over in order that all flights are completed safely. It's just I'm not sure your picking out the right guy and I'm running out of ideas as to what to give you next. It seems bad form to present the same gift twice.
The day after my return to this valley, it was off to Lords with Madam for a day at the Test match
To quote that dog who sells insurance on the TV...Oh yes,
this past week I have been livin the dream!
A day out at Lords is always a great day with champagne and nibbles in the sunshine, but this year the cricket was breathtaking, one of the best I have been to since the West Indies were done for on the third day many years ago. Arriving early on a Sunday morning, we secured our seats in the top tier of the Warner stand, I took my ease in the loos with the small window that allows you to never miss a ball bowled, before tooling around to the Nursery Ground to watch the two teams prepare. Ben Stokes and Alistair Cook looked in great touch in the nets, and Stokes even tore in for ten minutes with the ball to pepper Ian Bell, who did not look in great touch. Midway through the afternoon and Bell had come and gone, Cook had got his hundred and Ben Stokes was walking to the crease to score the fastest ever hundred hit at the ground. Our enjoyment was briefly interrupted by some bloke from the burbs who proceeded to give a ball by ball commentary to his sons and his friends, who seemed fairly happy just to sit and watch. It all got too much for me, and I sat through one over with my fingers very obviously in my ears. Apologies Sir, if you were offended at the look I shot you as we left, it's great that you take your kids to the Test but have a mind to those around you, although I rather think it wasn't the first time you've cleared a room with your braying.
There was a lovely lady who lived there for thirty years who is remembered by many across the county,
Oh yes, she was quite a gal Mary Gunn.
She was laid to rest a few years back with her Bob in Bullington church yard. Child A and Child B would pop down regularly to see her when they were small, punishing the squash and biscuits and playing with her son Robert's old toys and piano. She kindly gave us the piano when she eventually moved out and we caused a police incident shifting it up the road on a tractor and trailer, but that's for another day. Cutting weed in front of the river, she would invariably appear with a mug of steaming liquid laced with goodness knows what from the back of the liquor cupboard by way of a restorative, no matter the time of day, and I once had to dismantle half an oak door frame as she was convinced that a hissing snake lay behind when all we found was a small nest of wagtails. She was a lot of fun was Mary Gunn.
The family that followed on weren't half bad either and had children of a similar age to ours who played nicely with Child A & B at the weekend. But it's a bit different now. The current owners paid a lot of money for "chez nook" and seem keen to develop at quite a rate. The house is marketed for high end holiday lets as a "French style Farmhouse".
It is two cottages joined together. One was occupied by three generations who made cart wheels, the son of the third who lived in one half of the house in his formative years, was a wonderful wicket keeper with eight fingers and two thumbs that all point in different directions after fifty years behind the timbers. He regularly attends cricket matches in the neighbouring village to take in his equally talented grandson who plays in the same senior side as Child B. The other half of the house was once occupied by a widow who fell in the fire and suffered scarring to her face. The paddock at the back, that is currently planted with vines, lavender and olives, was a prime site for picking mushrooms in the autumn and played host to many hares in spring as they conducted their perennial parliament that may well have taken place for aeons.
Well done for being able to afford such a property as a country retreat, and good luck with your riverside lifestyle venture, but this valley has a rich enough heritage of its own,
French Farm house feel.... really?
Forgive me if I come off my long run.
The day of my departure for Scotland, I walked Otis up the river and was surprised to find several large blocks of foam below a small weir. Not enough to cover a nightclub banquette in the nineties, but a lot of foam for this river. I was already behind time and with the bewildering traffic system of central Bristol to be negotiated later that morning, I sent a few emails and photos to friendly people at the EA and set off for Scotland. Checking my mail at the airport I received a reply that suggested it could be a malfunctioning septic tank in the valley and he would pass the message on. Four days later I returned from Scotland to find further foam. Monday was a bank holiday so on Tuesday I again contacted the friendly chap at the EA who suggested I report it as an official pollution incident. So for the second time in as many weeks I found myself talking to Tony in Sheffield, who, as instructed, asked questions about how my day was panning out and current plans for the week, before passing me onto the Incident line. Details were taken, photos sent, and I awaited a response. After three days I rang back to find out what they thought. Tony put me through to the incident room, who then passed me on to Michael somewhere in the south east who hadn't heard of this river, but could I convey the job number, and he would look into it later in that day and call me back, as he was just about to attend a course on some vital process that will only help the wheels of Command Centre central to turn ever smoother.
Five days on Michael, and don't be a stranger, but I'm still waiting for your call.
With a mind to trespass, I conducted my own investigations, starting at the top of the Dever and checking hatch pools and weirs for any sign of foam or the whiff of a faulty septic tank. There was no seeping septic tank (the EA's, Europe's leading producer of bagged salad and local water companies, current scapegoat of first choice when it comes to poor water quality)
It is what they were set up to do.
Apolgies, but expect further angry words on this matter in the weeks to come.
Oh yes,Sepp Blatter..... who'd a thought?
Jack Warner was a given, it was there for all to see when he was cast as the bad guy in Live and Let Die.
#gettingawaywithitforfaaartoolong - Kids, I believe this kind of thing is still current