Monday 21 December 2009

Week 91

Week 91

A little more rain, followed by an icy blow from somewhere around Moscow bought the first heavy snowfall of the winter. The river has continued to clear throughout the week and the spring ditches have started to flow. It is about where it should be for the time of the year. Steady rain post Christmas and into the New Year will be “money in the bank” for next season. The eggs in the hatchery are now eyed up and are now reasonably robust, the basket of eggs from two year old fish have been more successful than the basket from older fish, as was the case last year. They should hatch sometime between Christmas and New Year.

We had another day shooting. After a heavy fall of snow the preceding night the birds where slow to come down from their roost and as a result had not moved far from the wood in the water meadow. The snow continued for much of the morning and we saw a fair number of birds, plenty of Pheasant, a few Partridge and Pigeon and, on the last drive, a lone Woodcock. The Snipe that were about a few weeks ago have moved on and the Geese have yet to take up residence on the upstream water meadows. For some reason, there seem to be fewer ducks flighting this valley than in previous years.

At the start of this week, I was summoned to retrieve my daughter from the bus stop. While returning down the lane in the dark at teatime, we were halted by a display of flashing lights blocking the road. After parking the car, and a cautious inspection it became apparent that, in its attempt to pass an Audi 4x4 from the local manor house, a brand new, and super low slung Mercedes sports car had backed into the ford across the river and become grounded. It’s mid section touched the ground and the left wheel hung in the air The brains trust initially assigned to the task where talking of Chinooks and Chains, I reckoned that if the Audi Pulled over, I had a rope at home that would pull them clear and the world could continue to turn. We edged past the incident, picked up the rope and returned to the fray. I approached the car where Toad of Hall and Nikki Lauda were searching for the manual for the brand the new vehicle. The two wives were behind me, and getting on famously, as I bent to attach the rope, one them exclaimed, “ I really must apologise for my husband, he has no idea what he is doing” A polite reply was called for, but what do you say? The truth? - He doesn’t know what he is doing and it would be really helpful if he just got back in the car, or a placatory, “ Oh I don’t know, at least he’s having a go” The rope was attached and the low slung Mercedes dragged out amid much scraping and not much of a thank you.

Two days later I nipped up to our top bit of game cover to flatten a row of Maize in an attempt to hold a few Partridge for the shoot on the Friday. Half way through the row a lorry burst through the hedge from the dual carriageway and became embedded in the sticky field. The driver replete in high viz attire set of across the plough before balled up feet halted his tracks and he sought an easier passage scuttling up and down the verge of the road. Wondering what he was about, I approached with caution. I repelled his initial charge and it became apparent that he was in a state of shock, Emergency services were summoned and I set myself to blocking the gap in the hedge to prevent him running in the road. After twenty minutes of me rejecting his advances, the Blue Lights appeared and took him to hospital, and then on to home where he is now ok.

Half of the Partridge, in the top drive on Friday made their escape through the gap in the hedge, that the Lorry had made.

Such is life!

I was a Riverkeeper once!

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