Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Sexed Up River Keepers Upbeat for Disney

Good evening everyone and apologies again for tardiness regarding posts,

been a bit busy and only now, with a week to go before the start of our trout fishing season, is their time to attend to a few loose ends and parish messages.

Tree work is all done. The logistics of how to move what remained of the two hundred year old ash tree were finally worked out and a sledge fashioned from tin to drag each ring of over three feet in diameter behind the tractor to the woodpile,

where I must now summon the strength and my trusty axe to smash this arboreal leviathan to smithereens, or wood-burner size pieces at the very least.

The rump of a balsam poplar that I have been trying to remove for much of the winter has finally yielded to my chronic persistence with the medium of fire. Little now remains and the short stretch of bank that it had rendered impassable is once again open for anglers.

Trees are waking up and there are definite signs of life in the fringe where the inky black flowers of sedge stand sentinel beside the more gaudy marsh marigold. The first swallows turned up on the 14th April which is a little later than most years and we have yet to hear a cuckoo. Fishermen arrived a few weeks ago for lunch and a walk of the river. I was once again required to account for my movements during the winter months, because the suspicion amongst anglers that river keepers take the winter off remains.

There were questions on missing trees, replacement seats and was that new bridge really safe, or had Otis, who initially refused to use it, seen something during construction that they should know about. It's always a fun day with an opportunity to catch up with "regulars" some of whom have fished here for thirty years, as well as serving as an indicator to the onset of spring.

Ludgershall still stalks the wood. Brooding on European matters, any fallen tree feels the full force of his chainsaw powered ire. We now have enough wood stacked up for the next two winters, and despite our frequent coffee housing and lengthy discourse on matters of state, we do seem to have got quite a lot done this winter, to which my back, laced up loins and knees would immediately concur. I now look forward to grass cutting, weed cutting and fiddling with flies and fish, if only to agitate a different set of muscles.

Oh no, not Victoria Wood.

A genius, she even managed to ease a laugh from Madam, mid labour with Child B,

a lady mid contraction must go down as a turn's more difficult audience, but the ballad of Barry and Freda set Madam chuckling.

Earlier in the month Madam and myself attended a theatrical performance in Winchester.

You may recall that I was visited by a proper writer some while back, who had been commissioned to write a play for a travelling theatre company in the south of England. Well I picked up plenty from our meeting and subsequent emails; principally that there is a bit more to chucking up written stuff than I had first thought and my secondary school English teacher may have been on to something in his annual report:

"Chris is blessed with little else but a native wit"

Anyway, circumstances conspired to make us miss the play in Andover, so we attended the performance in Winchester.

The piece explores the relationship between a brother and sister who are no strangers to the aquatic environment. I hadn't picked up on the fact that it was a musical until violins were produced and the fiddling began, which also took the lady, who on this night sat on my left, by surprise. As the two siblings trod their own paths with regard to the environment, we were guided through the piece by the sage River keeper, dressed in green with a northern accent and a distinctive gait. He reminded us of the threat to the aquatic environment, the importance of our rivers and the fragility of his role in looking after and protecting his friends the fish. I asked Madam at the interval if the sage River keeper reminded her of anyone in particular, to which she replied,

"not at all, he's a full head of hair, sings like a lark and can play the guitar properly, not like any river keeper I know"

Thank you Deborah Gearing, for your advice and kind words in the programme, and well done William Wolfe Hogan for "sexing up" river keepers.
It's called Upbeat, and I've already written to Disney about a prospective film as it trumpets all the right messages about rivers and the aquatic environment.

Theatrical review over, I'd like to briefly talk about teeth.

Just back from the dentist, a genial cove of a similar age who we have known for twenty years or more. He is now required to ask each victim laid before him how much alcohol they drink each week.

We exchanged a knowing glance, before he resumed reporting in tongues on the condition of my pre molars and molars.

I don't know the reasoning behind the question, but diktat may have been issued and a graph will one day be compiled to indicate a patient's consumption across the ages.

But shouldn't my NHS doctor be my first point of contact regarding discussion on alcohol consumption, and my NHS dentist charged with concerns over sugar, on how much J20, Coca Cola or Ready meals I plough through in a week?


Dons loin cloth retreats to cave fist waving angrily at outside world.

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