Monday 22 December 2014
Aspen and ash this week as it didn't seem very festive to be subjecting Christmas trees to the shock and awe of my big orange saw and a denouement by the medium of fire.
Next week the arboreal holy trinity of oak, beech and willow, don't miss it!
Coming soon - Fallen Trees I have known TV
A thirty minute feature on a tree that has fallen over, with accompanying sound track by Keith Helt who always gets a little down when the days draw in and plays that tune that accompanied the Hamlet ads back in the day, over and over ad nauseam,
You could be forgiven for thinking that I have gone a little chainsaw crazy, no that doesn't sound right and wasn't that phrase used in the promotional blurb for the Texas Chainsaw Massacre?
What I am clumsily trying to say is that I will be looking forward to a break from dealing with chuffin trees that have fallen over.
The ground's a bit sticky and charging around with a chainsaw or feeding fires cuts the surface up a tad, and much of the wood is a muddy morass but spring will heal all, gaps will be replanted with ash oak and beech and the pheasant pen will rise from the ashes.
Crack willow has had a high old time of it, brim full of schadenfreude at the plight of its near neighbour's, its time will come, and will duly be attended to by my terrific tangerine wood cutting machine.
Enough about logs,
As predicted, ditches and drains have been attended to in fear of a winter like the last one, some done well, others driven at with diggers. It's an important annual job, a forgotten art, and boy does it show.
Of an evening, when the spirit of Terpsichire has failed to pay us a visit, the lady who sleeps on the left and myself like to take in the odd cookery show. Don't go much on Jamie and half an hour of Delia telling all how to cook an egg was perhaps not the best value for my licence fee. Mary Berry is a given, Gino's series in Italy was inspiring, and the Hairy Bikers are pretty good, if an updated version of Two Fat ladies, which was also very watchable, and one of whom used to haunt this place on a regular basis, but Keith Floyd remains a favourite.
Currently we are held rapt by the final of Masterchef - the professionals, and this week's final saw the contestants flown out to San Sebastian to cook in one of the top rated restaurants in the world. San Sebastian has become a mecca for foodies. We visited around ten years ago while camping and fishing a nine hundred acre lake near Biarritz. It's a beautiful place with back to back beaches and a bunch of locals who fish hard off the bridge over the river when the tide is on the turn. I forget where we took lunch, but I do remember it being very good, and it was not the restaurant visited by the finalists which was half way up the hill and akin to cooking with Dr Bunsen Honeydew and Beaker. It was Sciencey stuff with much ambiguity over what was to be eaten and what was not. One dish featured a fork made from sugar, and at some point I am sure someone had tried to take a bite out of the table as there are appeared to be teeth marks in one corner. A peckish Madam swiftly raised the website and was on the cusp of booking a trip for the twenty course taster affair at Easter, before the price per head set her reaching for the delete key.
School is done for 2014 and as ever Madam returned laden with gifts from generous pupils. Thirty five years ago the bond between pupil and teacher was not so strong and nobody gave gifts, if they had they would have been eyed suspicously and held at arms length. With the climate of fear that pervaded in some classrooms thankfully long gone a friendlier relationship exists, and Madam will have spent much of the weeks preceding Christmas doing spelling tests with words like Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Monty Bojangles Cocoa dusted truffles. Analysis of the hoard takes several hours and each gift is logged, and in the manner of marking, initial reactions noted,
Could do better,
See Me - Sauvignon Blanc is not red!
With the two of them home again this year's Christmas message is don't touch the posh pork pie at the back of the fridge until the rest of the family have turned up, and if you read the label it says "extra large" and not "bite size" We have a hectic forty eight hours with family staying and visiting on both days, which is always fun, and then I'm going to chase some roach at the weekend by way of reflection, and contemplation particularly on Christmas's past and the madness that used to ensue in our house when we were growing up, a huge amount of fun with the principle protagonist my aged aunt, daft uncle and dad who would done the beards, hats and elf costumes for an afternoon of Christmas shenanigans that several of my mates would turn up to take in.
Thank you for all of the kind emails throughout 2014 and for reading this rubbish that I write,
Monday 8 December 2014
Pixie Lott, has just been voted out of Strictly at the quarter final stage.
NNNNOOOOOOOO! how did she ever come to be in the dance off? She is one of the best that has ever been on the programme,
Why Len, why?
Sleep sound, for tomorrow we march on Elstree.
Note to self: It is a TV programme proffered, and not a genuine dance contest,
and that's from a hoofer who has won in Blackpool, albeit it on a stage in a nightclub on a Saturday afternoon, after the wrestling with a new age routine that included a series of forward rolls and headstands, but that's for another day.
More news as we have it.
but now, a formative piece of Nordic Noir
See the genesis of Wallander
Having maintained that cormorants find fishing the Dever a tricky business, Graculus is now making a concerted effort to master the art. Three flushed from a tree on the island in the flight pond. Late evening perambulations confirmed that it is not being used as a roost, but I have seen Noggin the Nog's budgerigar flighting this valley most days in the last two weeks.
Child A and some such thing she's written is now a feature on Google Scholar, which I'm sure was some form of 1980's canned lager. These long words which are beyond the comprehension of Madam or myself, are also to be published in some journal, which we will both read but not understand but clutch with maternal pride.
She's a day younger than George Ezra and all he can come up with is three chords and a rumbling bass baritone on the One Show, although I have heard say he has some ability........... but is he on Google scholar?
Not a bit of it,and he had a 24 hour head start, Well done Maisie!
Here's Chris with some news from the envrionment.
A few quotes jumped out,
"Wild broodstock schemes: fraught with issues and, in all probability not the solution to more fish in the river"
Maybe not always, but in my humble experience they can work, but success is site specific, influenced by habitat management plans and should not be discounted
"WTT is not against stocking - we recognise that many clubs would fold if they could not stock. WTT is not a pro triploid lobby"
The WTT may not be anti stocking but several of its members are, I have received the emails after the words "rearing fish" and "stocking" appeared amid this written rubbish a while back. Stocking is required in some rivers to provide income streams from angling in order to implement habitat directive.
The WTT have come across as a pro triploid lobby for a very long time and I have heard them make many noises to that effect.
"Triploids rise(if anything) slightly better than their diploid counterparts"
Apart from the supercilious nature of this statement, there are many who would dispute it and also attest that triploids have a tendency to shoal.
There's a National Strategy been formed on the back of this, which is perceived by some as a bit of a bugger's muddle, but I won't go on, and indeed can't, as upon my release, the newsletter was used to light the fire that evening, but suffice to say the vein on my temple threatened to throb and I almost repaired to my cave to shake my fist angrily at the outside world,
and sat down to read something a little more lucid (Prostate Years, Moley always serves as a restorative on such occasions) and make preparation for emails brim-full of internet enlightenment for this piece of impertinence regarding the WTT.