Monday, February 4, 2019

Dry January and The Cheese of Pepys

Good evening everyone and welcome aboard HMS Sniff and Cough.

Currently we wallow in convalescence from a bug that may well be the worst ever experienced by human kind and produced a volume of phlegm that science insists is not possible from a single human head.

Fever, the shakes and shouting at the moon have all played a part in a medical episode that is only now, ten days in, approaching its denouement.

Anyway, that's enough about me. Before the screaming Oojahs struck we busied ourselves with one of the biggest ash trees that we have had to fell this winter. It was in a sorry state and had shed several, limbs during the previous two years.

It was once a fine specimen that hosted a particularly comfortable high seat.

It was only going one way and it came down with quite a crash with the main trunk splitting down the middle.

The Logistics of getting the thing out of the river were always gone to test our simple minds. But with a nod to the pyramid makers and the excellent people at Kubota, levers, fulcrums and orange tractors were invoked to pull the thing out in chunks.

It only took Lord Ludg and myself three bitterly cold mornings to deal with the brute, and all hail the miracle of neoprene waders. When I first started on the river I remember having to carry out work such is this in a pair of plastic Ocean waders and everything was numb in a matter of minutes.
You don't feel the slightest chill in neoprene, although I mislaid my neoprene socks so my feet, clad only in the rubber of the boot, required defrosting by the fire during a brew break.

Cold weather has drawn the geese and a few snipe to the water meadow upstream, although there is no sign of the Leucistic greylag that pitched up last year. There have been a few twitchers furtively twitching on the Common although I have not heard of anything unusual being recorded so far this year.

And then it snowed, quite a bit in some parts. The smart M3 failed to function and several people from the village spent Friday night in Fleet Services.

We had around four inches in the Dever valley with night time temperatures falling to minus seven degrees. Basingstoke was carnage. We saw the trapped traffic on the local news on Friday and thought nothing of it, it doesn't take much to bung Basingstoke up. But a Sunday morning trip to the fleshpots and emporia of Doughnut City found main roads still strewn with abandoned cars, frozen roads and a foot of lying snow. The weight of snow had also brought several trees down onto the road.

It was only a short trip to Home Bargains for some stockpiling. Salt & Vinegar Ringos, Brillo Pads and cheese triangles mostly.

The Ringo's won't last the month and we'll probably have to stockpile some more, or else switch to Cheese & Onion, but in the grand manner of Pepys and his Parmesan, the cheese triangles will be wrapped and buried safely in the garden until the heat has dissipated from current events.

School was closed on Friday, so Madam was rewarded with a three day weekend. Saturday saw us complete a tour of the parish in breathtaking conditions.

Here's one of Moss, the only spring present in this photo is the spring of a loopy labrador experiencing snow for the first time.
There should be a spring spouting forth somewhere about where he is standing.

Oh yes, the field in the middle of this photo is Spring Bottom, still sans spring.

Dry January doesn't have a restorative effect on the guts of the Dever Valley. Fingers crossed for a flooded February and a Moist March.


Geoffrey Jenkins said...

" It was once a fine specimen that hosted a particularly comfortable deer seat."
So how did the Deer climb up to the seat, was there a special deer ladder?


The Two Terriers said...

Spring Bottom, will it? The suspense is killing me. I remember the M3 well when we were in Sandhurst, it doesn't take a lot to freeze it all up but very inconsiderate to snow on 'POETS' day. That Ash tree will p[rovide some fine firewood and arrows for when the crisis comes. Not forgetting the snooker cues. All the best, John