Sunday, July 19, 2015

Pianos to Pluto and The Generalissimo returns

Well here we are again with another blank page.

I only planned to chuck up this guff for a year, to serve as a reminder to a mind that was fast turning to mush, as to what it was meant to be doing from one day to the next, and here we are seven months beyond that twelve month period in the summer of 2009.

What?

It's 2015?

If this is indeed the case, then that would make me 47 years old and that is clearly preposterous as it is plain that I have only just turned 40. I recognise the ploy in one day cricket of bowlers rushing through their overs to catch the opposing side out, but today's paper confirms that it is indeed 2015, so the gods must have bought the spinners on to get through a few years because I am increasingly aware that time is flying by. At which point it may be pertinent to consult the sage of Chigley on matters arising.



Bleep and Booster may have been wrong about the Hover Shoes but they nailed the bit about Pluto, as this week we sent one of Steinway's finest grand piano's with camera attached to take pictures of what some would have as a planet and some wouldn't. It looks great and the review on Trip Advisor suggests it's one to add to the bucket list (Rain made from Nitrogen sounds like a blast!)

The way that NASA handles these events is to be commended, it is widely accepted that sciencey types monitoring data and the path of grand piano on its way to the outer reaches of our solar system are not prone to outpourings of emotion, it's all about the science, and rightly so, because science does do great things that would not be aided by emotion, so well done NASA for bringing in the "whoopin and a hollerin" crew to perform the necessary countdown at critical moments and convey the message with the required emotion to laymen such as myself with no knowledge of quarks and querks (I think that's right) that yes, something really big did just happen, we just flew a piano to the outer reaches of space,

let's hope those Plutorians get Gershwin.

And while we're on space, the washing machine that was popped onto a comet has just entered the spin cycle, and plans are afoot to introduce a George Foreman grill (model 18910 with floating hinge) to a black hole.

Returning from space to attend to matters on the river, July fishing is everything you would expect it to be, even a succession of grey and gloomy days with much mizzle and drizzle (that does nothing for the aquifers by the way) have not distracted soporific brown trout from a diet of late night sedge, and on occasion, they will even, like a student polishing off the remains of a late night take away at breakfast, nose at what sedge remains the following morning. The July weed cut is underway and it's all about titivation and retaining water. There isn't enough water to run a full channel, so the margins are allowed to grow in and squeeze any flow that remains. The onset of insidious blanket weed has begun and much of the good weed is beginning to succumb. The river is full of circumspect fish tucking themselves away, any deigning to put in an appearance take up station in ribbons of fast water over clear gravel. The hideaways bang into my legs as I blunder about with my scythe, and I can report that there are two fish of over six pound around the fishing hut, I have the bruised shins to prove it. It seems a bit early to make mention of this but late season fishing could be spectacular as all these fish will feel the need to feed at some point.

I have just been summoned to the settee to deliver vital provisions and by way of maintaining an even keel on the marital vessel, took in ten minutes of a programme called Emergency A&E , which I can only assume is a sequel to MASH sans Klinger and Hotlips Hoolehan. The script seems to have taken a dip, with sharp one liners, kookiness and quips a tad thin on the ground, and where was that fine pillar of the medical establishment, Sherman T Potter and his horse?

Today Madam and myself have been married for 23 years, and together for 28. An event that we are currently marking by scoring a cricket match while I sit below a tree with Otis who is in disgrace because he has just emptied his bladder on a fellow spectator's jumper.


On our way home this evening we plan to visit the finest fish and chip emporium in the neighbouring town for chips and mushy peas (avocado to Peter Mandleson)

It's a long time 23 years and at this point I'd like to quote The Smiths, as it was they who stood sentinel alongside Jim Morrison and the cast of Rainbow on the wall of the first bedsit that we shared,

"Why pamper life's complexities when the leather runs smooth on the passenger seat?"

Nope, not that one,

now let me see,

Ah yes, here it is.

"There is a light and it never goes out"

I didn't expect the first thing that we reach for each morning to be tablets until sometime around our ruby wedding anniversary, but each morning I reach for the morning paper delivered via the miracle of the internet to my bedside table while Madam reaches for Candy Crush, not an exotic Californian wrestler on roller skates, but a series of coloured beans that seem to regroup each night before resuming their quest to conquer earth. But sleep easy folks, Madam's all over them!

