Saturday, January 23, 2016

Gerard Manley Hopkins and a Slingsby Flat Pack

Breaking News:

Spring broken upstream, trickle of water flowing in ditch next to football pitch.

Always a good sign with regard to the precipitation ledger, and during the recent brief cold dry snap the river cleared and maintained a good level instigating a Monty Burns "eeexcellent" moment during early morning skirmishes with Otis as its a sure sign of increasing groundwater flow.

My clever digital weather station that streams live weather information direct to the comfort of our kitchen (a big thing for us, void as we are of the mythical poles and line broadband supply) informs us that we reached a minimum low temperature of minus eight degrees two nights running, which is good to know as we need cold weather at some point during a winter.

Much of my time in 2016 has been spent chainsaw in hand, or with head in a fire. Several of the willows that had a high old time of it in 2015 after I was distracted by Christmas trees last winter, have now been dealt with and fishing on a few of the bends will be quite different this year. I am occasionally joined in my task by Lord Ludgershall, and at this point we'll pause for a commercial break.


As the years progress do you feel the need for a little assistance to light the fire? then blue firelighters are the thing for you.

Guaranteed to set fire to the dampest wood

That's Blue firelighters folks

Contact details for further advertising enquiries -

We'll pimp anything to swell the holiday fund, buy bits of broadband and pay the taxman

The willows: we have a few more weeks work and have had to take down some substantial specimens that were once afforded protection by the stand of Christmas trees but stood sentinel throughout last season until a late summer breeze sent two leaf laden trees toppling into the river. It may look a little stark for the first half of this year but there is plenty of cover coming up behind plus a couple of dozen hardwood trees that have gone in.

We are burning most of what is cut, leaving a few select pieces for all the things that like a bit of dead wood. I am a fond friend of fungi as my athlete's feet will attest ,and the scarlet elf cap in particular seems to like a little dead willow laid about.

The order has also gone in for a whole heap of green oak for bridge work. I don't follow the timber index, but green oak cut to order from the sawmill does seem to be incredibly good value. There are a few logistics to be run through with this one as the posts must be piled into water that is only just wadeable, Photos to follow as soon as I have formed my plan of action, meanwhile here's the ads:


Couple it with a Slingsby flat pack off road trailer for the complete utility vehicle experience,

Living the off road dream!

Ah Condor

Yes, we'll even promote the taboo if there's coin to be had, age appropriate or otherwise, any time, anywhere that's martini

See above for details on placing your advert in this space.

Owls are on the up, and I see at least one barn owl most mornings, sometimes two, not seen any of the short eared variety on the common for a few months but they will be down there somewhere. The merlin is also playing around in the hedge that borders the road and we have followed him up the road in the car on several occasions this year.

Some while ago I was kindly given a book titled 100 poems on the Underground, a compilation of poems displayed on tube trains to provide succour to the world weary subterranean traveller .

When the darkened room is unavailable and the pan pipe music ineffective it is to this book that I sometimes turn to soothe my middle aged ire at a crackpot world.

I have several favourites and once managed to fit large chunks of Gerard Benson's interpretation of Beowulf into a series of football reports, although a passage about Grendel and his vengeful mother in an U14 match report resulted in a flurry of emails and a query from the FA.

William Blake's "The Sick Rose" in which he agonises over thrips, never fails to sooth, and Charles Causley's "I saw a jolly hunter" continues to serve as a reminder on gun safety. Love the Lear, don't get Chaucer and any Gerard Manley Hopkins takes me back to a comfortable chair in an airless stuffy room in the middle of the afternoon and an anodyne A level English Literature lesson and the genesis of a forty winks habit.

There is one poem that I inevitably revisit if I am in this book, and if anyone can help me out with this one, I'd be most grateful as I am not sure if there is a double meaning, as I'm convinced it is a note left to his wife on the kitchen table as he left to walk the dog,

Who am I to say, and there are some in The Hague who set some store by this verse, but I've chucked up similar pieces at the break of dawn.

This is Just to Say

by William Carlos Williams (1883-1963)

I have eaten
the plums
that were
in the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

The first verse may be a euphemism, and the title may be prophetic with William confident that his work would be discussed through the ages or
it may be that the long lost last verse:

tuck in
to smoked bacon
in fridge
and eggs also

Was torn from the bottom of the page at somepoint.

I don't know,

but if you do, don't be a stranger.

It's got me thinking (well done for that William) and think on Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Only Connect indeed,

That last bit may be wrong and "Only Connect" may be something to do with E.M Forster's 1980's yachting drama Howards' Way

like I said, I slept through a large proportion of my A Level English Literature lessons in the mid 80s

And so to Broadband. The orange light continues to flash, we have no broadband service through our phone line, and our mobile broadband bill for this month with a week or more to go has passed three figures.

I await updates from the Ministry and my MP, but have heard not a dicky from BT not a word. A couple of papers have been alerted and today a friend has suggested other avenues to explore. Today's paper has a letter from one hundred and twenty odd MPs calling the leading/sole provider of telecommunications via poles and lines to these Isles to book for being tardy in their efforts to meet OFCOM's requirement of 10mb supply to 95% of the British Isles.


We had 0.5mb and that went away.

While we are on the phone to OFCOM, can we please attend to the mobile telecommunications companies and their punitive charges for exceeding monthly internet data allowances,

It's a right old scam.

This guff has been brought to you by an expensive mobile broadband supply. no poles and lines,

Definitely no poles and lines.

Moderately fast broadband indeed.

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