She's always been a one for a puzzle has the lady who has slept on my left for the past twenty three years of marriage, and sharing a bed with Candy Crush is infinitely preferential to jigsaws or jenga.

Returning to more urgent matters.

As expected with the hoopla of the election done, the government are making preparations to slacken shackles on potential applications to frack. A U turn is already being talked about with regard to National Parks and sensitive sites. Fortunately a Shale Gas Task Force has been convened to make sure all is well with regard to Fracking although dig a little deeper and we find that the task force is funded by the fracking industry and headed by Generalissimo Smith, the very same man who the EA paid a six figure salary for 3 days work a week who during a period of drought demonstrated his lack of knowledge on his brief with some bonkers talk about types of rain, and in the floods of 2013/14 demonstrated inspirational leadership by offering up the view that it was a straight choice between flooding towns or countryside. Forgive the repetition, but some of the nonsense that took place on his watch in this valley included Europe's leading supplier of bagged salad sending a thousand litres of derv down a chalkstream for which they received a swingeing fine of £5000, £1000 less than they were fined sixteen years previously for a similar event, and water companies sending raw sewage down the same stream for months on end one winter when groundwater was on the rise. Oh yes, I almost forgot the commissioning of a report at a cost approaching six figures into work required to bring the chalkstreams into line with EU habitat directive that was riddled with inaccuracies and has now been discredited.

Oh yes, the Fracking industry knew which man they wanted for the chair of the Shale Gas Task Force,

Summon the Generalissimo!

His credentials are kind of bona fide and he won't do the job of monitoring a safe shale gas operation too efficiently, worth every penny.

Turning to Sturgeon, and if you fish this river please don't rush for beefed up tackle, the sturgeon that escaped into the river during the floods of 2013/14 was recaptured on the forecourt of the garage outside Romsey.

The Sturgeon to which I refer is the Scottish variety, prefix Nicola and well done for resorting to nationalistic type to display no little snide with regard to voting on matters south of the border, and if you voted for an SNP MP and you don't agree with their recent modus operandi, do let them know, although the triumphalism displayed by some of the hunting fraternity after the election did nothing to further their own cause on such matters.

It may not have been apparent, but groundwater levels have been on my mind for a while. Hours on end perusing aquifer porn, have thrown up many incidences of re-injecting waste water, post treatment, back into the aquifers as opposed to sending it out to sea and relying on the water cycle to return enough for our needs. In an arid area of Israel a city with a population of 1.3 million is served in this manner. The aquifer must possess particular characteristics, and investigations have been made into applying the process in this country at various times during the last decade. Today we have only one such aquifer replenishment scheme in place, in the Lea Valley north of London, where it works very well.

Please Mr Cameron, can we revisit this idea in other areas of south east England.

Southern Water's drought plan for this area, speaks of a surplus of groundwater, there is much in the ground and houses will never run out of eau. The EA's take on the regions' groundwater puts it at risk, with no more available without impact on the aquatic environment. Southern Waters' remit is to guarantee water supply, the EA's is to protect the aquatic environment, but it is clear who holds sway when the bottom line approaches. Southern water's drought action plan is hopelessly outdated and needs revisiting.

To continue the theme, we still have foam on the water, but I've given up reporting it. Southern water's response on hearing of the froth, ten days after the initial event was almost instant, and a man was on the scene in a trice. We didn't find anything, and one of the reasons proffered was, the default - faulty septic tank, (obvs it's always somebody's septic tank. that chap from the bagged salad company said as much in the national press before his remarkable tea time TV mea culpa that perhaps his business may have had something to do with poor water quality after all) or possibly something else that had been washed into a ditch that fed into the river.

One day last week I crossed the parish boundary of the village immediately upstream from here to find a torrent of murky water making its way down the road to a ditch that fed into the river upstream. Water quality and general murk have been a bit of a blight on this season, so in the spirit of Scooby Doo I followed the trail up the road to a team of chaps who had dug a hole in the road and were pumping dirty water down the road for much of the afternoon.

The logo writ large on the side of their van?

Southern Water.

Oh yes, the cricket, is now a good time to have that talk about Kevin?

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